Category: Non-Fiction

Be Inspired by the Awesome Biography Recommendations!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new biographies for you to dig into and be inspired! Dig in and enjoy!

 

 

 

5. Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones

 

Image via Amazon

 

Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones is all about the classic American icon: Dr. Seuss. Whimsical and wonderful, his work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. The silly, simple rhymes are a bottomless well of magic, his illustrations timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton, and so many more, are his troupe of beloved, and uniquely Seussian, creations. Theodor Geisel, however, had a second, more radical side. It is there that the allure and fascination of his Dr. Seuss alter ego begins. He had a successful career as an advertising man and then as a political cartoonist, his personal convictions appearing, not always subtly, throughout his books—remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man on an important mission. He introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well.

 

4. Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier by Mark Kram Jr.

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Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier by Mark Kram Jr. tells about Joe Frazier, the famed rival of Muhammad Ali. Joe Frazier was a much more complex figure than just his rivalry with Ali would suggest. In this riveting and nuanced portrayal, acclaimed sports writer Mark Kram, Jr. unlinks Frazier from Ali and for the first time gives a full-bodied account of Frazier’s life, a journey that began as the youngest of thirteen children packed in small farm house, encountering the bigotry and oppression of the Jim Crow South, and continued with his voyage north at age fifteen to develop as a fighter in Philadelphia. Tracing Frazier’s life through his momentous bouts with the likes of Ali and George Foreman and the developing perception of him as the anti-Ali in the eyes of blue-collar America, Kram follows the boxer through his retirement in 1981, exploring his relationship with his son, the would-be heavyweight Marvis, and his fragmented home life as well as the uneasy place that Ali continued to occupy in his thoughts.

 

 

3. Rough Magic: The world’s loneliest horse race by Lara Prior Palmer

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Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Races by Lara Prior Palmer is about an unforgettable ride across the rugged terrain of Mongolia. At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”―an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps. Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.

 

2. Fay wray and Robert Riskin by Victoria Riskin

 

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Fay Wray and Robert Riskin by Victoria Riskin tells of a famous Hollywood love story. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin lived large lives, finding each other after establishing their artistic selves and after each had had many romantic attachments—Wray, an eleven-year-long difficult marriage and a fraught affair with Clifford Odets, and Riskin, a series of romances with, among others, Carole Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Loretta Young. Here are Wray’s and Riskin’s lives, their work, their fairy-tale marriage that ended so tragically. Here are their dual, quintessential American lives, ultimately and blissfully intertwined.

 

1. Chamber Music: Wu Tang and America by Will Ashon

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Chamber Music: Wu-Tang and America by Will Ashon tells of the legendary story of the Wu Tang Clan and its impact on American society. Will Ashon tells, in thirty-six interlinked “chambers,” the story of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and how it changed the world. As unexpected and complex as the album itself, Chamber Music ranges from provocative essays to semi-comic skits, from deep scholarly analysis to satirical celebration, seeking to contextualize, reveal and honor this singular work of art. Chamber Music is an explosive and revelatory new way of writing about music and culture.

 

 

 

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Enter the World of Secret Libraries

Everyone knows about the libraries that burned, but what about the ones that were hidden? In desert caves and the basements of ancient cities, these libraries were sealed, sometimes for centuries, to protect books from censorship and cataclysm. But don’t worry, not all is lost – some secret libraries are uncovered, and some you can still visit, with the proper credentials

 

 

Dunhuang Cave Library

Mogao Grottoes

Image via Thought Co

In a series of sacred caves at the northern edge of the Gobi desert in western China, a hidden treasure trove of manuscripts from between the fourth and eleventh centuries. After being sealed for a thousand years, they were found. It took ten more years for what remained the tens of thousands of manuscripts to be collected by the Chinese government, according to the BBC. Though much was lost, the bright side is that you can view many of these documents from anywhere in the world, thanks to the efforts of The International Dunhuang Project. Happy reading!

 

Family History of the Silk Road

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Image via Haaretz

 

An Afghan cave along the silk road held thousands of documents dating to the 11th century, written by a family who lived on the silk road. Written in many languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, according to RT. They aren’t the first to be found – the Ben Daniel family, merchants from northern Afghanistan, left caches and records elsewhere on the silk road, as well – an earlier discovery was made in Egypt. The papers are expected to be sold to an appropriate institution, but nothing is confirmed.

 

Bodleian Library

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Image via Travel with Mei and Kersten

 

Actually a series of thirteen libraries spread over Oxford, some more than 400 years old. These libraries are still very much active, but you’ll have to apply, as access is restricted to the most intensive research purposes, both private and institutional. Don’t be too heartbroken, though, if you’re on the wrong side of the pond – you can apply for digital access through their website if you need their collection. I’m going to have to start research on a relevant topic, just for access. And also fly across the world.

 

 

Featured image via Bodleian Libraries Blogs

Have You Read This Oprah-Approved Alicia Keys Memoir?

In 2015 Oprah announced that she and Flatiron Books had started a new imprint that would focus on publishing nonfiction stories called “An Oprah Book,” and nearly four years later, back in March, we got the name of their first imprint title: More Myself by none other than Alicia Keys!

