PositiveBooklistWhether he’s reporting from Frankfurt (Schopenhauer) or Kyoto (Sei Shonagon), his musings are engaging. And, since he’s often reading the material for the first time himself, his writing is also fresh and even revelatory as he pulls together seemingly disparate notions and asks meaningful (and often unanswered) questions. His tone alternates between informative and insightful to cheeky and challenging, and he delights in sharing anecdotes that highlight his subjects’ various peccadilloes. Whether steeped in philosophical knowledge or somewhat unfamiliar with the field, most readers will enjoy Weiner’s unique approach and ultimately satisfying conclusions.
PositiveBooklistHarding’s compelling memoir introduces readers to her emotionally fragile family and shares how being kidnapped and brutally raped at age 14 affected her life ... Harding is completely honest ... Her unsparing and candid observations allow readers to really get to know this strong, determined survivor.
PositiveBooklist... thoroughly enjoyable ... From antiquity through modern day, historian Hughes (Istanbul, 2017) artfully weaves together elements of myth, history, religion, philosophy, literature, art, and pop culture to demonstrate this deity’s centuries-long impact on matters pertaining to love, lust, sex, creation, destruction, and just about everything else. The extensively documented (and quite entertaining) text demonstrates time and again that no matter what name she’s had (Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Isis, Mary) or role she’s played (mother, lover, seductress, epitome of beauty, wanton wild woman), Venus has exerted a profound influence on western civilization. Readers are treated to scandalous tales of romping gods and cross-dressing emperors, saucy tidbits about aphrodisiacs and festive fertility rites, and historical insights. Julius Caesar claimed to be her descendant; Cleopatra claimed to be her, and just about everyone from Ovid to Sappho to Savonarola (not a fan) to Shakespeare to Napoleon, Freud, Andy Warhol, and Lady Gaga have considered her a muse. Fun and fascinating history.
PositiveBooklistThis is a book of nonfiction, but parts of it read like horror stories ... Kleeman makes every attempt to be open-minded, provides ample context, and asks insightful, probing questions. Responses can evoke bemusement, disbelief, or outrage, as it becomes clear that none of these innovations are solutions, but rather circumventions to worldwide problems, many created by technology in the first place ... Kleeman urges finding real solutions for human problems, and not turning to technology for nonexistent panaceas.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Illustrated by Fumi Nakamura
PositiveBooklist... fresh and engaging, and offers frequent surprises and perceptive commentary. Author Nezhukumatathil has previously published volumes of poetry, and now her prose flows effortlessly, with precise vocabulary that evokes clear images and captures insightful nuance ... Nezhukumatathil’s essays, with vibrant illustrations from Fumi Mini Nakamura, are in turn humorous, poignant, relatable, passionate (especially when she’s bemoaning disappearing species and habitats), and always interesting.
RaveBooklistThis engaging memoir seamlessly weaves together three narratives ... It doesn’t matter whether the text is describing a particularly painful social interaction or explaining the mechanics behind a billion-dollar proposal; Seager’s writing is unfailingly accessible and compelling. Sometimes the chapters alternate between biographical and scientific developments, other times events are intertwined, but again, readers will remain fully engaged throughout. They’ll appreciate Seager’s honesty and empathize with her as she describes the agony of watching her husband being consumed by cancer, vents frustration over professional setbacks and snubs, or shares her hard-won victories. This is technical writing at its best, shared by a thoroughly companionable and relatable scientist, writer, and woman. Readers will cheer for the happy ending.
PositiveBooklist... intensely reflective and honest ... As readers follow Fiona’s precarious first years, Lanier candidly explores her evolving emotions: guilt, despair, grief, acknowledgment of ingrained parental competitiveness, and questioning of what constitutes normal ... Readers share moments of anguish, terror, laughter, and triumph, as feisty Fiona grows and conquers milestones in her own unique ways. The book ends as Fiona enters Kindergarten, confident, quirky, and rare, indeed.
RaveBooklistThis entertaining look at \'the world’s favorite insect\' tells about butterflies’ captivating beauty, and the ways these bugs have fascinated people throughout history ... Accessible ... Williams (The Horse, 2015) shares how she has been mesmerized on more than one occasion by the exotic beauty of butterflies; her enthusiasm is convincing and contagious.
