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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: 'As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride'

"As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride" by Cary Elwes, Joe Layden

★★★★★ Fans of the movie The Princess Bride—this book is for you! Cary Elwes, whom fans of the movie know as Westley, shares memories and behind-the-scenes stories from the making of a movie that eventually became a classic. Many alumni of the movie, including Rob Reiner and the surviving members of the central cast, contribute anecdotes, and it is abundantly...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, movie tie-ins

Cover: 'The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook'

"The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook" by Kate White

★★★★ Have you ever found yourself wondering how to make Richard Castle’s pancakes or Kinsey Millhone’s peanut butter and pickle sandwich? If so, this is the cookbook for you! It showcases recipes from more than one hundred mystery authors, and chances are at least one of your favorite mystery authors contributed a recipe. Each recipe includes an introduction...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'life.love.beauty'

"life.love.beauty" by Keegan Allen

★★★★ This is a thoughtful collection of photographs, poems, journal entries, and thoughts from Keegan Allen. Most readers will recognize him from the ABC Family TV show "Pretty Little Liars." Fans will enjoy moments and photos taken on and off the set featuring many of the actors from this show, as well as other productions important to Keegan Allen. He also...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography

Cover: 'Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food'

"Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food" by Joseph Bastianich, Tanya Bastianich Manuali

★★★★ Who doesn't love pasta? This cookbook has a plethora of new and traditional ideas. All 100 recipes are under 500 calories for those focused on healthy eating, although with the tempting photos, you'd never think this cookbook was focused on flavorful but healthy recipes! I can't wait to delve into a few of these!  

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients'

"My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients" by Geoffrey Zakarian, Amy Stevenson, Margaret Zakarian

★★★★ For those of us who cook frequently, we almost always have a stocked pantry. But even if it isn't, pantry items are easy to shop for and keep on hand. This cookbook highlights 50 valued pantry items, from honey to canned chickpeas to some of the most essential spices, and includes beautiful recipes that use them. Everything looks delicious, original, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook'

"The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook" by Judi Zucker, Shari Zucker

★★★★ Allergic or intolerant to milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, soy, or fish, and looking for easy recipes to make? I qualify for 3 of the allergies mentioned in this cookbook, and it was very helpful having a whole cookbook devoted to recipes I can safely have! Although I was disappointed that no photos were included, the amount of recipes and tips included were...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination'

"Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" by J. K. Rowling, Joel Holland

★★★★★ I wish someone had read these inspiring words to me on my graduation day! This is a beautiful commencement speech formatted into a beautiful book that helps a beautiful cause, J.K Rowling's charity, Lumos. Told with humor and unquestionable wisdom by (in my very biased opinion) one of the best authors in the world, this is a commencement speech for the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Pin Action'

"Pin Action" by Gianmarc Manzione

★★★★ Gianmarc Manzione recreates the world of 1960s and 1970s action bowling in this story of championship bowler Ernie Schlegel. Using interviews, archival materials, and his own love of bowling, the author makes the reader feel like he or she is at the bowling alley, watching Schlegel bowl in one of his flashy outfits or witnessing a gangster draw his knife...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship'

"Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship" by Ashley Rodriguez

★★★★ Full of beautiful photographs and tasty recipes, this cookbook is great for couples looking to add some romance to their relationship through food. The author and her husband have weekly date nights at home, cooking three or four course meals after they put their kids to bed. Some of the recipes might seem rather ambitious (making homemade buns for...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More'

"The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More" by Katrina Bahl

★★★★★ I have loved Biscoff Spread ever since I first saw it next to the peanut butter at the grocery store. I am also an avid baker and confectioner. Now, I have found a book to fuel my addiction to this spread and the cookies from which it originated. The author originally developed the recipes to provide her son, who is allergic to peanut butter, with delicious...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks'

"I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks" by Gina Sheridan

★★★★★ This collection of short and absolutely hilarious anecdotes that will appeal to both library workers and library users. The stories range from cute encounters with children and confusion over e-books and computers to a few entries that moved this reviewer to tears. There is even an entire chapter dedicated to one eccentric library patron. As a library staff...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission'

"If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission" by Jo Piazza

★★★★★ The nuns profiled in this book are inspiring, even if you do not identify as Catholic. Piazza interviewed ten nuns who have devoted their lives to various causes, ranging from helping victims of human trafficking to challenging the use of nuclear weapons. Each nun also discusses why she decided to become a nun, and how she discovered her cause. The author,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, spirituality

Cover: 'Unseen London'

"Unseen London" by Mark Daly, Peter Dazeley

★★★★★ Have you ever been curious about what different buildings might look like from the inside? What about historic buildings in one of the most famous world cities? This book is a gem with really wonderful pictures of some very iconic and historic buildings of London. It is very interesting to see the different styles and architecture that lay behind closed...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, travel, photography

Cover: 'The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights'

"The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights" by Steve Sheinkin

★★★★★ The Port Chicago 50 tells the true story of 50 black sailors who were tried for mutiny late in World War II. Port Chicago was a Navy base near San Francisco, CA, and, like other military bases in the U.S. at the time, was segregated. At Port Chicago, black sailors—who could not serve on naval vessels outside of the mess hall or laundry—loaded munitions into...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'You Were Always Mom's Favorite!'

