What’s New – Non-Fiction

Briefly Perfectly Human

A deeply transformative memoir that reframes how we think about death and how it can help us lead better, more fulfilling and authentic lives, from America’s most visible death doula.

“A truly unique, inspiring perspective on the time we have, what we do with it, and how we let go of this world…. There is no one I’d trust more to guide me through an understanding of death, and how it informs life.” — Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Mad Honey and The Book of Two Ways

Briefly Perfectly Human is a beautiful, raw, light-bringing experience. Alua’s voice is shimmering, singular, and pulses with humor, vulnerability, insight, and refreshing candor…. Be prepared for it to grab you, hold you tight, and raise the roof on the power of human connection.” — Tembi Locke, author of From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

For her clients and everyone who has been inspired by her humanity, Alua Arthur is a friend at the end of the world. As our country’s leading death doula, she’s spreading a transformative message: thinking about your death—whether imminent or not—will breathe wild, new potential into your life.

Warm, generous, and funny AF, Alua supports and helps manage end-of-life care on many levels. The business matters, medical directives, memorial planning; but also honoring the quiet moments, when monitors are beeping and loved ones have stepped out to get some air—or maybe not shown up at all—and her clients become deeply contemplative and want to talk. Aching, unfinished business often emerges. Alua has been present for thousands of these sacred moments—when regrets, fears, secret joys, hidden affairs, and dim realities are finally said aloud. When this happens, Alua focuses her attention at the pulsing center of her clients’ anguish and creates space for them, and sometimes their loved ones, to find peace.

This has had a profound effect on Alua, who was already no stranger to death’s periphery. Her family fled a murderous coup d’état in Ghana in the 1980s. She has suffered major, debilitating depressions. And her dear friend and brother-in-law died of lymphoma. Advocating for him in his final months is what led Alua to her life’s calling. She knows firsthand the power of bearing witness and telling the truth about life’s painful complexities, because they do not disappear when you look the other way. They wait for you.

Briefly Perfectly Human is a life-changing, soul-gathering debut, by a writer whose empathy, tenderness, and wisdom shimmers on the page. Alua Arthur combines intimate storytelling with a passionate appeal for loving, courageous end-of-life care—what she calls “death embrace.” Hers is a powerful testament to getting in touch with something deeper in our lives, by embracing the fact of our own mortality. “Hold that truth in your mind,” Alua says, “and wondrous things will begin to grow around it.”

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The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians

This “celebration of the world of books” (Kirkus) is “a real page turner!” (Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan) that “feels like a love letter” (USA Today) to booksellers and librarians—as told to the greatest storyteller of our time, James Patterson.

To be a bookseller or librarian…

You have to play detective.

Be a treasure hunter. A matchmaker. An advocate. A visionary.

A person who creates “book joy” by pulling a book from a shelf, handing it to someone and saying, “You’ve got to read this. You’re going to love it.”

Step inside The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians and enter a world where you can feed your curiosities, discover new voices, find whatever you want or require. This place has the magic of rainbows and unicorns, but it’s also a business. The book business.

Meet the smart and talented people who live between the pages—and who can’t wait to help you find your next favorite book.

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A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks

From renowned underwater archaeologist David Gibbins comes an exciting and rich narrative of human history told through the archaeological discoveries of twelve shipwrecks across time.

The Viking warship of King Cnut the Great. Henry VIII’s the Mary Rose. Captain John Franklin’s doomed HMS Terror. The SS Gairsoppa, destroyed by a Nazi U-boat in the Atlantic during World War II.

Since we first set sail on the open sea, ships and their wrecks have been an inevitable part of human history. Archaeologists have made spectacular discoveries excavating these sunken ships, their protective underwater cocoon keeping evidence of past civilizations preserved. Now, for the first time, world renowned maritime archeologist David Gibbins ties together the stories of some of the most significant shipwrecks in time to form a single overarching narrative of world history.

A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks is not just the story of those ships, the people who sailed on them, and the cargo and treasure they carried, but also the story of the spread of people, religion, and ideas around the world; it is a story of colonialism, migration, and the indominable human spirit that continues today. From the glittering Bronze Age, to the world of Caesar’s Rome, through the era of the Vikings, to the exploration of the Arctic, Gibbins uses shipwrecks to tell all.

