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nonfiction

Audiobook Experts Reveal Top 2018 Nonfiction Picks

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AudioFile editors are proud to celebrate another year of exceptional audiobooks and audio artists. Below you’ll find their favorites from this year’s nonfiction genre.   BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY BURN AGAIN by Ben Fountain Read by Ron Butler (HarperAudio) Narrator Ron Butler puts forth a bronze-star-worthy effort in the face of this relentless barrage of facts and anecdotes describing the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Fountain’s disturbing yet salient distillation of that time, in the form of essays written more or less contemporary with the events, deserves an audience–but in print it could be a depressing read and easily set aside. Enter our heroic narrator, Butler, who takes up the charge for us, attacking the text with real skill and precision. In…

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“Prophet of Freedom” Illuminates Frederick Douglass

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2018 marks 200 years since the birth of Frederick Douglass, and we now have the first major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon and Schuster) by prize-winning historian and Yale Professor David Blight is based on nearly a lifetime of research as well as letters and private documentation to which no biographer has previously had access. It’s this revealing collection that helped shed new light on Douglass, particularly in the latter third of his life. Professor Blight recently sat down with Roxanne to discuss the book the New York Times Book Review called “cinematic and deeply engaging” about how Douglass escaped slavery, then went from a boy trading bread for spelling lessons to one of the…

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Colm Tóibín Examines the Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce

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“A father…is a necessary evil,” according to Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses. But Colm Tóibín would hazard a guess that James Joyce genuinely felt this way about his father. This is just one nugget of truth from Tóibín’s latest non-fiction Mad, Bad, Dangerous To Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce (Scribner). Not only is this book an incredibly revealing and thoroughly researched secondary source, but it is also lyrical and personal. Tóibín begins his tale with a walk through the infamous city of Dublin and remarks on the historical sites from Sweny’s chemist of Ulysses to Oscar Wilde’s childhood home and to many more important landmarks. Immediately, the reader is transported to Dublin and can smell the city, feel the stones beneath…

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Book Excerpt! Brit Poulson’s ‘The Clarity Compass’

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For a sneak peek of Brit Poulson’s The Clarity Compass (February 14, 2017) check out the excerpt below! Would You Rather Be Right or Effective? “I hate the Clarity Compass.” He went by the name of Deck: He was ex-military, business casual, with pictures of his kids and Chihuahuas meticulously placed on his desk. This was my third leadership coaching session with him. He stretched out in his chair, his designer loafers crossed on the hardwood floor between us and his gaze landing on the conference room ceiling. “Why’s that?” I asked. He shifted to look me in the eye. “I love being right. And the Clarity Compass shows me that I’m not.” We all like to be right. One of…

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Imagine the USA without John Lennon

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Since immigration is on the tip of every politician’s tongue in the United States and abroad, making headlines on a daily basis, a book about the most influential and bitterly contested deportation case in U.S. history is timely to say the least. Though the case about the attempted deportation of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the new book, John Lennon vs. The USA (Ankerwycke Books, August 7, 2016) took place with the expected media fanfare over 40 years ago when President Richard Nixon wanted them out of the country due to their politics, it is still relevant today. Immigration has become a political football between U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall to prevent undocumented Mexican…

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Author Paul Lisicky Answers One Question about ‘The Narrow Door’

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You are your own worst critic, but friends can be a close second. They know you better than most, aside from parents but even that can be up for debate. Going through a particularly rough time as a post-grad living in a new city where I know practically no one, I picked up Paul Lisicky’s The Narrow Door (Graywolf Press, January 19, 2016), a memoir about two relationships: one romantic, the other platonic. Lisicky weaves the narratives of life as a writer alongside his good friend and colleague Denise Gess and his troubled relationship with his ex-husband, poet Mark Doty. I highly recommend this fabulous book that so genuinely depicts the trials and selfish tribulations friendships evoke in us. Given…

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Eyes on the Prize! Giveaways!

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Comment for a chance to win one of this week’s brand spanking new titles. A Thousand Miles from Nowhere by John Gregory Brown Fleeing New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Henry Garrett is haunted by the ruins of his marriage, a squandered inheritance, and the teaching job he inexplicably quit. He pulls into a small Virginia town after three days on the road, hoping to silence the ceaseless clamor in his head. But this quest for peace and quiet as the only guest at a roadside motel is destroyed when Henry finds himself at the center of a bizarre and violent tragedy. As a result, Henry winds up stranded at the ramshackle motel just outside the small town of Marimore,…

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TED Talks: Bryan Stevenson on Identity and Injustice

