50 Best Nonfiction Books of 2020

Here are the 50 best nonfiction books of 2020 according to Google. Find your new favorite book from the local library with one click.

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1. Caste

by: Isabel Wilkerson
Release date: Aug 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 496
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“”As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power–which groups have it and which do not.” In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people–including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others–she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today”– Provided by publisher.

2. Uncanny Valley

by: Anna Wiener
Release date: Jan 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES’S 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2020. Named one of the Best Books of 2020 by The Washington Post, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, ELLE, Esquire, Parade, Teen Vogue, The Times (UK), Fortune, Glamour, Town & Country, Apartment Therapy, Good Housekeeping, Electric Literature, Self, The Week (UK) and BookPage. One of Amazon’s Best 100 Books of 2020. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a January 2020 IndieNext Pick. “A definitive document of a world in transition: I won’t be alone in returning to it for clarity and consolation for many years to come.” –Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial–left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress. Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building. Part coming-of-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment. Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.

3. The Splendid and the Vile

by: Erik Larson
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 608
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Bleak Expectations — The Rising Threat — A Certain Eventuality — Dread — Blood and Dust — The Americans — Love Amid the Flames — One Year to the Day — Epilogue.

4. Hidden Valley Road

by: Robert Kolker
Release date: Apr 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BESTSELLER The heartrending story of a mid-century American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand–even cure–the disease. Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the dream. After World War II, Don’s work with the US Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years there was an established script for a family like the Galvins–aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony–and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen in one family? What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institutes of Mental Health. Their shocking story also offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy and the premise of the schizophrenogenic mother, to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amidst profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. Unknown to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment and even the possibility of the eradication of the disease for future generations. With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family’s unforgettable legacy of suffering, love and hope.

5. A Promised Land

by: Barack Obama
Release date: Nov 17, 2020
Number of Pages: 768
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A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • NPR • The Guardian • Marie Claire In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

6. Untamed

by: Glennon Doyle
Release date: Mar 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Over two million copies sold! “Packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick) In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • Cosmopolitan • Marie Claire • Bloomberg • Parade • “Untamed will liberate women—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It is phenomenal.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls and Eat Pray Love This is how you find yourself. There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves. For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living. Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is. Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

7. Me and White Supremacy

by: Layla Saad
Release date: Feb 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 192
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‘An indispensable resource for white people who want to challenge white supremacy but don’t know where to begin’ Robin DiAngelo, author of New York Times bestseller WHITE FRAGILITY ‘It should be mandatory reading … Buy the book, do the work and then push more copies into the hands of everyone you know’ Emma Gannon ‘Confrontational and much-needed’ Stylist ‘She is no-joke changing the world and, for what it’s worth, the way I live my life.’ Anne Hathaway ___________ Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, she never predicted it would spread as widely as it did. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it. Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 90,000 people downloaded the Me and White Supremacy Workbook. The updated and expanded Me and White Supremacy takes the work deeper by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and including expanded definitions, examples, and and further resources. Awareness leads to action, and action leads to change. The numbers show that readers are ready to do this work – let’s give it to them.

8. Memorial Drive

by: Natasha Trethewey
Release date: Jul 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 224
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An Instant New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020 Named One of the Best Books of the Year by: The Washington Post, NPR, Shelf Awareness, Esquire, Electric Literature, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and InStyle A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985. Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

9. Minor Feelings

by: Cathy Park Hong
Release date: Feb 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 224
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A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness and the struggle to be human “Brilliant . . . To read this book is to become more human.”—Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • The Washington Post • NPR • Time • New Statesman • BuzzFeed • Esquire • The New York Public Library • Book Riot Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world. Binding these essays together is Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.” As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these “minor feelings” occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality—when you believe the lies you’re told about your own racial identity. Minor feelings are not small, they’re dissonant—and in their tension Hong finds the key to the questions that haunt her. With sly humor and a poet’s searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche—and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth. Praise for Minor Feelings “Hong begins her new book of essays with a bang. . . .The essays wander a variegated terrain of memoir, criticism and polemic, oscillating between smooth proclamations of certainty and twitches of self-doubt. . . . Minor Feelings is studded with moments [of] candor and dark humor shot through with glittering self-awareness.”—The New York Times “Hong uses her own experiences as a jumping off point to examine race and emotion in the United States.”—Newsweek (40 Must-Read Fiction and Nonfiction Books to Savor This Spring) “Powerful . . . [Hong] brings together memoiristic personal essay and reflection, historical accounts and modern reporting, and other works of art and writing, in order to amplify a multitude of voices and capture Asian America as a collection of contradictions. She does so with sharp wit and radical transparency.”—Salon

10. Breath

by: James Nestor
Release date: May 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
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A New York Times Bestseller A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2020 Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR “A fascinating scientific, cultural, spiritual and evolutionary history of the way humans breathe—and how we’ve all been doing it wrong for a long, long time.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly. There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren’t found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.

11. The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

by: Les PayneTamara Payne
Release date: Oct 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 640
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WINNER • 2021 PULITZER PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY • WINNER — 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION • TIME Magazine — 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2020 • A New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and Editors’ Choice Selection • Best Books of 2020: NPR, Washington Post, Library Journal, Chicago Public Library • Excerpted in The New Yorker • Longlisted — Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • Best Books of Fall 2020 — O, the Oprah Magazine, The Week, St. Louis Post-Dispatch An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author’s interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative. Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction. The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.” In tracing Malcolm X’s life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl’s death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm’s exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary. With a biographer’s unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations—from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder “Fard Muhammad,” who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz’s 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X’s murder at the Audubon Ballroom. Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.

