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February Picks - Nonfiction

You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250297198
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Celadon Books - January 7th, 2020

For readers of Susan Cain’s Quiet, Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, and the works of Deborah Tannen, this eye-opening wake-up call by New York Times reporter Kate Murphy draws attention to the worldwide epidemic of not listening, exposing the profound impact that it is having on us all and showing what we can do about it.

Today, we are more connected to each other than ever before. Cell phones keep us in constant contact with family, friends, and coworkers, the internet immediately links us to people halfway around the world, and social media gives us what feels like an intimate window into millions of lives. But if we’re so connected, then why do more people than ever feel alone, why are suicide rates at an all time high, and why has political compromise and even conversation across the aisle become something out of a bygone era?

To Kate Murphy, who has reported on this subject deeply for years, the answer is clear: we have stopped listening to each other. And even worse, most of us don’t know how to properly listen any more. For instance, did you know that, during a conversation, 55% of emotional meaning is transmitted nonverbally through body language and 20% of comprehension comes from lip reading? So by texting and emailing, consider how much meaning is getting lost.  

In this always eye-opening and often humorous deep-dive, Murphy shows why we stopped listening, how we can re-learn to do so, and why it’s more important than ever that we begin to listen to each other again. From looking at how children are taught (or not!) to listen in school and at home, to hearing from some of the best listeners out there (hostage negotiators! Focus group facilitators! Furniture salesmen?). From exploring what we can learn about listening from an improv class at Second City and Japanese businessmen, to looking at the impact that a cell phone on the dinner table has on a first date, Kate Murphy takes us on a cross-country journalistic exploration to discover the pervasiveness of this non-listening epidemic and the positive impact that re-committing to listening will have on all our lives.

Equal parts brilliantly-researched expose, rousing call to action, and practical advice, You're Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain's Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.


The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice—Crossing Antarctica Alone Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982133115
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - January 14th, 2020

Colin O’Brady’s awe-inspiring memoir spans his triumphant recovery from a tragic accident to his gripping 932-mile solo crossing of Antarctica.

Prior to December 2018, no individual had ever crossed the landmass of Antarctica alone, without support and completely human powered. Yet, Colin O’Brady was determined to do just that, even if, ten years earlier, there was doubt that he’d ever walk again normally. From the depths of a tragic accident, he fought his way back. In a quest to unlock his potential and discover what was possible, he went on to set three mountaineering world records before turning to this historic Antarctic challenge.

O’Brady’s pursuit of a goal that had eluded many others was made even more intense by a head-to-head battle that emerged with British polar explorer Captain Louis Rudd—also striving to be “the first.” Enduring Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures and pulling a sled that initially weighed 375 pounds—in complete isolation and through a succession of whiteouts, storms, and a series of near disasters—O’Brady persevered.

Alone with his thoughts for nearly two months in the vastness of the frozen continent—gripped by fear and doubt—he reflected on his past, seeking courage and inspiration in the relationships and experiences that had shaped his life.

Honest, deeply moving, filled with moments of vulnerability—and set against the backdrop of some of the most extreme environments on earth, from Mt. Everest to Antarctica—The Impossible First reveals how anyone can reject limits, overcome immense obstacles, and discover what matters most.


Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525655084
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - January 14th, 2020

“A deft and uniquely credible exploration of rural America, and of other left-behind pockets of our country. One of the most important books I’ve read on the state of our disunion.”—Tara Westover, author of Educated 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of the acclaimed, best-selling Half the Sky now issue a plea—deeply personal and told through the lives of real Americans—to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure.

With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an “other America.” The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.


Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062915795
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad - January 14th, 2020

From “one of the greatest writers of our time” (Toni Morrison)—the author of Barracoon and Their Eyes Were Watching God—a collection of remarkable stories, including eight “lost” Harlem Renaissance tales now available to a wide audience for the first time.

In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston—the sole black student at the college—was living in New York, “desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.” During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.


Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525434030
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - January 28th, 2020

The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in—a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro’s memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love.