Nonfiction

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

Handmade style : 23 must-have basics to stitch, use, and wear book cover

Handmade style : 23 must-have basics to stitch, use, and wear

Anna Graham

646.2 /Graham
Nonfiction

Anne M's picture

If you want to expand beyond clothing, try this book. Although you’ll find a few handmade-style dresses and tops in her book, Graham devotes most of her book to bags, tech cases, and home goods. Her picnic blanket sews up like a breeze and looks lovely. -Anne M

Caught in the revolution : Petrograd, Russia, 1917--a world on the edge book cover

Caught in the revolution : Petrograd, Russia, 1917--a world on the edge

Helen Rappaport

947.0841 /Rappaport
Nonfiction, History

"Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold. Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St. Petersburg) was in turmoil--felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows. Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva. Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action--to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a 'red madhouse'"--

Anne M's picture

This book tells the story of the Russian Revolution in Petrograd from the perspective of people who found themselves in absolutely the wrong place at absolutely the wrong time—foreigners. Embassy officials, journalists, tourists, businessmen, servants, and ex-pats from Great Britain, France, and the United States lend their memoirs, letters, diaries, and newspaper articles to tell their story as Tsarist Russia fell into what seems like complete chaos. It makes for a pretty intense read as events unfold and become more unpredictable to those living through it. However, it is also clear that although they were living through the events, they were not of the events. Many of the reporters, embassy officials, bankers, and socialites seem to not understand what they are experiencing and why. And they got to leave. -Anne M

One summer : America, 1927 book cover

One summer : America, 1927

Bill Bryson

973.91 /Bryson
Nonfiction, History

Bryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summer of 1927 when America's story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy.

Anne M's picture

What it must have been like to read the newspaper everyday this summer! This is a fascinating read and you can tell that Bryson had a great time researching this book. -Anne M

Crumb : the baking book book cover

Crumb : the baking book

Ruby Tandoh

641.815 /Tandoh
Nonfiction, Cookbooks

Anne M's picture

Ruby Tandoh’s Crumb aims to provide a relaxed, practical guide to baking. She offers some interesting, yet unintimidating, twists to old favorites. I greatly enjoyed baking some of her pound cakes, including the sour cream Madeira and orange and white chocolate cakes. -Anne M

American cake : from colonial gingerbread to classic layer, the stories and recipes behind more than 125 of our best-loved cakes from past to present book cover

American cake : from colonial gingerbread to classic layer, the stories and recipes behind more than 125 of our best-loved cakes from past to present

Anne Byrn

641.8653 /Byrn
Nonfiction, Cookbooks

"Cakes in America aren't just about sugar, flour, and frosting. They have a deep, rich history that developed as our country grew. Cakes, more so than other desserts, are synonymous with celebration and coming together for happy times. They're an icon of American culture, reflecting heritage, region, season, occasion, and era. And they always have been, throughout history. In American Cake, Anne Byrn, creator of the New York Times bestselling series The Cake Mix Doctor, takes you on a journey through America's past to present with more than 125 authentic recipes for our best-loved and beautiful cakes and frostings. Tracing cakes chronologically from the dark, moist gingerbread of New England to the elegant pound cake, the hardscrabble Appalachian stack cake, war cakes, deep-South caramel, Hawaiian Chantilly, and the modern California cakes of orange and olive oil, Byrn shares recipes, stories, and a behind-the-scenes look into what cakes we were baking back in time. From the well-known Angel Food, Red Velvet, Pineapple Upside-Down, Gooey Butter, and Brownie to the lesser-known Burnt Leather, Wacky Cake, Lazy Daisy, and Cold Oven Pound Cake, this is a cookbook for the cook, the traveler, or anyone who loves a good story. And all recipes have been adapted to the modern kitchen,"--Amazon.com.

Anne M's picture

If you want to make Mary Todd Lincoln’s almond cake or want to recreate cakes from tea rooms of yore (or just read about them), this book is for you. Also, there is this great chart about cakes different presidents favored. John Adams? He liked pie. -Anne M

Once in a great city : a Detroit story book cover

Once in a great city : a Detroit story

David Maraniss

977.434 /Maraniss
Nonfiction, History

"As David Maraniss captures it with power and affection, Detroit summed up America's path to music and prosperity that was already past history. It's 1963 and Detroit is on top of the world. The city's leaders are among the most visionary in America: Grandson of the first Ford; Henry Ford II; influential labor leader Walter Reuther; Motown's founder Berry Gordy; the Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter, the amazing Aretha; Governor George Romney, Mormon and Civil Rights advocate; super car salesman Lee Iacocca; Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, a Kennedy acolyte; Police Commissioner George Edwards; Martin Luther King. It was the American auto makers' best year; the revolution in music and politics was underway. Reuther's UAW had helped lift the middle class. The time was full of promise. The auto industry was selling more cars than ever before and inventing the Mustang. Motown was capturing the world with its amazing artists. The progressive labor movement was rooted in Detroit with the UAW. Martin Luther King delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech there two months before he made it famous in the Washington March. Once in a Great City shows that the shadows of collapse were evident even then. Before the devastating riot. Before the decades of civic corruption and neglect, and white flight. Before people trotted out the grab bag of Rust Belt infirmities-- from harsh weather to high labor costs-- and competition from abroad to explain Detroit's collapse, one could see the signs of a city's ruin. Detroit at its peak was threatened by its own design. It was being abandoned by the new world. Yet so much of what Detroit gave America lasts"--

Anne M's picture

Like many northern cities in the era, the 1960's is a decade when politicians, business leaders, and residents make decisions that lead their city to sink or swim. In Detroit, small wounds begin to fester. -Anne M

Styled : secrets for arranging rooms, from tabletops to bookshelves book cover

Styled : secrets for arranging rooms, from tabletops to bookshelves

Emily Henderson

747 /Henderson
Nonfiction, Home

Anne M's picture

Henderson helps you determine your style and then provides tips on how to show off those design inclinations in your home. Styled doesn’t call for a complete overhaul. Small changes in rearranging furniture or adding a few elements like a rug or a lamp can go a long way to transform a room. -Anne M