12. Hood Feminism

by: Mikki Kendall
Release date: Feb 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “One of the most important books of the current moment.”—Time “A rousing call to action… It should be required reading for everyone.”—Gabrielle Union, author of We’re Going to Need More Wine “A brutally candid and unobstructed portrait of mainstream white feminism.” —Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist A potent and electrifying critique of today’s feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.

13. Just Us

by: Claudia Rankine
Release date: Sep 08, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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FINALIST FOR THE 2021 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION Claudia Rankine’s Citizen changed the conversation—Just Us urges all of us into it As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history. Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine’s questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces—the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth—where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices as our public and private lives intersect. This brilliant arrangement of essays, poems, and images includes the voices and rebuttals of others: white men in first class responding to, and with, their white male privilege; a friend’s explanation of her infuriating behavior at a play; and women confronting the political currency of dying their hair blond, all running alongside fact-checked notes and commentary that complements Rankine’s own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last word. Sometimes wry, often vulnerable, and always prescient, Just Us is Rankine’s most intimate work, less interested in being right than in being true, being together.

14. Wow, No Thank You

by: Samantha Irby
Release date: Mar 31, 2020
Number of Pages: 336
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“‘Country crock’ first published, in different form, in Nasty women: feminism, resistance, and revolution in Trump’s America (Macmillan Publishing Group, 2017), and ‘Hysterical!’ first published, in slightly different form, in Gay Mag on April 10, 2018”–Title page verso.

15. War: How Conflict Shaped Us

by: Margaret MacMillan
Release date: Oct 06, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER SHORTLISTED for the 2021 Lionel Gelber Prize Thoughtful and brilliant insights into the very nature of war–from the ancient Greeks to modern times–from world-renowned historian Margaret MacMillan. War–its imprint in our lives and our memories–is all around us, from the metaphors we use to the names on our maps. As books, movies, and television series show, we are drawn to the history and depiction of war. Yet we nevertheless like to think of war as an aberration, as the breakdown of the normal state of peace. This is comforting but wrong. War is woven into the fabric of human civilization. In this sweeping new book, international bestselling author and historian Margaret MacMillan analyzes the tangled history of war and society and our complicated feelings towards it and towards those who fight. It explores the ways in which changes in society have affected the nature of war and how in turn wars have changed the societies that fight them, including the ways in which women have been both participants in and the objects of war. MacMillan’s new book contains many revelations, such as war has often been good for science and innovation and in the 20th century it did much for the position of women in many societies. But throughout, it forces the reader to reflect on the ways in which war is so intertwined with society, and the myriad reasons we fight.

16. The Biggest Bluff

by: Maria Konnikova
Release date: Jun 23, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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The New York Times bestseller! A New York Times Notable Book “The tale of how Konnikova followed a story about poker players and wound up becoming a story herself will have you riveted, first as you learn about her big winnings, and then as she conveys the lessons she learned both about human nature and herself.” —The Washington Post It’s true that Maria Konnikova had never actually played poker before and didn’t even know the rules when she approached Erik Seidel, Poker Hall of Fame inductee and winner of tens of millions of dollars in earnings, and convinced him to be her mentor. But she knew her man: a famously thoughtful and broad-minded player, he was intrigued by her pitch that she wasn’t interested in making money so much as learning about life. She had faced a stretch of personal bad luck, and her reflections on the role of chance had led her to a giant of game theory, who pointed her to poker as the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish between what can be controlled and what can’t. And she certainly brought something to the table, including a Ph.D. in psychology and an acclaimed and growing body of work on human behavior and how to hack it. So Seidel was in, and soon she was down the rabbit hole with him, into the wild, fiercely competitive, overwhelmingly masculine world of high-stakes Texas Hold’em, their initial end point the following year’s World Series of Poker. But then something extraordinary happened. Under Seidel’s guidance, Konnikova did have many epiphanies about life that derived from her new pursuit, including how to better read, not just her opponents but far more importantly herself; how to identify what tilted her into an emotional state that got in the way of good decisions; and how to get to a place where she could accept luck for what it was, and what it wasn’t. But she also began to win. And win. In a little over a year, she began making earnest money from tournaments, ultimately totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. She won a major title, got a sponsor, and got used to being on television, and to headlines like “How one writer’s book deal turned her into a professional poker player.” She even learned to like Las Vegas. But in the end, Maria Konnikova is a writer and student of human behavior, and ultimately the point was to render her incredible journey into a container for its invaluable lessons. The biggest bluff of all, she learned, is that skill is enough. Bad cards will come our way, but keeping our focus on how we play them and not on the outcome will keep us moving through many a dark patch, until the luck once again breaks our way.

17. Dirt

by: Bill Buford
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 448
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From the author of the best-selling, widely acclaimed Heat–a new hilariously self-deprecating, highly obsessive account of the author’s adventures, this time, in the world of French haute cuisine Bill Buford turns his inimitable attention from Italian cuisine to the food of France. Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking–or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered– he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes–this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow–to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at L’Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed–with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he’s learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian. With his signature humor, sense of adventure, and masterly ability to immerse himself–and us–in his surroundings, Bill Buford has written what is sure to be the food-lover’s book of the year.