"You Were Always Mom's Favorite!" by Deborah Tannen

★★★★ Having read and enjoyed a few of Deborah Tannen’s books and as a person with two sisters, I was intrigued about what she could reveal about these unique relationships.  Tannen offers a linguist’s view ((Professor at Georgetown University) of how sisters relate. Specifically, she analyzes sister’s relationship issues using their conversations as her...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'We Should Hang Out Sometime'

"We Should Hang Out Sometime" by Josh Sundquist

★★★★★ In his autobiography, Josh Sundquist asks each of the girls he "hung out with" since Middle School to see why they never went to the boyfriend/girlfriend stage. His background on each of the girls he liked, as well as his investigation is filled with humor and graphs.  This book, for ages 12 and up, is an engaging book that causes one to think...

Audience: teens | Genre: nonfiction, award-winning, yalsa top 10

Cover: 'America's Best Pies 2014-2015'

"America's Best Pies 2014-2015" by Linda Hoskins, American Pie Council

★★★★★ I am someone who will use any excuse to make a pie, and this book provided me with many new recipes and flavor combinations to try. This is an excellent book for both the novice and experienced pie-maker. The recipes range from classic recipes, such as the Lattice-Topped Apple Pie to the more experimental, like the Super Grande Mochachino Pie. There are...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Choose Your Own Autobiography'

"Choose Your Own Autobiography" by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum, Antony Hare

★★★★★ Whether your favorite Neil Patrick Harris character is Barney Stinson, Doogie Howser, or Hedwig, this book is highly recommended. NPH models his autobiography after the "Choose Your Own Adventure" children's series, where readers make a choice at the end of each chapter that will change the outcome of the story. This book is full of humor and quirky details...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, celebrities, humor

Cover: 'A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul'

"A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul" by Anthony DeStefano

★★★★★ This book is a call to be honest about your life and your search for happiness. It doesn't just focus on material wealth or shallow happiness but looks deeper into the spiritual level and the important role that a healthy spiritual life has on overall happiness. It guides us to love ourselves, treat our happiness and well-being from a holistic perspective,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'So anyway...'

"So anyway..." by John Cleese

★★★★★ Whether you know him as a Python or as The Pink Panther's Charles Dreyfus, chances are that at some point in your life, John Cleese has made you laugh. Easily one of my favorite comedic actors, John Cleese's memoir is a book that was worth the wait. From his quiet beginnings as the only child of older parents in a sleepy English town, to his adventures in...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities, humor

Cover: 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking'

"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain

★★★★★ If you anyone has ever asked you, “Why are you so quiet?” or “Why don't you speak up?” or even “ Why are you so shy?” then this is the book for you. The author Susan Cain explores the preference for the extrovert personality in our culture. The author explores the many ways that these basic personality types differ starting with differences in the nervous...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography'

"Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography" by Meryle Secrest

★★★★ This well-written biography provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The fiery Italian was a rival of Coco Chanel, good friend of Salvador Dali, and a mentor to Hubert De Givenchy. Schiaparelli created the famous lobster print dress that Wallis Simpson wore after she married the Duke of Windsor, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Prune'

"Prune" by Gabrielle Hamilton

★★★★ Foodies, professional chefs, and serious home cooks will love this creative and unique cookbook from the chef and owner of the NYC restaurant Prune. It's presented like a how-to manual for new cooks at Prune, complete with Hamilton's hand-written (and occasionally snarky) notes and tips about preparing Prune's signature dishes. There is even a section about...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe'

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" by Lisa Small, Stefano Tonchi, Caroline Weber

★★★★★ Shoe lovers, this is the book for you! Based on the information gathered for an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, this beautiful book is a photographic and short essay history of the high heel. From its fascinating origins to its present day art form, the high heel has been a status symbol for men and women, functional footwear, and a highly controversial...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, fashion, beauty

Cover: 'Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics'

"Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics" by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ This is another fantastic vegan cookbook! Countless pasta, soup, and pizza recipes, as well as delicious desserts had me hooked. You no longer have to give up on the idea of alfredo sauce, gelato, biscotti, or any other of your Italian favorites. Coming from an Italian who can't have any more soy, dairy, or egg, (but who's favorite food is authentic gelato...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

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