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Black History Month ends in just a few days, so this week’s installment of TED Talks Tuesday is one of the most elegant examinations of race in America ever given on the TED stage. Human Rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s moving talk from TED 2012 paints a hard picture of America’s criminal justice framework – but he does more than illustrate the obvious problems with our current system. Stevenson urges people to become more aware of what he calls “the dark and difficult things” in today’s society, and argues that history judges societies by how they treat their most disenfranchised populations. It goes beyond the political, and moves into the realms of morality and cultural self-awareness with a grace, courage and…

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Heat Index: 5 Hot New Books to Read Over the Holiday Break

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It’s here! Christmas is almost upon us and that means you’re packing, wrapping, traveling, cooking and generally going holiday-crazy doing whatever must be done before the big day arrives. However, the holiday break also offers us some much-needed relaxation time off from work or school. There’s no better way to chill than cozying up to a great book and diving in. So, whether you’re cuddled up with a blanket near the tree in between gift-wrapping sessions, or riding in the passenger seat on your way to Grandma’s house, we have five hot new reads perfect for all of your holiday escapism needs. Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator, Homer Hickam (William Morrow; October 2015) “Must-read… A…

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Featured Giveaways

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52 Little Lessons from a Christmas Carol Gold Medallion Award-winner BOB WELCH crafts 52 nuggets of Bible-based wisdom from one of the most popular novels of all time, A Christmas Carol. ‘For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.’ ‘No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.’ ‘God bless us, every one.’ The lessons and stories from the beloved novel A Christmas Carol point to bedrock values we all share. Award-winning author Bob Welch takes readers deeper into the nuances of this classic by Charles Dickens. From the miserliness of Scrooge to the innocence of Tiny Tim, 52 Little Lessons from A…

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Smart Reads: Real Life Heroes, Villains and Monsters

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Villains and monsters are so much more frightening in the world of non-fiction. While we can reassure ourselves that the horrors of fiction aren’t real and sleep with the lights on, the comfort in non-fiction lies in the books themselves. By shining a light on the darkest hearts we lessen their hold upon us. At the same time, heroes are burnished in the spotlight’s glow, reminding us that good can ultimately prevail. This week we have five Smart Reads about the heroes, villains and monsters who have walked among us: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Random House, October 27, 2015) “Rarely do women have the opportunity to travel as Steinem has done—living a life full of radical…

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Novel Concept Episode 7: Angela Palm

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Writing can be a solitary experience, which is why so many authors tend to form writing groups as sources of support both for their writing and themselves. In this episode of Novel Concept, host Rachel Carter speaks with nonfiction author Angela Palm, an occasional BookTrib contributor, about the writing group they share. It’s an intimate look into their own experiences as working writers, what they look for in a support system, and the ways writing groups have shaped their work. Palm is the author of Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here, which won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and is due to be published in August 16, 2016. Her writing has appeared in Brevity, Diagram, The Pilgrim, and Little Fiction.…

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From online to on the shelf: Vloggers turned authors

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This week, a novel called Girl Online gained national attention when it was named the fastest selling debut ever—selling 78,000 units in its first week. It’s a pretty incredible feat when you realize the author, Zoe Sugg, got her start by vlogging personal videos and beauty tutorials on her YouTube channel, Zoella. The novel tells the story of Penny, a blogger (write what you know!) who falls in love with an American musician. And while Sugg is currently facing backlash after admitting to using a ghostwriter, the numbers don’t lie—her book sales and YouTube views are through the roof.   But Sugg is just one of many video bloggers who are transitioning from YouTube to publishing. Here are three more…

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A rabbi reveals the colorful history of the Jews of Asia

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In his latest book, Pepper, Silk and Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East (Gefen Publishing House, 2014), Rabbi Marvin Tokayer regales the reader with stories of Jews who traversed the Far East—from Burma, China and Japan to all points in between—and who made significant contributions in ancient lands. The book, co-authored with Ellen Rodman, Ph.D., is replete with stories of Jews who left their mark on societies normally considered outside the Jewish cultural orbit. Colorful characters, such as Morris “Two Gun” Cohen (the first and only Jewish general in the Chinese army) and Moe Berg (the major leaguer who was a U.S. spy in Japan), illustrate the Jews’ ability to adapt and contribute while maintaining allegiance to…

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Author Tanya Lee Stone celebrates her 100th book — by starting her 101st!

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What do 100 books look like? For author Tanya Lee Stone, who just recently finished her 100th book, it includes a wide variety of titles—from picture books to nonfiction to young adult novels. Color Has No Courage, her nonfiction account of America’s first black paratroopers, won an NAACP Image Award, while her picture book, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors, was an NPR Best Book of 2013. The list goes on and on (and on!). Girl Rising, due in 2016, is officially Stone’s 100th book, and is an adaptation of the movie.  “I am expanding the content of that beautiful film to cover more ground and tell more stories in it than the medium of film would allow,” Stone said…

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