What’s New – Non-Fiction

Yours Cruelly, Elvira

**Instant New York Times Bestseller, Los Angeles Times Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller, Publishers Weekly Bestseller**

The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself.

On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn’t good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price.

Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul “Pee-wee” Reubens, honing her comedic skills.

Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn’t shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl’s long strange trip to become the world’s sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.

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Unbound

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Searing. Powerful. Needed.” ―Oprah

“Sometimes a single story can change the world. Unbound is one of those stories. Tarana’s words are a testimony to liberation and love.” ―Brené Brown

From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the “me too” movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words―me tooand how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history.

Tarana didn’t always have the courage to say “me too.” As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not as a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work…until it didn’t.

Tarana fought to reunite her fractured self, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves.

Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman’s inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying “me too,” Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys.

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The Speckled Beauty

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All Over but the Shoutin’, the warmhearted and hilarious story of how his life was transformed by his love for a poorly behaved, half-blind stray dog.

Speck is not a good boy. He is a terrible boy, a defiant, self-destructive, often malodorous boy, a grave robber and screen door moocher who spends his days playing chicken with the Fed Ex man, picking fights with thousand-pound livestock, and rolling in donkey manure, and his nights howling at the moon. He has been that way since the moment he appeared on the ridgeline behind Rick Bragg’s house, a starved and half-dead creature, seventy-six pounds of wet hair and poor decisions.

Speck arrived in Rick’s life at a moment of looming uncertainty. A cancer diagnosis, chemo, kidney failure, and recurring pneumonia had left Rick lethargic and melancholy. Speck helped, and he is helping, still, when he is not peeing on the rose of Sharon. Written with Bragg’s inimitable blend of tenderness and sorrow, humor and grit, The Speckled Beauty captures the extraordinary, sustaining devotion between two damaged creatures who need each other to heal.

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Chasing Me To My Grave

“A compelling and important history that this nation desperately needs to hear.” -Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Winfred Rembert grew up in a family of Georgia field laborers and joined the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager. He was arrested after fleeing a demonstration, survived a near-lynching at the hands of law enforcement, and spent seven years on chain gangs. During that time he met the undaunted Patsy, who would become his wife. Years later, at the age of fifty-one and with Patsy’s encouragement, he started drawing and painting scenes from his youth using leather tooling skills he learned in prison.

Chasing Me to My Grave presents Rembert’s breathtaking body of work alongside his story, as told to Tufts Philosopher Erin I. Kelly. Rembert calls forth vibrant scenes of Black life on Cuthbert, Georgia’s Hamilton Avenue, where he first glimpsed the possibility of a life outside the cotton field. As he pays tribute, exuberant and heartfelt, to Cuthbert’s Black community and the people, including Patsy, who helped him to find the courage to revisit a traumatic past, Rembert brings to life the promise and the danger of Civil Rights protest, the brutalities of incarceration, his search for his mother’s love, and the epic bond he found with Patsy.

Vivid, confrontational, revelatory, and complex, Chasing Me to My Grave is a searing memoir in prose and painted leather that celebrates Black life and summons readers to confront painful and urgent realities at the heart of American history and society.

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Vanderbilt

New York Times bestselling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times bestselling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty—his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts.

When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, no one could have imagined that one day he would, through ruthlessness, cunning, and a pathological desire for money, build two empires—one in shipping and another in railroads—that would make him the richest man in America. His staggering fortune was fought over by his heirs after his death in 1877, sowing familial discord that would never fully heal. Though his son Billy doubled the money left by “the Commodore,” subsequent generations competed to find new and ever more extraordinary ways of spending it. By 2018, when the last Vanderbilt was forced out of The Breakers—the seventy-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius’s grandson and namesake had built—the family would have been unrecognizable to the tycoon who started it all.

Now, the Commodore’s great-great-great-grandson Anderson Cooper, joins with historian Katherine Howe to explore the story of his legendary family and their outsized influence. Cooper and Howe breathe life into the ancestors who built the family’s empire, basked in the Commodore’s wealth, hosted lavish galas, and became synonymous with unfettered American capitalism and high society. Moving from the hardscrabble wharves of old Manhattan to the lavish drawing rooms of Gilded Age Fifth Avenue, from the ornate summer palaces of Newport to the courts of Europe, and all the way to modern-day New York, Cooper and Howe wryly recount the triumphs and tragedies of an American dynasty unlike any other.

