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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: 'Little Humans'

"Little Humans" by Brandon Stanton

★★★★ From the author and photographer of the well-known blog "Humans of New York" comes a great picture book that celebrates the uniqueness, abilities, and diversity of the littlest humans--children. Brandon Stanton's photographs capture children doing everyday things like walking down the street, riding a bicycle, playing in the street, and making music. This...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, picture book

Cover: 'But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner'

"But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner" by Kristy Turner

★★★★★ This is a fantastic and entertaining cookbook for anyone looking to begin or add to a vegan (or similar) diet! Not only are the recipes eye-catching, but the author even titles her chapters after common misconceptions against a plant based diet (such as "I could never give up cheese!", "Where would I get my protein?", and "It's all rabbit food.") and then...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Humans of New York'

"Humans of New York" by Brandon Stanton

★★★★★ Chances are if you are on any type of social media, then you've probably been exposed to the fabulous photography of Humans of New York. While working as a bond trader in Chicago in January 2010, Stanton discovered a passion for photography. When his job ended, he decided to do something crazy and take up photography full time. He decided to go from city to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, travel, photography

Cover: 'Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living'

"Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living" by Deanna Caswell, Daisy Siskins

★★★★ Looking to make your own homemade skin care or cleaning products, or start a co-op, or want tips on gardening? This is a great resource for those wanting to be more self-sufficient in any setting, or those who want to make cheaper homemade products free of chemicals. It includes sections on raising animals (like bees and goats), gardening, starting your own...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Half Broke Horses'

"Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walls

★★★★★ I loved this book! This is the story of the author's grandmother and her amazing life, told from a first person voice. We follow Lily Casey Smith as she grows from a tough little girl, breaking horses on her father's ranch at the tender age of six, to a strong and independent woman. Lily trains as a teacher, works as a maid when she tries out city life, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'What I Know For Sure'

"What I Know For Sure" by Oprah Winfrey

★★★★★ This was a profound read for me. While I started this somewhat with trepidation, as I'm not one to usually read something like this, it struck me from the very beginning. As someone who has had a scary and difficult year, I found a lot of truth and connection to the stories told in this that deeply struck a cord with me. Oprah recounts some of her biggest...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities

Cover: 'Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul'

"Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul" by Aarti Sequeira

★★★★★ This cookbook is a beautiful celebration of Indian food and the author's past, present, and future. I really loved how personal the stories she included along with the tempting recipes were. She explains the most common ingredients in Indian recipes and how to use them, and her recipes look gorgeous and tasty! This is a must read if you love Indian food....

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Pizza Bible'

"The Pizza Bible" by Tony Gemignani

★★★ Written by the eleven time world pizza champ, this book features recipes for an assortment of pizza types, like deep dish, wood fired, and Sicilian styles, as well as pizzas native to certain areas like New York, Chicago, and more. It even includes "My Ten Commandments of Pizza", such as "thou shalt not rush the rise". Alongside tempting pictures of all the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Libraries'

"Libraries" by Bjarne Hammer

★★★★ This gorgeous new book features beautiful libraries around the world, such as the Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt and Trinity College Library in Dublin. Each of the captivating photos feature a snippet of interesting information about each location (in multiple languages) and highlights the unique architecture and accommodations of each beautiful...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Yes Please'

"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler

★★★★★ Are you ready to laugh, learn, and cry? Amy delivers all of this and more in her debut book. Anyone who is a fan of Amy from her television work and comedy will definitely appreciate her humor and stories about trying to make it in the business. She covers her childhood through her time on "Parks and Recreation." What I found to be the best part of this...

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

Cover: 'Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)'

"Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)" by Christian Rudder

★★★★ Mr. Rudder is a Harvard-educated mathematician and co-founder of OkCupid, an online dating service. If you want to explore the world of number crunching in the modern world of media and technology, this book is it. He shows through multiple examples, graphs and analysis what numbers reveal (that sometimes people are loath to). Much of the book uses OKCupid...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, technology

Cover: 'Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties'

"Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties" by Rachel Cooke

★★★★ A fascinating look at the role of women in the 1950s, this book shows us that there were definitely exceptions to the stereotypical housewife we've been shown. This book gives mini biographies of some of the extraordinary women who forged careers in a man's world and paved the way for the opportunities that women enjoy today. From race car drivers to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Best Mug Cakes Ever'

"Best Mug Cakes Ever" by Monica Sweeney

★★★★★ I thought it was brilliant when a friend e-mailed me a recipe for making cake in a mug a couple of years ago, so when I found this book I was ecstatic! This book is filled with fun recipes that can be used for a quick dessert anytime. They are ready start to finish in about five minutes. There is a little bit of guesswork when you first start out, depending...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Book With No Pictures'

