What’s New – Non-Fiction

What Have We Here

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A film legend recalls his remarkable life of nearly eight decades—a heralded actor who’s played the roles he wanted, from Brian’s Song to Lando in the Star Wars universe—unchecked by the racism and typecasting so rife in the mostly all-white industry in which he triumphed.

“The story of a legend, written by the legend himself! Impressive, inspiring, entertaining and endearing.” —J. J. Abrams

Billy Dee Williams was born in Harlem in 1937 and grew up in a household of love and sophistication. As a young boy, he made his stage debut working with Lotte Lenya in an Ira Gershwin/Kurt Weill production where Williams ended up feeding Lenya her lines. He studied painting, first at the High School of Music and Art, with fellow student Diahann Carroll, and then at the National Academy of Fine Art, before setting out to pursue acting with Herbert Berghoff, Stella Adler, and Sidney Poitier.

His first film role was in The Last Angry Man, the great Paul Muni’s final film. It was Muni who gave Billy the advice that sent him soaring as an actor, “You can play any character you want to play no matter who you are, no matter the way you look or the color of your skin.” And Williams writes, “I wanted to be anyone I wanted to be.”

He writes of landing the role of a lifetime: co-starring alongside James Caan in Brian’s Song, the made-for-television movie that was watched by an audience of more than fifty million people. Williams says it was “the kind of interracial love story America needed.”

And when, as the first Black character in the Star Wars universe, he became a true pop culture icon, playing Lando Calrissian in George Lucas’s The Empire Strikes Back (“What I presented on the screen people didn’t expect to see”). It was a role he reprised in the final film of the original trilogy, The Return of the Jedi, and in the recent sequel The Rise of Skywalker.

A legendary actor, in his own words, on all that has sustained and carried him through a lifetime of dreams and adventure.

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Narcotopia

The gripping true story of an indigenous people running the world’s mightiest narco-state—and America’s struggle to thwart them. 
 
In Asia’s narcotics-producing heartland, the Wa reign supreme. They dominate the Golden Triangle, a mountainous stretch of Burma between Thailand and China. Their 30,000-strong army, wielding missiles and attack drones, makes Mexican cartels look like street gangs.

Wa moguls are unrivaled in the region’s $60 billion meth trade and infamous for mass-producing pink, vanilla-scented speed pills. Drugs finance Wa State, a bona fide nation with its own laws, anthems, schools, and electricity grid. Though revered by their people, Wa leaders are scorned by US policymakers as vicious “kingpins” who “poison our society for profit.”

In Narcotopia, award-winning journalist Patrick Winn uncovers the truth behind Asia’s top drug-trafficking organization, as told by a Wa commander turned DEA informant. This gripping narrative shreds drug war myths and leads to a chilling revelation: the Wa syndicate’s origins are smudged with CIA fingerprints.

This is a saga of native people tapping the power of narcotics to create a nation where there was none before — and covert US intelligence operations gone wrong.

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The Other Significant Others

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
AN INDIE BESTSELLER

“An arresting work of compassion and insight.” ―Lori Gottlieb
“I loved [The Other Significant Others] and recommend it to everybody.” ―Ezra Klein
“I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for my entire adult life.” ―Anne Helen Petersen

Why do we assume romantic relationships are more important than friendships? What do we lose when we expect a spouse to meet all our needs? And what can we learn about commitment, love, and family from people who put deep friendship at the center of their lives?

In The Other Significant Others, NPR’s Rhaina Cohen invites us into the lives of people who have defied convention by choosing a friend as a life partner―these are friends who are home co-owners, co-parents or each other’s caregivers. Their riveting stories unsettle widespread assumptions about relationships, including the idea that sex is a defining feature of partnership and that people who raise kids together should be in a romantic relationship. Platonic partners from different walks of life―spanning age and religion, gender and sexuality and more―reveal how freeing and challenging it can be to embrace a relationship model that society doesn’t recognize. And they show that orienting your world around friends isn’t limited to daydreams and episodes of The Golden Girls, but actually possible in real life.

