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Staff Reviews: nonfiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'Gourmet Cooking for Two'

"Gourmet Cooking for Two" by Christi Silbaugh

★★★   Looking for a dinner recipe just for you and another person? These recipes are geared towards smaller serving sizes, and are all fully illustrated with ingredient lists that are not too daunting. Although I was a bit thrown off by the author's 'Romantic Tips' included with each recipe, a few of the recipes nonetheless tempted me to try them....

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'My Salinger Year'

"My Salinger Year" by Joanna Rakoff

★★★★ Dictaphones and typewriters in 1996? After graduate school, Joanna takes a job as an assistant to the literary agent who represents J.D. Salinger. The office appears stuck in the 1950s, despite the introduction of computers and email to the rest of the world. Joanna's duties include typing out a generic form letter to Salinger's fans, since Salinger will...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'The Make-ahead Cook'

"The Make-ahead Cook" by America's Test Kitchen

★★★★ If you're looking for tested dinner recipes that you can trust, this is your cookbook! It includes tips and over 150 recipes, most of which are easy casseroles, freezer meals, slow cooker recipes, or ready-to-serve entrees. Also included are 'One Grocery Bag, Three Meals'; one grocery list is provided and three different recipes you can make using the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Know-It-All'

"The Know-It-All" by A.J. Jacobs

★★★★★ Jacob's fears that his expensive college education is receding into a haze; a long, slow dive toward spending his days watching Wheel of Fortune and drooling into a bucket. To stave this off, he undertakes reading the entire "Encyclopaedia Britannica" from A-Ak to zywiec, 33,000 pages. He finds that this challenge recharges his brain which overflows with...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Growing Up Duggar'

"Growing Up Duggar" by Jana Duggar

★★★ While readers may not want to take romantic advice from girls who have never been in a romantic relationship, this book provides some insights into the lives of the notorious Duggar clan, famous for their large family of 19 children. Each chapter is divided into various relationships, such as relationships with parents, siblings, guys, culture, and of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies'

"Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies" by National Geographic Society

★★★★ This book is a plethora of information! This guide includes remedies for all the common ailments, including skin, digestive, muscle, and breathing problems. Each ailment is broken down into more specific problems and multiple home remedies are given as well as information on when further medical attention is needed. Also included in this easy to follow and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, health

Cover: 'Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage'

"Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage" by Elizabeth Gilbert

★★★ Committed, a follow-up novel to the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love, is a continuation of Elizabeth's and Felipe's love story. On a routine trip back to the States, Felipe is whisked off by government officials who leave the couple with a choice: get married, or never again have Felipe in the United States of America. And so Elizabeth Gilbert must confront what...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: '365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts'

"365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts" by R. J. Palacio

★★★★★ Precepts are words to live by, as Mr. Browne taught his fifth grade students in Wonder. In this compilation of 365 inspirational precepts, we get a glimpse into Mr. Browne's world of teaching. Each day of the year has a precept that is either a famous quote from a philosopher, a saying on a fortune cookie, lyrics from a song, among others. After each month...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Against All Grain'

"Against All Grain" by Danielle Walker

★★★★ For those who are gluten and dairy free, and are interested in the paleo diet, this is a beautiful cookbook full of easy and fully illustrated recipes to try. Included is the author's own health journey, as well as tips, grocery lists, label and nutrition information, and even meal plans. This is a great resource for clean eating that accommodates food...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Cooking School'

"Cooking School" by Martha Stewart

★★★★ Martha Stewart gives you all of the skills you need to be a successful at home cook. Have you ever wondered which knife to use for certain purposes? How about how to make a rue? Martha has that all covered in this book (which has been so helpful that it has been made into a PBS TV Series)! Don't be intimidated by the weight of this book because it does an...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Family Cooks'

"The Family Cooks" by Laurie David

★★★★ This cookbook is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for healthy recipes to try, whether for kids, a significant other, or just for yourself. An introduction includes compelling information for anyone interested in the hidden and un-healthy additions to the food much of America is eating. What follows is a beautifully made cookbook with tasty recipes,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Bossypants'

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey

★★★ Are you a fan of "Saturday Night Live" or "30 Rock"? Then this is the book for you. Learn about the life of Tina Fey, SNL writer and star. She documents her life from geeky child who attends a summer theater program to successful star, writer, and actress. This book is not only funny but is also surprisingly insightful on what it means to be a successful...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, humor

Cover: 'Surprise-Inside Cakes'

"Surprise-Inside Cakes" by Amanda Rettke

★★★★ Do you have an upcoming celebration that you'd like to bring an extra special cake to? This book is perfect for bakers who would like an extra challenge, or those with a special occasion coming up. Filled with possibilities, ideas, and recipes, this book is a fun resource for those looking to make an exceptional dessert!  

