The Fate of Food
While the realities of climate change hit on virtually all facets of human existence in some form or fashion, its impact on the global food supply is among the most consequential. Climate models predict crop production to decline every decade for the remainder of this century. As the global population increases on a virtually exponential curve, humanity must rethink and rebuild the way we produce food. The Fate of Food provides an insider’s view on the race to do just that.
Songs of America
Pulitzer Prize-winner Jon Meacham and country music legend Tim McGraw take readers on a fascinating and wide-ranging journey through the music that, in many ways, has shaped American history. From Revolution-era battle hymns to the Vietnam War protest song, from Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, Song of America charts the scope of American music and its deeper historical and political context.
Brave, Not Perfect
Taking inspiration from her extraordinary TED Talk, Reshma Saujani, the visionary CEO and founder of Girls Who Code, delivers a message of self-empowerment and the necessity of embracing imperfection. We’re often left crushed under the weight of our own expectations; according to Saujani, perfection is not only the enemy of good but also our own happiness and personal well-being. Brave, Not Perfect is a guide for attaining our best lives not through striving for perfection but by leaning into bravery.
America's Reluctant Prince
Steven M. Gillon
As the son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, JFK Jr. was arguably the closest we’ve had to American royalty. Growing up reluctantly in the spotlight—and beneath the weighty and tragic shadow of his father—John Jr. was nonetheless a driven and charismatic figure who left the world far too soon. Written by noted historian Steven M. Gillon, who was also a long-time friend of Kennedy, America’s Reluctant Prince is a comprehensive, deeply personal, and revealing chronicle of John F. Kennedy’s Jr.’s life.
Timothy C. Winegard
What if I told you one of the strongest driving forces of human innovation and expansion was the mosquito? It may sound absurd on its face, but that is precisely the case that Dr. Timothy C. Winegard makes in this surprisingly compelling—and immensely entertaining—piece of narrative nonfiction. Believe it or not, the mosquito has had an indelible impact on the trajectory of human history. You’ll never look at this particular winged nuisance the same way again.
How to Make a Plant Love You
Summer Rayne Oakes
Whether you’re tending an expansive backyard garden this summer or a cadre of houseplants in your not-so-spacious apartment, How to Make a Plant Love You needs a spot on your bookshelf. Summer Rayne Oakes is the founder of Homestead Brooklyn and an environmental scientist. She currently keeps 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment. As both a handy how-to on plant care and an insightful mediation on the mindfulness that accompanies gardening in any space, How to Make a Plant Love You is a perfect summer read.
How to Give Up Plastic
Plastics have moved to the forefront of our environmental consciousness and conservation efforts. They take approximately 450 years to biodegrade, and there are currently millions of tons of them clogging our oceans and waterways and endangering sea life. How to Give Up Plastic is an illuminating and accessible guide to eliminating plastic from our daily lives and doing our part to preserve and protect the planet.
Spying on the South
Frederick Law Olmstead holds a place as America’s greatest landscape architect and is best known as the man behind New York City’s Central Park. However, in the 1850s he had a lesser-known but no less fascinating career as an undercover correspondent in the South for a fledgling newspaper called the New York Times. Here, Tony Horwitz retraces Olmstead’s journeys, and in the process comes face to face with the nation’s current polarization.
Conventional wisdom holds that if one wishes to master a skill, it is best to start early and dedicate as many hours as possible to focused practice. Award-winning sports writer David Epstein’s latest book upends this idea. According to Epstein, a closer look at the world’s top performers in various fields shows early specialization to be an exception rather than a rule. Range illustrates that generalists rather than specialists are more likely to succeed—particularly in complex fields—and lays out a compelling explanation as to why.
D-Day Girls is the gripping untold story of the women recruited by Churchill’s elite spy agency to combat the Nazis and act as saboteurs throughout France. These women blew up power lines, plotted prison breaks, destroyed train lines, and paved the way for the D-Day invasion—all with the Gestapo hot on their trail. Author Sarah Rose focuses her story on three of these remarkable women and brings their incredible tale out of the shadows of history.
How to Change Your Mind
How to Change Your Mind may be Michael Pollan’s most fascinating—and personal—book to date. Initially seeking to research the ways LSD and psilocybin are being used to provide relief for difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression and addiction, Pollan himself was driven to test the waters and explore the landscape of his own mind. Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, How to Change Your Mind is a deeply intriguing read.
Chasing the Moon
Serving as a companion book to the “American Experience” PBS film of the same name, Chasing the Moon is an in-depth look at the visionaries who helped America achieve the first lunar landing. Based on eyewitness accounts and archival material, Chasing the Moon is the story of the engineers, astronauts, authors, and mathematicians who heeded President Kennedy’s call and helped achieve one of the greatest feats in human history.
A Woman of No Importance
A Woman of No Importance is the never-before-told story of an American spy whose thrilling work changed the tide of World War II. Her name was Virginia Hall, and the Nazi Gestapo considered her the most dangerous of all Allied spies. Her work, and the vast spy network she established, was instrumental to the creation and success of the French Resistance. At the time, she was perhaps the most wanted person in all of Nazi-occupied France. Despite that, her courageous efforts altered the course of one of history’s most devastating wars.
We often think of summer as a time for beach reads and general tuning out, but there’s no reason we can’t be entertained and also learn something. There’s a host of narrative nonfiction books featuring fascinating narratives or edge-of-your-seat, true-life thrills. These nonfiction page-turners are a great way to absorb some new information, learn about an intriguing bit of history, or discover something new about the world, all from the confines of a hammock or beach towel.
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