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Learning New Things

Learning New Things

We've selected some of our favorite non-fiction audio books that left us wanting to know more! We're suckers for well written non-fiction that keeps us begging for more.

Playlist Tags: Volumes Bookcafe genre: Nonfiction non fiction fun

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The Art of Gathering

How We Meet and Why It Matters

By Priya Parker
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
Length: 9 hours 20 minutes

The Art of Gathering

“Whether you're running a classroom, holding a meeting, or hosting a party, this book from Priya Parker offers a ton of insight on what makes a good gathering.”

The Booksmith image Lisa, The Booksmith
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Spineless

The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

By Juli Berwald
Narrated by: Juli Berwald
Length: 10 hours 16 minutes

Spineless

“Reading Spineless made me think of Nabokov's butterflies: The subject is distant to the extent that it feels almost extraterrestrial, but the author's passion is contagious. The complexity, the evolution, and the mystery of the organism grows on you, and, suddenly, you're excited about? well, jellyfish! Spineless gives climate change a story, and with it some much needed empathy.”

Sarah Reif image Sarah Reif, Kramerbooks
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Word by Word

The Secret Life of Dictionaries

By Kory Stamper
Narrated by: Kory Stamper
Length: 9 hours 48 minutes

Do you have strong feelings about the word “irregardless”? Have you ever tried to define the word “is”? Brimming with intelligence and personality, this vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made is a must-read for word mavens.

Many of us take dictionaries for granted, and few may realize that the process of writing dictionaries... Read more »

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How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

By Jared Diamond
Narrated by: Michael Prichard
Length: 26 hours 59 minutes

In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past... Read more »

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The Devil in the White City

Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

By Erik Larson
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 14 hours 58 minutes

The Devil in the White City

“The Devil in the White City is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. Set amidst the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Erik Larson's historical narrative interweaves the stories of two men who would come to define it, for better and for worse. One is Daniel Burnham, chief architect of the Fair, who threw his entire being into creating a landmark event in American history. The other is Dr. H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who built a hotel that became his "Murder Castle", luring many poor souls who came to Chicago to their death and dismemberment. Though you may expect Holmes' chapters to be more entertaining, I was amazed by the story of the World's Fair and its impact on American history. The first Ferris wheel debuted as the centerpiece of the Fair, the Pledge of Allegiance was written for its opening ceremony, and its use of alternating current electricity essentially ended Edison and Tesla's current war. If these bits of trivia excite your inner history nerd, come buy the book today!”

The Book Tavern image Marcus, The Book Tavern
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How the Word Is Passed

A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

By Clint Smith
Narrated by: Clint Smith
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

If you enjoyed Long Time Coming, then you’ll love How the Word Is Passed.

“From plantation to Angola Prison. From Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, VA to the African Burial Ground in New York City. From Île de Gorée to Whitney Plantation. From the Emancipation Proclamation to Juneteenth. Clint Smith takes us on an unforgettable journey through the history of slavery in the United States, revealing many truths we’ve never been told. Using lyrical prose, he creates a mesmerizing history lesson told through his personal lens. The facts are punctuated by his reactions to the spaces he visits and the stories he hears in each space. Hard truths told in beautiful language make this a book both highly informative and extremely accessible. Every American should listen to or read it; most of us have a great deal to learn and unlearn. And Smith’s poetic prose and personal voice keep it from feeling like the invaluable sociology and history lesson it is. Definitely one of the best books of the year.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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An American Summer

Love and Death in Chicago

By Alex Kotlowitz
Narrated by: Alex Kotlowitz
Length: 9 hours 52 minutes

2020 J. ANTHONY LUKAS PRIZE WINNER

From the bestselling author of There Are No Children Here, a richly textured, heartrending portrait of love and death in Chicago's most turbulent neighborhoods
.


The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What... Read more »

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Stiff

The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

By Mary Roach
Narrated by: Shelly Frasier
Length: 7 hours 59 minutes

An oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem.

