Humans of New York is the brainchild of Brandon Stanton, who set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Originally a photo blog, the project now boasts its first eponymous printed collection of street portraits. The idea is simple: Stanton approaches strangers on the street, takes their photo, and occasionally asks them a question, like, “What was the happiest moment in your life?” Yet Humans of New York (St. Martin’s, $29.99) is more than a simple collection of snapshots. Even without captions, each photograph tells a short story and gives the viewer a glimpse into the life of a stranger. Taken together, these four-hundred arresting and inspiring street portraits form a celebration of humanity in all its diversity and quirkiness.

Humans of New York Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250038821
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 15th, 2013

Richard Holmes’s vivid and affectionate story of 19th-century ballooning, Falling Upwards (Pantheon, $35), grew out of his award-winning The Age of Wonder and, like that earlier chronicle, it’s a rich narrative encompassing science and literature, camaraderie and conflict. Balloons excite the imaginations of his rich and diverse cast of characters, and he details what his American and European aeronauts envisioned with this new enterprise, which changed the horizons of scientific research, travel, and entertainment. These adventurers aspired to go ever higher, to the point of asphyxiation, or to travel for longer distances; they dreamed of crossing the Atlantic or reaching the North Pole. Some, like James Glaisher, used ballooning to learn about the planet’s atmosphere. Others, for instance, Sophie Blanchard, performed heart-stopping feats of acrobatics. Holmes also shows how this new means of flight influenced writers, and how figures such as Poe and Verne in turn inspired the balloonists. Falling upwards, of course sometimes led to plunging downward, and the mishaps of the brave and foolhardy are part of the story as well.

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307379665
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - October 29th, 2013

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air: An Unconventional History of Ballooning Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307742322
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - September 9th, 2014

Howard Norman is best known as the author of finely crafted novels like the National Book Award-nominee, The Bird Artist, and What Is Left the Daughter. In I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), he turns his novelist’s eye on his own experiences. In evocative and very personal essays, he shows the arc of his life thus far, studded by incidents he describes as “arresting strangeness.” He recounts his days growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his travels to the Arctic, where he developed an intense appreciation of Inuit life and culture, and the idylls of summers in his family’s 19th-century farmhouse in his beloved Vermont. The last part of the book recalls a tragic event that took place in his home in Washington, D.C. Evident throughout is Norman’s deep sensitivity to nature and the rhythms of life.