Narrative Non-fiction

Healing the Space Between Us: connecting across racial and economic divisions

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Heartbreak

Heartbreak

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When her twenty-five-year marriage suddenly falls apart, journalist Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. But when she starts feeling physically sick, losing weight and sleep, she sets out in pursuit of rational explanation. She travels to the frontiers of the science of "social pain" to learn why heartbreak hurts so much--and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.

Soon Williams finds herself on a surprising path that leads her from neurogenomic research laboratories to trying MDMA in a Portland therapist's living room, from divorce workshops to the mountains and rivers that restore her. She tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks while looking at pictures of her ex, and discovers that our immune cells listen to loneliness. Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, she seeks out new relationships and ventures into the wilderness in search of an extraordinary antidote: awe.

With warmth, daring, wit, and candor, Williams offers a gripping account of grief and healing. Heartbreak is a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery that will change the way we think about loneliness, health, and what it means to fall in and out of love.

A Peculiar Book Club Season 4 selection! See the Peculiar website for more details.

Holidays on Ice : With Six New Stories

Holidays on Ice : With Six New Stories

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David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favoritesas the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow"); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men"); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash"); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").

No matter what your favorite holiday, you won't want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called "one of the funniest writers alive" (Economist).

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

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WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE in SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award

One of TIME's 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year - A PEOPLE Best New Book - A Barnes & Noble and SHELF AWARENESS Best Book of 2022 - An Indie Next Pick - One of Winter's Most Eagerly Anticipated Books: VANITY FAIR, VULTURE, BOOKRIOT

A fascinating tour of creatures from the surface to the deepest ocean floor, inviting us to envision wilder, grander, and more abundant possibilities for the way we live. "A miraculous, transcendental book." (Ed Yong, author of An Immense World)

A queer, mixed race writer working in a largely white, male field, science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler has always been drawn to the mystery of life in the sea, and particularly to creatures living in hostile or remote environments. Each essay in their debut collection profiles one such creature, including:

  • the mother octopus who starves herself while watching over her eggs,
  • the Chinese sturgeon whose migration route has been decimated by pollution and dams,
  • the bizarre, predatory Bobbitt worm (named after Lorena),
  • the common goldfish that flourishes in the wild,
  • and more.
  • Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches is a shimmering, otherworldly debut that attunes us to new visions of our world and its miracles.


    Inciting Joy: Essays

    Inciting Joy: Essays

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    From Ross Gay, the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights, comes an intimate and electrifying collection of essays about the joy that comes from connection. "BRILLIANT." --Ada Limón, U.S. poet laureate

    In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, prizewinning poet and author Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life's inevitable hardships. Throughout Inciting Joy, he explores how we can practice recognizing that connection, and also, crucially, how we can expand it.

    In "We Kin," Gay thinks about the garden (es­pecially around August, when the zucchini and tomatoes come in) as a laboratory of mutual aid; in "Share Your Bucket," he explores skateboard­ing's reclamation of public spaces; he considers the costs of masculinity in "Grief Suite"; and in "Through My Tears I Saw," he recognizes what was healed in caring for his father as he was dying.

    In an era when divisive voices take up so much airspace, Inciting Joy offers a vital alternative: What might be possible if we turn our attention to what brings us together, to what we love?

    Taking a clear-eyed look at injustice, political polarization, and the destruction of the natural world, Gay shows us how we might resist, how the study of joy might lead us to a wild, unpredictable, transgressive, and unboundaried solidarity. In fact, it just might help us survive.

    "A gift that's meant to be shared . . . [This book] inspires us to look beyond the miseries of our era to envision a more welcoming future."―The Washington Post

    INFINITE CITIES: A Trilogy

    INFINITE CITIES: A Trilogy

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    "The maps themselves are things of beauty."--The New York Times

    Explore the hidden histories of San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York with this brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas. From Rebecca Solnit, Rebecca Snedeker, and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

    In the past decade, Rebecca Solnit--aided by local writers, artists, historians, urbanists, ethnographers, and cartographers--has compiled three stunning atlases that have radically changed the way we think about place. Each atlas provides a vivid, complex look at the multi-faceted nature of a city as experienced by its different inhabitants, replete with the celebrations and contradictions that make up urban life.