Drawing on decades of experience excavating shipwrecks around the world, Gibbins reveals the riches beneath the waves and shows us how the treasures found there can be a porthole to the past that tell a new story about the world and its underwater secrets.

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Native Nations

“An essential American history” (The Wall Street Journal) that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

“A feat of both scholarship and storytelling.”—Claudio Saunt, author of Unworthy Republic

Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread across North America. So, when Europeans showed up in the sixteenth century, they encountered societies they did not understand—those having developed differently from their own—and whose power they often underestimated.

For centuries afterward, Indigenous people maintained an upper hand and used Europeans in pursuit of their own interests. In Native Nations, we see how Mohawks closely controlled trade with the Dutch—and influenced global markets—and how Quapaws manipulated French colonists. Power dynamics shifted after the American Revolution, but Indigenous people continued to command much of the continent’s land and resources. Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa forged new alliances and encouraged a controversial new definition of Native identity to attempt to wall off U.S. ambitions. The Cherokees created institutions to assert their sovereignty on the global stage, and the Kiowas used their power in the west to regulate the passage of white settlers across their territory.

In this important addition to the growing tradition of North American history centered on Indigenous nations, Kathleen DuVal shows how the definitions of power and means of exerting it shifted over time, but the sovereignty and influence of Native peoples remained a constant—and will continue far into the future.

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The Moment

The New York Times bestselling author of My Vanishing Country examines the modern political landscape and policies that are impacting Black families and communities and offers solutions for a better tomorrow.

In late May in 2020, while discussing the murder of George Floyd on CNN, Bakari Sellers spoke from the heart sharing devastating insight that touched millions around the world: “It’s just so much pain. You get so tired. We have black children. I have a 15-year-old daughter. I mean, what do I tell her? I’m raising a son. I have no idea what to tell him. It’s just—it’s hard being black in this country when your life is not valued and people are worried about the protesters and the looters. And it’s just people who are frustrated for far too long and not have their voices heard.”

In this powerful and persuasive book, Sellers expands on the issues he addressed in his New York Times bestseller My Vanishing Country, examining national politics and policies that deeply impact not only Black people in his home state of South Carolina but the lives of millions of African Americans in communities across the nation. Four years later, Sellers has an answer to the question he raised on CNN, offering much-needed prescriptions to help all Black American lives.

Sellers explores inequities in healthcare, education, early childhood education, and policing, drawing on interviews with numerous thought leaders such as pioneering voting rights and poverty activist the Rev. William Barber, and Ben Crump, the civil rights legend who successfully uses the law to achieve justice for people of color in racially charged cases. He also shares his thoughts on conservative media and the forces and dark money behind firebrands such as Tucker Carlson. This thoughtful and practical work is a timely meditation on the state of our world today and how we can all play a part in making it better for tomorrow.

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Bad Therapy

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.

From the author of Irreversible Damage, an investigation into a mental health industry that is harming, not healing, American children

In virtually every way that can be measured, Gen Z’s mental health is worse than that of previous generations. Youth suicide rates are climbing, antidepressant prescriptions for children are common, and the proliferation of mental health diagnoses has not helped the staggering number of kids who are lonely, lost, sad and fearful of growing up. What’s gone wrong with America’s youth?

In Bad Therapy, bestselling investigative journalist Abigail Shrier argues that the problem isn’t the kids—it’s the mental health experts. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with child psychologists, parents, teachers, and young people, Shrier explores the ways the mental health industry has transformed the way we teach, treat, discipline, and even talk to our kids. She reveals that most of the therapeutic approaches have serious side effects and few proven benefits. Among her unsettling findings:

  • Talk therapy can induce rumination, trapping children in cycles of anxiety and depression
  • Social Emotional Learning handicaps our most vulnerable children, in both public schools and private
  • “Gentle parenting” can encourage emotional turbulence – even violence – in children as they lash out, desperate for an adult in charge

Mental health care can be lifesaving when properly applied to children with severe needs, but for the typical child, the cure can be worse than the disease. Bad Therapy is a must-read for anyone questioning why our efforts to bolster America’s kids have backfired—and what it will take for parents to lead a turnaround.