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Allergy-free Desserts'

"Allergy-free Desserts" by Elizabeth Gordon

★★★★ Do you have food allergies but miss (or want to try) desserts? This book contains recipes for all the favorite desserts you could think of, all made to accommodate those with food allergies. Most recipes are illustrated, and the author offers tips and tricks to make the allergy-friendly desserts resemble the actual desserts. While some readers may want to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: '#GIRLBOSS'

"#GIRLBOSS" by Sophia Amoruso

★★★★★ Learn how Sophia went from dumpster diving and shoplifting to founding her own successful online fashion business in less than a decade! Sophia started her women's clothing business as an eBay store while she was working at a dead-end job in San Francisco. Now, she is CEO and creative director of her own online fashion business which generates millions of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Gravity'

"Gravity" by Jason Chin

★★★★★ What if? This book asks just this question about gravity and what would happen if there was none. Gain a glimpse of our universe as if gravity did not exist. Jason Chin does a wonderful job getting a young reader introduced to the sometimes complex understanding of gravity. The words are few and basic yet they help the youngest of minds to begin thinking...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, outer space, science

Cover: 'Carry On, Warrior'

"Carry On, Warrior" by Glennon Doyle Melton

★★★★ Carry On, Warrior takes the reader on a journey of discovery, emotion, and healing, as she recounts pivotal life moments, thoughts, and feelings. While her novel tends to jump around, and I couldn't connect fully with some of the experiences I have not shared with her, I appreciated the journey all the same. Her writing is humble, humorous, and captivating...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Tipping Point'

"The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★★★ Gladwell explores how and why major changes in culture happen, i.e. “the tipping point”, or to use an even more current term, “go viral”. He has researched why and how trends, social movements, pop culture phenomena and epidemics occur. Gladwell contends that social and cultural events don’t just “happen”, but rather require essential elements to occur. For...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Oh She Glows Cookbook'

"The Oh She Glows Cookbook" by Angela Liddon

★★★★★ The "Oh She Glows Cookbook" is an amazing resource for anyone who is vegan or has other food intolerances, allergies, or clean-eating habits. Included are a plethora of fully illustrated, enticing recipes, as well as tips for healthy eating. Every recipe also notes whether it is gluten, nut, soy, sugar, and/or grain free in addition to vegan, so there is a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Boy on the Wooden Box'

"The Boy on the Wooden Box" by Leon Leyson

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Leon Leyson’s idyllic days playing on the streets and streetcars of Krakow, Poland quickly changed to a life of fear, degradation, humiliation and a day-to-day struggle to stay alive. Why? He was Jewish. His detailed memoir recounts these horrific days when the Third Reich invaded their town and began their increasingly brutal effort to...

Audience: teens | Genre: nonfiction, history, holocaust

Cover: 'Joyous Health'

"Joyous Health" by Joy McCarthy

★★★★ Joyous Health is chock full of recipes and tips for anyone wanting to eat healthy, because of dietary needs or a lifestyle change. Superfoods, detoxing, supplements, and healthy habits are all discussed in an easy to read and understand format. Recipes for each section are included, and all list if they are dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or vegetarian, etc. A...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Outliers'

"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★★★ This book is a must read for those interested in success or as a personal roadmap to “how to get ahead” in this world. Gladwell busts the popular conception that success is based upon luck. In fact, using countless examples of real success stories (i.e. the rich and famous), Gladwell demonstrates that success isn’t primarily due to luck, but rather, hard...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Can't Cook Book'

"The Can't Cook Book" by Jessica Seinfeld

★★★★ Oh, yes you can...cook, as the front cover says! This beginner's cookbook has a list of all the basic cooking gear needed to get started without fear. I love the "how-to" section for preparing many everyday items; it even tells you when to keep your fingers away from the knife. The cook book has recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, quickies, and my...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Cook it Fast'

"Cook it Fast" by Weight Watchers

★★★★ Are you looking for healthy recipes, with nutritional information included, that fit into your busy schedule? This new cookbook brought to us by Weightwatchers includes 250 recipes that take only 15, 20, or 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Most recipes are illustrated and have cook's notes and further tips to prepare the meal even faster. If you're looking...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

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