Written with a unique insider’s viewpoint, this is a rollicking, quintessentially American history as remarkable as the family it so vividly captures.

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Good Energy

“There’s nothing ‘alternative’ anymore about clean energy and green design. As this book makes beautifully clear, the future is here”— Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

Smart design can make solar, wind, and geothermal energy beautiful, affordable, and accessible to all. Thirty-five projects from around the world demonstrate that clean, healthy energy is within reach in every sector and field. Projects include homes at all scales and for all climates, schools, parks, and offices, and even power plants. Harmonizing nature, technology, and space, each project in Good Energy shows how design can improve planetary well-being while producing cost savings and creating green jobs.

A visual and informative guide to renewable energy:Good Energy includes over 200 color photographs showing each project in stunning detail, accompanied by fascinating and informative essays. The book includes a foreword by artist and landscape designer Walter Hood, founder of Hood Design Studio, and an interview with Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford University professor of civil and environmental engineering and a cofounder of the Solutions Project.

Projects include:

• Solar Strand, a solar power plant that is also a community mecca, in Buffalo, New York
• Zero Carbon House, one of the world’s most sustainable homes, in Birmingham, England
• Avasara Academy, a school that inspires pride among its young women students, in Lavale, India

Readers who are passionate about the environmental and economic health of their homes and communities will find fresh and practical ideas for an inclusive, equitable transition to renewable power in Good Energy.

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The Secret of Life

An authoritative history of the race to unravel DNA’s structure, by one of our most prominent medical historians.

James Watson and Francis Crick’s 1953 discovery of the double helix structure of DNA is the foundation of virtually every advance in our modern understanding of genetics and molecular biology. But how did Watson and Crick do it―and why were they the ones who succeeded?

In truth, the discovery of DNA’s structure is the story of five towering minds in pursuit of the advancement of science, and for almost all of them, the prospect of fame and immortality: Watson, Crick, Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, and Linus Pauling. Each was fascinating and brilliant, with strong personalities that often clashed. Howard Markel skillfully re-creates the intense intellectual journey, and fraught personal relationships, that ultimately led to a spectacular breakthrough. But it is Rosalind Franklin―fiercely determined, relentless, and an outsider at Cambridge and the University of London in the 1950s, as the lone Jewish woman among young male scientists―who becomes a focal point for Markel.

The Secret of Life is a story of genius and perseverance, but also a saga of cronyism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and misconduct. Drawing on voluminous archival research, including interviews with James Watson and with Franklin’s sister, Jenifer Glynn, Markel provides a fascinating look at how science is done, how reputations are undone, and how history is written, and revised.

A vibrant evocation of Cambridge in the 1950s, Markel also provides colorful depictions of Watson and Crick―their competitiveness, idiosyncrasies, and youthful immaturity―and compelling portraits of Wilkins, Pauling, and most cogently, Rosalind Franklin. The Secret of Life is a lively and sweeping narrative of this landmark discovery, one that finally gives the woman at the center of this drama her due.

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Good Gut Great Health

Improve your overall health by healing your digestive system with a sensible approach to food and 100 satisfying recipes.

Created for the Grayshott Spa, renowned for its holistic approach to well-being, the Grayshott Plan focuses on digestive health as a route to true health. In Good Gut, Great Health, you will learn to use the Grayshott Plan to boost your energy and rebalance weight safely through a nutrient-rich diet that will give you everything you need to face the demands of modern life.

The Plan dispels the misguided notion of “detoxifying” through spartan, punitive regimes and instead focuses on regaining good health by eating the right foods to aid the body’s natural detoxification. The Plan recommends quality grass-fed red meats, fish, eggs, fermented foods, butter, avocado, and organic vegetables. This is not a plan of privation but a sensible, satisfying, science-based program that brings you back to feeling great.

