What’s New – Non-Fiction

The Ungrateful Refugee

“With inventive, powerful prose, Nayeri demonstrates what should be obvious: that refugees give up everything in their native lands only when absolutely necessary . . . A unique, deeply thought-out refugee saga perfect for our moment.” ––Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world.

 

Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel–turned–refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton University. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials.

 

Nayeri confronts notions like “the swarm,” and, on the other hand, “good” immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee challenges us to rethink how we talk about the refugee crisis.

 

“A writer who confronts issues that are key to the refugee experience.” ―Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees

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Eye Contact

New York Times best-selling author and iconic Hollywood producer Brian Grazer reveals a new secret to forge a happier and more successful life. Through his own personal stories, discover how eye contact – a power available to nearly everyone – can change your life, too.

In his best-seller A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer helped everyone from parents to CEOs to artists to young graduates develop their curiosity into a superpower that would expand their world. Now, he reveals a new secret. Whether you’re looking to develop a relationship, build your confidence, or win a negotiation, the answer is in the eyes. Grazer delves into the power of eye contact as he shares personal, life-changing stories and insightful advice that will help you immediately discover the secret to a more meaningful life.

While it might seem like second nature, Grazer proves that eye contact – really looking someone in the eyes – is one of the most transformative habits you can develop in your daily life. Eye contact has the power to offer validation, show generosity, create intimacy, and – most importantly – establish genuine human connection. Even as technology takes on a bigger and bigger role in our lives, from self-driving cars to the smartphones in our pockets, no machine will ever be able to replace the unique and powerful benefits of eye contact.

As one of the most acclaimed Hollywood producers in the world, Grazer transports you into the moments from his life where eye contact proves to be the key to unlocking power, emotion, and insight. These are moments like a high-powered CEO conference with Bill Gates; a surprise date with supermodel Kate Moss; a tough conversation with Eminem when creating the movie 8 Mile; a tête-à-tête with George W. Bush; and encounters with personalities like Taraji Henson, Airbnb founder Brian Chesky, and Chance the Rapper.

With his flair for telling intriguing stories, Grazer’s highly listenable audiobook will give you a powerful advantage across every aspect of your life. Listen to this audiobook now, and learn how a happier and more meaningful life is just a blink away.

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The Mosquito

**The instant New York Times bestseller**
*An international bestseller*

“Hugely impressive, a major work.”—NPR

A pioneering and groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction that offers a dramatic new perspective on the history of humankind, showing how through millennia, the mosquito has been the single most powerful force in determining humanity’s fate.

Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination? What has protected the lives of popes for millennia? Why did Scotland surrender its sovereignty to England? What was George Washington’s secret weapon during the American Revolution?

The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito.

Across our planet since the dawn of humankind, this nefarious pest, roughly the size and weight of a grape seed, has been at the frontlines of history as the grim reaper, the harvester of human populations, and the ultimate agent of historical change. As the mosquito transformed the landscapes of civilization, humans were unwittingly required to respond to its piercing impact and universal projection of power.

The mosquito has determined the fates of empires and nations, razed and crippled economies, and decided the outcome of pivotal wars, killing nearly half of humanity along the way. She (only females bite) has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion throughout our relatively brief existence. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have ever known, she has played a greater role in shaping our human story than any other living thing with which we share our global village.

Imagine for a moment a world without deadly mosquitoes, or any mosquitoes, for that matter? Our history and the world we know, or think we know, would be completely unrecognizable.

Driven by surprising insights and fast-paced storytelling, The Mosquito is the extraordinary untold story of the mosquito’s reign through human history and her indelible impact on our modern world order.

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How To Be An Antiracist

New York Times Best Seller 

From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society – and in ourselves. 

