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Nonfiction

The Aleppo cookbook : celebrating the legendary cuisine of Syria book cover

The Aleppo cookbook : celebrating the legendary cuisine of Syria

Marlene Matar

641.595691 /Matar
Nonfiction, Cookbooks

Syria's venerable cuisine draws together diverse strains of Middle Eastern traditions to form a rich amalgam. As the nation's largest city, positioned close to Turkey and Lebanon, Aleppo is home to Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Jews, and other ethnic communities, each of which has contributed to its culinary traditions. Moreover, Aleppo was the western terminus of the ancient Silk Road, so even Chinese influences are detectable in its cooking. Professional chef and cooking instructor Matar offers detailed instructions for preparing multiple versions of kibbeh, the Middle East's renowned ground-meat dish. Other recipes offer tasty ways to cook vegetables for serving both hot and cold. Rich, sweet desserts conclude the book. Recipes are easy to follow and rarely demand hard-to-find ingredients. It's hard to imagine a cookbook that can make a reader weep, but poring over this book's richly colored photographs of Syrians crowding souks amid a sumptuous array of foods and utensils, one can only mourn their probable ruin in Syria's current civil war.

Candice's picture

Recipes from a very ethnically diverse part of the world, rich in history and culinary tradition. -Candice

The immigrant cookbook : recipes that make America great book cover

The immigrant cookbook : recipes that make America great

641.59 /Immigrant
Cookbooks, Nonfiction

More than 42 million people living in the United States came here from other countries. Since its beginnings, America has been a haven for people seeking refuge from political or economic troubles, or simply those in search of adventure and prosperity in a land where opportunity is promised to all. Along with their hopes and dreams, they brought valuable gifts: recipes from their homelands that transformed the way America eats. What would the Southwest be without its piquant green chili pepper sauces and stews, New York City without its iconic Jewish delis, Dearborn without its Arab eateries, or Louisiana without the Creole and Cajun flavors of its signature gumbos and jambalayas? Imagine an America without pizza or pad Thai, hummus or hot dogs, sushi or strudelfor most people, it wouldnt taste much like America at all.

Candice's picture

The cooking is American, but the recipes have their roots in other countries. Best of both worlds. -Candice

The devil in the white city : murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America book cover

The devil in the white city : murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America

Erik Larson

364.1523 /Larson
Nonfiction, History, True Crime

"Larson's ambitious, engrossing tale of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 focuses primarily on two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect who was the driving force behind the fair, and Henry H. Holmes, a sadistic serial killer working under the cover of the busy fair. After the 1889 French Exposition Universel wowed the world with the Eiffel Tower and high attendance numbers, interest began to grow in the U.S. for a similar fair. Chicago and New York were the top contenders for the location, and in February 1890, Chicagoans were overjoyed to hear they had won the honor. Burnham and his partner, John Root, the leading architects in Chicago, were tapped for the job, and they in turn called on Frederick Law Olmstead, Louis Sullivan, and Richard M. Hunt to help them build the world's greatest fair. They faced overwhelming obstacles: inhospitable weather, bureaucracy, illness, and even death. Unbeknownst to any of them, Holmes, a charismatic, handsome doctor, had arrived in the city and built a complex with apartments, a drugstore, and a vault, which he used to trap his victims until they suffocated. When the White City opened for business in May 1893, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to it, although a plummeting economy and several accidents did nothing to help business. A shocking murder concludes the ultimately successful fair, and that's before Holmes claims his final victims in the cruelest act of his career. A magnificent book."--

Candice's picture

Erik Larson does an absolutely amazing job of telling the story of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who operated during the World's Fair in Chicago, 1896. Not only that, but this is a fantastic story of the city itself, particularly some of the early architects and their works. Will make you want to go visit some of the buildings. -Candice

Norse mythology book cover

Norse mythology

Neil Gaiman

293 /Gaiman
Nonfiction

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he presents his fashioning of the primeval Norse myths into a novel, which begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds, delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants, and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly recreating the characters--the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendencey to let passion ignite their actions--and making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.--

Brian's picture

We get 15 separate stories that, when you read them all, feel like an adventure or journey with old friends.  The stories are told roughly in chronological order and flow into each other well.  He begins with the creation myth which was my least favorite.  I need characters and relationships.  Once those were introduced, there wasn't a single tale that was a miss.  The stories culminate in Ragnarok: The end of all things, but there's beauty in the destruction.  There's rebirth and hope and the promise of new tales.  I listened to half of the book as a Book on Disc.  Gaiman reads it himself, and his voice adds magic.  One of my favorite reads of the year. -Brian

The beer bible book cover

The beer bible

Jeff Alworth

641.23 /Alworth
Nonfiction

"A "beer lover's guide, including more than 100 types to know, arranged style by style"--Jacket.