Based on years of original reporting and striking social science research, Cohen argues that we undermine romantic relationships by expecting too much of them, while we diminish friendships by expecting too little of them. She traces how, throughout history, our society hasn’t always fixated on marriage as the greatest source of meaning, or even love. At a time when many Americans are spending large stretches of their lives single, widowed or divorced, or feeling the effects of the “loneliness epidemic,” Cohen insists that we recognize the many forms of profound connection that can anchor our lives. A rousing and incisive book, The Other Significant Others challenges us to ask what we want from our relationships―not just what we’re supposed to want―and transforms how we define a fulfilling life.

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A Map of Future Ruins

“This stunning meditation on nostalgia, heritage, and compassion asks us to dismantle the stories we’ve been told—and told ourselves—in order to naturalize the forms of injustice we’ve come to understand as order.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

When and how did migration become a crime? Why does ancient Greece remain so important to the West’s idea of itself? How does nostalgia fuel the exclusion and demonization of migrants today?
In 2021, Lauren Markham went to Greece, in search of her own Greek heritage and to cover the aftermath of a fire that burned down the largest refugee camp in Europe. Almost no one had wanted the camp—not activists, not the country’s growing neo-fascist movement, not even the government. But almost immediately, on scant evidence, six young Afghan refugees were arrested for the crime.

Markham soon saw that she was tracing a broader narrative, rooted not only in centuries of global history but also in myth. A mesmerizing, trailblazing synthesis of reporting, history, memoir, and essay, A Map of Future Ruins helps us see that the stories we tell about migration don’t just explain what happened. They are oracles: they predict the future.

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That Cheese Plate Wants to Party

It’s time to party! This how-to guide will turn any gathering into a cheese-filled opportunity for connection and self-care—from the bestselling author of That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, “the grande dame of cheese boards” (USA Today).

“The ultimate party planning guide . . . You’re going to love this cookbook I am obsessed with.”—Gina Homolka, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Skinnytaste Cookbook

If you’re in the mood to celebrate life, anything can be a party. There’s nothing like the positive energy of being together, a festive atmosphere, and the spark of laughter and conversation—around the cheese plate, of course. But a party doesn’t have to be a big event; it can just be a mindset. The very act of making a cheese plate builds space for creativity and settles you into a self-care mood, and now, Marissa Mullen takes the art of mindful plating to the next level by turning self-care communal.

Featuring forty new cheese boards for parties of all kinds, thoughtful drink pairings, color themes, floral arrangement tips, tablescape ideas, playlists, and cheesy party games, this is the ultimate party planning guide. From cheese platters themed around holidays and special events, to dishes like gooey fontina dip and lush buffalo mozzarella caprese, and clever creations like the Thanksgiving Charcu-turkey and the Birthday “Cheese Cake,” these communal meals celebrate the way we connect with each other, and take cheese boards from a dish to a lifestyle. After all: That Cheese Plate Wants to Party.

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The Paradox of Debt

Wall Street Journal Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
Amazon Bestseller

When we talk about debt and its impact on our economy, we almost always mean “government debt.” However, this is only a small part of the picture: individuals, private firms, and households owe trillions, and these private debts are vital to understanding the economy.

In this iconoclastic book, Richard Vague examines the assets, liabilities, and incomes of the entire country, private and public sector, to reveal its net worth. His holistic analysis shows that the real factor that drives both financial crises and spiraling inequality―but also, paradoxically, economic growth―is ever rising private debt. The paradox is that while debt is essential and our economy relies on it, it also brings instability unless it is periodically deleveraged―and that is very hard to do. It can, however, be carefully managed, and Vague ends the book by showing how to do so in policy areas ranging from trade and housing to financial policy and student debt.

Underpinned by pioneering data analysis and the author’s lifetime of experience in the financial world, this book is essential for anyone who wants to understand the deep, underlying dynamics of the American economy.

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On Locations

The executive producer of The White Lotus shares how he got his big break in film and television production on “the greatest TV show of all time” (Rolling Stone)

An inside look at the film industry for fans, students, and aspiring professionals — featuring a foreword by Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning creator of The White Lotus, Mike White

This page-turning account of starting at the lowest rung on the production ladder among enormously famous & outrageously demanding people will be devoured for its insights, gossip, humor, & storytelling. Married and with a child, the author takes unpaid gigs to get a foot in the door, and eventually ends up working on all seasons of The Sopranos, often named the best TV show ever.