RaveBooklistThis memoir by comedy writer Zweibel includes all the elements of a polished routine: one-liners, funny stories, running gags, a bit of adults-only material, and general musings on the human condition. The best part is that Zweibel’s chosen persona—a slightly oversize, thoroughly likable Jewish kid—remains constant, so readers feel like they really get to know this nice guy, loyal friend, devoted family man, and talented writer ... SNL fans will appreciate the cameos and references to iconic skits, and all readers will find plenty of new, behind-the-scenes details and celebrity anecdotes. This is a truly fun romp.
PositiveBooklistJournalist and political analyst Ball’s first book is an entertaining and balanced biography of Nancy Pelosi, veteran politician and current Speaker of the House ... Along the way, Ball offers plenty of insightful anecdotes, presenting events within historical perspective so that readers can fully appreciate their import ... In her afterword, Ball maintains that she ultimately found Pelosi to be a very private person and \'somewhat impenetrable.\' Considering this claim, Ball’s profile seems pretty satisfying.
RaveBooklist... meticulous research. This compelling testimonial details the deprivations German citizens faced during the war and reveals a dark part of Danish history. The perspective is enlightening and the accounts of sexual abuse are timely to the continuing Me Too discourse. This memoir deserves a wide audience.
RaveBooklistIt’s obvious that Goudeau was able to gain the two women’s trust, resulting in compelling stories that offer intimate looks into their personal lives and uncover horrific details about what they’ve seen and experienced. Their histories emerge through alternating chapters broken up by excerpts that provide social and political background about American refugee resettlement from the nineteenth century to the present day. These profiles are sympathetic and ultimately profoundly moving.
PositiveBooklistIn this deep dive on the universal failure to recognize female genius, Kaplan...includes a little bit of everything ... This sounds like an awful lot, and it is, but Kaplan’s writing style is engaging and full of relatable examples. Her tone ranges from strident to self-depreciating ... Her commentary goes far beyond intellectual matters ... Expect this well-reasoned account to generate a lot of interest and conversation.
PositiveBooklistWhether describing scenes of delicacy or debauchery, these insider accounts are fascinating. Glenconner is unfailingly perceptive, honest, and amazingly down-to-earth, a survivor who embodies the British trait of \'getting on with it.\' A definite thrill for royal watchers and fans of Downton Abbey, this entertaining peek behind the royal curtain should attract a wide audience.
Anne De Courcy
PositiveBooklistThis detailed social history uses copious name-dropping and gloriously gossipy text to highlight Coco Chanel’s considerable influence on the south of France during the 1930s, providing insights into the decadent lifestyles and extravagant fashions favored by glamorous visitors to the Riveria. De Courcy...is adept at describing displays of opulence, and proves equally capable when portraying the deprivations and reversals of fortune occasioned by the onset of WWII ... This will be popular with royal watchers, fashionistas, and readers who relish the international social scene, and should cover new territory for most.
RaveBooklistIn Zimmerman’s skillful hands, the compelling narrative unfolds seamlessly and convincingly ... The first-person narrative occasionally veers into excerpts about the psychology and physiology of addiction, citing research and statistics. Author Zimmerman’s brutally honest account identifies several telltale signs that, in hindsight, seem painfully obvious. They help underscore her revelation that addiction knows no demographic barriers.
Julie Des Jardins
PositiveBooklistCombining accessible political history and social registry, this sympathetic biography tells the story of Missy Meloney, a pioneering early twentieth-century journalist, magazine editor, lobbyist, and political advisor ... There are plenty of quotes, anecdotes, and quick studies of members of her vast inner circle, encompassing presidents, royalty, movie stars, and literati ... A frail woman who walked with a limp and suffered from chronic tuberculosis as well as a wife and mother, Meloney managed to raise public consciousness regarding women as a significant political demographic, always celebrating the contributions and capabilities of others. It’s about time she got some attention for herself, and this deft offering does an admirable job.
PositiveBooklist... thoroughly researched ... Madrick’s research shows that current efforts are woefully inadequate, and he makes a reasonable and passionate plea for change.
RaveBooklist... engaging ... history writing at its best. Parkin skillfully weaves in extensive background to establish context for readers unfamiliar with the Atlantic war at sea while offering documented details, telling anecdotes, and perceptive profiles that will appeal to audiences already familiar with WWII military campaigns ... Parkin also shows a flair for the dramatic, recreating suspenseful, real-time scenarios that bring the urgency and full import of breakthroughs and battles into sharp focus. Most importantly, this account shines a spotlight on the largely overlooked contributions of the Wrens, many of whom were still in their teens. An informative, satisfying, and overall great read.
