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Staff Picks, Non-Fiction

Here is our list of suggestions based on what we've read, listened to, and the store's best sellers.

Playlist Tags: A Freethinker's Corner genre: Nonfiction bookstore-created topic: favorites

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The Order of Time

By Carlo Rovelli
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
Length: 4 hours 19 minutes

The Order of Time

“In thirteen succinct chapters, Rovelli shows us that time as we know it—continuous, smooth, regular—is an illusion. Our perception of time is limited and can’t take into account its true nature as a fluctuating, particulate field--“a network of relations that no longer holds together as a coherent canvas.” Step by step, Rovelli’s deconstruction of received notions of time is clear and accessible—our present is “a bubble around us” and can’t refer to far places in the universe; increasing entropy means “the entire universe is like a mountain that collapses in slow motion”—and his writing is elegant in all senses of the word, as breathtaking for the startling ideas as for his compact articulation of them. A theoretical physicist, Rovelli is also a true humanist; he doesn’t abandon us in a quantum universe ruled by entropy where “the difference between the past and the future refers only to our own blurred vision of the world,” but ends with Proust, music, and emotion. Overall, his book includes more poetry than equations, and he opens each chapter with an excerpt from Horace’s Odes—perhaps a subtle comment on standing the test of time.”

Politics & Prose image Laurie G., Politics & Prose
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Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People -- and Break Free

By Stephanie Moulton Sarkis
Narrated by: Suehyla El-Attar & Stephanie Moulton Sarkis
Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

A mental health expert sheds light on "gaslighting"--the manipulative technique used by sociopaths, narcissists, and others--offering practical strategies to cope and break free.

He's the charmer -- the witty, confident, but overly controlling date. She's the woman on your team who always manages to take credit for your good work. He's the... Read more »

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Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

By Stephanie Land & Barbara Ehrenreich
Narrated by: Stephanie Land
Length: 8 hours 34 minutes


“This was an amazing book about her life and struggles. It was so much better being able to hear the author tell the story. I could feel the despair in her voice and it made the book so much more poignant.”

Mostly Books image Tricia, Mostly Books
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How to Hide an Empire

A History of the Greater United States

By Daniel Immerwahr
Narrated by: Luis Moreno
Length: 17 hours 25 minutes

How to Hide an Empire

“A hilarious sparkler of historical quirks burns down to a dangerous fuse of tampering, territory, and transnational economics in this history of the USA not as the nation you just pictured, but as the complete global network of Americans, many without the rights the Lower 48 believe in, most segregated into cells of power that occasionally overheat. Explosive. Narrator Luis Moreno delivers both bitter reality and hilarious asides with a tone of candor and clarity: A+”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
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The Socialist Manifesto

The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality

By Bhaskar Sunkara
Narrated by: Benjamin Isaac
Length: 9 hours 39 minutes

A "razor-sharp" introduction to this political and economic ideology makes a galvanizing argument for modern socialism (Naomi Klein) -- and explains how its core tenets could effect positive change in America and worldwide.
In The Socialist Manifesto, Bhaskar Sunkara explores socialism's history since the mid-1800s and presents a realistic... Read more »

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The Universe Speaks in Numbers

How Modern Math Reveals Nature's Deepest Secrets

By Graham Farmelo
Narrated by: Hugh Kermode
Length: 8 hours 38 minutes

How math helps us solve the universe's deepest mysteries One of the great insights of science is that the universe has an underlying order. The supreme goal of physicists is to understand this order through laws that describe the behavior of the most basic particles and the forces between them. For centuries, we have searched for these laws... Read more »

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The Bastard Brigade

The True Story of the Renegade Scientists and Spies Who Sabotaged the Nazi Atomic Bomb

By Sam Kean
Narrated by: Ben Sullivan
Length: 14 hours 37 minutes

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes the gripping, untold story of a renegade group of scientists and spies determined to keep Adolf Hitler from obtaining the ultimate prize: a nuclear bomb.

Scientists have always kept secrets. But rarely have the secrets been as vital as they were during World War II. In the middle of building... Read more »

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We Are the Weather

Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

By Jonathan Safran Foer
Narrated by: Jonathan Safran Foer
Length: 5 hours 6 minutes

This program is read by the author.

In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way.

Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the... Read more »

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Our Dogs, Ourselves

The Story of a Singular Bond

By Alexandra Horowitz
Narrated by: Alexandra Horowitz
Length: 8 hours

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside of a Dog, an eye-opening, informative, “entertaining, and enlightening” (BookPage) celebration of the human-canine relationship for the curious dog owner and science-lover alike.

