Adult Nonfiction

Conversations on Race

Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525512363
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Published: One World - June 23rd, 2020

Wes Moore’s third book, Five Days (One World, $28), brings him back to Baltimore, where he spent part of his childhood and resides now, to explore the undercurrents of Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of police in April 2015. Moore, currently head of The Robin Hood Foundation, focuses on the five days from Gray’s arrest for allegedly possessing an illegal knife to his death in a coma in a local hospital. Gray’s case made national news and ushered in a period of reckoning for a city on edge. Through interviews with eight Baltimoreans directly affected by the news coverage and protests that followed Gray’s death, Moore details the roots of injustice that led to this cataclysmic moment for the city—and that may yet augur a glimmer of hope for the future. Lissa Muscatine

Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374186326
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 4th, 2020

A hard, harrowing read, Life of a Klansman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28) is a stark examination of a family history tainted by our national shame. Edward Ball documented his forebears’ slaveholding in Slaves in the Family and in this book chronicles the heinous deeds of his great-great-grandfather Constant Lecorgne, one of half a million Confederate veterans whose post-war years were dedicated to opposing Reconstruction and equal rights for African Americans. Ball is candid in describing Lecorgne’s activities, which included terrorizing and murdering freed Black people. Ball utilizes excellent research in portraying post-war New Orleans and interviews descendants of Lecorgne’s victims. Given that millions of white Americans belonged to the KKK during Reconstruction and the early 20th century, many people in this country have their own Lecorgne in their familial past, and Ball’s sober meditation is inspiring. A valuable book for those interested in their own personal interrogations of complicity in white supremacy, and how right-wing terrorism of the past mirrors the violence and unrest we are witnessing today. Scott Patrick

Just Us: An American Conversation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450215
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Published: Graywolf Press - September 8th, 2020

Just Us (Graywolf, $30) by Claudia Rankine. Using nearly every literary means available—essays, poetry, drama—along with photos, Rankine demonstrates the stranglehold race has over American society, while also showing how it plays out very differently for white people—who often fail to acknowledge race— and for Black people, for whom race inflects every facet of their lives.

Why Didn't We Riot?: A Black Man in Trumpland Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635420289
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Published: Other Press - October 6th, 2020

Why Didn’t We Riot? (Other Press, $21.99) by Issac J. Bailey. In this no-holds barred collection of essays, the award-winning journalist and professor combines memoir, cultural analysis, and incisive storytelling to show that racism, not white working-class economic frustration, is what got Trump elected and what, disguised by hypocrisy at many levels, fuels the ongoing violence against Black people.

On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640093928
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Published: Counterpoint LLC - May 5th, 2020

On Account of Race (Counterpoint, $26) by Lawrence Goldstone. The noted constitutional historian examines how legal challenges from the late 19th century to today have led to the disenfranchisement of Black Americans, a trend reversed, but not vanquished, with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope Cover Image
By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781984855022
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Published: Random House - August 25th, 2020

His Truth is Marching On (Random House, $30) by Jon Meacham. This masterful portrait of John Lewis by the Pulitzer-winning biographer draws on extensive interviews with the late leader and his family along with a detailed history of the civil rights movement to show how every aspect of Lewis’s life and work was shaped by his profound faith in humanity, God, and hope.

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525560548
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Published: Viking - February 25th, 2020

Hood Feminism (Viking, $26) by Mikki Kendall. In her powerful and eloquent critique of mainstream feminism, the blogger and renowned speaker exposes the movement’s narrow focus in both excluding women of color and in failing to address many of the political, economic, and social issues that most affect those on the margins.

Politics/Current Events

Protocol: The Power of Diplomacy and How to Make It Work for You Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062844460
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Published: Ecco - June 23rd, 2020

With Protocol (Ecco, $28.99) my friend and former colleague, Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, has written a compelling book about why diplomacy matters more than ever in a world riven by division and discord. A former White House Social Secretary in the Clinton Administration and Chief of Protocol for the U.S. under President Obama, Marshall has planned and executed some of the toughest and most sensitive diplomatic events undertaken by the past two Democratic presidents. She argues here that protocol is a universal language of global diplomacy, necessary to bring leaders and countries together so that they can negotiate effectively. Marshall also makes the case that understanding rules of protocol can help all of us in our own lives, whether handling issues at work or resolving family disputes. The best thing about Protocol: Marshall is an exceptional storyteller, and the stories she tells are informative, educational, and entertaining! Lissa Muscatine

Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594206016
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Published: Penguin Press - May 19th, 2020

In 2013, Barton Gellman, after receiving an astonishing trove of intelligence documents from Edward Snowden, anchored a team of Washington Post reporters who wrote a Pulitzer-winning series that exposed widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency. In Dark Mirror (Penguin Press, $30), Gellman recounts his own story of engaging with Snowden and explores the full nature and impact of a government surveillance system that expanded after the 9/11 attacks and sought to collect vast amounts of data on people in great secrecy and without previous constraints. The book is illuminating, engrossing, and balanced—a revealing narrative that not only examines intelligence gathering and government overreach in the digital age but provides a thrilling account of investigative journalism in a time of pervasive surveillance. Bradley Graham

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385545808
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Published: Doubleday - July 21st, 2020

After three critically acclaimed and popular works on the Soviet Union, Anne Applebaum in Twilight of Democracy (Doubleday, $25) offers a more personal book that combines memoir with reporting and analysis in seeking to explain why so many on the right have come to support the rise of authoritarianism in the West.

The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594206436
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Published: Penguin Press - September 15th, 2020

The New Map (Penguin Press, $38) by Daniel Yergin. From the Pulitzer-winning author of The Prize, an exhaustive history and analysis of recent changes in the geopolitics of energy and a look at what the future holds for production and consumption of traditional and new fuel sources.

How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982132156
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Published: Simon & Schuster - September 1st, 2020

How to Lead (Simon & Schuster, $30) by David M. Rubinstein. Following his bestselling The American Story, the PBS interviewshow host gathers the insights of 30 luminaries from politics, business, and entertainment for an inspiring compendium on leadership.

Separated: Inside an American Tragedy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062992192
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Published: Custom House - July 7th, 2020

Separated (Custom House, $29.99) by Jacob Soboroff. An unsparing look at the motives, process, and consequences of Trump’s immigration policies that brings home the human cost of family separation by following the nightmare endured by a Guatemalan father and his 12-year-old son.

A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984877499
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Published: Penguin Press - January 21st, 2020

A Very Stable Genius (Penguin Press, $30) by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig. Drawing on extensive original reporting and dozens of interviews with key figures, the authors—awardwinning Washington Post reporters— illuminate the larger meaning of Trump’s unprecedented use of his office by plunging us directly into the chaos of the West Wing.

What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982145620
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Published: Simon & Schuster - October 6th, 2020

What Were We Thinking (Simon & Schuster, $28) by Carlos Lozada. A guide to the Trump era via the literature it has spawned, this book examines 150 recent titles from all sides of the political spectrum, mining them for what they say not just about the administration but about the state of the nation that elected him.

U.S. History

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631496103
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Published: Liveright - September 15th, 2020

In If Then (Liveright, $28.95) the historian and author of These Truths, Jill Lepore, takes a seemingly esoteric piece of American history and spins from it an intricate story covering decades and resonating with current events. If the Simulmatics Corporation seems uninteresting at first glance, Lepore’s ability to cast a wide scholarly net and connect previously ignored dots will change your mind. Simulmatics was a data science startup founded during the Cold War; it was involved in an incredible number of political and social areas where it mined for information, attempted to predict behavior, and manipulated voters--in the process setting the stage for many parts of our current electoral process and daily lives. While targeted polls, Cambridge Analytics, Facebook, and many algorithms that have become almost invisible to us seem new, If Then shows that they are not. There is no better guide to our past than Jill Lepore, whether you are wellversed in 20th century Americana or are simply curious about previously uncovered areas of the tech industry. Lepore’s lively, occasionally sarcastic writing achieves a perfect balance between scholarly rigor and engrossing narrative. Anton Bogomazov

Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall  of a Brazen Crook in the White House Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593136683
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Published: Crown - December 8th, 2020

Bag Man (Crown, $28) by Rachel Maddow. A riveting, deeply reported account of the bribery and extortion ring run by Spiro Agnew before and during his term as Nixon’s vice president and of the backroom deal that forced his resignation but kept him out of prison.

Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476793054
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Published: Simon & Schuster - August 18th, 2020

Reaganland (Simon & Schuster, $40) by Rick Perlstein. In the latest volume of his magisterial study of American conservatism, Perlstein traces the rise of Reagan to a series of perceived fumbles by the Carter administration, a divided Democratic Party, and changing social and ideological currents.

World History

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812998757
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Published: Random House - July 28th, 2020

Too-often romanticized and exoticized by western voices, the true story of modern Tibet has been largely overlooked. In her deeply researched, unflinching account of Ngaba, a remote Tibetan county on the Chinese border, Barbara Demick chronicles the inner turmoil, destruction, and resistance in the lives of its inhabitants. The stories she drew from interviews with Ngaba’s residents are haunting, from accounts of the Red Army looting Tibetan temples during the Chinese Civil War to a Mei Kingdom princess forced to flee her home during the Cultural Revolution. Throughout, Demick gives voice to an existential dilemma facing Tibetans and Tibet at large: Resist the Chinese, or join them? Adhere to Buddhist teachings of compassion and nonviolence, or fight? Eat the Buddha (Random House, $28) showed me that Chinese and Tibetan history play out not only in large urban spaces, but in the rural, liminal theaters not reached by popular media. Demick is sympathetic yet fair-minded, giving due space to the nuances of Ngaba and greater Tibet’s multidimensional past and present. Beth Wang

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250131201
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Published: Henry Holt and Co. - January 28th, 2020

Black Wave (Holt, $30) by Kim Ghattas. The BBC radio and TV correspondent and author of The Secretary traces the roots of the Sunni-Shia conflict to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and tracks the repercussions through Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia over the last forty years.

Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524760595
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Published: Tim Duggan Books - January 14th, 2020

Between Two Fires (Tim Duggan, $28) by Joshua Yaffa. A portrait of contemporary Russia through the experiences of a wide cross-section of people struggling to balance their goals with the demands of a capricious and unyielding state.

Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465096985
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Published: Basic Books - August 25th, 2020

Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings (Basic, $35) by Neil Price. A blend of archeology, sociology, economics, and more that explores how the Vikings navigated the world between 750 and 1050.

Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594206153
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Published: Penguin Press - April 7th, 2020

Coffeeland (Penguin Press, $30) by Augustine Sedgewick. Through the lens of coffee production in El Salvador from the late 19th century, Sedgewick explores both the rise of a global economy based in colonialism and the particular history of coffee as a commodity.


Being Lolita: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250217219
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Published: Flatiron Books - August 4th, 2020

Alisson Wood's Being Lolita (Flatiron, $26.99) made me turn the pages so quickly I tore a few—but it also forced me to slow down and consider the way vulnerability is so often preyed upon by men of power—how they chew up their victims and spit them out without any real consequences or justice. Wood’s memoir recounts the predatory relationship the author was in with her high school English teacher, and traces her metamorphosis from student to survivor. Wood holds nothing back as she bares her painful experience to her readers, from the manipulation she suffered to later revelations that reveal the teacher for what he is: a predator, an abuser, and a fraud. Being Lolita is a seduction, a scream, a sharp knife, and an exhalation; it is piercing and uncomfortable, but also utterly necessary. Fans of Lisa Taddeo and T Kira Madden will find an unsettling familiarity here, which leads readers to consider the true meanings of consent and power, and how society's perceptions of victims too often keep their stories, and the perpetrators, hidden in the shadows. Brittany Kerfoot

Hollywood Park: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250621566
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Published: Celadon Books - May 26th, 2020

Hollywood Park (Celadon, $27.99), the much-anticipated memoir by writer and rock star Mikel Jollett, starts with his growing up in the infamous Synanon cult, then follows the twists and turns of an unexpected and unprecedented upbringing in California and Oregon in the ‘70s and ‘80s, which included a depressed mother, a father fresh out of prison, and a brother battling addiction—all of which led to Jollett’s becoming the lead singer of the band The Airborne Toxic Event. Given the focus on music, this is a book that deserves the full audio treatment—and that’s just what it gets. Released in tandem with this fantastic memoir, the CD version of Hollywood Park lets you listen to the songs as they come up in each chapter, making this perfect for the music lover as well as for readers interested in intimate looks at a father-son relationship, with equally incisive treatments of Jollett’s mother, brother, and step-father. By turns wide-sweeping and extremely personal, this poetic, raw, and emotional saga is an ultimately uplifting look at a family history and how that can coalesce to form an artist. Keith Vient

Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062802255
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Published: Harper - April 14th, 2020

Hell and Other Destinations (Harper, $29.99) by Madeleine Albright. An inspiring account by the former Secretary of State about her life since leaving office; in a series of insightful, engaging essays, Albright recounts her experiences establishing a consulting firm with fellow diplomats, teaching, writing books including Fascism, and tirelessly working for human rights and democracy.