The first section introduces the Plan and provides information and meal plans for a short-term course to rest and repair your digestive tract. The Post-Plan information shows you more foods to introduce to your diet and keep your gut healthy.

The recipe section contains various delicious meals split into breakfastssoupsmain mealsvegetable sidessalads, and special occasions and includes satisfying and nourishing meals like:

  • Baked eggs with tomatoes, peppers, and chorizo
  • Porchetta with plum and fig chutney
  • Grilled sole fillets marinated in ginger and tangerine
  • Crayfish cakes with coconut and mango, and many more

With a hundred different options and customizable diet schedule templates to ensure your success on the Plan, Good Gut, Great Health is the perfect book to start you on your journey to a more natural, healthy diet. Combining science and efficacy to fit the hectic schedule of modern life, the Grayshott Plan is almost too good to be true!

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Taking Paris

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From Martin Dugard, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Killing series with Bill O’Reilly, comes the spellbinding story of the Allied liberation of Paris from the grip of the Nazis during World War II

Taking Paris does for Paris during World War II what The Splendid and the Vile did for London.”—James Patterson  •  “Heroes and villains abound. You’ll enjoy this fast-paced book immensely.”—Bill O’Reilly


May 1940: The world is stunned as Hitler’s forces invade France with a devastating blitzkrieg aimed at Paris. Within weeks, the French government has collapsed, and the City of Lights, revered for its carefree lifestyle, intellectual freedom, and love of liberty, has fallen under Nazi control—perhaps forever.

As the Germans ruthlessly crush all opposition, a patriotic band of Parisians known as the Resistance secretly rise up to fight back. But these young men and woman cannot do it alone. Over 120,000 Parisians die under German occupation. Countless more are tortured in the city’s Gestapo prisons and sent to death camps. The longer the Nazis hold the city, the greater the danger its citizens face. As the armies of America and Great Britain prepare to launch the greatest invasion in history, the spies of the Resistance risk all to ensure the Germans are defeated and Paris is once again free.

The players holding the fate of Paris in their hands are some of the biggest historical figures of the era: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, General George S. Patton, and the exiled French general Charles de Gaulle, headquartered in London’s Connaught Hotel. From the fall of Paris in 1940 to the race for Paris in 1944, this riveting, page-turning drama unfolds through their decisions—for better and worse. Taking Paris is history told at a breathtaking pace, a sprawling yet intimate saga of heroism, desire, and personal sacrifice for all that is right.

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Forever Young

*NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*
*USA TODAY BESTSELLER*

Iconic actress Hayley Mills shares personal memories from her storied childhood, growing up in a famous acting family and becoming a Disney child star, trying to grow up in a world that wanted her to stay forever young.

The daughter of acclaimed British actor Sir John Mills was still a preteen when she began her acting career and was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Under the wing of Walt Disney himself, Hayley Mills was transformed into one of the biggest child starlets of the 1960s through her iconic roles in PollyannaThe Parent Trap, and many more. She became one of only twelve actors in history to be bestowed with the Academy Juvenile Award, presented at the Oscars by its first recipient, Shirley Temple, and went on to win a number of awards including a Golden Globe, multiple BAFTAs, and a Disney Legacy Award.

Now, in her charming and forthright memoir, she provides a unique window into when Hollywood was still ‘Tinseltown’ and the great Walt Disney was at his zenith, ruling over what was (at least in his own head) still a family business. This behind-the-scenes look at the drama of having a sky-rocketing career as a young teen in an esteemed acting family will offer both her childhood impressions of the wild and glamorous world she was swept into, and the wisdom and broader knowledge that time has given her. Hayley will delve intimately into her relationship with Walt Disney, as well as the emotional challenges of being bound to a wholesome, youthful public image as she grew into her later teen years, and how that impacted her and her choices–including marrying a producer over 30 years her senior when she was 20! With her regrets, her joys, her difficulties, and her triumphs, this is a compelling read for any fan of classic Disney films and an inside look at a piece of real Hollywood history.

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Fuzz

An Instant New York Times Bestseller
#1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
#1 Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller

Join “America’s funniest science writer” (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), Mary Roach, on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and “danger tree” faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.

Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to “problem” wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem―and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.