The show’s setting and its creator’s insistence on accuracy placed the native New Jersey author in the right place at the right time to become part of television history, and to witness the effects of sudden fame and acclaim on the show’s principal players.

Includes many stories about guest stars like Steve Buscemi, Peter Bogdanovich, and Lauren Bacall, as well as the beloved cast, including new tales of James Gandolfini, who Kamine first meets after David Chase casts him as the Dean of Admissions in the classic first season “College” episode. Later, after he’s been promoted, Kamine gets the calls from Gandolfini when he’s hungover, or still drunk, and might or might not make it to the shoot that day. One night, Kamine tries to prevent Gandolfini from taking a swim in the ocean after they’ve been drinking all night, telling him it could be dangerous but Jim doesn’t listen.

Woven in is a personal story of home life and strife, achievement and frustration, anxiety and accomplishment. The book’s epilogue brings readers up to the moment as the author, after many more years as an anonymous everyman, eventually enjoys outsize professional success as executive producer of the HBO hit series created by Mike White, The White Lotus.

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Nothing Ever Just Disappears

An exploration of artistic freedom, survival, and the hidden places of the imagination, including James Baldwin in Provence, Josephine Baker in Paris, Kevin Killian in San Francisco, and E. M. Forster in Cambridge, among other groundbreaking queer artists of the twentieth century.

Nothing Ever Just Disappears is radical new history of seven queer lives and the places that shaped these groundbreaking artists.

At the turn of the century, in the shade of Cambridge’s cloisters, a young E. M. Forster conceals his passion for other men, even as he daydreams about the sun-warmed bodies of ancient Greece. Under the dazzling lights of interwar Paris, Josephine Baker dances her way to fame and fortune and discovers sexual freedom backstage at the Folies Bergère.

And on Jersey Island, in the darkest days of Nazi occupation, the transgressive surrealist Claude Cahun mounts an extraordinary resistance to save the island she loves, scattering hundreds of dissident artworks along its streets and shorelines.

Nothing Ever Just Disappears brings to life the stories of seven remarkable figures and illuminates the connections between where they lived, who they loved, and the art they created. It shows that a queer sense of place is central to the history of the twentieth century and powerfully evokes how much is lost when queer spaces are forgotten.

From the suffragettes in London and James Baldwin’s home in Provence, to Kevin Killian’s San Francisco and Derek Jarman’s cottage in Kent, this is both a thrilling new literary history and a celebration of freedom, survival, and the hidden places of the imagination.

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Taming the Octopus

The untold story of how efforts to hold big business accountable changed American capitalism.

Recent controversies around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing and “woke capital” evoke an old idea: the Progressive Era vision of a socially responsible corporation. By midcentury, the notion that big business should benefit society was a consensus view. But as Kyle Edward Williams’s brilliant history, Taming the Octopus, shows, the tools forged by New Deal liberals to hold business leaders accountable, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, narrowly focused on the financial interests of shareholders. This inadvertently laid the groundwork for a set of fringe views to become dominant: that market forces should rule every facet of society. Along the way, American capitalism itself was reshaped, stripping businesses to their profit-making core.

In this vivid and surprising history, we meet activists, investors, executives, and workers who fought over a simple question: Is the role of the corporation to deliver profits to shareholders, or something more? On one side were “business statesmen” who believed corporate largess could solve social problems. On the other were libertarian intellectuals such as Milton Friedman and his oft-forgotten contemporary, Henry Manne, whose theories justified the ruthless tactics of a growing class of corporate raiders. But Williams reveals that before the “activist investor” emerged as a capitalist archetype, Civil Rights groups used a similar playbook for different ends, buying shares to change a company from within.

As a rising tide of activists pushed corporations to account for societal harms from napalm to environmental pollution to inequitable hiring, a new idea emerged: that managers could maximize value for society while still turning a maximal profit. This elusive ideal, “stakeholder capitalism,” still dominates our headlines today. Williams’s necessary history equips us to reconsider democracy’s tangled relationship with capitalism.

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Dear Sister

AMAZON EDITOR’S PICK FOR BEST BOOKS OF FEBRUARY

A breathtaking memoir about two sisters and a high-profile case: Nikki Addimando, incarcerated for killing her longtime abuser; and the author, Michelle Horton, left in the devastating fall-out to raise Nikki’s young children and to battle the criminal justice system.