I Want You to Know We're Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525575986
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Published: Tim Duggan Books - March 31st, 2020

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here (Tim Duggan, $27) by Esther Safran Foer. In her powerful memoir, Foer, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, recounts that she knew little about the trauma that shaped her own reality until she traveled to Ukraine to uncover the truth about her father’s life.

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450314
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Published: Graywolf Press - June 2nd, 2020

The Dragons, The Giant, The Women (Graywolf, $26) by Wayétu Moore. In beautiful, capacious prose, the author of She Would Be King recounts her life from the age of 5, when her native Liberia erupted in civil war and, after arduous months on the road, she fled with her family to the U.S.

Political Biography

Pelosi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250252869
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Published: Henry Holt and Co. - May 5th, 2020

As a native of the Bay Area and having once covered Baltimore politics as a journalist, I thought I knew everything about Nancy Pelosi, from her political roots in Charm City to her political ascent in San Francisco. But reading Molly Ball’s excellent Pelosi (Holt, $27.99), I realized quickly that I knew less than I thought. Ball’s dispassionate reporting (which includes interviews with Pelosi) left me even more admiring of Pelosi’s extraordinary rise from housewife in the Mad Men era to the nation’s first woman Speaker of the House. Ball explores and explains the discipline, energy, tenacity, and sheer political skill required on Pelosi’s part, especially as she constantly confronted double standards as a woman. As flattering as the picture is, it is not a whitewash but a rich portrait of an historic figure in American politics. Lissa Muscatine

JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812997132
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Published: Random House - September 8th, 2020

JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 (Random House, $40) by Fredrik Logevall. In the first of a projected 2-volume biography, the author of the Pulitzer-winning Embers of War cuts through received impressions to detail the future president’s early family life, chart his defining experiences in WWII, and thoroughly trace the development of his growing political sensibility.


How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton (American Poets Continuum #180) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781950774142
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Published: BOA Editions - September 8th, 2020

“No one writes like Lucille Clifton,” the award-winning poet, Aracelis Girmay states in her foreword to How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA, $28), “and yet, if it were possible to open a voice…to see what it carries inside it…inside the voices of many contemporary U.S. American poets are the poems of Lucille Clifton.” A two-time Pulitzer nominee and author of 13 collections over fifty years, Clifton (1936-2010) wrote amid the civil rights movement, the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the first steps on the moon, and more, framing history-defining moments in language that revels in the rhythms of life from the ordinary to the elemental. Erotic, transgressive, political, spiritual, these works are remarkable in their range and in Clifton’s fierce insistence on writing for and about Black people. Reading her poems now, with their incredible capacity for grief and discomfort and hope, feels like an act of love. As Clifton said in “roots”: “call it our craziness even, / call it anything / it is the life thing in us / that will not let us die.” Molly Harbage

Dearly: New Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063032491
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Published: Ecco - November 10th, 2020

Dearly (Ecco, $27.99) by Margaret Atwood. Known for powerhouse novels like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, Atwood began her career with poetry; her first new collection in more than a decade is a personal and introspective reflection on themes ranging from loss to time to zombies.

Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062995285
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Published: William Morrow - October 20th, 2020

Make Me Rain (Morrow, $19.99) by Nikki Giovanni. A literary event, the first collection in seven years from the award-winning poet and activist celebrates Black family and heritage while calling out white racism and nationalism.


