Best New Nonfiction at CA Library, Part 3

Here is part three of our week-long exploration of some of the best new nonfiction books in the CA Library collection:

Biographies and Memoirs

  • Barack Obama : The Story by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster, 2012) — “In keeping with the notion that the past is never dead, Maraniss begins this nontraditional biography long before Obama was born and ends long before the most historic events of his life, entering politics and becoming president of the U.S. A thoroughly fascinating, multigenerational biography that explores broader social and political changes even as it highlights the elements that shaped one man’s life.” — Booklist
  • Bend, Not Break : A Life In Two Worlds by Ping Fu (Portfolio/Penguin, 2012) — Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, and “Inc Magazine”‘s Entrepreneur of the Year. It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds. “Ping’s eloquent prose and remarkable attitude shine through in every word-and her compelling story will remind more than one reader to be thankful for what they have.” — Publishers Weekly
  • The Distance Between Us : A Memoir by Reyna Grande (Atria Books, 2012) — From an award-winning novelist and sought-after public speaker, an eye-opening memoir about life before and after illegally emigrating from Mexico to the United States. “The powerful emotions and important story will carry readers along.” — Booklist
  • The Dog Lived (And So Will I) : A Memoir by Teresa J. Rhyne (Sourcebooks, 2012) — Rhyne had a new boyfriend, a new dog, and a new outlook on life. Soon she was told that Seamus, her totally incorrigible beagle, had a malignant tumor and less than a year to live. She couldn’t have possibly known then that she was preparing herself for a cancer diagnosis of her own. “This delightfully wisecracking memoir (also the title of Rhyne’s blog) will renew the spirits of cancer survivors as well as dog lovers.” — Library Journal
  • The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (Knopf, 2012) — “Schwalbe and his mother accidentally formed a book club in a cancer-treatment waiting room. As they discuss what they will read while Mary Anne is treated for pancreatic cancer, they deepen their already strong relationship. Like Mary Anne, who reads the ending first, you know how this book is going to end, but although it is a story about death, it is mostly a celebration of life and of the way books can enrich it.” — Booklist
  • James Joyce : A New Biography by Gordon Bowker (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) — A revealing new biography–the first in more than fifty years–of one of the twentieth-century’s towering literary figures. “Sure to stand alongside Richard Ellman’s James Joyce (1983) as a definitive Joyce biography for decades to come.” — Booklist
  • Marilyn : The Passion And The Paradox by Lois W. Banner (Bloomsbury, 2012) — As one of the founders of the field of women’s history, Banner reveals Marilyn Monroe in a way that only a top-notch historian and biographer could. “A passion for precision and truth fuels Banner’s electrifying portrait of an artist caught in a maze of paradoxes and betrayals. Here is Marilyn as we’ve never seen her before.” — Booklist
  • The Rebellious Life Of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis (Beacon Press, 2013) — This definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement. “Historian Theoharis offers a complex portrait of a forceful, determined woman who had long been active before the boycott she inspired and who had an even longer career in civil rights afterward.” — Booklist
  • Viper Pilot : A Memoir Of Air Combat by Dan Hampton (William Morrow, 2012) — “Hampton, one of America’s most renowned fighter pilots…shares a brash and bold account of his 20 year military service in this fast-paced adventure memoir. Hampton’s honest, audacious style makes for an entertaining read.” — Publishers Weekly
  • Wild : From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) — A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again. “This chronicle, perfect for book clubs, is certain to spark lively conversation.” — Booklist

Other Notable Nonfiction Titles

  • 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True by Guy P. Harrison (Prometheus Books, 2012) — Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, this book invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world. “A valuable, not to mention very entertainingly written, addition to the literature of skepticism.” — Booklist
  • The Book Of Mormon : A Biography by Paul C. Gutjahr (Princeton University Press, 2012) — Gutjahr traces the life of [The Book of Mormon] as it has formed and fractured different strains of Mormonism and transformed religious expression around the world. “A very helpful introduction to a perplexing but increasingly visible religious text.” — Booklist
  • Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm : A New English Version, edited by Philip Pullman (Viking, 2012) — “A fresh, sparkling collection of the finest stories from the Brothers Grimm, hand-picked by an author perfectly suited to the task. This volume is a must-have for any lover of fairy tales.” — Library Journal
  • The Lifespan Of A Fact by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal (W.W. Norton, 2012) — “An essayist (D’Agata) and his exasperated fact-checker (Fingal) debate the line between art and reality in this inventive fencing match. Very apropos in our era of spruced-up autobiography and fabricated reporting, this is a whip-smart, mordantly funny, thought-provoking rumination on journalistic responsibility and literary license.” — Publishers Weekly
  • Marvel Comics : The Untold Story by Sean Howe (Harper, 2012) — An unvarnished, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes account of one of the most dominant pop cultural forces in contemporary America. “For the Marvel faithful, this is the definitive book on the company responsible for aligning the cosmos in their favorite fictional universe.” — Booklist
  • Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) — Kahneman, a renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. “A stellar accomplishment, a book for everyone who likes to think and wants to do it better.” — Library Journal


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