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Shane's Non-Fiction Picks

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The Monk of Mokha Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9781101947319
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - January 30th, 2018

Rarely do I find myself reading the sources for a book. When I finished The Monk of Mokha, I was so fascinated with the entire book that I looked up the Frontline documentary and read much more on the topic of Yemen. Eggers chose an incredible subject with plenty of humanity. I worked in coffee for years and did not know much of what Eggers explains.


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This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062666154
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - January 30th, 2018

I am still trying to formulate my many thoughts into a blurb for this book. There is something so unique about Morgan and yet this book almost feels universal. She is so open and vulnerable that you feel like you really know her. I feel like she also has some kind of magic ability and insight to make difficult subjects and inject moments of humor into them. This Will Be My Undoing will leave you changed.


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Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374253974
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD - October 24th, 2017

This is a book that will haunt you for a while. When we think about disasters here in the Midwest, you don't often think about tsunamis. I was horrified by the news stories in the wake of the Japanese tsunami of 2011 but did not really understand the entirety of the humanity of what had happened. This book focuses not on the nuclear disaster that is also associated with that earthquake but the shocking events of that day that especially struck a small elementary school.


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Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735211261
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - November 7th, 2017

Jellyfish are way more interesting than I ever imagined. If you need more random facts to tell your friends, this is the book. And Juli Berwald grew up here in St. Louis. 


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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250080554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 8th, 2018

A book dealing with the murder of a child does not immediately scream staff pick, but trust me that this book is incredibly interesting and haunting. The author is completely immersed in the story so it is part memoir and part true crime. She was working with a firm that dealt with capital punishment cases when she first heard of this case. From there, it rocked her entire life bringing out her own past. It is definitely a book that will make you think deeply about your own feelings towards the death penalty.


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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062362599
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 13th, 2017

I chose not to put this book down. It changed me. It controlled me. It should be required reading. Roxane Gay has such a way of making you feel like you are involved in her writing. She is speaking to you. She wants you to change, to be a better person. This book is about how to protect yourself. How to live in a world that wants to eat you alive.


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I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781627796064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Holt Paperbacks - September 13th, 2016

This book will get you out of any funk. It is hilarious and exactly what this world needs. I can't say much more other than I am sad that I will never read this book again for the first time. There will be a second time and possibly a third. She touches on so many topics that are so relevant and so important.


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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385534246
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - April 18th, 2017

Completely captivating and utterly horrifying. I could not put it down, and I was appalled by the information that I completely lacked. The Osage were the richest people in the world per capita during the oil boom. A string of unsolved murders and suspicious deaths prompted the government to respond with what would become the FBI. Grann does a fascinating job with narrative history. The story keeps growing and the ramifications of this history still live with us today.


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Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501121470
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - October 11th, 2016

A really interesting look at the entire world. Tim Marshall breaks the world up into political and geographical sections and dives deep into the reasons why each section gets along with or absolutely does not get along with their neighbors or the rest of the world. Hard to describe because there is so much information, but really eye-opening and led me to a lot of internet searches about certain topics that I was completely blind to.


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The Elephants in My Backyard: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781682450505
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Regan Arts - November 8th, 2016

As a child of a certain generation, I found much inspiration from the movie Mean Girls.  I connected with so many of the characters including Rajiv Surendra's Kevin G, captain of the Mathletes.  Rajiv's book continues to inspire me as an actor.  Spending years trying to get cast in his dream role as the lead in the Life of Pi, Rajiv takes us deep into his life and goals.  It is a wonderful journey that we get to take as he discovers himself, and the reader gets to discover more about themselves.


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Discontent and its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594634031
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 2nd, 2016

This book belongs on your shelf. Such a wonderful collection of essays from Hamid's career. He is such an eloquent author (his novels are among my favorite books). The essays on politics captivated me with a wealth of information about the world and especially Pakistan. This could only be written by someone that has claimed three continents as his home. I highly recommend this for reading groups because you will want to discuss so many different parts of the book.


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The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World's Most Coveted Fish Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781451678956
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - May 9th, 2017

Such an interesting gem. This journalist takes you on an adventure around the world in quest for a rare and extremely expensive aquarium fish. It was fascinating with little diversions of intriguing facts. I did not know that the longest civil war is still happening in Southeast Asia in what is now Myanmar. The author takes you there in her quest. For fans of adventure books like Lost City of Z.


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Shrill Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316348461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - February 28th, 2017

Since reading, I have seen the effects of Lindy West everywhere I look.  She has touched not only my life (in ways that I wasn't aware), and made my online life less scary, but also strengthened and motivated me to assist with her mission.  I only hope that one day I will be as strong as Lindy West.  I have been telling strangers that I meet that they need to know the name Lindy West.


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And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781451635126
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 14th, 2017

I learned so much reading this book about (obviously) the Middle East, journalism, and a behind the scenes view of both. Engel happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. His writing style is just incredible. It allows the reader into the emotions of what is happening but also filling the reader with so much information.


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Leaving Before the Rains Come Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143128427
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - January 12th, 2016

This book is full of so many dichotomies.  Love and loss.  Humor and sadness.  Youth and growing old.  Truly stunning and beautifully written.  Alexandra grew up in Africa but moved to America.  This book asks the question "where are you truly at home?"  I laughed and cried and contemplated. 


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Bettyville: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143107880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 2nd, 2016

BETTY!  In so many ways, this is almost a story of my life.  I grew up gay in a small Missouri town.  It is not easy, but it is often amusing.  I did something I have not done in so many years.  I dog-eared pages in the book because I knew that they were something I would want to come back to again and again.  Read this book!


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The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062313775
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - June 23rd, 2015

Richard Blanco's memoir Prince of Los Cocuyos surprised me with how much I loved it.  Full of humor and genuine heartfelt moments, Blanco describes his childhood growing up in a first-generation household.  I think the best message the book gives is how to overcome misunderstanding.  Definitely one of the best books I read this year.


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Fire Shut Up in My Bones Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544570115
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 2015

There are so many important things about this book.  Racism, hazing, sexual identity, family relationships.  You will want to pass this on to your friends so that you can have someone to talk to.  I think the third and fourth chapters contain some of the most personal and significant moments in the book.  The power of Blow's writing and how raw his story is will make you open your eyes to the world of deep South post-Segregation lives.  Fire Shut Up In My Bones has a place in history.


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Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781632861016
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 13th, 2016

Stunning, moving, & beautiful.  I could not put this down.  I took it everywhere for two days, popping it out every opportunity I had.  Maybe not the best idea since I ended up crying in my car in a parking lot.  So crying happened.