"The Book With No Pictures" by B. J. Novak

★★★★ How can a book be a picture book if there are no pictures? B.J. Novak, best known for his writing and acting on "The Office," shows that a book can be fun without illustrations. But how? Well, the person reading the book has to say everything the words say...no matter what. Even if the words have no meaning or are down-right ridiculous, the reader still has...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, read-alouds

Cover: 'Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them'

"Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them" by Isaac Fitzgerald

★★★★★ People have been tattooing their bodies for thousands of years. Some tattoos are thought about for years and others are spur of the moment decisions. I have always been fascinated by the stories behind the art and so this book was a perfect find. Each tattoo is artistically recreated and accompanied by the person's story. Some stories are funny, others...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, beauty, fashion

Cover: 'A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey'

"A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey" by Jessica Fellowes

★★★★★ Full of gorgeous photographs, behind-the-scenes information about the show, and fascinating historical details, this book is a must-read for any Downton Abbey fan! The author breaks the chapters into months of the year, describing events that occurred each month and interviewing cast members and crew. She also focuses on a unique aspect of production on the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, television, celebrities

Cover: 'Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die'

"Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die" by Diane Kochilas

★★★★ This was a great, new book to stumble upon! This cookbook focuses on the life and recipes of the small Greek island of Ikaria. Between recipes unique to this area, the author shares stories of the people, culture, and food of this beautiful island, alongside fantastic pictures. This cookbook is a great opportunity to delve into the lives of the locals, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Skinny Dinners: 200 Calorie-Smart Recipes that Your Family Will Love'

"Skinny Dinners: 200 Calorie-Smart Recipes that Your Family Will Love" by Better Homes and Gardens

★★★★ Looking for a healthy dinner recipe? This cookbook has a varied collection of healthy and appetizing options. Included are slow cooker, 30 minute, side dish, casserole, and dessert recipes, as well as 5 ingredient recipes for when you need a quick and easy option. They even include your favorite comfort food dishes tweaked to make them better for you, plus...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'There Was a Little Girl'

"There Was a Little Girl" by Brooke Shields

★★★ Brooke Shields opens up about her sometimes tumultuous relationship with her mother and manager, Teri Shields. She reveals heartbreaking details about her mother's life-long struggle with alcoholism, and how her relationship with her mother affected her life. A constant theme throughout the book is Brooke defending her mother to critics, despite the pain...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities

Cover: 'Chloe's Vegan Desserts'

"Chloe's Vegan Desserts" by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ This is a fantastic vegan resource for desserts! Instead of containing substitutions and harder-to-find ingredients, Chloe relies on science instead of substitutions in order to keep the ingredient list and recipes from getting confusing (or expensive). These are recipes that won't make you feel like you're missing out on anything, whether being vegan was a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'A Gift From Bob'

"A Gift From Bob" by James Bowen

★★★ A continuation of James Bowen’s memoir that began in his popular book “A Street Cat Named Bob", this book focuses on the last year that James spent as a recovering person trying to make a living on the bitterly cold, frozen streets of London selling the magazine “The Big Issue” and playing guitar with his adopted cat Bob. It depicts the hand-to-mouth...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, holiday, animals

Cover: 'Cities of the World: Extreme Spot the Difference'

"Cities of the World: Extreme Spot the Difference" by Richard W. Galland

★★★★★ Do you love to travel (or wish you could)? Are you ready for a challenge? Then this book is perfect for you! Forty beautiful cities are represented in the photographs contained in these pages. From Sydney to London and Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro, you will be transported around the globe from the comfort of your home. Travel broadens your mind and so do...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Art of Adventure: Outdoor Sports from Sea to Summit'

"The Art of Adventure: Outdoor Sports from Sea to Summit" by Ian Shive

★★★★★ This beautiful book is full of amazing adventure photographs that will inspire you to get up and have an adventure of your own. From water to snow to summits, this book offers a wide variety of adventures for all tastes. These breathtaking photographs capture the spirit and thrill of hurtling over a waterfall in a kayak, skiing down an unknown mountain...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'What the Dog Saw'

"What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★ This book is from the same author of "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers", books I very much enjoyed. In "What the Dog Saw", Gladwell provides a collection of his writings from the "New York Times". The chapters provide overviews of newsworthy topics and issues, in essence their "back story". He examines the facts, history and interesting details of a wide...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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