Nonfiction
Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

File under: books I can’t stop talking about. I’m just a touch old to fall under Petersen’s definition of the millennial generation, yet I found myself nodding along to every chapter as Petersen explained how my and my peers’ personal life experience slot neatly into cultural and economic trends. Her biggest topics are our childhoods, our college experience and the implicit (and explicit) promises it had for our future, and why work is so awful for so many these days—all set against the backdrop of the economic realities of the last 40 years in the United States. I closed this book feeling understood, and like I better understand the world I’m living in. Petersen notes that she completed her final edits on this book while COVID-19 was just beginning her spread, and I appreciated her thoughts on how the pandemic subtly shifts the lens through which readers will engage with the ideas presented here. 

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Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

$9.99$3.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Father's Day
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: Quick Lit

Ann Patchett called this the best book she read in 2014, a fabulous book club pick, and a moving true story. That's enough for me. When Chile's San Jose mine collapsed in August 2010, thirty-three miners were trapped beneath thousands of feet of rock for 69 days—longer than anyone thought they could survive. While they were still trapped in the mine, the men agreed that if they told their story, they would only do it together. On their release, they entrusted Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tobar with its telling.

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It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

Eating well is a foundational habit: people who eat right find it much easier to follow through in other areas of their lives. I've logged a half dozen or so Whole30s, and found the experience so valuable I'm tempted to urge everyone to try it at least once. This terrific guide from the Whole30 creators shows you everything you need to know, and will make you feel like you CAN do this.

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Eat a Peach: A Memoir

Eat a Peach: A Memoir

Food memoir is one of my favorite nonfiction subgenres, and I loved this inside look at the Momofuku empire and Chang’s life story. Raised by his Korean immigrant parents in Virginia, Chang struggled with loneliness and isolation. When he couldn’t find a job after graduating college, he convinced his father to loan him restaurant start-up money. The result: Momofuku’s famous comfort food staples like ramen bowls and simple pork buns. While his career and business took off, Chang struggled with mental illness and self-confidence. With candor and humility, he shares both his struggles and successes in this intimate and unconventional memoir.

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Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

A brilliant, difficult book—easy to read, but the content will make you want to weep for humanity. This meticulously researched, journalistic account of what went down in the aftermath of Katrina reads like a novel and won the Pulitzer to boot. So good and so readable, but so very sad.

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Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

From the publisher: "In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive—which they don't have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play."

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Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

I can't tell you how many MMD readers have told me about this brand-new book, just out this month. First, the bad news: most of you are gonna hate it.

The good news: if you're in the target audience, this is a great addition to your coffee table. You'll love this book if you have a serious—and thorough—love of classic literature, don't mind a few f-bombs, and pride yourself on your snarky sense of humor. Lavery lampoons Jane Eyre and Rebecca, Edgar Allen Poe and The Yellow Wallpaper, Medea and King Lear. A great Christmas gift or coffee table addition for the right reader.

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A Room of One’s Own

A Room of One’s Own

$7.95$0.99

Woolf's long essay about society and art and sexism is thoroughly of its time and timeless. She argues that a woman must have money and a room of her own (literally and figuratively) in order to write well. It's a little slow to get into but keep at it: this is one of Woolf's most accessible and rewarding works.

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe―many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions.

A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a graphic novel for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product.

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The Mother Tongue: English And How It Got That Way

The Mother Tongue: English And How It Got That Way

Author:
Genre: Nonfiction

From the publisher: "With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries."

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The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Jacobs's manifesto aims to convince readers everywhere: reading is supposed to be fun! I expected Jacobs to be stuffy, but he won my heart when he called Harold Bloom a snob. Lots of good nuggets and insights for book lovers, plus inspiration to expand your reading list and spend more time between the spines. This book is best enjoyed slowly, a few pages at a time. 162 pages.

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Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore

Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore

A nonfiction book about laundry in the Summer Reading Guide? Absolutely. This conversational guide to a dreaded household chore was the book I didn’t know my reading life—or laundry room—needed in the pandemic era. I find reading about domesticity to be reliably soothing, but in Richardson’s hands, the subject makes for fascinating narrative fodder as well. Who knew? Among his entertaining anecdotes (my favorite being his hero’s account of removing a fresh permanent marker stain from a bride’s gown on her wedding day), Richardson offers practical tips I tried right away: I’ve removed lipstick from ivory cashmere, chocolate and marinara from a beloved white hoodie, and brightened our white bed linens so they look like new. I never expected to find so much satisfaction in doing laundry, but this bright and cheerful book changed my outlook. A perfect gift for myriad occasions.

