New and Upcoming Non-Fiction (March 2022)

Click on the title of the book to place a hold!

The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress – Andy Baraghani

Andy Baraghani learned to cook professionally in such vaunted restaurants as Chez Panisse and Estela, but his love for flavor began with the comforting home dishes of his Iranian parents’ immigrant household. In The Cook You Want to Be, one of Bon Appetit’s favourite talents shows you how to define and develop your individual cooking style – and become the cook you want to be – in 120 recipes.

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Building Happier Kids: Stress-Busting Tools for Parents – Hansa Bhargava

Between the frantic pace of pre-pandemic life and the isolation and screen-time overload of 2020, many kids are suffering from stress and other mental health issues. In Building Happier Kids, pediatrician Hansa Bhargava helps parents understand the impact of stress and shares concrete steps parents can take to reduce the pressure on their children and teens and increase their health and happiness.

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Dilettante: True Tales of Excess, Triumph, and Disaster – Dana Brown

Dana Brown was a twenty-one-year-old college dropout playing in punk bands and partying his way through downtown New York’s early-nineties milieu when he first encountered Graydon Carter, the legendary editor of Vanity Fair. After the two had a handful of brief interactions, Carter saw what he believed to be Brown’s untapped potential, and on a whim, hired him as his assistant. Brown instantly became a trusted confidante and witness to all of the biggest parties, blowups, and takedowns. From inside the famed Vanity Fair Oscar parties to the emerging world of the tech elite, Brown’s job offered him access to some of the most exclusive gatherings and powerful people in the world, and the chance to learn in real time what exactly a magazine editor does–all while trying to stay sober enough from the required party scene attendance to get the job done. Against all odds, he rose up the ranks to eventually become the magazine’s deputy editor, spending a quarter century curating tastes at one of the most storied cultural shops ever assembled.

Dilettante reveals Brown’s most memorable moments from the halcyon days of the magazine business, explores his own journey as an unpedigreed outsider to established editor, and shares glimpses of some of the famous and infamous stories (and people) that tracked the magazine’s extraordinary run all keenly observed by Brown.

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The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found – Frank Bruni

From NYT columnist and author Frank Bruni comes a wise and moving memoir about aging, affliction, and optimism after partially losing his eyesight. Bruni recounts his adjustment to this daunting reality, a medical and spiritual odyssey that involved not only reappraising his own priorities, but also gathering wisdom from longtime friends and new acquaintances who had navigated their own traumas and afflictions.

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Embrace Your Almost: Find Clarity and Contentment in the In-betweens, Not-Quites, and Unknowns – Jordan Lee Dooley

Jordan Lee Dooley knows firsthand how devastating it can be when you almost achieve a goal, almost reach a dream, only to land just short of the finish line or watch it all fall apart at the last minute. In those moments, you have a chance to pause and consider what matters most to you as well as redefine what success looks like for you in a world that’s constantly telling you what you should want or should do. Embrace Your Almost is a guide to the life you long for, even when it doesn’t go according to plan.

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Brazen:  My Unorthodox Journey from Long Sleeves to Lingerie – Julia Haart

Ever since she was a child, every aspect of Julia Haart’s life–what she wore, what she ate, what she thought–was controlled by the dictates of ultra-orthodox Judaism. At nineteen, after a lifetime spent caring for her seven younger siblings, she was married off to a man she barely knew. For the next twenty-three years, he would rule her life. Eventually, when Julia’s youngest daughter Miriam started to question why she wasn’t allowed to sing, run, or ride a bike, Julia reached a breaking point. She knew that if she didn’t find a way to leave, her daughters would be forced into the same unending servitude that had imprisoned her.

So Julia created a double life. When no one was looking, she’d sneak looks at fashion magazines and sketch designs for the clothes she dreamed about wearing in the world beyond her orthodox suburb. In the ultra-orthodox world, clothing has one purpose: to cover the body, head to toe. Giving any thought to one’s appearance beyond that is considered sinful, an affront to God. She started clandestinely selling life insurance to save her “freedom” money. At the age of forty-two, she finally mustered the courage to flee the fundamentalist life that was strangling her soul.