RaveBooklistFrenkel’s chronological first-person narration details narrow escapes, serendipitous respites, and acts of unbelievable cruelty, indifference, bravery, and kindness. Her story is compelling not only because it sheds light on a unique aspect of WWII (foreign nationals trapped in France during the German occupation) but due to the circumstances of its publication. Originally published in France in 1945 under the title No Place to Lay One’s Head, the book remained largely forgotten until a copy surfaced in southern France in 2010, leading to this English-language release. Insightful, sympathetic, suspenseful, and eventually triumphant, this memoir is a worthy addition to the WWII canon.
Francesca Cartier Brickell
RaveBooklistInvolving gifted artists and crafty entrepreneurs, it offers everything bling-loving readers could want. Stories about fabulous diamonds, perfectly matched pearls, glittering tiaras, iconic watches, and other jaw-dropping adornments are intertwined with detailed accounts of family lore and business dealings, descriptions of myriad social events, displays of unimaginable wealth, and copious name-dropping: royals, movie stars, maharajas, mistresses, moguls, and other glitterati. This is not mere society-page reportage, though ... insightful portraits of the Cartier family and intriguing insider looks at evolving high-society social scenes. There are archival photos, genealogy and time lines, chapter notes, and an extensive bibliography. There’s also a massive publisher advertising campaign in the works; expect plenty of well-deserved interest.
Kassia St. Clair
PositiveBooklistThis is a fascinating look at one of those everyday things many of us take for granted: fabric. Instead of tackling fabric’s entire history, St. Clair...skips across centuries and around the world, sharing accessible and telling stories about the development, production, and myriad uses of fabric ... Whether sharing the silk-making secrets of Chinese empresses or exposing the benefits of performance-enhancing swimsuits, this extensively documented and always entertaining overview works equally well for reading cover to cover or dipping into for snippets.
PositiveBooklist... [a] detailed social history ... Prolific author Standiford...weaves in local history, business dealings, political maneuvering (railroad deals, zoning and tax disputes), and scintillating scandals: divorces, affairs, suicides, shenanigans, and other activities that rocked social registries. Over two hundred pages go by before Trump even puts in an appearance; by this point, readers should already be sufficiently sated with instances of name-dropping and accounts of lavish entertainments. This is enjoyable social voyeurism for those who hanker after tales of the rich and famous, past and present.
PositiveBooklistPyne provides sufficient context to engage readers, explaining how curators and scientists have been duped in the past, and what they have learned as a result. This slightly off-beat account should be of great interest to collectors, amateur archaeologists, historians, and art connoisseurs.
PositiveBooklistThis entertaining account flows along like a love letter to the Seine, the second longest river in France. Tracing its storied history and many complexities, author Sciolino...offers brief chapters that integrate historical research, personal anecdotes, interviews, and perceptive observations ... Readers will enjoy this engaging and authoritative account, whether planning a trip, reminiscing about past travels, or sitting in an armchair, dreaming of wandering along romantic riverbanks.
PositiveBooklist... rather gloomy ... There are occasional wry observations and several humorous quotes from Mark Twain sprinkled throughout the brief chapters ... Whether or not readers agree with his pessimistic outlook or chafe against his fatalistic assertions, his writing is engaging, extensively documented, well-organized, and thought provoking.
PositiveBooklistUsing a combination of recent studies and accessible examples drawn from real life (dieting, personal finance, exercise) Wood posits that habits are born out of repetitive tasks and routines that can be encouraged. Bad habits are not necessarily the result of lack of will power or self control; they persist because of obstacles and negative cues to better choices. Eliminate these barriers, these sources of friction, and it becomes easier to adopt desirable habits ... Readers interested in making lifestyle changes will find this a good source for logical, realistic, and supportive encouragement.
PositiveBooklistAs these series of episodic accounts show, there’s no such thing as an ordinary day—especially when a persistent reporter digs behind the headlines to uncover detailed backstories and follows through to update accounts of individuals whose lives were changed that day ... Everybody loves a good story, especially when it’s told by a master storyteller. This collection should have wide appeal, whether read straight through, cover to cover, or dipped into for an occasional article.