18. Too Much and Never Enough

by: Mary L. Trump
Release date: Jul 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 240
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In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric. Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, New York, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald. A firsthand witness to countless holiday meals and interactions, Mary brings an incisive wit and unexpected humor to sometimes grim, often confounding family events. She recounts in unsparing detail everything from her uncle Donald’s place in the family spotlight and Ivana’s penchant for regifting to her grandmother’s frequent injuries and illnesses and the appalling way Donald, Fred Trump’s favorite son, dismissed and derided him when he began to succumb to Alzheimer’s. Numerous pundits, armchair psychologists, and journalists have sought to parse Donald J. Trump’s lethal flaws. Mary L. Trump has the education, insight, and intimate familiarity needed to reveal what makes Donald, and the rest of her clan, tick. She alone can recount this fascinating, unnerving saga, not just because of her insider’s perspective but also because she is the only Trump willing to tell the truth about one of the world’s most powerful and dysfunctional families.

19. The Beauty in Breaking

by: Michele Harper
Release date: Jul 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A New York Times Notable Book “Riveting, heartbreaking, sometimes difficult, always inspiring.” —The New York Times Book Review “An incredibly moving memoir about what it means to be a doctor.” —Ellen Pompeo As seen/heard on Fresh Air, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, Weekend Edition, and more An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself. Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman. In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process. The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky: How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.

20. Vesper Flights

by: Helen Macdonald
Release date: Aug 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk, a brilliant and insightful work about our relationship to the natural world Our world is a fascinating place, teeming not only with natural wonders that defy description, but complex interactions that create layers of meaning. Helen Macdonald is gifted with a special lens that seems to peer right through it all, and she shares her insights–at times startling, nostalgic, weighty, or simply entertaining–in this masterful collection of essays. From reflections on science fiction to the true story of an Iranian refugee’s flight to the UK, Macdonald has a truly omnivorous taste when it comes to observations of both the banal and sublime. Peppered throughout are reminisces of her own life, from her strange childhood in an estate owned by the Theosophical Society to watching total eclipses of the sun, visits to Uzbek solar power plants, eccentric English country shows, and desert hunting camps in the Gulf States. These essays move from personal experiences into wider meditations about love and loss and how we build the world around us. Whether more journalistic in tone, or literary–even formally experimental–each piece is generous, lyrical, and speaks to one another. Macdonald creates a strong thematic undertow that quietly takes the reader along piece to piece and sets them down, finally, at a place they’ve never been before.

21. Twilight of Democracy

by: Anne Applebaum
Release date: Jul 21, 2020
Number of Pages: 208
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, professor, and historian offers an expert guide to understanding the appeal of the strongman as a leader and an explanation for why authoritarianism is back with a menacing twenty-first century twist. Across the world today, from the Americas to Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege while populism and nationalism are on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum offers an unexpected explanation: that there is a deep and inherent appeal to authoritarianism, strongmen, and, especially, to one-party rule–that is, to political systems that benefit true believers, or loyal soldiers, or simply the friends and distant cousins of the Leader, to the exclusion of everyone else. People, she argues, are not just ideological, they are also practical, pragmatic, opportunist. They worry about their families, their houses, their careers. Some political systems offer them possibilities and others don’t. In particular, the modern authoritarian parties that have arisen within democracies today offer the possibility of success to people who do not thrive in the meritocratic, democratic, or free-market competition that determines access to wealth and power. Drawing on reporting in Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, and Brazil; using historical examples including Stalinist central Europe and Nazi Germany; and investigating related phenomena: the modern conspiracy theory, nostalgia for a golden past, political polarization, and meritocracy and its discontents, Anne Applebaum brilliantly illuminates the seduction of totalitarian thinking and the eternal appeal of the one-party state.

22. You’re Not Listening

by: Kate Murphy
Release date: Jan 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
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When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you? “If you’re like most people, you don’t listen as often or as well as you’d like. There’s no one better qualified than a talented journalist to introduce you to the right mindset and skillset—and this book does it with science and humor.” -Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take **Hand picked by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink for Next Big Ideas Club** “An essential book for our times.” -Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation. On social media, we shape our personal narratives. At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians. We’re not listening. And no one is listening to us. Despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. A listener by trade, New York Times contributor Kate Murphy wanted to know how we got here. In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that’s full of practical advice, You’re Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain’s Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.

23. Begin Again

by: Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
Release date: Jun 30, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A powerful study of how to bear witness in a moment when America is being called to do the same.”—Time James Baldwin grew disillusioned by the failure of the civil rights movement to force America to confront its lies about race. What can we learn from his struggle in our own moment? Named one of the best books of the year by Time, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune • Winner of the Stowe Prize • Shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice “Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be abdicated. If one refuses abdication, one begins again.”—James Baldwin Begin Again is one of the great books on James Baldwin and a powerful reckoning with America’s ongoing failure to confront the lies it tells itself about race. Just as in Baldwin’s “after times,” argues Eddie S. Glaude Jr., when white Americans met the civil rights movement’s call for truth and justice with blind rage and the murders of movement leaders, so in our moment were the Obama presidency and the birth of Black Lives Matter answered with the ascendance of Trump and the violent resurgence of white nationalism. In these brilliant and stirring pages, Glaude finds hope and guidance in Baldwin as he mixes biography—drawn partially from newly uncovered Baldwin interviews—with history, memoir, and poignant analysis of our current moment to reveal the painful cycle of Black resistance and white retrenchment. As Glaude bears witness to the difficult truth of racism’s continued grip on the national soul, Begin Again is a searing exploration of the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.