    This three-volume paperback set contains:

  • The original, gorgeously designed atlases--Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas; and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas
  • Three new and updated, full-color, fold-out posters for each city, including the popular "City of Women" map
  • A new and thoughtful essay by Rebecca Solnit reflecting on the project ten years after the publication of the first atlas

  • A stunning collection, this boxed set is a perfect treasury of imagination and insight, a rich people's history of these infinite cities.

    INFINITE CITY: A SAN FRANCISCO

    INFINITE CITY: A SAN FRANCISCO

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    What makes a place? Infinite City, Rebecca Solnit's brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area. Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit takes us on a tour that will forever change the way we think about place. She explores the area thematically--connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock's filming of Vertigo. Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, she finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures--butterfly habitats, queer sites, murders, World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She roams the political terrain, both progressive and conservative, and details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, the South of Market world being devoured by redevelopment, and much, much more. Breathtakingly original, this atlas of the imagination invites us to search out the layers of San Francisco that carry meaning for us--or to discover our own infinite city, be it Cleveland, Toulouse, or Shanghai.

    CONTRIBUTORS:

    Cartographers: Ben Pease and Shizue Seigel

    Designer: Lia Tjandra

    Artists: Sandow Birk, Mona Caron, Jaime Cortez, Hugh D'Andrade, Robert Dawson, Paz de la Calzada, Jim Herrington, Ira Nowinski, Alison Pebworth, Michael Rauner, Gent Sturgeon, Sunaura Taylor

    Writers and researchers: Summer Brenner, Adriana Camarena, Chris Carlsson, Lisa Conrad, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Paul La Farge, Genine Lentine, Stella Lochman, Aaron Shurin, Heather Smith, Richard Walker

    Additional cartography: Darin Jensen; Robin Grossinger and Ruth Askevold, San Francisco Estuary Institute
    Insomniac City

    Insomniac City

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    Amazon's Best Biographies and Memoirs of 2017 List

    "This touching memoir of the late neurologist Oliver Sacks, by a photographer and writer with whom he fell in love near the end of his life, turns a story of death into a celebration." --The New Yorker


    A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation.
    --Anne Lamott

    Bill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city's incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera.

    And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance--I don't so much fear death as I do wasting life, he tells Hayes early on--is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes's distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.

    Intimations

    Intimations

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    "[Smith's] slim collection of essays captures this peculiar moment with startling clarity. . . . The personal and political intermingle for a powerful indictment of America's social systems." --TIME, The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

    "While quarantined amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Smith penned six dazzling, trenchant essays burrowing deep into our contemporary culture of disease and upheaval and reflecting on what was 'once necessary' that now 'appears inessential . . .'" --O, The Oprah Magazine, Best Books of 2020

    "Smith does more than illuminate what we're going through right now. She offers a model of how to think ourselves through a fraught historical moment without getting hysterical or sanctimonious, without losing our compassion or our appreciation for what's good in other people. She teaches us how to be better at being human." --John Powers, Fresh Air


    A New York Times Bestseller

    Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.

    Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality--or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it?

    Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened--and what should come next.

    The author will donate her royalties from the sale of Intimations to charity.

    Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption

    Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption

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    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX - A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

    "[Bryan Stevenson's] dedication to fighting for justice and equality has inspired me and many others and made a lasting impact on our country."--John Legend

    NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN - Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times - The Washington Post - The Boston Globe - The Seattle Times - Esquire - Time



    Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

    Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

    Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction - Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction - Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award - Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize - An American Library Association Notable Book

    "Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields."--David Cole, The New York Review of Books

    "Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America's Mandela."--Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

    "You don't have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful."--Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review

    "Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he's also a gifted writer and storyteller."--The Washington Post

    "As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty."--The Financial Times

    "Brilliant."--The Philadelphia Inquirer