Staff Picks: Nonfiction

For more recommendations, see: 

Memoir & Essay | Poetry | Fiction | Children & Young Adult

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Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity By Andrew Solomon Cover Image
$20.40
ISBN: 9780743236720
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Scribner - October 1st, 2013

Recommended by Alison Meyers, Executive Director


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Working: People Talk about What They Do All Day and How They Feel about What They Do By Studs Terkel Cover Image
$21.24
ISBN: 9781565843424
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: New Press - February 28th, 1997

I think I bought Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do in the seventies while working in an indie bookstore (all bookstores were indies in the 1970s). My well-worn, secondhand hardcover copy has survived many moves and as many purges of my personal library. The first sentence of the introduction,"This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence--to the spirit as well as to the body," probably says as much about the author as it does about the 133 individuals whose first-person narratives fill over 500 pages. The search for "daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying" gives this book an existential heft equal to its authenticity. The voices of Terkel's subjects are unforgettable, a revelation.

-Alison Meyers, Executive Director


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The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World By Peter Wohlleben, Tim Flannery (Foreword by), Jane Billinghurst (Translator) Cover Image
By Peter Wohlleben, Tim Flannery (Foreword by), Jane Billinghurst (Translator)
$22.91
ISBN: 9781771642484
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Greystone Books - September 13th, 2016

Recommended by Alison Meyers, Executive Director


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On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World By Danya Ruttenberg Cover Image
$22.06
ISBN: 9780807010518
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Beacon Press - September 13th, 2022

Rabbi Danya's work has shaped my understanding of forgiveness, grace, and repentance. Her writing has been informative in my personal life and as an activist.

-Amanda Chestnut, Marketing Manager


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Elisabeth Tonnard: In This Dark Wood By Elisabeth Tonnard (Photographer) Cover Image
By Elisabeth Tonnard (Photographer)
$29.75
ISBN: 9780989531108
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: J & L Books - October 31st, 2013

One of the first photobooks I've fallen in love with! The combination of Dante's Inferno with street photography from Visual Studies Workshops Sell Collection meditation on life and death.

-Amanda Chestnut, Marketing Manager


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Highly Irregular: Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don't Rhyme--And Other Oddities of the English Language By Arika Okrent, Sean O'Neill (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Arika Okrent, Sean O'Neill (Illustrator)
$18.69
ISBN: 9780197539408
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - July 1st, 2021

Recommended by Chris Fanning, Deputy Director


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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary By Simon Winchester Cover Image
$16.14
ISBN: 9780060839789
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - July 5th, 2005

Recommended by Chris Fanning, Deputy Director


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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City By Matthew Desmond Cover Image
$16.14
ISBN: 9780553447453
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Crown - February 28th, 2017

Recommended by Clara O'Connor, Youth Education and Executive Associate


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How to Be an Antiracist By Ibram X. Kendi Cover Image
$16.14
ISBN: 9780525509301
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: One World - January 31st, 2023

This is one of the most important books I have read. Part memoir, part history, part philosophical instruction, Kendi illustrates the concept that there is no such thing as "not being racist." Policies and actions are either anti-racist, or they are racist. This book is a page-turning call to action.

-Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest By Suzanne Simard Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9780525565994
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Vintage - June 21st, 2022

Recommended by Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants By Robin Wall Kimmerer Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781571313560
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - August 11th, 2015

This book changed me. I learned so much—yes "facts" but moreso a wisdom of gratitude. So beautiful and important.

-Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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The Library Book By Susan Orlean Cover Image
$15.29
ISBN: 9781476740195
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 1st, 2019

Recommended by Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping By Matthew Salesses Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9781948226806
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Catapult - January 19th, 2021

Recommended by Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents By Isabel Wilkerson Cover Image
$27.20
ISBN: 9780593230251
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Random House - August 4th, 2020

Recommended by Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World By Sara Hendren Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780735220003
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 18th, 2020

Recommended by Sally Bittner Bonn, Director of Youth Education


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Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound By Daphne A. Brooks Cover Image
$21.21
ISBN: 9780674292208
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days
Published: Belknap Press - February 1st, 2023

Recommended by Sakshi Kumar, Adult Programs Coordinator