Within a week of her escape, Julia started a shoe brand, and within nine months she was at Paris for fashion week. A year later, she became creative director of La Perla, the world-leading lingerie brand. And now, she is the co-owner and CEO of Elite World Group, and one of the most powerful people in the fashion industry.

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Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, and a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains – Steph Jagger

BETWEEN TWO KINGDOMS meets WILD. In this heart wrenching and inspirational memoir a woman and her mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, embark on a road trip through national parks, revisiting the memories, and the mountains, that made them who they are.

Steph Jagger lost her mother before she lost her. Her mother, stricken with an incurable disease that slowly erases all sense of self, struggles to remember her favorite drink, her favorite song, and—perhaps most heartbreaking of all—Steph herself. Steph watches as the woman who loved and raised her slips away before getting the chance to tell her story, and so Steph makes a promise: her mother will walk it and she will write it.

Too aware of her mother’s waning memory, Steph proposes that the two take a camping trip out to Montana—which her mother, on the urging of Steph’s father, agrees to embark upon. An adventure full of horseback riding, hiking, and “tenting” out West quickly turns into one woman’s reflection on childhood, motherhood, personhood—and what it means to love someone who doesn’t quite remember the person she spent her lifetime becoming.

A staggeringly beautiful examination of how stories are passed down through generations and from Mother Nature, Everything Left to Remember brings us the wisdom of who our memories make us under the constellations of the vast Montana sky.

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Have You Eaten Yet? Stories from Chinese Restaurants from around the World – Cheuk Kwan

Dotting even the most remote landscapes, family-run Chinese restaurants are global icons of immigration, community and delicious food. The cultural outposts of far-flung settlers, bringers of dim sum, Peking duck and creative culinary hybrids like the Madagascar classic soupe chinoise, Chinese restaurants are a microcosm of greater social forces—an insight into time, history and place. From Africa to South America, the Jade Gardens and Golden Dragons reveal an intricate tangle of social schisms and political movements, offering insight into global changes and diasporic histories, as the world has moved into the 21st century.

Author and documentarian Cheuk Kwan, a self-described “card-carrying member of the Chinese diaspora,” weaves a global narrative by linking the myriad personal stories of chefs, entrepreneurs, labourers and dreamers who populate Chinese kitchens worldwide. Behind these kitchen doors lies an intriguing paradox which characterizes many of these communities: how Chinese immigrants have resisted—or often been prevented from—complete assimilation into the social fabric of their new homes, maintaining strong senses of cultural identity, while the engine of their economic survival—the Chinese restaurant and its food—has become seamlessly woven into cities all around the world.

An intrepid travelogue of grand vistas, adventure and serendipity, Have You Eaten Yet? charts a living atlas of the global Chinese migration, revealing the synergies of politics, culture and family. 

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Kiss the Red Stairs: The Holocaust, Once Removed – Marsha Lederman

For readers of All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay and They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson, Kiss the Red Stairs is a compelling memoir by award-winning journalist Marsha Lederman delves into her parents’ Holocaust stories in the wake of her own divorce, investigating how trauma migrates through generations with empathy, humour, and resilience.

Marsha was five when a simple question led to a horrifying answer. Sitting in her kitchen, she asked her mother why she didn’t have any grandparents. Her mother told her the truth: the Holocaust.
Decades later, her parents dead and herself a mother to a young son, Marsha begins to wonder how much history has shaped her own life. Reeling in the wake of a divorce, she craves her parents’ help. But in their absence, she is gripped by a need to understand the trauma they suffered, and she begins her own journey into the past to tell her family’s stories of loss and resilience.
Kiss the Red Stairs is a compelling memoir of Holocaust survival, intergenerational trauma, divorce, and discovery that will guide readers through several lifetimes of monumental change.

