non-fiction

Friday Reads - April 26

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My husband, knowing how obsessed I’ve become about whales since reading Moby-Dick last year, gave me Philip Hoare’s Leviathan for my birthday. If you have the same fascinations—Melville and his novel; the history of whaling and the economies that depended upon it; the delicate relationship between whales, the ocean, and the climate; and the miraculous private lives of the great animals themselves—I think you’ll love this book, too. Part memoir, history, biography, literary criticism, and nature writing, this beautifully written book ticks all the boxes. —Rebecca

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Elizabeth Rush’s book, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, is harrowing, thoughtful, personal and important. Her description of “endsickness” is something I think about daily. “What I used to call climate anxiety has become more like a disease. I call it endsickness. Like motion sickness or seasickness, endsickness is a physical response to living in a world that is moving in unusual ways, toward what I imagine as a kind of event horizon.” —Shari

Friday Reads - April 5, 2019

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I’ve enjoyed picking up Daily Rituals: Women at Work by Mason Currey each morning to read about the creative habits of a fascinating, talented woman. It’s the perfect inspiration I needed for spring.—Shari

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Reading Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic is like reading a grim fable that has come true. These poems speak of horror and love, of war and heartless policy, and of real and imagined humans suffering and finding comfort from each other. Once I started reading it I found it impossible to stop until I’d reached the end. Many of you may have already read the unforgettable first poem in the book, “We Lived Happily During the War.” The final poem acts as a perfect bookend to the first. I won’t link to it here. You have to earn it by reading the book—Rebecca

Friday Reads - March 22, 2019

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I’ve been making my way slowly through Jamel Brinkley’s impressive debut short story collection, A Lucky Man, since the beginning of the year. I’m reading slowly because each story invites reflection. The stories haunt me for days and sometime weeks, and I like staying with the imagery and characters until I feel like I’m ready to move on to the next story. Not to be missed!—Shari

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I've been waiting so many years for a new book by Barry Lopez (one of my very favorite writers) that I was a little worried I’d be disappointed by Horizon. Silly me. We’re in very capable, generous hands. Horizon is part autobiography, part travelogue, part nature writing, and part rumination on human history, the state of the world, and how we’ll ever save ourselves. Complemented with maps, illuminating notes, a list of scientific binomials, a compelling bibliography, and, glory of glories, an index—his book is beautiful and important and full of tenderness. I’m only 60 pages in out of more than 570, and I’m going to go slowly so I can stay in Lopez’s language for as long as possible. —Rebecca

Friday Reads - January 4, 2019

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You should definitely look out for Sounds Like Titanic when it hits bookstores on February 12. It makes for compelling reading. In this memoir, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman addresses subjects like classical music, class, living in a female body, fakery and so much more. And I haven’t even mentioned the main storyline— '“performing” as a violinist for a strange composer who uses a CD during his concerts. Thanks to W.W. Norton for this giveaway copy!—Shari

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The complete facsimile hardbound compilation of all 12 original issues of the South Polar Times, the magazine written, illustrated, typed, and bound by expedition members during the long Antarctic winters of Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery (1901-1904) and Terra Nova (1910-1913) expeditions. This great iceberg of a book is a treasure, filled with fascinating descriptions of daily life, songs, poems, sketches, photographs, and watercolors. I’ve barely dipped in and think I’ll be lingering for awhile. —Rebecca

Friday Reads - December 14, 2018

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I just finished Normal People, by Sally Rooney. I read this book in two days and highly recommend it! Rooney is great at writing dialogue and characters that feel real. This is the UK edition with a cover I much prefer to the US edition coming next summer. —Shari

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I’m reading Erebus, by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin). History, adventure, polar exploration, seafaring, smart writing, loads of research, maps and black-and-white photographs. What’s not to love? Also, yes, this is the UK cover. Why is the UK cover always so much cooler? —Rebecca