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Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating
A Briefer History of Time
If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission

If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission

Author:
Genre: Nonfiction

"In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes," writes Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. "And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns." I had to google to see if this Jo Piazza was the same Jo Piazza who co-authored The Knockoff. I was delighted to see that it is.

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Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

The title is admittedly a little dry but the content is so good! This is Turkle's wake-up call to our modern era where we're over-connected to each other when apart but under-connected—thanks to our devices—when together. As a professor at MIT Turkle collected reams of research on how our devices are serving us well, and how they're not. (The latter column is the fuller one.) It gets depressing at times, but Turkle is persistently optimistic about how we can control our technology, instead of the other way around. Resistance is not futile, but highly effective, and once we understand how our devices are really affecting us, we'll be empowered to change. Surprisingly fascinating.

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Magic and Loss
Men Explain Things to Me

Men Explain Things to Me

From the publisher: "In her comic, scathing essay, Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters. This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf's embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women."

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Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally-Minded Kids One Book at a Time

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally-Minded Kids One Book at a Time

Author:
Series: Quick Lit 7/16
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: Quick Lit

I blurbed this title and am thrilled to see it's finally on bookstore shelves! I know I’m not the only one who’s stood in the middle of the children’s section at the library or bookstore knowing I’m surrounded by good books to read but wishing someone would point me toward which ones to choose—and which to pass over. Jamie's done the hard work: is here to help me do just that. She’s done the hard work for you: this is a big list of annotated book recommendations, broken down by region, along with plenty of tips on using literature to foster a love of reading and a global awareness in the kids in your life. Published June 7, 2016.

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Essays of E. B. White
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

The Pulitzer-winning husband-and-wife authors tackle a big global problem in this important 2009 book. First they take a close look at the state of women in the developing world today, saying, "More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century." Their close examination of terrible phenomenons such as sex trafficking, forced prostitution, and genital mutilation will make you want to weep. But Kristof and WuDunn go on to convince readers why smart and well-implemented efforts to empower girls and women (as opposed to men) has an incredible impact, not just on the females themselves, but on their entire communities. The book's powerful conclusion gives you concrete action steps for practical things you can do to make a difference.

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Leigh Kramer says: "I read this earlier this year and if I could make the entire world read it, I would. It's eye opening and important and powerful. Stevenson has done incredible work through the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit legal practice he started, dedicated to serving the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden. The book is part memoir, part treatise on the state of the legal system. We follow the story of Walter, a man on Alabama's Death Row who proclaims his innocence, and meet Stevenson's other clients as he built his practice in the 1980s and the subsequent areas of injustice they've battled to this day, including death penalty sentences for children and the treatment of the mentally ill. There's also a surprising appearance by To Kill A Mockingbird—the irony and ignorance will knock you flat."

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The Secret History of Wonder Woman

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

This is a fascinating deep-dive into the unbelievable history of Wonder Woman, an iconic superhero whose origins are completely bonkers. A complicated family story lies beneath the history of the famous comic book character, and it all starts with the invention of the lie-detector machine. I don't want to give away any more than that—just know that the surprising backstory is full of twists, turns, and shocking connections across history and culture. Lepore's reporting is engaging and detailed.

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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

I nearly didn't read this book because of the horrible title, and that would have been a shame. I'm so glad I relied on a friend's recommendation, and my own enjoyment of Gawande's latest release Being Mortal, and read it anyway. This brief, engaging book is about how to successfully live and work in a world that's becoming increasingly complex. Gawande draws fascinating examples from medicine, construction, and aviation to explain why systems remain vulnerable to human error, and what we can do about it. Highly recommended.

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Underland: A Deep Time Journey

Underland: A Deep Time Journey

From the publisher: In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through “deep time”—the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present—he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. Woven through Macfarlane’s own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls “the awful darkness within the world.”

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