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Dopamine Nation

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES and LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
“Brilliant… riveting, scary, cogent, and cleverly argued.”—Beth Macy, author of Dopesick
As heard on Fresh Air

This book is about pleasure. It’s also about pain. Most important, it’s about how to find the delicate balance between the two, and why now more than ever finding balance is essential. We’re living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting… The increased numbers, variety, and potency is staggering. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. As such we’ve all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.

In Dopamine Nation, Dr. Anna Lembke, psychiatrist and author, explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain…and what to do about it. Condensing complex neuroscience into easy-to-understand metaphors, Lembke illustrates how finding contentment and connectedness means keeping dopamine in check. The lived experiences of her patients are the gripping fabric of her narrative. Their riveting stories of suffering and redemption give us all hope for managing our consumption and transforming our lives. In essence, Dopamine Nation shows that the secret to finding balance is combining the science of desire with the wisdom of recovery.

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The Secret History of Food

An irreverent, surprising, and entirely entertaining look at the little-known history surrounding the foods we know and love

Is Italian olive oil really Italian, or are we dipping our bread in lamp oil? Why are we masochistically drawn to foods that can hurt us, like hot peppers? Far from being a classic American dish, is apple pie actually . . . English?

“As a species, we’re hardwired to obsess over food,” Matt Siegel explains as he sets out “to uncover the hidden side of everything we put in our mouths.” Siegel also probes subjects ranging from the myths—and realities—of food as aphrodisiac, to how one of the rarest and most exotic spices in all the world (vanilla) became a synonym for uninspired sexual proclivities, to the role of food in fairy- and morality tales. He even makes a well-argued case for how ice cream helped defeat the Nazis.

The Secret History of Food is a rich and satisfying exploration of the historical, cultural, scientific, sexual, and, yes, culinary subcultures of this most essential realm. Siegel is an armchair Anthony Bourdain, armed not with a chef’s knife but with knowledge derived from medieval food-related manuscripts, ancient Chinese scrolls, and obscure culinary journals. Funny and fascinating, The Secret History of Food is essential reading for all foodies.

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Who Says I Can't?

On paper, Coach Rob Mendez sounds like any other football coach on any other field across America: passionate, authoritative, knowledgeable. But he’s unlike any other coach you know–in fact, he’s probably unlike any other person you know.

Born with an extraordinarily rare condition called tetra-Amelia syndrome, Rob has no arms or legs. He moves with the assistance of a custom-made, motorized wheelchair that he operates with his back and shoulders.

Many people look at Rob and see limitation, yet Rob sees opportunity: Opportunity to pursue his passion for football. Opportunity to change the way people perceive physical disability. Opportunity to serve as a role model for the hundreds of kids he’s coached over the years.

Told with both humor and frankness, Who Says I Can’t? takes readers on Rob’s incredible journey, from his birth to loving parents who wanted to afford him every chance for happiness, to the emotional and physical hurdles he faced while seeking independence, to receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards in 2019.

Each day, Coach Rob rolls onto the field and shows his players that dreams are achievable when you show up, do the work, and believe in yourself. And after reading this book you, too, will believe that anything is possible.

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Rationality

“In our uncertain age, which can so often feel so dark and disturbing, Steven Pinker has distinguished himself as a voice of positivity.” – New York Times

Can reading a book make you more rational? Can it help us understand why there is so much irrationality in the world? Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now (Bill Gates’s “new favorite book of all time”) answers all the questions here

Today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding–and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational–cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself.  We actually think in ways that are sensible in the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning we’ve discovered over the millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, and optimal ways to update beliefs and commit to choices individually and with others. These tools are not a standard part of our education, and have never been presented clearly and entertainingly in a single book–until now.

Rationality also explores its opposite: how the rational pursuit of self-interest, sectarian solidarity, and uplifting mythology can add up to crippling irrationality in a society. Collective rationality depends on norms that are explicitly designed to promote objectivity and truth.

Rationality matters. It leads to better choices in our lives and in the public sphere, and is the ultimate driver of social justice and moral progress. Brimming with Pinker’s customary insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower.

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