“The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.” (The New York Times)

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism – and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At it’s core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes listeners through a widening circle of antiracist ideas – from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilites – that will help listeners see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

Praise for How to Be an Antiracist

“Ibram X. Kendi’s new book, How to Be an Antiracist, couldn’t come at a better time…. Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author’s own path from anti-black racism to anti-white racism and, finally, to antiracism…. How to Be an Antiracist gives us a clear and compelling way to approach, as Kendi puts it in his introduction, ‘the basic struggle we’re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.’” (NPR)

“Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent. How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is-and what we should do about it.” (Time)

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Kochland

Just as Steve Coll told the story of globalization through ExxonMobil and Andrew Ross Sorkin told the story of Wall Street excess through Too Big to Fail, Christopher Leonard’s Kochland uses the extraordinary account of how the biggest private company in the world grew to be that big to tell the story of modern corporate America.

The annual revenue of Koch Industries is bigger than that of Goldman Sachs, Facebook, and US Steel combined. Koch is everywhere: from the fertilizers that make our food to the chemicals that make our pipes to the synthetics that make our carpets and diapers to the Wall Street trading in all these commodities. But few people know much about Koch Industries, and that’s because the billionaire Koch brothers want it that way.

For five decades, CEO Charles Koch has kept Koch Industries quietly operating in deepest secrecy, with a view toward very, very long-term profits. He’s a genius businessman: patient with earnings, able to learn from his mistakes, determined that his employees develop a reverence for free-market ruthlessness, and a master disrupter. These strategies have made him and his brother David together richer than Bill Gates.

But there’s another side to this story. If you want to understand how we killed the unions in this country, how we widened the income divide, stalled progress on climate change, and how our corporations bought the influence industry, all you have to do is listen to this audiobook.

Seven years in the making, Kochland comes across like a true-life thriller, with larger-than-life characters driving the battles at every moment. The audiobook tells the ambitious tale of how one private company consolidated power over half a century – and how in doing so, it helped transform capitalism into something that feels deeply alienating to many Americans today.

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Because Internet

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!!

Wired Must-Read Book of Summer  

“Gretchen McCulloch is the internet’s favorite linguist, and this book is essential reading. Reading her work is like suddenly being able to see the matrix.” —Jonny Sun, author of everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too  

Because Internet is for anyone who’s ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It’s the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that’s a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are.

Language is humanity’s most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online communities spread new slang and jargon with dizzying speed. What’s more, social media is a vast laboratory of unedited, unfiltered words where we can watch language evolve in real time.

Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer “LOL” or “lol,” why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

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Why Meadow Died

The Parkland school shooting was the most avoidable mass murder in American history. And the policies that made it inevitable have spread to your school. 

“After my sister Meadow was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the media obsessed for months about the type of rifle the killer used. It was all clickbait and politics, not answers or justice. That wasn’t good enough for us. My dad is a real tough guy, but Meadow had him wrapped around her little finger. He would do anything she wanted, and she would want him to find every answer so that this never happens again.

My dad teamed up with one of America’s leading education experts to launch his own investigation. We found the answers to the questions the media refused to ask. Questions about school safety that go far beyond the national gun debate. And the answers to those questions matter for parents, teachers, and schoolchildren nationwide.

If one single adult in the Broward County school district had made one responsible decision about the Parkland shooter, then my sister would still be alive. But every bad decision they made makes total sense once you understand the district’s politically correct policies, which started here in Broward and have spread to thousands of schools across America.”

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Suffolk County Through Time

Suffolk County, the second largest county in New York State, is a very diverse place, both geographically and culturally. Home to 1.5 million people, it features waterfront villages on the north and south shores. On its eastern end, it is also a vacation paradise for thousands every summer. Much has changed over time in Suffolk County–new highways have been built, historic buildings and sites have been obliterated, and housing developments and shopping centers of all types and sizes have sprung up. Yet despite all of this “progress,” there is still so much of the county’s storied past visible. Suffolk’s rich farming heritage is evident in much of the county, with numerous roadside farm stands and U-pick locations offering everything from corn to peaches. From Cold Spring Harbor to Orient Point and Montauk, Suffolk County is filled with history and the images in this book capture many important moments and places.

Foreword by former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

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Permission To Feel

The mental well-being of children and adults is shockingly poor. Marc Brackett, author of Permission to Feel, knows why. And he knows what we can do.
“We have a crisis on our hands, and its victims are our children.”