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Is Everyone Happier Than Me

The point where you feel like your life is unraveling can actually be a place of unimaginable growth–an awakening–if you’re willing to ask yourself a few simple questions.

In an age where everyone else’s successes are flaunted in front of you on social media, it can be a struggle to feel true happiness and contentment exactly where you are. Throw in difficult circumstances–loss, heartbreak, change, midlife–and it’s easy to understand why you feel lonely, lost, unsure of yourself, stuck, and, if you’re honest with yourself, flat-out unhappy.

Is Everyone Happier Than Me? provides practical and relatable answers to the questions you’ve probably already been asking about your life, and poses a few more, to help you figure out what’s standing in the way of your happiness, peace, and connection. Author, podcaster, and midlife mom Sarah Bragg is a trustworthy comrade for the journey as she shares the valuable lessons she’s learned in her own hard seasons to help you:

  • Identify the unhealthy habits you do when you feel unhappy and how to overcome them
  • Discover simple ways to find peace even in the murky middle of hard seasons
  • Find new ways to connect with others and yourself
  • Embrace exactly where you are even as you try to move forward

 

It’s time to let go of the ideal of a perfect life and allow yourself to be a work in progress. And there’s no better time to find happiness than right here in the middle.

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A Darker Shade of Blue

A transparent first-hand account of a Black officer maneuvering through three terrifying yet rewarding decades of policing, all while seeking reform in law enforcement

 

When 16-year-old Keith Merith finds himself pulled over, berated, and degraded by a white police officer, he’s outraged. He’s done nothing wrong. But the officer has the power, and he doesn’t. From that day on, he vows to join a police service and effect change from within.

 

Twelve years and a multitude of infuriating applications later, Merith is finally hired by York Regional Police. Subjected to unfair treatment and constant microaggressions, he perseveres and gradually rises through the ranks, his goal of systemic change carrying him through. After a stellar career, Merith retires at the rank of superintendent, but his desire for sustained and equitable reform is stronger than ever.

 

In A Darker Shade of Blue, Merith shares both his gut-wrenching and heart-warming experiences and advocates for immediate police reform in a balanced and level-headed manner. He praises the people in blue, but he also knows on a visceral level that there are deep issues that need to be rectified — starting with recruitment. He knows that law enforcement agencies should reflect the communities they serve and protect, and that all citizens should be treated equally. Entrusted with the duty to serve, Merith delivers an evocative perspective of policing by providing the opportunity to walk in his shoes, as a Black man, and as a police officer on the front lines.

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A Murder in Hollywood

USA TODAY BESTSELLER

“A wild ride beneath the glitz and glamour of 1950s Hollywood, proving once again that Casey Sherman is a master of the genre.”

—Ben Mezrich, New York Times bestselling author of Dumb MoneyBringing Down the House, and The Accidental Billionaires

The dark story behind the bright lights of Tinseltown

From the outside, Hollywood starlet Lana Turner seemed to have it all—a thriving film career, a beautiful daughter, and the kind of fame and fortune that most people could only dream of. But when the famous femme fatale began dating mobster Johnny Stompanato, thug for the infamous west coast mob boss Mickey Cohen, her personal life became violent and unpredictable. Lana’s teenage daughter, Cheryl, watched her beloved mother’s life deteriorate as Stompanato’s intense jealousy took over. Eventually, the physical and emotional abuse became too much to bear, and Lana attempted to break it off with Johnny—with disastrous consequences. The details of what happened that fateful night remain foggy, but it ended in a series of frantic phone calls and Stompanato dead on Lana’s bedroom floor, with Cheryl claiming to have plunged a knife into his abdomen in an attempt to protect her mother. The subsequent murder trial made for the biggest headlines of the year, its drama eclipsing every Hollywood movie.

New York Times bestselling author Casey Sherman pulls back Tinseltown’s velvet curtain to reveal the dark underbelly of celebrity, rife with toxic masculinity and casual violence against women, and tells the story of Lana Turner and her daughter, who finally stood up to the abuse that plagued their family for years. A Murder in Hollywood transports us back to the golden age of film and illuminates one of the 20th century’s most notorious true crime tales.