24. The Address Book

by: Deirdre Mask
Release date: Apr 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction | One of Time Magazines’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2020 | Longlisted for the 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards “An entertaining quest to trace the origins and implications of the names of the roads on which we reside.” —Sarah Vowell, The New York Times Book Review When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won’t get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class. In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, and how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we also see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata and on the streets of London. Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t—and why.

25. His Truth Is Marching On

by: Jon Meacham
Release date: Aug 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND COSMOPOLITAN John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” From an early age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. At the age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practiced by preaching to his family’s chickens. When his mother cooked one of the chickens, the boy refused to eat it—his first act, he wryly recalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis’s commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God—and an unshakable belief in the power of hope. Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.” A believer in the injunction that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful. In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizing its ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change.

26. The Undocumented Americans

by: Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Release date: Mar 24, 2020
Number of Pages: 208
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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation. “Karla’s book sheds light on people’s personal experiences and allows their stories to be told and their voices to be heard.”—Selena Gomez LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST • LONGLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VULTURE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Book Review • Time • NPR • The New York Public Library • Book Riot • Library Journal Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants—and to find the hidden key to her own. Looking beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMers, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented—and the mysteries of her own life. She finds the singular, effervescent characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers. The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects. In New York, we meet the undocumented workers who were recruited into the federally funded Ground Zero cleanup after 9/11. In Miami, we enter the ubiquitous botanicas, which offer medicinal herbs and potions to those whose status blocks them from any other healthcare options. In Flint, Michigan, we learn of demands for state ID in order to receive life-saving clean water. In Connecticut, Cornejo Villavicencio, childless by choice, finds family in two teenage girls whose father is in sanctuary. And through it all we see the author grappling with the biggest questions of love, duty, family, and survival. In her incandescent, relentlessly probing voice, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting and powerful personal narratives to bring to light remarkable stories of resilience, madness, and death. Through these stories we come to understand what it truly means to be a stray. An expendable. A hero. An American.

27. Homeland Elegies

by: Ayad Akhtar
Release date: Sep 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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A “profound and provocative” new work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disgraced and American Dervish: an immigrant father and his son search for belonging—in post-Trump America, and with each other (Kirkus Reviews). One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020 Finalist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction A Best Book of 2020 * Washington Post * O Magazine * New York Times Book Review * Publishers Weekly “Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.” —Salman Rushdie A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home. Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation’s unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one—least of all himself—in the process.

28. Yellow Bird

by: Sierra Crane Murdoch
Release date: Feb 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
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PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • The gripping true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it—an urgent work of literary journalism. “I don’t know a more complicated, original protagonist in literature than Lissa Yellow Bird, or a more dogged reporter in American journalism than Sierra Crane Murdoch.”—William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Barbarian Days WINNER OF THE OREGON BOOK AWARD • NOMINATED FOR THE EDGAR® AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • NPR • Publishers Weekly When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher “KC” Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and few people were actively looking for him. Yellow Bird traces Lissa’s steps as she obsessively hunts for clues to Clarke’s disappearance. She navigates two worlds—that of her own tribe, changed by its newfound wealth, and that of the non-Native oilmen, down on their luck, who have come to find work on the heels of the economic recession. Her pursuit of Clarke is also a pursuit of redemption, as Lissa atones for her own crimes and reckons with generations of trauma. Yellow Bird is an exquisitely written, masterfully reported story about a search for justice and a remarkable portrait of a complex woman who is smart, funny, eloquent, compassionate, and—when it serves her cause—manipulative. Drawing on eight years of immersive investigation, Sierra Crane Murdoch has produced a profound examination of the legacy of systematic violence inflicted on a tribal nation and a tale of extraordinary healing.

29. Entangled Life

by: Merlin Sheldrake
Release date: Sep 03, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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The smash-hit Sunday Times bestseller that will transform your understanding of our planet and life itself. ‘Dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing’ Robert Macfarlane The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them. They can change our minds, heal our bodies and even help us avoid environmental disaster; they are metabolic masters, earth-makers and key players in most of nature’s processes. In Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake takes us on a mind-altering journey into their spectacular world, and reveals how these extraordinary organisms transform our understanding of our planet and life itself. ‘Gorgeous!’ Margaret Atwood (on Twitter) ‘Reads like an adventure story… Wondrous’ Sunday Times ‘Urgent, astounding and necessary’ Helen Macdonald ‘A magical writer’ Russell Brand * A Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Times, Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday, BBC Science Focus and Time Book of the Year *

30. Until the End of Time

by: Brian Greene
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 448
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“From the world-renowned physicist, co-founder of the World Science Festival, and best-selling author of The Elegant Universe comes this utterly captivating exploration of deep time and humanity’s search for purpose. Brian Greene takes readers on a breathtaking journey from the big bang to the end of time and invites us to ponder meaning in the face of this unimaginable expanse. He shows us how, from its original orderly state the universe has been moving inexorably toward chaos, and, still, remarkable structures have continually formed: the planets, stars, and galaxies that provide islands in a sea of disorder; biochemical mechanisms, including mutation and selection, animate life; neurons, information, and thought developed into complex consciousness which in turn gave rise to cultures and their timeless myths and creativity. And he describes, as well, how, in the deep reaches of the future, the nature of the universe will threaten the existence of matter itself. Through a series of nested stories Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed. Taken together, it is a completely new perspective on our place in the universe and on what it means to be human”–