Marc Brackett is a professor in Yale University’s Child Study Center and founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In his 25 years as an emotion scientist, he has developed a remarkably effective plan to improve the lives of children and adults – a blueprint for understanding our emotions and using them wisely so that they help, rather than hinder, our success and well-being. The core of his approach is a legacy from his childhood, from an astute uncle who gave him permission to feel. He was the first adult who managed to see Marc, listen to him, and recognize the suffering, bullying, and abuse he’d endured. And that was the beginning of Marc’s awareness that what he was going through was temporary. He wasn’t alone, he wasn’t stuck on a timeline, and he wasn’t “wrong” to feel scared, isolated, and angry. Now, best of all, he could do something about it.

In the decades since, Marc has led large research teams and raised tens of millions of dollars to investigate the roots of emotional well-being. His prescription for healthy children (and their parents, teachers, and schools) is a system called RULER, a high-impact and fast-effect approach to understanding and mastering emotions that has already transformed the thousands of schools that have adopted it. RULER has been proven to reduce stress and burnout, improve school climate, and enhance academic achievement. This book is the culmination of Marc’s development of RULER and his way to share the strategies and skills with readers around the world. It is tested, and it works.

This book combines rigor, science, passion and inspiration in equal parts. Too many children and adults are suffering; they are ashamed of their feelings and emotionally unskilled, but they don’t have to be. Marc Brackett’s life mission is to reverse this course, and this book can show you how.

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Random Families

The ready availability of donated sperm and eggs has made possible an entirely new form of family. Children of the same donor and their families, with the help of the internet, can now locate each other and make contact. Sometimes this network of families form meaningful connections that blossom into longstanding groups, and close friendships. This book is about unprecedented families that have grown up at the intersection of new reproductive technologies, social media and the human desire for belonging.

Random Families asks: Do shared genes make you a family? What do couples do when they discover that their children shares half their DNA with a dozen or more other offspring from the same sperm donor? What do kids find in common with their donor siblings? What becomes of these chance networks once parents and donor siblings find one another?

Based on over 350 interviews with children (ages 10-28) and their parents from all over the U.S., Random Families chronicles the chain of choices that couples and single mothers make from what donor to use to how to participate (or not) in donor sibling networks. Children reveal their understanding of a donor, the donor’s spot on the family tree and the meaning of their donor siblings. Through rich first-person accounts of network membership, the book illustrates how these extraordinary relationships — woven from bits of online information and shared genetic ties — are transformed into new possibilities for kinship.

Random Families offers down-to-earth stories from real families to highlight just how truly distinctive these contemporary new forms of family are.

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Fentanyl Inc

A remarkable four-year investigation into the dangerous world of synthetic drugs―from black market drug factories in China to users and dealers on the streets of the U.S. to harm reduction activists in Europe―which reveals for the first time the next wave of the opioid epidemic

A deeply human story, Fentanyl, Inc. is the first deep-dive investigation of a hazardous and illicit industry that has created a worldwide epidemic, ravaging communities and overwhelming and confounding government agencies that are challenged to combat it. “A whole new crop of chemicals is radically changing the recreational drug landscape,” writes Ben Westhoff. “These are known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and they include replacements for known drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. They are synthetic, made in a laboratory, and are much more potent than traditional drugs”―and all-too-often tragically lethal.

Drugs like fentanyl, K2, and Spice―and those with arcane acronyms like 25i-NBOMe― were all originally conceived in legitimate laboratories for proper scientific and medicinal purposes. Their formulas were then hijacked and manufactured by rogue chemists, largely in China, who change their molecular structures to stay ahead of the law, making the drugs’ effects impossible to predict. Westhoff has infiltrated this shadowy world. He tracks down the little-known scientists who invented these drugs and inadvertently killed thousands, as well as a mysterious drug baron who turned the law upside down in his home country of New Zealand. Westhoff visits the shady factories in China from which these drugs emanate, providing startling and original reporting on how China’s vast chemical industry operates, and how the Chinese government subsidizes it. Poignantly, he chronicles the lives of addicted users and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug awareness organizers in the U.S. and Europe. Together they represent the shocking and riveting full anatomy of a calamity we are just beginning to understand. From its depths, as Westhoff relates, are emerging new strategies that may provide essential long-term solutions to the drug crisis that has affected so many.