In September 2017, a knock on the door from police upends Michelle Horton’s life forever: her sister had just shot her partner and was now in jail. Everything Michelle thought she knew about her family unraveled in that moment. During the investigation that follows, Michelle learns that Nikki had been hiding horrific abuse for years.

Stunned to find herself in a situation she’d only ever encountered on television and true crime podcasts, Michelle rearranges her life to care for Nikki’s children and simultaneously launches a fight to bring Nikki home, squaring off against a criminal justice system seemingly designed to punish the entire family.

In this exquisite memoir, Michelle retraces the sisters’ childhood and explores how so many people, including herself, could have been blind to the abuse. An intimate look at a family surviving trauma, Dear Sister is a deeply personal story about what it takes to be believed and the danger of keeping truths hidden. Ultimately, Horton turns her family’s suffering into hard won wisdom: a profound story of resilience and the unbreakable bond between sisters.

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Race Rules

What if there were a set of rules to educate people against race-based social faux pas that damage relationships, perpetuate racist stereotypes, and harm people of color? This book provides just that in an effort to slow the malignant domino effect of race-based ignorance in American communities and workplaces to help address the vestiges of our nation’s racist past.

Race Rules is an innovative, practical manual for white people of the unwritten rules relating to race, explaining the unvarnished truth about racist and offensive white behaviors. It offers a unique lens from Fatimah Gilliam, a light-skinned Black woman, and is informed by the revealing things white people say when they don’t realize she’s Black.

Presented as a series of race rules, this book has each chapter tackling a specific topic many people of color wish white people understood. Combining history and explanations with practical advice, it goes beyond the theoretical by focusing on what’s implementable.

Gilliam addresses issues such as:

  • Racial blinders and misperceptions
  • White privilege
  • Racial stereotypes
  • Everyday choices and behaviors that cause racial harm

Introducing a straightforward universal three-step framework to unlearn racism and challenge misconceptions, this book offers readers a chance to change behaviors and shift mindsets to better navigate cross-racial interactions and relationships. Through its race etiquette guidelines, it teaches white people to become action-oriented racism disruptors instead of silent, complicit supporters of white supremacy.

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Legacy

“This book is more than a memoir—it also serves as a call to action to create a more equitable healthcare system for patients of color, particularly Black women.” —Essence

One of NPR’s 11 Books to Look Forward to in 2024

One of Good Morning America’s 15 New Books to Read for the New Year

Legacy is both a compelling memoir and an edifying analysis of the inequities in the way we deliver healthcare in America. Uché Blackstock is a force of nature.” —Abraham Verghese, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Covenant of Water

“[An] extraordinary family story.” —Dr. Damon Tweedy, The New York Times Book Review

“This book should be required reading for all medical students.” —Gayle King, CBS Mornings

The rousing, captivating story of a Black physician, her career in medicine, and the deep inequities that still exist in the U.S. healthcare system

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, it never occurred to Uché Blackstock and her twin sister, Oni, that they would be anything but physicians. In the 1980s, their mother headed an organization of Black women physicians, and for years the girls watched these fiercely intelligent women in white coats tend to their patients and neighbors, host community health fairs, cure ills, and save lives.

What Dr. Uché Blackstock did not understand as a child—or learn about at Harvard Medical School, where she and her sister had followed in their mother’s footsteps, making them the first Black mother-daughter legacies from the school—were the profound and long-standing systemic inequities that mean just 2 percent of all U.S. physicians today are Black women; the racist practices and policies that ensure Black Americans have far worse health outcomes than any other group in the country; and the flawed system that endangers the well-being of communities like theirs. As an ER physician, and later as a professor in academic medicine, Dr. Blackstock became profoundly aware of the systemic barriers that Black patients and physicians continue to face.