31. Deacon King Kong

by: James McBride
Release date: Mar 03, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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One of Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of the Year” Oprah’s Book Club Pick Named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and TIME Magazine A Washington Post Notable Novel From the author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird and the bestselling modern classic The Color of Water, comes one of the most celebrated novels of the year. In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride’s funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion. Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

32. The Dragons, the Giant, the Women

by: Wayétu Moore
Release date: Jun 02, 2020
Number of Pages: 272
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An engrossing memoir of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life in the United States When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States. Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore’s early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist’s eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and the stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.

33. The Man Who Ran Washington

by: Peter BakerSusan Glasser
Release date: Sep 29, 2020
Number of Pages: 720
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BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times • The Washington Post • Fortune • Bloomberg From two of America’s most revered political journalists comes the definitive biography of legendary White House chief of staff and secretary of state James A. Baker III: the man who ran Washington when Washington ran the world. For a quarter-century, from the end of Watergate to the aftermath of the Cold War, no Republican won the presidency without his help or ran the White House without his advice. James Addison Baker III was the indispensable man for four presidents because he understood better than anyone how to make Washington work at a time when America was shaping events around the world. The Man Who Ran Washington is a page-turning portrait of a power broker who influenced America’s destiny for generations. A scion of Texas aristocracy who became George H. W. Bush’s best friend on the tennis courts of the Houston Country Club, Baker had never even worked in Washington until a devastating family tragedy struck when he was thirty-nine. Within a few years, he was leading Gerald Ford’s campaign and would go on to manage a total of five presidential races and win a sixth for George W. Bush in a Florida recount. He ran Ronald Reagan’s White House and became the most consequential secretary of state since Henry Kissinger. He negotiated with Democrats at home and Soviets abroad, rewrote the tax code, assembled the coalition that won the Gulf War, brokered the reunification of Germany and helped bring a decades-long nuclear superpower standoff to an end. Ruthlessly partisan during campaign season, Baker governed as the avatar of pragmatism over purity and deal-making over division, a lost art in today’s fractured nation. His story is a case study in the acquisition, exercise, and preservation of power in late twentieth-century America and the story of Washington and the world in the modern era–how it once worked and how it has transformed into an era of gridlock and polarization. This masterly biography by two brilliant observers of the American political scene is destined to become a classic.

34. Why We Can’t Sleep

by: Ada Calhoun
Release date: Jan 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 267
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When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too? Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked. Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to “have it all,” Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under-employed, and overwhelmed. Instead of their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take “me-time,” or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order. In Why We Can’t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X’s predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss—and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them.

35. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

by: Emmanuel Acho
Release date: Nov 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER An urgent primer on race and racism, from the host of the viral hit video series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” “You cannot fix a problem you do not know you have.” So begins Emmanuel Acho in his essential guide to the truths Americans need to know to address the systemic racism that has recently electrified protests in all fifty states. “There is a fix,” Acho says. “But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.” In Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Acho takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white Americans are afraid to ask—yet which all Americans need the answers to, now more than ever. With the same open-hearted generosity that has made his video series a phenomenon, Acho explains the vital core of such fraught concepts as white privilege, cultural appropriation, and “reverse racism.” In his own words, he provides a space of compassion and understanding in a discussion that can lack both. He asks only for the reader’s curiosity—but along the way, he will galvanize all of us to join the antiracist fight.

36. Owls of the Eastern Ice

by: Jonathan C. Slaght
Release date: Aug 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2020 Longlisted for the National Book Award Winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and the Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction A Finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award A Best Book of the Year: NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Globe and Mail, The BirdBooker Report, Geographical, Open Letter Review Best Nature Book of the Year: The Times (London) “A terrifically exciting account of [Slaght’s] time in the Russian Far East studying Blakiston’s fish owls, huge, shaggy-feathered, yellow-eyed, and elusive birds that hunt fish by wading in icy water . . . Even on the hottest summer days this book will transport you.” —Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk, in Kirkus I saw my first Blakiston’s fish owl in the Russian province of Primorye, a coastal talon of land hooking south into the belly of Northeast Asia . . . No scientist had seen a Blakiston’s fish owl so far south in a hundred years . . . When he was just a fledgling birdwatcher, Jonathan C. Slaght had a chance encounter with one of the most mysterious birds on Earth. Bigger than any owl he knew, it looked like a small bear with decorative feathers. He snapped a quick photo and shared it with experts. Soon he was on a five-year journey, searching for this enormous, enigmatic creature in the lush, remote forests of eastern Russia. That first sighting set his calling as a scientist. Despite a wingspan of six feet and a height of over two feet, the Blakiston’s fish owl is highly elusive. They are easiest to find in winter, when their tracks mark the snowy banks of the rivers where they feed. They are also endangered. And so, as Slaght and his devoted team set out to locate the owls, they aim to craft a conservation plan that helps ensure the species’ survival. This quest sends them on all-night monitoring missions in freezing tents, mad dashes across thawing rivers, and free-climbs up rotting trees to check nests for precious eggs. They use cutting-edge tracking technology and improvise ingenious traps. And all along, they must keep watch against a run-in with a bear or an Amur tiger. At the heart of Slaght’s story are the fish owls themselves: cunning hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat. Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