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Damn Lucky: One Man’s Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History – Kevin Maurer

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a world away from John Luckadoo’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. But when the Japanese attacked the American naval base on December 7, 1941, he didn’t hesitate to join the military. Trained as a pilot with the United States Air Force, Second Lieutenant Luckadoo was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group stationed in Thorpe Abbotts, England. Between June and October 1943, he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses over France and Germany on bombing runs devised to destroy the Nazi war machine.

With a shrapnel torn Bible in his flight jacket pocket and his girlfriend’s silk stocking around his neck like a scarf as talismans, Luckadoo piloted through Luftwaffe machine-gun fire and antiaircraft flak while enduring subzero temperatures to complete twenty-five missions and his combat service. The average bomber crew rarely survived after eight to twelve missions. Knowing far too many airmen who wouldn’t be returning home, Luckadoo closed off his emotions and focused on his tasks to finish his tour of duty one moment at a time, realizing his success was more about being lucky than being skilled.

Drawn from Luckadoo’s firsthand accounts, acclaimed war correspondent Kevin Maurer shares his extraordinary tale from war to peacetime, uncovering astonishing feats of bravery during the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history, and presenting an incredible portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age during the world’s most devastating war. 

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Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir – Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk’s career is inexplicable. And yet he will try like hell to explain it here, because that is what memoirs are for. Bob embraced a life in comedy after a chance meeting with Second City’s legendary Del Close, which eventually led to a job as a writer at SNL. As he weathered the beast that is live comedy, he stashed away the secrets of sketch writing–employing them in the immortal “Motivational Speaker” sketch for his friend Chris Farley, honing them on The Ben Stiller Show, and perfecting them on Mr. Show With Bob and David, which inspired an entire generation of comedy writers and stars. Then his career met the hope-dashing machine that is Hollywood development. But when all hope was lost for the umpteenth time, Bob was more astonished than anyone to find himself on Breaking Bad. His embrace of this strange new world of dramatic acting led him to working with Steven Spielberg, Alexander Payne, and Greta Gerwig, until finally re-re-inventing himself as a bona-fide worldwide action star for reasons that even he does not fully grasp! Read this and do your own psychoanalysis–it’s fun!

Throughout Bob’s travels, his memoir preserves the voice he cultivated from years of comedy writing. Featuring humorous tangents, joyful interludes, never-before-seen photos, wild characters from his winding career, and his trademark upbeat but unflinching drive, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama is a classic showbiz tale–and a moving story about what it’s like to risk everything you think you know to make a change.

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Bad Trips: How I Went from VICE Reporter to International Drug Smuggler – Slava Pastuk & Brian Whitney

The true story of a music editor at VICE who tried to become the coolest reporter the company had ever had — by becoming an international drug smuggler.

In 2019, music reporter Slava P, an editor for VICE media, was sentenced to nine years in prison for recruiting friends into a scheme to smuggle cocaine from the U.S. into Australia. Five of them were already in jail. Immediately, Slava P was internationally infamous. Was he a victim of pressure to commit extreme acts for the sake of a good story? A product of a drug-obsessed work environment? Or a manipulator who pushed vulnerable young people into crime?

Here, Slava P tells his side of the story: what exactly happened and how the precarious, dog-eat-dog atmosphere of a media company can lead the young, the naive, and the ambitious into taking crazy risks.

Bad Trips is a story about drugs, hip-hop, influencers, and glamour, set against the backdrop of one of the world’s most influential news and entertainment sites, VICE. Its cast of beautiful young people and semi-famous rappers passes from the seediest apartments to the most elegant of private clubs. Slava P’s chronicling of his years at this famous hotbed of excess is a piercing insight into contemporary media culture.

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At Heaven’s Door: What Shared Journeys to the Afterlife Teach About Dying Well and Living Better – William J. Peters

In 2000, end-of-life therapist William Peters was volunteering at the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco when he had an extraordinary experience as he was reading aloud to a patient: he suddenly felt himself floating in midair, completely out of his body. The patient, who was also aloft, looked at him and smiled. The next moment, Peters felt himself return to his body…but the patient never regained consciousness and died.

