Staff Picks by Tag

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Flirting with Danger: The Mysterious Life of Marguerite Harrison, Socialite Spy By Janet Wallach Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780385545082
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Doubleday - August 1st, 2023

Marguerite Harrison was a little-known American spy, journalist, adventurer, and feminist. She lived in a time when few women ventured out into public life. She broke the norms, challenged every barrier - whether it be social expectations or physical danger.

This is a fascinating story of a patriot and American hero. A true page-turner and must-read. Highly recommended story of a fearless woman in a time when few women defied the expected and forged ahead.


Review by Sue

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Who Owns This Sentence?: A History of Copyrights and Wrongs By David Bellos, Alexandre Montagu Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781324073710
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 23rd, 2024

Copyright. Oh boy. Everyone knows it, but do we love it?

Bellows and Montagu take us from its early days in London to the massive corporate tool it's become.  

Especially relevant given the concerns around AI and art.


Review by Zack

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Eyeliner: A Cultural History By Zahra Hankir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780143137092
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Books - November 14th, 2023

Who knew eyeliner had such a rich history? From Egypt to Iran to Japan to the US, spanning centuries, Hankir weaves together history and interviews discussing the origin of eyeliner along with its uses for beauty as well as a form of resistance. Your idea of eyeliner will transform after reading this book!


Review by Lily

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The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA By Liza Mundy Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780593238172
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Crown - October 17th, 2023

Fascinating from start to finish. The unsung heroes in the CIA, never given proper credit for their achievements in a "man's world," these women are finally being acknowledged. Mundy does a great job in revealing their character to persevere and dedicate themselves to keeping America's spy network secret. Through their work and attention to detail, they were able to track the elusive Osama bin Laden is just one example of their achievements. 

Great read and a story worth reading.


Review by Sue

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Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature (Literature Now) By Dan Sinykin Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780231192958
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Columbia University Press - October 24th, 2023

The two most remarkable things about Dan Sinykin's history of how corporate conglomeration in publishing has changed the course of literature are 1) it's never been written before and 2) there was a time, not so long ago, when the merging and acquisition of publishing houses was unthinkable. Sinykin teaches how to read "through a colophon," and that "our outsize attention to the author alone is a trick of history." Bestellers are engineered. Book buyers for chains and indies alike are key to a book's success. Sinykin's fascinating history is underlineable on every page.

 


Review by Spencer R.

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The Devil's Element: Phosphorus and a World Out of Balance By Dan Egan Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781324002666
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2023

Perhaps the greatest environmental catastrophe you've never heard of, Dan Egan details our tumultuous relationship with phosphorus over the years.

From its discovery through human waste in labs, to its destruction of our waterways during the 50's and 60's due to our need to be sudsy clean, up to our current crisis with agriculture's obsession with it.

The Devil's Element is concise, easily readable, and compelling. A lovely delight!


Review by Zack

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Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure By Rinker Buck Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781501106385
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - May 16th, 2023

A few years ago I read Buck’s book, The Oregon Trail, in which he builds a covered wagon and travels across the country. Back again with a similar concept, this time he built (well, mostly he oversaw the construction of) a flatboat which he then sailed down the Mississippi. I doubt I’m the intended demographic for Buck’s writing, but I love his historical anecdotes, sardonic humor, and no-holds-barred musings on modern America. Along his journey, Buck hones his boating abilities, breaks a few ribs, and truly takes the time to speak with, listen to, and work alongside people who share wildly different views from himself. I found Buck’s writing to be a welcome break from a culture that feels increasingly shallow and fast-paced. Much like Buck’s journey down the Mississippi, his book is slow, meandering and thoroughly enjoyable. 

 


Review by Jade

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We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence By Becky Cooper Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781538746851
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 14th, 2021

In January 1969, Harvard graduate student Jane Britton was found murdered in her apartment. Despite several leads, the case was still unsolved when Becky Cooper happened upon it 50 years later. Though she had no training or special connections to speak of, Cooper dedicated the next decade of her life to finding Britton’s killer. Extraordinarily well researched and thoughtfully told, this book has all the thrill and suspense that characterize true crime while managing to steer clear of the sensationalism and insensitivity that often cheapen the genre.

 


Review by Jade

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Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age By Annalee Newitz Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393882452
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 11th, 2022

Much has been written about the destruction of Pompeii, the “discovery” of Angkor; but what of those cities in their prime? What about the people who lived there? Newitz spent years traveling the world, researching, excavating, and speaking with experts in order to glean a deeper understanding of ancient cities and the lives of their citizens. Educational and engaging, Four Lost Cities is both an enjoyable history lesson and a call to take care of the cities of today, before they too fall into ruin.

 


Review by Jade

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The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder By David Grann Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780385534260
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Doubleday - April 18th, 2023

In this thrilling, brilliantly crafted tale of shipwreck, mutiny, and deceit, David Grann recounts the 1742 voyage of the Wager. Doomed from the very start—with a ragtag, ill-prepared crew and an inexperienced captain—the Wager was destined for disaster. Grann deftly describes the horrendous suffering the ship’s crew endured and chronicles the incredible, sometimes horrifying, lengths that they went to to return home. I’ve long considered David Grann one of the greatest narrative nonfiction writers alive, and this book only cements that further.

 


Review by Jade

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