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The Blues Brothers

The story of the epic friendship between John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the golden era of improv, and the making of a comedic film classic that helped shape our popular culture

“They’re not going to catch us,” Dan Aykroyd, as Elwood Blues, tells his brother Jake, played by John Belushi. “We’re on a mission from God.” So opens the musical action comedy The Blues Brothers, which hit theaters on June 20, 1980. Their scripted mission was to save a local Chicago orphanage. But Aykroyd, who conceived and wrote much of the film, had a greater mission: to honor the then-seemingly forgotten tradition of rhythm and blues, some of whose greatest artists—Aretha Franklin, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles—made the film as unforgettable as its wild car chases. Much delayed and vastly over budget, beset by mercurial and oft drugged-out stars, The Blues Brothers opened to outraged reviews. However, in the 44 years since, it has been acknowledged a classic: it has been inducted into the National Film Registry for its cultural significance, even declared a “Catholic classic” by the Church itself, and re-aired thousands of times on television to huge worldwide audiences. It is, undeniably, one of the most significant films of the twentieth century.

The story behind any classic is rich; the saga behind The Blues Brothers, as Daniel de Visé reveals, is epic, encompassing the colorful childhoods of Belushi and Aykroyd; the comedic revolution sparked by Harvard’s Lampoon and Chicago’s Second City; the birth and anecdote-rich, drug-filled early years of Saturday Night Live, where the Blues Brothers were born as an act amidst turmoil and rivalry; and, of course, the indelible behind-the-scenes narrative of how the film was made, scene by memorable scene. Based on original research and dozens of interviews probing the memories of principals from director John Landis and producer Bob Weiss to Aykroyd himself, The Blues Brothers illuminates an American masterpiece while vividly portraying the creative geniuses behind modern comedy.

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The House of Hidden Meanings

***An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!***

From international drag superstar and pop culture icon RuPaul, comes his most revealing and personal work to date—a brutally honest, surprisingly poignant, and deeply intimate memoir of growing up Black, poor, and queer in a broken home to discovering the power of performance, found family, and self-acceptance. A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag.

Central to RuPaul’s success has been his chameleonic adaptability. From drag icon to powerhouse producer of one of the world’s largest television franchises, RuPaul’s ever-shifting nature has always been part of his brand as both supermodel and supermogul. Yet that adaptability has made him enigmatic to the public. In this memoir, his most intimate and detailed book yet, RuPaul makes himself truly known.

In The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul strips away all artifice and recounts the story of his life with breathtaking clarity and tenderness, bringing his signature wisdom and wit to his own biography. From his early years growing up as a queer Black kid in San Diego navigating complex relationships with his absent father and temperamental mother, to forging an identity in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York, to finding enduring love with his husband Georges LeBar and self-acceptance in sobriety, RuPaul excavates his own biography life-story, uncovering new truths and insights in his personal history.

Here in RuPaul’s singular and extraordinary story is a manual for living—a personal philosophy that testifies to the value of chosen family, the importance of harnessing what makes you different, and the transformational power of facing yourself fearlessly.

A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag. “I’ve always loved to view the world with analytical eyes, examining what lies beneath the surface. Here, the focus is on my own life—as RuPaul Andre Charles,” says RuPaul.

If we’re all born naked and the rest is drag, then this is RuPaul totally out of drag. This is RuPaul stripped bare.

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The Heart and The Chip

Daniela Rus, a leading roboticist and computer scientist, explores how we can use a new generation of smart machines to help humankind.

There is a robotics revolution underway. A record 3.1 million robots are working in factories right now, doing everything from assembling computers to packing goods and monitoring air quality and performance. A far greater number of smart machines impact our lives in countless other ways―improving the precision of surgeons, cleaning our homes, extending our reach to distant worlds―and we’re on the cusp of even more exciting opportunities.

In The Heart and the Chip, roboticist Daniela Rus and science writer Gregory Mone provide an overview of the interconnected fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and reframe the way we think about intelligent machines while weighing the moral and ethical consequences of their role in society. Robots aren’t going to steal our jobs: they’re going to make us more capable, productive, and precise.