37. Intimations

by: Zadie Smith
Release date: Jul 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 96
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Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of essays on the experience of lock down, by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time “There will be many books written about the year 2020: historical, analytic, political and comprehensive accounts. This is not any of those — the year isn’t half-way done. What I’ve tried to do is organize some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me, in those scraps of time the year itself has allowed. These are above all personal essays: small by definition, short by necessity.” Crafted with the sharp intelligence, wit and style that have won Zadie Smith millions of fans, and suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these unprecedented times, Intimations is a vital work of art, a gesture of connection and an act of love — an essential book in extraordinary times.

38. You Never Forget Your First

by: Alexis Coe
Release date: Feb 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AN NPR CONCIERGE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR “In her form-shattering and myth-crushing book….Coe examines myths with mirth, and writes history with humor… [You Never Forget Your First] is an accessible look at a president who always finishes in the first ranks of our leaders.” —Boston Globe Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first–and finds he is not quite the man we remember Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, caused an international incident, and never backed down–even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won. After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War cast him as the nation’s hero, he was desperate to retire, but the founders pressured him into the presidency–twice. When he retired years later, no one talked him out of it. He left the highest office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created. Back on his plantation, the man who fought for liberty must confront his greatest hypocrisy–what to do with the men, women, and children he owns–before he succumbs to death. With irresistible style and warm humor, You Never Forget Your First combines rigorous research and lively storytelling that will have readers–including those who thought presidential biographies were just for dads–inhaling every page.

39. The Price of Peace

by: Zachary D. Carter
Release date: May 19, 2020
Number of Pages: 656
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An “outstanding new intellectual biography of John Maynard Keynes [that moves] swiftly along currents of lucidity and wit” (The New York Times), illuminating the world of the influential economist and his transformative ideas “A timely, lucid and compelling portrait of a man whose enduring relevance is always heightened when crisis strikes.”—The Wall Street Journal WINNER OF THE HILLMAN PRIZE FOR BOOK JOURNALISM • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD AND THE SABEW BEST IN BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • The Economist • Bloomberg • Mother Jones At the dawn of World War I, a young academic named John Maynard Keynes hastily folded his long legs into the sidecar of his brother-in-law’s motorcycle for an odd, frantic journey that would change the course of history. Swept away from his placid home at Cambridge University by the currents of the conflict, Keynes found himself thrust into the halls of European treasuries to arrange emergency loans and packed off to America to negotiate the terms of economic combat. The terror and anxiety unleashed by the war would transform him from a comfortable obscurity into the most influential and controversial intellectual of his day—a man whose ideas still retain the power to shock in our own time. Keynes was not only an economist but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century, one who devoted his life to the belief that art and ideas could conquer war and deprivation. As a moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman, Keynes led an extraordinary life that took him from intimate turn-of-the-century parties in London’s riotous Bloomsbury art scene to the fevered negotiations in Paris that shaped the Treaty of Versailles, from stock market crashes on two continents to diplomatic breakthroughs in the mountains of New Hampshire to wartime ballet openings at London’s extravagant Covent Garden. Along the way, Keynes reinvented Enlightenment liberalism to meet the harrowing crises of the twentieth century. In the United States, his ideas became the foundation of a burgeoning economics profession, but they also became a flash point in the broader political struggle of the Cold War, as Keynesian acolytes faced off against conservatives in an intellectual battle for the future of the country—and the world. Though many Keynesian ideas survived the struggle, much of the project to which he devoted his life was lost. In this riveting biography, veteran journalist Zachary D. Carter unearths the lost legacy of one of history’s most fascinating minds. The Price of Peace revives a forgotten set of ideas about democracy, money, and the good life with transformative implications for today’s debates over inequality and the power politics that shape the global order. LONGLISTED FOR THE CUNDILL HISTORY PRIZE

40. Shakespeare in a Divided America

by: James Shapiro
Release date: Mar 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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One of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year • A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist • A New York Times Notable Book A timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about our divided land. “In this sprightly and enthralling book . . . Shapiro amply demonstrates [that] for Americans the politics of Shakespeare are not confined to the public realm, but have enormous relevance in the sphere of private life.” —The Guardian (London) The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes—presidents and activists, soldiers and writers, conservatives and liberals alike—have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines. In a narrative arching from Revolutionary times to the present day, leading scholar James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s four-hundred-year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the many concerns on which American identity has turned. From Abraham Lincoln’s and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s, competing Shakespeare obsessions to the 2017 controversy over the staging of Julius Caesar in Central Park, in which a Trump-like leader is assassinated, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more embraced, more weaponized, or has shed more light on the hot-button issues in our history.