Brian's picture

Alworth writes in a clear, conversational way that makes even the driest of topics easy to read. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the history of beer, how beer is made, and how to taste beer like a brewer. -Brian

Console wars : Sega, Nintendo, and the battle that defined a generation book cover

Console wars : Sega, Nintendo, and the battle that defined a generation

Blake J Harris

794.8 /Harris
Nonfiction

"In the tradition of The Accidental Billionaires and Moneyball, a behind-the-scenes business thriller about how the small, scrappy Sega, led by one unlikely visionary, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and changed the face of entertainment"--

Brian's picture

As a Sega fan and a Genesis owner, I was surprised and interested in the inner workings of the video game industry during the nineties. -Brian

Sad animal facts book cover

Sad animal facts

Brooke Barker

590 /Barker
Nonfiction

"A delightful and quirky compendium of the animal kingdom's more unfortunate truths, with over 150 hand-drawn illustrations." -- Back cover.

Melody's picture

Each fact is accompanied by a quip from the anthropomorphic cuties. And the appendix includes more facts with explanations, so you can find out things like why dik diks mark their territory with their tears. Library lovers will enjoy the fact that Brooke Barker spent time as a reference librarian, and started illustrating these sad animal facts in her downtime on the desk. -Melody

Mama tried : dispatches from the seamy underbelly of modern parenting book cover

Mama tried : dispatches from the seamy underbelly of modern parenting

Emily Flake

306.8743 /Flake
Nonfiction

New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake relates the hilarious horrors of pregnancy, birth, and early parenting in this funny, poignant, and beautifully illustrated book. For most people, having a child doesn't go exactly as planned. Not many are willing to admit that not only did they dislike the early days of parenting, they sometimes hated it. MAMA TRIED is a relatable collection of cartoons and essays pertaining to the good, bad, and (very) ugly parenting experiences we all face. Subjects range from "are you ready for children?" to "baby gear class-warfare." With incredible honesty, Flake tackles everything from morning sickness to sleep training, shedding much needed light on the gnarly realities of breastfeeding, child proofing, mommy groups, and every unrealistic expectation in between. MAMA TRIED will be an indispensable companion for sleepless parents and a fond reminder for those already out of the woods.

Melody's picture

This book hilariously pokes fun at experiences of expectant and first-time parents, particularly those of women who established careers and were fully independent thinkers before deciding to start a family. I read this when I was 8 months pregnant, and I peeled through the first third of her book, howling with laughter every few pages or so. I can identify with dealing with “swole” feet and eating cookies to make the baby kick (and just to eat cookies). This book was much needed comic relief for my final stretch as a pregnant lady. -Melody

Leonardo da Vinci book cover

Leonardo da Vinci

Walter Isaacson

BIOGRAPHY Leonardo
Biographies, History, Nonfiction

Acclaimed biographer Isaacson (Steve Jobs; The Innovators) delves into the 15th and 16th centuries to examine the insatiable energy of Leonardo da Vinci (1452â€"1519). Primarily relying on da Vinci's notebooks (more than 7,200 pages) for his research, as they help to understand da Vinci as a person, the author argues early and often that his subject was not the most brilliant man who ever lived, simply the most curious one. For example, in his journals, da Vinci reminds himself to "describe the tongue of the woodpecker." The illegitimate son of a wealthy notary in Vinci, a town outside Florence, Italy, da Vinci had a fascination with science and art from a young age. This melding of subjects was a main component of Renaissance life. This book examines da Vinci's birth, young adulthood, sexuality, works (e.g., The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa), and contemporaries such as Michelangelo and Cesare Borgia (on whom Machiavelli's The Prince was based). Lastly, Isaacson explores the polymath's enduring impact.

Candice's picture

A thorough and illuminating look at the consummate Renaissance genius. There are many biographies about Leonardo, and books that are about the things he did, but this one goes deep and gives an amazing amount of insight into how and what he thought, and the events that shaped him -Candice

Sunday sews : 20 inspired weekend projects book cover

Sunday sews : 20 inspired weekend projects

Theresa Gonzalez

646.404 /Gonzalez
Nonfiction

Sunday Sews presents 20 irresistible designs that can be sewn on a weekend and enjoyed for a lifetime. Featuring minimalist style and unfussy lightweight fabrics, they are as functional as they are chic. Think drapey shift dresses, flattering tunics and skirts, tanks and tops perfect for layering, pretty aprons, go-anywhere tote bags, and gifts for children and loved ones. Step-by-step instructions and technical illustrations make construction a breeze, whatever the reader's skill level; and lush photographs showcase the finished projects in clean, uncluttered settings. Sleekly packaged and brimming with atmosphere, Sunday Sews evokes everything we love about the most relaxing day of the week.

Anne M's picture

For learning about clothing, I turned here. All the projects in this book, from tank tops to dresses to skirts, are simply-designed and intended to only take a few hours to execute. I was so worried to make darts, pleats, and armholes, but Gonzalez’s directions are well-illustrated and easy to follow. Sewing her Tessa Tank was a piece of cake. -Anne M