Perplexed and stunned by what had happened, Peters began searching for other people who’d shared similar experiences. He would spend the next twenty years gathering and meticulously categorizing their stories to identify key patterns and features of what is now known as the “shared crossing” experience. The similarities, which cut across continents and cultures and include awe-inspiring visual and sensory effects, and powerful emotional after-effects, were impossible to ignore.

Long whispered about in the hospice and medical communities, these extraordinary moments of final passage are openly discussed and explained in At Heaven’s Door. The book is filled with powerful tales of spouses on departing this earth after decades together and bereaved parents who share their children’s entry into the afterlife. Applying rigorous research, Peters digs into the effect these shared crossing experiences impart—liberation at the sight of a loved one finding joy, a sense of reconciliation if the relationship was fraught.

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The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry that Forged the Medieval World – Shelley Puhak

The remarkable, little-known story of two trailblazing women in the Early Middle Ages who wielded immense power, only to be vilified for daring to rule.

Brunhild was a Spanish princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet—in the 6th-century Merovingian Empire, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport—these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms for decades, changing the face of Europe.

The two queens commanded armies and negotiated with kings and popes. They formed coalitions and broke them, mothered children and lost them. They fought a years-long civil war—against each other. With ingenuity and skill, they battled to stay alive in the game of statecraft, and in the process laid the foundations of what would one day be Charlemagne’s empire. Yet after Brunhild and Fredegund’s deaths—one gentle, the other horrific—their stories were rewritten, their names consigned to slander and legend.

In The Dark Queens, award-winning writer Shelley Puhak sets the record straight. She resurrects two very real women in all their complexity, painting a richly detailed portrait of an unfamiliar time and striking at the roots of some of our culture’s stubbornest myths about female power. The Dark Queens offers proof that the relationships between women can transform the world. 

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After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War – Helen Rappaport

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.

Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.

This is their story.

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Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of her Murder – Rachel Rear

Growing up, Rachel Rear knew the story of Stephanie Kupchynsky’s disappearance. The beautiful violinist and teacher had fled an abusive relationship on Martha’s Vineyard and made a new start for herself near Rochester, NY. She was at the height of her life – in a relationship with a man she hoped to marry and close to her students and her family. And then, one morning, she was gone.

Around Rochester – a region which has spawned such serial killers as Arthur Shawcross and the “Double Initial” killer – Stephanie’s disappearance was just a familiar sort of news item. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this particular story of a missing woman: Rachel’s mother had married Stephanie’s father after the crime, and Rachel grew up in the shadow of her stepsister’s legacy.

In Catch the Sparrow, Rachel Rear writes a compulsively readable and unerringly poignant reconstruction of the case’s dark and serpentine path across more than two decades. Obsessively cataloging the crime and its costs, drawing intimately closer to the details than any journalist could, she reveals how a dysfunctional justice system laid the groundwork for Stephanie’s murder and stymied the investigation for more than twenty years, and what those hard years meant for the lives of Stephanie’s family and loved ones. Startling, unputdownable, and deeply moving, Catch the Sparrow is a retelling of a crime like no other.

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Don’t Trust your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life – Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Don’t Trust Your Gut is a data-driven book that debunks the lies we tell ourselves about how to improve our lives. One part ‘Moneyball’, one part Emily Oster, this book uses hard data and facts to break down cultural myths about self-help – from career choices to relationships to happiness – showing how the right data can lead us to make better, smarter decisions about how to improve our lives. From the author of Everybody Lies.

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How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World – Chris Turner

Chris Turner has reported from the places where the sustainable future first emerged—from green islands in Denmark and green office parks in southern India, to solar panel factories in California and idealistic intentional communities from Scotland to New Mexico. Here, he condenses the first quarter century of the global energy transition into bite-sized chunks of optimistic reflection and reportage, telling a story of a planet in peril and a global effort already beginning to save it. This is a book that moves past the despair and futile anger over ecological collapse and harnesses that passion toward the project of building a twenty-first century quality of life that surpasses the twentieth-century version in every way. How to Be a Climate Optimist overflows with possibility in a moment of great panic, upheaval and uncertainty over a world on fire.

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