41. The WEIRDest People in the World

by: Joseph Henrich
Release date: Sep 08, 2020
Number of Pages: 704
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2020 A Bloomberg Best Non-Fiction Book of 2020 A Behavioral Scientist Notable Book of 2020 A Human Behavior & Evolution Society Must-Read Popular Evolution Book of 2020 A bold, epic account of how the co-evolution of psychology and culture created the peculiar Western mind that has profoundly shaped the modern world. Perhaps you are WEIRD: raised in a society that is Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. If so, you’re rather psychologically peculiar. Unlike much of the world today, and most people who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, self-obsessed, control-oriented, nonconformist, and analytical. They focus on themselves—their attributes, accomplishments, and aspirations—over their relationships and social roles. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically distinct? What role did these psychological differences play in the industrial revolution and the global expansion of Europe during the last few centuries? In The WEIRDest People in the World, Joseph Henrich draws on cutting-edge research in anthropology, psychology, economics, and evolutionary biology to explore these questions and more. He illuminates the origins and evolution of family structures, marriage, and religion, and the profound impact these cultural transformations had on human psychology. Mapping these shifts through ancient history and late antiquity, Henrich reveals that the most fundamental institutions of kinship and marriage changed dramatically under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church. It was these changes that gave rise to the WEIRD psychology that would coevolve with impersonal markets, occupational specialization, and free competition—laying the foundation for the modern world. Provocative and engaging in both its broad scope and its surprising details, The WEIRDest People in the World explores how culture, institutions, and psychology shape one another, and explains what this means for both our most personal sense of who we are as individuals and also the large-scale social, political, and economic forces that drive human history. Includes black-and-white illustrations.

42. The Meaning of Mariah Carey

by: Mariah Carey
Release date: Sep 29, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller The global icon, award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, actress, mother, daughter, sister, storyteller, and artist finally tells the unfiltered story of her life in The Meaning of Mariah Carey It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me. This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side. Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit. Love, Mariah

43. Hamnet

by: Maggie O’Farrell
Release date: Jul 21, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER OF THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “[An] exceptional winner…. It expresses something profound about the human experience that seems both extraordinarily current and at the same time, enduring.” –Martha Lane Fox, Chair of The Women’s Prize for Fiction judges TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A PLAGUE THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor–penniless, bullied by a violent father–falls in love with an eccentric young woman: a wild creature who walks her family’s estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles on the Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband. His gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when their beloved twins, Hamnet and Judith, are afflicted with the bubonic plague, and, devastatingly, one of them succumbs to the illness. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time, Hamnet & Judith is mesmerizing and seductive, an impossible-to-put-down novel from one of our most gifted writers. Published as Hamnet in the US and the UK.

44. A History of My Brief Body

by: Billy-Ray Belcourt
Release date: Aug 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 192
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FINALIST FOR THE GOVERNOR GENERAL’S LITERARY AWARD FOR NON-FICTION FINALIST FOR THE LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FOR GAY MEMOIR/BIOGRAPHY FINALIST FOR THE JIM DEVA PRIZE FOR WRITING THAT PROVOKES FINALIST FOR THE HUBERT EVANS NON-FICTION PRIZE NATIONAL BESTSELLER A slim but electrifying debut memoir about the preciousness and precariousness of queer Indigenous life. Opening with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life on the Driftpile First Nation, Billy-Ray Belcourt delivers a searing account of Indigenous life that’s part love letter, part rallying cry. With the lyricism and emotional power of his award-winning poetry, Belcourt cracks apart his history and shares it with us one fragment at a time. He shines a light on Canada’s legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it. He revisits sexual encounters, ruminates on first loves and first loves lost, and navigates the racial politics of gay hookup apps. Among the hard truths he distills, the outline of a brighter future takes shape. Bringing in influences from James Baldwin to Ocean Vuong, this book is a testament to the power of language—to devastate us, to console us, to help us grieve, to help us survive. Destined to be dog-eared, underlined, treasured, and studied for years to come, A History of My Brief Body is a stunning achievement from one of this generation’s finest young minds.

45. Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

by: Claudio Saunt
Release date: Mar 24, 2020
Number of Pages: 416
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A masterful and unsettling history of “Indian Removal,” the forced migration of Native Americans across the Mississippi River in the 1830s and the state-sponsored theft of their lands. In May 1830, the United States formally launched a policy to expel Native Americans from the East to territories west of the Mississippi River. Justified as a humanitarian enterprise, the undertaking was to be systematic and rational, overseen by Washington’s small but growing bureaucracy. But as the policy unfolded over the next decade, thousands of Native Americans died under the federal government’s auspices, and thousands of others lost their possessions and homelands in an orgy of fraud, intimidation, and violence. Unworthy Republic reveals how expulsion became national policy and describes the chaotic and deadly results of the operation to deport 80,000 men, women, and children. Drawing on firsthand accounts and the voluminous records produced by the federal government, Saunt’s deeply researched book argues that Indian Removal, as advocates of the policy called it, was not an inevitable chapter in U.S. expansion across the continent. Rather, it was a fiercely contested political act designed to secure new lands for the expansion of slavery and to consolidate the power of the southern states. Indigenous peoples fought relentlessly against the policy, while many U.S. citizens insisted that it was a betrayal of the nation’s values. When Congress passed the act by a razor-thin margin, it authorized one of the first state-sponsored mass deportations in the modern era, marking a turning point for native peoples and for the United States. In telling this gripping story, Saunt shows how the politics and economics of white supremacy lay at the heart of the expulsion of Native Americans; how corruption, greed, and administrative indifference and incompetence contributed to the debacle of its implementation; and how the consequences still resonate today.