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The Shawshank Redemption Revealed

A 25th anniversary history and celebration of The Shawshank Redemption, one of the most cherished American films of the late twentieth century and one of the finest movies made from a Stephen King story. The movie not only boasts a great story, it has a great backstory, starting with the dollar deal that eventually led King and co-stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman to put their trust in a largely untested director making his first feature film. Although the film received mostly positive reviews on its release in September 1994, the box office was disappointing and it failed to win many awards. But as Andy tells Red in the film, “no good thing ever dies.” The movie found new life, reaching an ever-growing audience on cable and home video (through word of mouth, it became one of the top-rented movies of 1995). Each year, The Shawshank Redemption rises in polls asking film fans to name their favorite movies. It has become nothing less than this generation’s The Grapes of Wrath, an inspiring story about keeping hope alive in bleak times and under the most horrendous conditions.

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Slime

“No organisms are more important to life as we know it than algae. In Slime, Ruth Kassinger gives this under-appreciated group its due.” —Elizabeth Kolbert

Say “algae” and most people think of pond scum. What they don’t know is that without algae, none of us would exist.

There are as many algae on Earth as stars in the universe, and they have been essential to life on our planet for eons. Algae created the Earth we know today, with its oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans, and coral reefs. Crude oil is made of dead algae, and algae are the ancestors of all plants. Today, seaweed production is a multi-billion dollar industry, with algae hard at work to make your sushi, chocolate milk, beer, paint, toothpaste, shampoo and so much more.

In Slime we’ll meet the algae innovators working toward a sustainable future: from seaweed farmers in South Korea, to scientists using it to clean the dead zones in our waterways, to the entrepreneurs fighting to bring algae fuel and plastics to market.

With a multitude of lively, surprising science and history, Ruth Kassinger takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes, and into-the-kitchen tour. Whether you thought algae was just the gunk in your fish tank or you eat seaweed with your oatmeal, Slime will delight and amaze with its stories of the good, the bad, and the up-and-coming.

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Improv For Writers

Free yourself from writer’s block and inner critics with the creative power of improv!
 
“Jorjeana Marie’s generous, joyful, and oh-so-useful book shows writers—both seasoned and new—how to unleash their creativity and find their best story.”—Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Have Lost My Way
 
Improv instructor and writer Jorjeana Marie reveals a new way to generate idea after brilliant idea. Applying the rules of improv to fiction writing, Marie presents fun games and exercises you can do from the comfort of your desk at home.

Surprise yourself with new plots, infinite characters and settings, and a supreme confidence in your own process. Armed with the power of improv—and liberating exercises like Ad Agency, Raise the Stakes, and Family Portraits—you’ll soon be an idea machine. With Improv for Writers, your creative storytelling well will never run dry again.

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Human Relations & Other Difficulties

An incisive collection of essays by the editor of the London Review of Books, whom Hilary Mantel has called “a presiding genius”

Mary-Kay Wilmers cofounded the London Review of Books in 1979, and has been its sole editor since 1992. Her editorial life began long before that: she started at Faber and Faber in the time of T. S. Eliot, then worked at the Listener, and then at the Times Literary Supplement. As John Lanchester says in his introduction, she has been extracting literary works from reluctant writers for more than fifty years.

As well as an editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers is, and has been throughout her career, a writer. The deeply considered pieces in Human Relations and Other Difficulties, whether on Jean Rhys, Alice James, a nineteenth-century edition of the Pears’ Cyclopaedia, novel reviewing, Joan Didion, mistresses, seduction, or her own experience of parenthood, are sparkling, funny, and absorbing.

Underlying all these essays is a concern with the relation between the genders: the effect men have on women, and the ways in which men limit and frame women’s lives. Wilmers holds these patterns up to cool scrutiny, and gives a crisp and sometimes cutting insight into the hard work of being a woman.

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