Biography
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

$12.99$2.99

I promised myself that I would read something, anything by Goodwin this year, and I did: Wait Till Next Year, which made the summer reading guide in the Nerdy Nonfiction category. I liked it so much I’m diving into the deep end with this straight-up history of the Lincoln era. My dad will be proud.

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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

$7.99$2.99

Billed as a perfect choice for fans of Unbroken, this bestselling story about an American crew team seeking Olympic gold during the Depression has garnered nearly 2000 5-star reviews on Amazon. I fully expect this to be as compelling as any novel I read this summer.

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A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century

A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century

$13.99$3.99

If you’ve reached your thirties and haven’t found your calling, take heart: Olmsted found his vocation relatively late in life, becoming the world’s premier landscape architect at a time when there was no such thing. He fell into the work by happenstance, and turned out to be a genius at it. His legacy reflects his conviction that ordinary people need beautiful landscapes: he designed Central Park (remarkably, his first commission), Boston’s Back Bay Fens, the campus of Stanford University, Biltmore Estate, and many other public and private parks. Surprisingly absorbing: an outstanding account of an incredible life.

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Almost Famous Women

Almost Famous Women

$3.99$2.99

Published January 6. This short story collection delves into the lives of women who are—as the title puts it—were almost famous: Oscar Wilde's niece, Lord Byron's illegitimate daughter, Edna St. Vincent Millay's sister.

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No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

$11.99$3.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

I love Doris Kearn Goodwin's work, and this is no exception. (I'm with Ann Patchett on this, who calls herself "a DKG completist.") Publishers Weekly says, "No previous biography of a president has given so complete a picture of how private lives and political questions intersect uniquely for the residents of the White House," and it's so true. I learned so much about not only the Roosevelts (fascinating and sad) but also about our country's history during their lifetime, in an absorbing way. If you read Chernow's Hamilton and thought "I had no idea American history was so fascinating" and want a similar experience in a different decade, add this one to your reading list.

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Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

The Whiskey Robber is Attilla Ambrus, a gentleman thief who couldn’t quite make ends meet, so he turned to robbing banks to supplement his income in 1990s Hungary, all while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest. His brazen crime spree goes on for years, which would be unbelievable if he weren’t up against a police team that’s almost too incompetent to be true.

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Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

$11.99$1.99

Wittman is a retired FBI agent and founder of its Art Crimes Team, and his day-in-the-life stories read like a spy thriller. His tale of going undercover to track down stolen masterpieces and bust art thieves depicts a seedy world that’s quite different from the polite cat-and-mouse games of The Thomas Crown Affair.

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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

The OED project began in 1857, and took 70 years to complete, even with the help of thousands of contributors. One of the most prolific contributors, submitting nearly ten thousand entries over the course of 20 years, was Dr. William Chester Minor, an American Civil War veteran from Connecticut, who turned out to be an inmate at one of Britain’s harshest insane asylums. A fascinating and mysterious true story. The audio edition is fantastic. This is the audiobook that got me hooked on audiobooks.

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Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices

Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices

For longtime L’Engle fans, and anyone intrigued/appalled/bewildered by the devastating New Yorker piece, this collection provides the ultimate (inconclusive) 360 review. More than 50 friends, colleagues, family members, and fans shed light on the real Madeleine L’Engle. The contradicting accounts (sometimes wildly so) add to the fascination.

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

$11.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

Unbroken tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete turned World War II bombardier. Hillenbrand has called Zamp’s life “almost incomprehensibly dramatic,” and she masterfully unfurls his story, which begins with his plane failing and crashing into the Pacific during a routine search mission. (After you finish, pick up Hillenbrand’s previous biography Seabiscuit, which is about so much more than a racehorse.)

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Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy
Leonardo’s Lost Princess: One Man’s Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci
Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life

Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life

$11.99$1.99

In this biography-of-sorts, Rubin argues that the larger-than-life Churchill's portrait could be drawn in many ways, all "true." She presents 40 different angles on Churchill, as child, man, politician, leader, husband, etc. All are interesting; many contradict each other. This fascinating, multi-faceted approach appeals will appeal to some, and make others crazy. A little slow in places, but worth the time. If you like this, go on to read Forty Ways to Look at JFK, but only after you've read this one: Rubin explains the reasoning behind her "forty ways" approach in this volume and doesn't revisit them in JFK.

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Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Change