46. Wuhan Diary

by: Fang FangMichael Berry
Release date: May 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
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From one of China’s most acclaimed and decorated writers comes a powerful first-person account of life in Wuhan during the COVID-19 outbreak. On January 25, 2020, after the central government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, acclaimed Chinese writer Fang Fang began publishing an online diary. In the days and weeks that followed, Fang Fang’s nightly postings gave voice to the fears, frustrations, anger, and hope of millions of her fellow citizens, reflecting on the psychological impact of forced isolation, the role of the internet as both community lifeline and source of misinformation, and most tragically, the lives of neighbors and friends taken by the deadly virus. A fascinating eyewitness account of events as they unfold, Wuhan Diary captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information. Fang Fang finds solace in small domestic comforts and is inspired by the courage of friends, health professionals and volunteers, as well as the resilience and perseverance of Wuhan’s nine million residents. But, by claiming the writer ́s duty to record she also speaks out against social injustice, abuse of power, and other problems which impeded the response to the epidemic and gets herself embroiled in online controversies because of it. As Fang Fang documents the beginning of the global health crisis in real time, we are able to identify patterns and mistakes that many of the countries dealing with the novel coronavirus have later repeated. She reminds us that, in the face of the new virus, the plight of the citizens of Wuhan is also that of citizens everywhere. As Fang Fang writes: “The virus is the common enemy of humankind; that is a lesson for all humanity. The only way we can conquer this virus and free ourselves from its grip is for all members of humankind to work together.” Blending the intimate and the epic, the profound and the quotidian, Wuhan Diary is a remarkable record of an extraordinary time.

47. The Skin We’re In

by: Desmond Cole
Release date: Jan 09, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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In May 2015, the cover story of Toronto Life magazine shook Canada’s largest city to its core. Desmond Cole’s “The Skin I’m In” exposed the racist practices of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times Cole had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, went on to win a number of National Magazine Awards and catapulted its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis- the devastating effects of racist policing; the hopelessness produced by an education system that expects little of its black students and withholds from them the resources they need to succeed more fully; the heartbreak of those vulnerable before the child welfare system and those separated from their families by discriminatory immigration laws. Both Cole’s activism and journalism find vibrant expression in his first book, The Skin We’re In. Puncturing once and for all the bubble of Canadian smugness and naive assumptions of a post-racial nation, Cole chronicles just one year-2017-in the struggle against racism in this country. It was a year that saw calls for tighter borders when African refugees braved frigid temperatures to cross into Manitoba from the States, racial epithets used by a school board trustee, a six-year-old girl handcuffed at school. It was also a year of solidarity between Indigenous people and people of colour in Canada, a commitment forged in response to sesquicentennial celebrations that ignored the impact of violent conquest and genocide. The year also witnessed the profound personal and professional ramifications of Desmond Cole’s unwavering determination to combat injustice. In April, Cole disrupted a Toronto police board meeting by calling for the destruction of all data collected through carding. Following the protest, Cole, a columnist with the Toronto Star, was summoned to a meeting with the paper’s opinions editor and was informed that his activism violated company policy. Rather than limit his efforts defending Black lives, Cole chose to sever his relationship with the publication. Then in July, at another TPS meeting, Cole challenged the board publicly, addressing rumours of a police cover-up of the beating of Dafonte Miller by an off-duty police officer and his brother. A beating so brutal that Miller lost one of his eyes, and that went uninvestigated for four months. When Cole refused to leave the meeting until the question was publicly addressed, he was arrested. The image of Cole walking, handcuffed and flanked by officers, out of the meeting fortified the distrust between the city’s Black community and its police force. (A trespassing charge against Cole will be challenged in the new year as a violation of his right to freedom of expression.) In a month-by-month chronicle, Cole locates the deep cultural, historical and political roots of each event so that what emerges is a personal, painful and comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial and unsparingly honest, The Skin We’re In is destined to become a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians.

48. The Vanishing Half

by: Brit Bennett
Release date: Jun 02, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2020 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * PEOPLE * TIME MAGAZINE* VANITY FAIR * GLAMOUR “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” —Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal “A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it’s an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it’s piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

49. Mill Town

by: Kerri Arsenault
Release date: Sep 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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Winner of the 2021 Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award Winner of the 2021 Maine Literary Award for Nonfiction Finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics John Leonard Prize for Best First Book Finalist for the 2021 New England Society Book Award Finalist for the 2021 New England Independent Booksellers Association Award A New York Times Editors’ Choice and Chicago Tribune top book for 2020 “Mill Town is the book of a lifetime; a deep-drilling, quick-moving, heartbreaking story. Scathing and tender, it lifts often into poetry, but comes down hard when it must. Through it all runs the river: sluggish, ancient, dangerous, freighted with America’s sins.” —Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland Kerri Arsenault grew up in the small, rural town of Mexico, Maine, where for over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for nearly everyone in town, including three generations of her family. Kerri had a happy childhood, but years after she moved away, she realized the price she paid for that childhood. The price everyone paid. The mill, while providing the social and economic cohesion for the community, also contributed to its demise. Mill Town is a book of narrative nonfiction, investigative memoir, and cultural criticism that illuminates the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxics and disease with the central question; Who or what are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?

50. Transcendent Kingdom

by: Yaa Gyasi
Release date: Sep 08, 2020
Number of Pages: 256
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national bestseller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama. Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University’s School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behaviour in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to hard science to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written and emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

Last updated on October 17, 2021