At once optimistic and realistic, Rus and Mone envision a world in which these technologies augment and enhance our skills and talents, both as individuals and as a species―a world in which the proliferation of robots allows us all to be more human.

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The Laughter Effect

Laughter really can be the best medicine, and in this transformative body-mind guide, acclaimed wellness expert Ros Ben-Moshe shares the prescription.

In The Laughter Effect, Ros Ben-Moshe provides a roadmap to tap into the lighter side of life with laughter therapy. Ben-Moshe shares tips and tools to achieve an intentional state of being she calls the Laughter Effect–a way to elevate mindfulness, gratitude, and self-compassion. When used regularly, it enhances resilience to stress, enabling you to respond to adversity and bounce forward with humor, levity, and grace.

Drawing on research from around the world, practice and wisdom from humor and laughter therapy, and positive psychology and neuroscience, Ben-Moshe shows you how to use the energy of laughter and joy to counter stress hormones and stimulate a daily dose of positive wellbeing with “happy hormones.”

The techniques, strategies and practices you’ll learn can transform your physical, mental, social and emotional landscape. Viewing life through a laughter lens will awaken a positive change in yourself, how you respond to the world and, in turn, how the world responds to you.

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Who's Afraid of Gender

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2024 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Los Angeles Times, ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Kirkus, Literary Hub, Autostraddle, The Millions, Electric Literature, and them.

“A profoundly urgent intervention.” ―Naomi Klein

“A timely must-read for anyone actively invested in re-imagining collective futurity.” ―Claudia Rankine

From a global icon, a bold, essential account of how a fear of gender is fueling reactionary politics around the world.

Judith Butler, the groundbreaking thinker whose iconic book Gender Trouble redefined how we think about gender and sexuality, confronts the attacks on “gender” that have become central to right-wing movements today. Global networks have formed “anti-gender ideology movements” that are dedicated to circulating a fantasy that gender is a dangerous, perhaps diabolical, threat to families, local cultures, civilization―and even “man” himself. Inflamed by the rhetoric of public figures, this movement has sought to nullify reproductive justice, undermine protections against sexual and gender violence, and strip trans and queer people of their rights to pursue a life without fear of violence.

The aim of Who’s Afraid of Gender? is not to offer a new theory of gender but to examine how “gender” has become a phantasm for emerging authoritarian regimes, fascist formations, and transexclusionary feminists. In their vital, courageous new book, Butler illuminates the concrete ways that this phantasm of “gender” collects and displaces anxieties and fears of destruction. Operating in tandem with deceptive accounts of “critical race theory” and xenophobic panics about migration, the anti-gender movement demonizes struggles for equality, fuels aggressive nationalism, and leaves millions of people vulnerable to subjugation.

An essential intervention into one of the most fraught issues of our moment, Who’s Afraid of Gender? is a bold call to refuse the alliance with authoritarian movements and to make a broad coalition with all those whose struggle for equality is linked with fighting injustice. Imagining new possibilities for both freedom and solidarity, Butler offers us a hopeful work of social and political analysis that is both timely and timeless―a book whose verve and rigor only they could deliver.

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Selling the Dream

A Next Big Idea Club Must-Read for March 2024 * A Bustle Best New Book of Spring 2024

Peabody and Emmy Award–winning journalist Jane Marie expands on her popular podcast The Dream to expose the scourge of multilevel marketing schemes and how they have profited off the evisceration of the American working class.

We’ve all heard of Amway, Mary Kay, Tupperware, and LuLaRoe, but few know the nefarious way they and countless other multilevel marketing (MLM) companies prey on desperate Americans struggling to make ends meet.

When factories close, stalwart industries shutter, and blue-collar opportunities evaporate, MLMs are there, ready to pounce on the crumbling American Dream. MLMs thrive in rural areas and on military bases, targeting women with promises of being their own boss and millions of dollars in easy income—even at the risk of their entire life savings. But the vast majority—99.7%—of those who join an MLM make no money or lose money, and wind up stuck with inventory they can’t sell to recoup their losses.

Featuring in-depth reporting and intimate research, Selling the Dream reveals how these companies—often owned by political and corporate elites, such as the Devos and the Van Andels families—have made a windfall in profit off of the desperation of the American working class.

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