For 2,000 years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory... Read more »

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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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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell & Bahni Turpin
Length: 12 hours 30 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”—Entertainment Weekly

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE • ONE OF THE “MOST INFLUENTIAL” (CNN), “DEFINING” (LITHUB), AND “BEST” (THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) BOOKS OF... Read more »

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This Is Your Mind on Plants

By Michael Pollan
Narrated by: Michael Pollan
Length: 7 hours 36 minutes

This Is Your Mind on Plants

“This book helps illustrate ways in which the proper uses of plants that are designed to help us, are not recognized properly in our society.”

Bookstore1Sarasota image James, Bookstore1Sarasota
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A Short History of Nearly Everything

By Bill Bryson
Narrated by: Richard Matthews
Length: 18 hours 16 minutes

One of the world’s most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey -- into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer.

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail -- well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to... Read more »

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Time Travel

A History

By James Gleick
Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
Length: 9 hours 59 minutes

“A time-jumping, head-tripping odyssey.” The Millions
“A bracing swim in the waters of science, technology and fiction.” Washington Post
“A thrilling journey of ideas.” Boston Globe

From the acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos, here is a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and... Read more »

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At Home

A Short History of Private Life

By Bill Bryson
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Length: 16 hours 31 minutes

From one of the most beloved authors of our  time—more than six million copies of his books have been sold in this country alone—a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home.

“Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”
 
Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of... Read more »

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Four Thousand Weeks

Time Management for Mortals

By Oliver Burkeman
Narrated by: Oliver Burkeman
Length: 5 hours 53 minutes

Four Thousand Weeks

“A game-changer. People tote time management as a way to accomplish everything, but that's impossible—time is a limited resource. The whole way we think about time is wrong. So how can we approach our relationship to time in a way that doesn't overwhelm? This book is a powerhouse. A must-read, especially for folks with anxiety, an intimate relationship with social media, or big ambitions. Fantastic on audio!”

Oblong Books image Nicole, Oblong Books
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Entangled Life

How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

By Merlin Sheldrake
Narrated by: Merlin Sheldrake
Length: 9 hours 32 minutes

Entangled Life

“An ecological, fungi-based restructuring of your world view given to us as only a brilliant biologist could offer. Sheldrake says, 'Without this fungal web my tree would not exist. Without [...] fungal webs no plant would exist anywhere. All life on land, including my own, depends on these networks.'”

Collected Works Bookstore image Kaya, Collected Works Bookstore
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The 1619 Project

A New Origin Story

By Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman & Jake Silverstein
Narrated by: Nikole Hannah-Jones & Full Cast
Length: 18 hours 56 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Marie Claire
 
In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of... Read more »

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Mythos

By author
Narrated by: Stephen Fry
Length: 15 hours 24 minutes

Mythos

“Stephen Fry has dusted off the Greek myths. Starting with the creation and going through all the infights, back-stabbings, and just plain stupid mistakes of the Greek pantheon, he breaths new life into these tales with his characteristic wry humor and witty asides. A great added feature of the video book is that Fry himself reads it, so sit back, turn on your LibroFM-playing device, close your eyes and be prepared to be entertained while learning or relearning the ins and outs of Greek mythology.”

Galiano Books image Jim, Galiano Books
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Cultish

The Language of Fanaticism

By Amanda Montell
Narrated by: Ann Marie Gideon
Length: 8 hours 21 minutes

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.

What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson...

Read more »

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Don't Believe a Word

The Surprising Truth About Language

By David Shariatmadari
Narrated by: Damian Lynch
Length: 8 hours 59 minutes

An entertaining and highly informed guide to what languages are and how they function.

Everyone likes to think they know a bit about language: There are some words that you simply can't translate into English. The origin of a word tells you how it should be used. A dialect is inferior to a language.

The problem is, none of these statements are... Read more »

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