American Utopia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635576689
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Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 27th, 2020

Last fall, David Byrne took his inventive musical show, American Utopia, to Broadway for a limited run. It included 11 very mobile musicians, short uplifting soliloquys by Byrne, many jubilant new songs, as well as a few Talking Heads favorites. It was a huge hit, and was scheduled for a return engagement before Covid-19 shut down the theaters. (Spike Lee filmed the production, and America Utopia will be on HBO starting on October 17.) The stage curtain was drawn by illustrator and writer Maira Kalman, who’s collaborated with Byrne for decades; her first picture book, Stay Up Late (1987), illustrated his Talking Heads song. American Utopia (Bloomsbury, $24) combines over 150 of Ms. Kalman’s colorful drawings from the curtain—of everyday “small moments” and dancing gestures—with Byrne’s lyrics and words to make a lovely souvenir. As Byrne says: “Here is the hope and joy that I believe emanates from the show itself in something you can hold in your hands.” András Goldinger


The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book Cover Image
By James Raven (Editor)
ISBN: 9780198702986
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 1st, 2020

What makes a book? It’s a seemingly simple question, but one that requires a thoughtful, multi-faceted response. As The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book (Oxford, $39.95) shows in fascinating illustrations and meticulous research, books have existed in many forms throughout history. Books have been markings etched in oracle bones, Mayan vases, and Inca knotted-string records. James Raven has brought together leading international scholars to explore, in fourteen original essays, how the book has evolved throughout the world, from ancient history to the modern day. Ambitious in scope, this book delivers on its intent to showcase just how versatile a book can be, and it’s clear that it will continue to evolve as technology does. I was struck by the endless human ingenuity and resourcefulness that has been a hallmark of story-telling since the very beginning. This work is for academic bookworms passionate about history and the evolving nature of the written word. Kortney Frederick

On Seamus Heaney (Writers on Writers #11) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691174372
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Published: Princeton University Press - August 25th, 2020

On Seamus Heaney (Princeton, $19.95) by Roy Foster. This astute and engaging reading by the eminent Irish literature scholar and critic draws on the late Nobel laureate’s personal papers to chart the evolution of his work, life, and rise to international popularity.

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525574972
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Published: Clarkson Potter - October 20th, 2020

Ex Libris (Clarkson Potter, $25) by Michiko Kakutani. The former chief book critic for The New York Times draws from her vast reading for a beautifully illustrated collection of brief personal essays celebrating 100 life-changing titles, from children’s literature to founding political texts to classic and recent fiction.


Philosophy for Polar Explorers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524749118
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Published: Pantheon - November 17th, 2020

You don’t need to be planning an expedition to the world’s remote regions to benefit from Philosophy for Polar Explorers (Pantheon, $20). Erling Kagge’s graceful, lucid prose, and his down-to-earth reflections are themselves a delight, as are his evocations of the joys of engaging with nature. As he did in Silence and Walking, he leads readers to both an appreciation of simple pleasures—the relief of company after extended periods of solitude—and a meditation on deeper questions of what it means to be human: How do we account for the feeling of emptiness after realizing a dream? How can we follow our own inclinations rather than someone else’s? Combining tantalizing glimpses of his adventures with readings from a wide range of thinkers, Kagge investigates terms like “success,” “luck,” and “happiness,” reflecting that these have no fixed meaning, but change over the course of a person’s life. Similarly, “being courageous is a new challenge each and every time it arises,” and it comes as naturally—if not easily—to a contemporary urban dweller as it does to a bold adventurer miles from civilization. Laurie Greer

Time of the Magicians: Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525559665
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Published: Penguin Press - August 18th, 2020

Time of the Magicians (Penguin Press, $30) by Wolfram Eilenberger. This European bestseller traces the 1920s rise of four of the 20th century’s most influential thinkers: Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein.

Nature, Science, and Environment

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525510314
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Published: Random House - May 12th, 2020

Readers who enjoyed meeting Merlin Sheldrake in Robert Macfarlane’s Underland will be eager to hear more from this lyrical fungal biologist. But for those not already primed to Sheldrake’s gifts for observation and beautiful presentation, consider the wonders of the eukaryotes themselves: these creatures—neither plants nor animals, but something that challenges categories—provide us with delicacies ranging from truffles to mind-bending psilocybins, serve as the source of antibiotics, and enable production of staples like bread and alcohol. Mushrooms are strong enough to lift sidewalks, and the fungal partners of plants affect the size, taste, and smell of berries and vegetables. As Sheldrake reports in his thoroughly charming Entangled Life (Random House, $28), fungi survived the first five major extinctions and seem poised not only to get through the current one but to help us survive, as well, by breaking down the plastics, explosives, spilled oil, and other debris we’ve dumped on the planet. Sheldrake, who argues that his real subject is ecology, “the relationships between living organisms,” shows how human civilization has been profoundly shaped by beings most of us overlook. Laurie Greer

