New Nonfiction Roundup – November 2019

November brings lots of incisive analyses of the current state of affairs, including an anonymous Trump administration official and a teenage environmental activist. Nonfiction debuts from Carmen Maria Machado and Elena Ferrante will surely pique interest. And cookbooks galore – including a classic cookbook revised for the first time in 45 years – will inspire menus for the holidays and beyond.

Peak Picks.
Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir, In the Dream House, dissects a queer abusive relationship through dozens of different perspectives in her provocative first work of nonfiction. And Lindy West’s long-awaited follow-up to Shrill, The Witches Are Coming, mixes caustic critiques of Trump’s America with laugh out loud humor. And the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” has more to say in A Warning

Hot Topics.
Nobel Prize winners Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo show readers how economics can solve intractable problems in Good Economics for Hard TimesJessica McDiarmid investigates the troubling story of the countless indigenous women who have gone missing along British Columbia’s Highway 16 in Highway of Tears, while Susannah Cahalan (Brain on Firereveals the shocking history of mental illness and institutionalization in The Great PretenderIn The Man Who Solved the Market, Gregory Zuckerman profiles investor Jim Simons mastered the stock market and made billions.

Biography & History. 
Sheila Weller takes an (unauthorized) look at the life of a legend on and off the screen in Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea writes about his life before the band in Acid for the ChildrenKassia St. Clair delighted readers with The Secret Life of Colorin The Golden Thread she explores how fabric changed history. In The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti, Meryle Secrest considers the little-known history of the Italian company that invented the first desktop computer. And Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrieshares the inspirational and heartbreaking story of taking in a girl orphaned by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti in Finding Chika.

Essays.
The mysterious Elena Ferrante collects her writings for The Guardian in Incidental InventionsComedian Jenny Slate’s imaginative collection, Little Weirds will appeal to fans of quirky writing along the lines of Miranda July. Lauren Michele Jackson explores cultural appropriation in White Negroes and Janelle Shane delivers a fun and informative look at the strange world of artificial intelligence in You Look Like a Thing and I Love YouClimate activist Greta Thunberg inspires readers of all ages with this collection of her speeches in No One is Too Small to Make a Difference while Leah Greenberg urges activists to resist Trump’s policies in We Are Indivisible

A Touch of Humor.
Fleabag – The Scriptures is the ultimate companion to the beloved series; with Phoebe Waller-Bridge as your guide, you’ll laugh on every page. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, tackles the “bubbles of reality” we live within in LoserthinkAnd NPR fixture Mo Rocca, a lover of obituaries, gives the departed their due in the delightful Mobituaries

Cooking and Crafts.
Fully updated for the first time since 1975, Joy of Cooking is sure to appeal to cooks of all stripes. James Beard-award winner Molly Stevens is back with All About Dinner to guide cooks with easy recipes and accessible ingredients while Tieghan Gerard offers stripped down comfort food recipes in Half Baked Harvest Super SimpleExplore authentic Japanese cuisine with Sonoko Sakai in Japanese Home Cooking and join Toni Tipton-Martin as she pairs African American history with recipes in JubileeStep up your baking game with Joanne Chang, owner of Boston’s Flour bakeries in Pastry Love or stay close to home with recipes that celebrate the diversity of influences in our region in The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook

There’s no question that we live in a beautiful part of the country, and Linda O’Keeffe shows us how to create inspired garden rooms in Inside OutsideAnd those looking for an accessible craft to explore will want to pick up Gwen Steege’s The Weaving Explorer to make everything from woven bracelets to woven rugs!

~posted by Frank B.

 

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