We keep dogs and are kept by them. We love dogs and (we assume) we are loved by them. We buy them sweaters, toys,... Read more »

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The Program

Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of NXIVM

By Toni Natalie & Chet Hardin
Narrated by: Toni Natalie
Length: 7 hours 54 minutes

As seen in the HBO docuseries THE VOW: A jaw-dropping insider look into the world of the so-called "Hollywood Sex Cult" NXIVM chronicling the rise of enigmatic cult leader, Keith Raniere, from its "Patient Zero," his former girlfriend and test subject for his coercive control techniques.
Many have heard of NXIVM and its creator, Keith... Read more »

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Good Morning, Monster

Five Heroic Journeys to Recovery

By Catherine Gildiner
Narrated by: Deborah Burgess
Length: 13 hours 15 minutes

A therapist creates moving portraits of five of her most memorable patients, men and women she considers psychological heroes.

Catherine Gildiner is a bestselling memoirist, a novelist, and a psychologist in private practice for twenty-five years. In Good Morning, Monster, she focuses on five patients who overcame enormous trauma--people she... Read more »

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Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights

By Lawrence Goldstone
Narrated by: James Shippy
Length: 5 hours 10 minutes

A thrilling and incisive examination of the post-Reconstruction era struggle for and suppression of African American voting rights in the United States.
Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction era raised a new question to those in power in the US: Should African Americans, so many of them former slaves, be granted the right to vote?
In a... Read more »

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Disney's Land

By Richard Snow
Narrated by: Jacques Roy
Length: 12 hours

A propulsive and “entertaining” (The Wall Street Journal) history chronicling the conception and creation of the iconic Disneyland theme park, as told like never before by popular historian Richard Snow.

One day in the early 1950s, Walt Disney stood looking over 240 acres of farmland in Anaheim, California, and imagined building a park where... Read more »

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Apollo 13

By Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 16 hours 15 minutes

An all-new recording of the landmark #1 bestseller!

In April 1970, during the glory days of the Apollo space program, NASA sent Navy Captain Jim Lovell and two other astronauts on America’s fifth mission to the moon. Only fifty-five hours into the flight of Apollo 13, disaster struck: a mysterious explosion rocked the ship, and soon its oxygen... Read more »

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Meat Planet

Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food

By Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft
Narrated by: Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes

Meat Planet explores the quest to generate meat in the lab—a substance sometimes called "cultured meat"—and asks what it means to imagine that this is the future of food. Neither an advocate nor a critic of cultured meat, Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft spent five years researching the phenomenon. In Meat Planet, he reveals how debates about lab-grown... Read more »

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The Splendid and the Vile

A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

By Erik Larson
Narrated by: John Lee & Erik Larson
Length: 17 hours 48 minutes

The Splendid and the Vile

“What riveting trip through the war on the capable albeit somewhat eccentric shoulders of Churchill. Not only does Larson provide a top-notch history of World War II, but he also provides an intimate look at the man and the family and associates of that one man, that unlikely hero, who now seems the only one who could have led Britain through the fight against Hitler. Highly recommended.”

Raven Book Store image Kelly, Raven Book Store
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Code Red

How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Narrated by: Adam Barr & E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Length: 7 hours 40 minutes

This program includes an introduction read by the author.

New York Times bestselling author and Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. sounds the alarm in Code Red, calling for an alliance between progressives and moderates to seize the moment and restore hope to America’s future for the 2020 presidential election.

Will progressives and... Read more »

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Author in Chief

The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote

By Craig Fehrman
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 15 hours 38 minutes

Author in Chief

“Fascinating and engaging, Chris Fehrman’s Author in Chief delivers unique insights into U.S. politics, history, and publishing. Fehrman shows that analyzing our presidents as authors first provides understanding and appreciation into their personal lives and motivations, but also into how those motivations greatly influenced our country as a whole. Proving that books can indeed change the world, Author in Chief is a perfect combination of history, politics, and bibliophilia.”

BookShop West Portal image Katerina Argyres, BookShop West Portal
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Capital and Ideology

By Thomas Piketty & Arthur Goldhammer
Narrated by: Rick Adamson
Length: 48 hours 56 minutes

The epic successor to one of the most important books of the century: at once a retelling of global history, a scathing critique of contemporary politics, and a bold proposal for a new and fairer economic system

Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up,... Read more »

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American Rebels

How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution

By Nina Sankovitch
Narrated by: Suzie Althens
Length: 15 hours 54 minutes

Nina Sankovitch’s American Rebels explores, for the first time, the intertwined lives of the Hancock, Quincy, and Adams families, and the role each person played in sparking the American Revolution.

Before they were central figures in American history, John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Quincy Junior, Abigail Smith Adams, and Dorothy Quincy Hancock... Read more »

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