Legacyis a journey through the critical intersection of racism and healthcare. At once a searing indictment of our healthcare system, a generational family memoir, and a call to action, Legacy is Dr. Blackstock’s odyssey from child to medical student to practicing physician—to finally seizing her own power as a health equity advocate against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Disillusioned

“Astonishingly important.” —Alex Kotlowitz, The Atlantic

Through the stories of five American families, a masterful and timely exploration of how hope, history, and racial denial collide in the suburbs and their schools

Outside Atlanta, a middle-class Black family faces off with a school system seemingly bent on punishing their teenage son. North of Dallas, a conservative white family relocates to an affluent suburban enclave, but can’t escape the changes sweeping the country. On Chicago’s North Shore, a multiracial mom joins an ultraprogressive challenge to the town’s liberal status quo. In Compton, California, whose suburban roots are now barely recognizable, undocumented Hispanic parents place their gifted son’s future in the hands of educators at a remarkable elementary school. And outside Pittsburgh, a Black mother moves to the same street where author Benjamin Herold grew up, then confronts the destructive legacy left behind by white families like his.

Disillusioned braids these human stories together with penetrating local and national history to reveal a vicious cycle undermining the dreams upon which American suburbia was built. For generations, upwardly mobile white families have extracted opportunity from the nation’s heavily subsidized suburbs, then moved on before the bills for maintenance and repair came due, leaving the mostly Black and Brown families who followed to clean up the ensuing mess. But now, sweeping demographic shifts and the dawning realization that endless expansion is no longer feasible are disrupting this pattern, forcing everyday families to confront a truth their communities were designed to avoid: The suburban lifestyle dream is a Ponzi scheme whose unraveling threatens us all.

How do we come to terms with this troubled history? How do we build a future in which all children can thrive?  Drawing upon his decorated career as an education journalist, Herold explores these pressing debates with expertise and perspective. Then, alongside Bethany Smith—the mother from his old neighborhood, who contributes a powerful epilogue to the book—he offers a hopeful path toward renewal. The result is nothing short of a journalistic masterpiece.

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In the Name of Sharks

Twenty metres below water, the oceanographer François Sarano came face to face with a five-and-a-half metre great white shark. Seduced by the gentle elegance of this majestic creature, Sarano experienced a profound sense of affinity with her as they swam side by side, shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye, cutting a single figure through the ocean depths. It was an experience which made him realize the depth of our ignorance of the lives of sharks, leading him to become a passionate advocate for their protection.

Drawing on the latest scientific research on the biology and ethology of sharks and their exceptional characteristics, this book aims to break through the barrier of prejudice and to pay homage to their true nature. Representing a last vestige of wildness, their populations are nevertheless under threat – like so many species, they have been hunted and exploited by humans. Sarano argues for a change of mindset in which we lose ourselves in the world of the other, so that each living entity, human and non-human, can take their rightful place in the broader global ecosystem.

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Errand Into The Maze

From the legendary dance critic Deborah Jowitt, Errand into the Maze is the definitive biography of the visionary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham.

“Deborah Jowitt chronicles a life passionately, artfully lived. An essential read about a true legend.” ―Mikhail Baryshnikov

In the pantheon of American modernists, few figures loom larger than Martha Graham. One of the greatest choreographers ever to live, Graham pioneered a revolutionary dance technique―primal, dynamic, and rooted in the emotional life of the body―that upended traditional vocabulary and shaped generations of dancers and choreographers across the globe. Over her sweeping career, she founded what is now the oldest dance company in the country and produced nearly two hundred ballets, many of them masterpieces. And along the way, she engaged with the major debates, events, and ideas of the twentieth century, creating works that cut to the core of the human experience. Time magazine’s “Dancer of the Century,” and the first dancer and choreographer to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Graham was a visionary artistic force and an international cultural figure: hers was the iconic face of what came to be known as modern dance.

From the renowned dance writer and former longtime critic for The Village Voice Deborah Jowitt, Errand into the Maze draws on more than a decade of firsthand research to deliver the definitive portrait of this titan. Beginning with Graham’s childhood in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and her early studies at the Denishawn School; weaving in her offstage adventures, including her relationship with her dancer and muse Erick Hawkins; and chronicling her retirement from dancing at age seventy-five and her remarkably productive final years, this elegant, empathetic biography portrays the artist in all her passionate complexity. Most important, Jowitt places Graham’s creations at the heart of her story. Her works, brimming with raw intensity, are intimately linked with their creator, who played the heroine in almost all that she choreographed: Joan of Arc, Jocasta, Clytemnestra, and Judith, among others. In this volume, Graham is centerstage once more, and Jowitt casts a brilliant spotlight on her life and work.

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