RaveBooklistThis in-depth, insightful, and profoundly sympathetic biography...spins an engaging chronological tale peppered with insider details, anecdotes, quotes, quips, and other liberal references taken from Fisher’s own autobiographical musings ... Above all, the thoroughly documented text reveals Fisher’s willingness to examine and share the truth about every part of her life. This is a worthy tribute to a strong, intelligent woman, and readers will appreciate Weller’s honest portrayal and thoughtful analysis.
PositiveBooklistTough does highlight a few successes, but overall, this is a sobering look at American higher education, and an appeal for change.
PositiveBooklist... entertaining and highly readable ... Chapter notes and \'Taxonomies of Stupidity and Wisdom\' support [Robson\'s] arguments, giving readers plenty to think about.
RaveBooklist... entertaining and nuanced ... O’Mara goes far beyond familiar stories of humble beginnings in garages to trace the roles moneymen, politics, real estate, big business, marketing, Wall Street, the media, and foreign competition have played ... Much of this material has been covered before, but rarely in such detail, let alone with such insightful context. Concerned technology users—which pretty much sums up all of us—will find much of interest here.
John H. Halpern and David Blistein
PositiveBooklistHalpern identifies misunderstandings about opioid addiction that fuel well-intentioned but ultimately futile social and government interventions, especially in our era of the Dark Web, Mexican drug cartels, and medical breakthroughs like OxyContin. Authoritative, engaging, and accessible, this call for action offers solutions—insurance and criminal justice reforms, alternative treatments, and eradication of punishment—and avenues to greater overall understanding.
PositiveBooklistWagner...provides multiple examples from nature that mirror how medical breakthroughs, artistic spurts, and technological innovations often come after multiple failures or as unanticipated results of seemingly unrelated experimentation ... His readable insights provide fresh ways of defining success with implications for business, research, and education.
PositiveBooklistThis take is positive and entertaining ... The text is upbeat and peppered with wry observations ... the conclusion is that while food may someday look and taste a little different, science and ingenuity will keep it on our tables.
William D. Cohan
PositiveBooklistCohan incorporates personal memories, interviews with friends and family members, news headlines, and police reports, documenting incidents of teenage misbehavior, convoluted family histories, and thwarted expectations ... Readers who enjoy behind-the-scenes details about the lives of the elite, including their foibles, will appreciate these accounts.
RaveBooklistHirshman documents behind-the-scenes details, political maneuvering, evidence that was presented or suppressed, truths that became apparent long after decisions went into effect, and how these developments affect current events. The unabated, continuing public outcry against sexual harassment is a reminder that resolution is long overdue.
RaveBooklistThis thoroughly researched, extensively documented romp ... spins an intriguing tale, smoothly integrating more than 100 years’ worth of social, economic, and cultural facts and minutiae. [Satow] deftly navigates through topics such as architecture, menus, labor disputes, parties, balls, civil unrest, jewel heists, suicides, city politics, high-end financial maneuvering, and lots and lots of great celebrity gossip ... the narrative never flags ... Readers will happily soak up period details and take notes on how the stalwart staff dealt with class snobbery, prohibition and gangsters, wartime privations, the turbulent 1960s, wealthy dowagers, blushing debutantes, persistent groupies, omnipresent prostitutes, and brawling Indian billionaires. This is social history at its best: thoughtful, engaging, and lots of fun.
RaveBooklistWhether already aware of Mulgrew’s charming and unique voice, or new to her compelling, introspective storytelling, audiences will appreciate this new memoir, an account of her parents during the final years of their lives ... This engrossing story of a daughter’s love, told with brutal honesty, will resonate with readers.
Rachel Louise Snyder
PositiveBooklistAlthough domestic violence is a difficult subject, this sympathetic look at victims, perpetrators, and intervention efforts by law enforcement and social agencies makes for compelling reading ... This is not a series of individual commentaries but rather honest, ongoing conversations, with multiple instances of horror, fear, guilt, bravado, remorse, forgiveness, and frustration ... Snyder’s chilling body of evidence shows that domestic abuse is a pervasive epidemic that can and does happen everywhere.