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101904817
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Published: Crown - July 7th, 2020

A planetary scientist, Sarah Stewart Johnson has a passion for seeking out life in unlikely places, from a Hawaiian volcano to Mars. As she reports in The Sirens of Mars (Crown, $28.99), hopes for life on the red planet have always been high, with early observers mistaking Martian dust for vegetation. Yet as more sophisticated explorations have exposed this as fiction, actual pictures of that red dust have produced evidence that the conditions to support life really did exist there once. As she traces the challenges, findings, and failures of a string of Surveyors, Rovers, and Explorers, Johnson’s meticulous and lyrical descriptions (the Martian sky is butterscotch) convey not only the science but the human quest for meaning that’s driven the work—despite the fact that “half the missions to Mars have failed”; Johnson’s own engagement in this endeavor has been so deep that her first child was due on the same day the Curiosity was scheduled to land on Mars, giving added oomph to her conviction that these missions represent “an almost existential endeavor…to learn what life really is.” Laurie Greer

The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062968814
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Published: Ecco - May 26th, 2020

The Book of Eels (Ecco, $28.99) by Patrik Svensson. A captivating look at the mysterious ways of the European eel, a creature that has fascinated scientists and non-scientists alike since Aristotle.

What It's Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing--What Birds Are Doing, and Why (Sibley Guides) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307957894
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Published: Knopf - April 14th, 2020

What It’s Like to Be a Bird (Knopf, $35) by David Allen Sibley. A beautiful, oversized compendium to the ways of some 200 species, full of facts and illustrations by one of the world’s pre-eminent ornithologists.

On Food and Cooking

The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635713
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 6th, 2020

The Man Who Ate Too Much (W.W. Norton, $35) by John Birdsall. Based on deep archival research and previously untapped sources, the first full biography of James Beard (1903–1985) in 25 years—by a two-time winner of the James Beard award—traces the cookbook author’s prescience about local foods and home cooking alongside a detailed look at mid-20th-century closeted gay life.

Eat a Peach: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524759216
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Published: Clarkson Potter - September 8th, 2020

Eat a Peach (Clarkson Potter, $28) by David Chang. In unflinching detail, the award-winning Momofuku founder recounts the journey that took him from aimlessness, frustration, and mental illness to the top of the international pantheon of restaurateurs.

Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes & Stories: Foreword by Alice Waters Cover Image
By Fanny Singer, Alice Waters (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781524732516
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Published: Knopf - March 31st, 2020

Always Home (Knopf, $35) by Fanny Singer. The daughter of Alice Waters, founder of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Singer in her engaging memoir/ cookbook invites readers into the Waters’ family home, sharing stories, memories, photos, and some sixty recipes that span Singer’s life and travels.

Chasing Flavor: Techniques and Recipes to Cook Fearlessly Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328546333
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Published: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - October 13th, 2020

Chasing Flavor (Rux Martin/HMH, $35) by Dan Kluger. In his debut cookbook, the award-winning chef and owner of Greenwich Village’s Loring Place pairs 190 of his elegant, innovative recipes with wide-ranging lessons on technique.

Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399581755
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 13th, 2020

Ottolenghi Flavor (Ten Speed, $35) by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixtra Belfrage. With Ottolenghi Test Kitchen guru Belfrage, the award-winning Israeli-English chef builds on the plant-based focus of Plenty and Plenty More with 100-plus vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Falastin: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399581731
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Ten Speed Press - June 16th, 2020

Falastin (Ten Speed, $35) by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley. Taking their title from the Palestinian newspaper, the authors—associates of Yotam Ottolenghi—weave stories, photos, and 130 recipes for a powerful profile of a strong and resilient people and their cuisine.

The French Laundry, Per Se (The Thomas Keller Library) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781579658496
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Artisan - October 27th, 2020

The French Laundry, Per Se (Artisan, $75) by Thomas Keller. Twenty years after The French Laundry Cookbook wowed professional and home cooks alike, the world-renowned Keller— the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three-star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants–presents 70 recipes along with tips, techniques, stories, and more.

Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804187060
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Clarkson Potter - October 6th, 2020

Modern Comfort Food (Clarkson Potter, $35) by Ina Garten. Never more needed than now, these 85 new takes on old favorites— from smashed hamburgers with caramelized onions to Boston cream pie—come with Garten’s signature simplicity and cheer.

The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316480680
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Voracious - October 27th, 2020

The Rise (Voracious, $38) by Marcus Samuelsson. From the award-winning founder of Red Rooster and co-producer of Harlem EatUp!, a rich collection of some 150 recipes, profiles, and stories that celebrates the wide-ranging achievements of Black culinary artistry.

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399581045
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Ten Speed Press - February 11th, 2020

Vegetable Kingdom (Ten Speed, $30) by Bryant Terry. An innovative, plant-based collection, Terry’s follow-up to Afro-Vegan focuses more on carrots than tofu and avoids meat substitutes in favor of whole foods and seasonings that bring to life the flavors of the Caribbean, the Far East, and the South.

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307271013
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf - May 5th, 2020

Like any good meal, Bill Buford's homage to Lyonnais culture and cuisine unfolds with patience and care. In Dirt (Knopf, $28.95), Buford recounts a spontaneous decision to uproot his family (twin toddlers in tow) from New York City in order to discover the je ne sais quoi of traditional French cooking. The foursome find themselves in a “gritty” quarter of Lyon, the “gastronomic capital of the world,” and Buford sets off to find the quintessential French kitchen. There’s just one problem: Buford’s French? Zero. A life-affirming and relatable tale about seeking familiarity in unfamiliar places, Dirt offsets centuries of culinary history with behind-the-scenes kitchen antics and plenty of humor. Fold in Buford’s watercolor descriptions of the Lyonnais countryside (not to mention food journalism that leaps off the page) and Dirt is a perfect recipe for readers of nearly all kinds. Particularly for those who read for levity, discovery, or escape, Dirt provides a first-class ticket into a world that, while foreign, is instantly recognizable and relishable. Un paradoxe, non? Julia Ruth Holland

Art, Photography, Design

A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post's Hillwood Cover Image
By Kate Markert, Erik Kvalsvik (Photographs by), Charlotte Moss (Foreword by), Ellen MacNeille Charles (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780847867882
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Rizzoli Electa - April 7th, 2020

Full of wonderful photographs and informative commentary, A Garden for All Seasons (Rizzoli Electra, $50) is the first book on the history and design of the garden landscape surrounding Marjorie Merriweather Post's Hillwood, the twenty-five acre D.C. estate that includes 13 acres of beautiful “manicured gardens.” Readers will find inspiration in Kate Markert’s writing as well as in Erik Kvalsvik’s evocative photography—rich in color and mood—and one can just imagine glimpsing the lives of the people who once walked in this historic landmark. A Garden for All Seasons relates fascinating stories about Ms. Post’s life and her vision for planting a diverse selection of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants so that they would present a beautiful vista at all times of the year. In short, this book is a gem. Gardening enthusiasts and plant lovers will find it a source of joy while those in search of the perfect coffee-table book will feel they’re “walking through clouds of color” each time they open it, and will eagerly display it on the top of that table. Claudia Oliver

Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art Cover Image
By Antwaun Sargent (Editor), Antwaun Sargent (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Thomas Lax (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
ISBN: 9781942884590
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: D.A.P./Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection - September 22nd, 2020

Young Gifted and Black (DAP, $49.95) by Antwaun Sargent. Following his groundbreaking The New Black Vanguard, wunderkind critic and curator Sargent draws from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Collection of Contemporary Art for this full-color album featuring the work of 64 established and emerging Black artists, ranging from Kerry James Marshall and Kara Walker to D.C-based Arcmanoro Niles and Stacy Lynn Waddell.

You Next: Reflections in Black Barbershops Cover Image
ISBN: 9781641602853
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Lawrence Hill Books - September 1st, 2020

You Next: Reflections in Black Barbershops (Lawrence Hill, $26.99) by Antonio Johnson Highlighting his talents for conveying the intimacy of public spaces, Johnson's collection of photos takes us into the Black barbershops of 11 cities (including DC); combined with essays, stories, and interviews, these images capture the unique culture of an institution long revered for its role as not just a community center, but an essential sanctuary.