PositiveBooklistThis engaging account of the conflict surrounding the enactment of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, is an extensively researched, easy-to-follow narrative. Cassidy makes the struggle personal by providing telling insights into the lives of two main adversaries ... Details abound, whether appearing in biographical anecdotes, records of sordid prison conditions, or evolving slogans on protest placards. Readers will come away with increased appreciation for these heroic efforts devoted to women’s suffrage plus new-found empathy for the combatants on both sides.
Amy S Greenberg
PositiveBooklistExtensively documented ... More social history than biography, the text traces Polk’s steadily growing expertise in charming, manipulating, and exerting pressure to abet her husband’s political career, which made for lasting change in Democratic Party policies. This is an in-depth, telling account of a largely overlooked woman who was able to effect profound influence while working within the constraints of her time and place.
PositiveBooklistReaders will find telling insights into the events that shaped Buttigieg’s biggest decisions and share a typical day in the mayor’s office; relive Buttigieg’s tour of duty in Afghanistan (while he was still acting mayor); and understand his angst over being a young, gay public figure trying to get a date (spoiler alert: there’s a happy ending!). First and foremost a great, engaging read, this is also an inspiring story of a millennial making a difference.
PositiveBooklistStraightforward, accessible tech talk ... whether ultimately alarmed or comforted, readers will come away enlightened and entertained.
RaveBooklistPoignant and compelling ... [Yip-Williams\'] writing is honest and, by turns, angry, humorous, and heart-breaking, especially when she talks about her two little girls, who are just starting elementary school. Even though readers know the ending—the prologue indicates that if they’re reading this, she’s already gone—every bit of new bad news hits like a blow to the gut. Readers’ will smile when Yip-Williams facetiously describes the slutty second wife she envisions for her husband and share in her grief as she makes plans for her funeral. Never mawkish, The Unwinding of the Miracle will resonate with readers.
The March for Our Lives Founders
RaveBooklist\"This is a detailed, totally relatable account of how the anti-gun, anti-school-violence grassroots movement #NeverAgain grew and gained momentum and turned into the March 2018 March for Our Lives, an event that drew an estimated one million participants to Washington, D.C. The story is narrated by the teens who organized the march, mostly survivors of the February 14, 2018, Parkland High School shooting ...The contributions, mostly essays, are written in first person, and the accounts come across as genuine and authentic. This is a clarion call to action for teens, by teens, and it is moving and powerful.
Jane Sherron de Hart
PositiveBooklistThis extensively documented account, incorporating more than 100 pages of chapter notes and a bibliography that cites hundreds of resources, is also quite engaging and very easy to read. Expect plenty of interest.
PositiveBooklist OnlineEngaging ... a structure that encourages cover-to-cover reading ... the sort of offering that will ensnare browsers and prove irresistible to chefs and foodies.
Anne de Courcy
PositiveBooklist OnlineDe Courcy documents the exhaustive efforts undertaken by wealthy nineteenth-century American mothers to secure titled British husbands for their hapless daughters ... Stories abound about American mamas who sacrificed their offspring to ensure entrance into the inner circles of New York society and invitations to posh summer affairs at Newport. Vanderbilts, Astors, Churchills, Marlboroughs; diamonds, tiaras, yachts, mansions; all are documented in glorious detail and should satisfy those readers with insatiable thirst for all things peerage.
PositiveBooklist\"The human race has been seeking personal validation since the early Greeks (\'know thyself\'); this eye-opening account gives readers insight into how one evaluation method morphed into a neat, satisfying packaging system for our complicated psyches.\
PositiveBooklistLowrey...maintains that just like on The Jetsons or Star Trek, we now have the technology to manipulate and redistribute money. Perhaps it’s time to consider a move toward a cashless, and hopefully more equitable, global society.
PositiveBooklist...knowledgeable, witty, irreverent, provocative, and very entertaining ... For us normal earthlings, he also incorporates accessible references to H. G. Wells, Carl Sagan, the Mars rovers, Easter Island, and prosthetic Klingon foreheads. This offers solid science and lots of fun, so expect high demand.
RaveBooklistThis engaging, documented, and thoughtfully presented overview of advice givers begins in 1691, with British \'seers\' ... Weisberg provides historical context that frames trending angsts within bygone eras, explaining the consuming popularity of these pundits. This journey through collective incertitude doesn’t seek to answer any of life’s pressing questions, but it sure offers an enjoyable ride.