 

 

If you recall, the announcement itself was something special. It came out in a YouTube video where Alicia Keys unveiled the cover of her new book, describing it as “part autobiography, part narrative documentary.”

Check out the video below!

 

 

Back then, Oprah Magazine noted that “[w]ith this announcement, 2019 seems to be yet another breakout year for Keys” and ABC News quoted Flatiron as saying “the memoir [is] a ‘360-degree perspective’ on [Alicia’s] life, from her childhood in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan to her spectacular, Grammy-winning rise.”

It’s an awesome story, especially considering that Alicia Keys has made great strides in the past few years.

 

IMAGE VIA USA TODAY

 

In 2007, her third album, As I Am, had a Hot 100’s number one single “No One” and sold 5 million copies worldwide, according to MTVLater that year, the album earned three Grammy Awards. That same year she portrayed Georgia Sykes in the hit film Smokin’ Aces, a film which also starred Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Ryan Reynolds, and Chris Pine.

And now this Oprah-approved Alicia Keys’ memoir has hit a bookshelf near you just yesterday!

 

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

 

Amazon describes it as “[a]n intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression.”

Want to get it? Do you? Well join me and click here to get it!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via GRAMMY.COM

Bloomsbury Caught in Crossfire Between Us and China

The publishing company that brought us Harry Potter, Bloomsbury, has been faced with an increase of fifteen percent from China for books printed there. This happened overnight on the first of September.

 

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Image via BriefedUp

 

According to Chief Executive Nigel Newton, the company wasn’t prepared for this increase but they are doing their best to take it in stride. This increase should only have a small impact for the finical year, but could possibly cause some issues in the future. Newton says that illustrated books, such as the Harry Potter illustrated editions are published in China due to the good pricing and quality.

 

 

Unfortunately from March to August there was a five percent decrease in Sales, but Newton wasn’t worried about future sales. When E-books were forced introduced everyone feared how they would take over, but according to Newton, it doesn’t matter if it’s an e-book or printed copy, they’re still buying a book from the company, so E-books just helped increase sales.

 

Featured image via BBC

5 Wildlife Books Cooler Than National Geographic

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most—just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s picks are wildlife recommendations to immerse yourself in the natural world. Dig in!

 

5. Sleep: How nature gets its rest by Kate Prendergast 

 

 

Sleep: How Nature Gets Its Rest by Kate Prendergast is all about educating you on how animals of the world get their rest. Some animals sleep alone. Others sleep in packs. Some slumber at night, and others prefer the daytime for getting some z’s. Whether large or small, familiar or unusual, all animals must find a way to get some rest. Did you know that giraffes sleep standing up? That sloths sleep upside down? Or that fish sleep with their eyes open? Take a close look at the sleeping habits of meerkats, bats, horses, birds, and other animals around the world in a book for young nature enthusiasts that is certain to spark a sense of wonder.

 

4. the Breath of a whale by Leigh Calvez

 

 

The Breath Of a Whale by Leigh Calvez tells the story about the world’s most remarkable creatures: the whales. Leigh Calvez has spent a dozen years researching, observing, and probing the lives of the giants of the deep. Here, she relates the stories of nature’s most remarkable creatures, including the familial orcas in the waters of Washington State and British Columbia; the migratory humpbacks; the ancient, deep-diving blue whales, the largest animals on the planet. The lives of these whales are conveyed through the work of dedicated researchers who have spent decades tracking them along their secretive routes that extend for thousands of miles, gleaning their habits and sounds and distinguishing peculiarities. The author invites the reader onto a small research catamaran maneuvering among 100-foot long blue whales off the coast of California; or to join the task of monitoring patterns of humpback whale movements at the ocean surface: tail throw, flipper slap, fluke up, or blow. To experience whales is breathtaking.

 

3. being Caribou Karsten Heuer 

 

Being Caribou by Karsen Heuer conveys the magnificent world of caribou in an incredible journey, up close and personal. Determined to convey both the enormity of the caribous’ migration and the delicacy of their habitat, Karsten Heuer and his wife spent their honeymoon following the herd. For five months, they traveled an uncharted course on foot over mountains, through snow, and across frozen rivers, with only three semi-scheduled food drops for support. As with the caribou, Heuer and his wife faced dwindling fat reserves and stalking by ravenous grizzlies and wolves just awakened from hibernation. Both a rousing adventure story and a sober ecological meditation, Being Caribou vividly conveys this magnificent animal’s world.

 

2. Death at Sea World by David Kirby 

 

 

Death At SeaWorld by David Kirby centers on the battle with the multimillion-dollar marine park industry over the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity. Following the story of marine biologist and animal advocate at the Humane Society of the US, Naomi Rose, Kirby tells the gripping story of the two-decade fight against PR-savvy SeaWorld, which came to a head with the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Death at SeaWorld introduces real people taking part in this debate, from former trainers turned animal rights activists to the men and women that champion SeaWorld and the captivity of whales. In section two the orcas act out. And as the story progresses and orca attacks on trainers become increasingly violent, the warnings of Naomi Rose and other scientists fall on deaf ears, only to be realized with the death of Dawn Brancheau. Finally he covers the media backlash, the eyewitnesses who come forward to challenge SeaWorld’s glossy image, and the groundbreaking OSHA case that challenges the very idea of keeping killer whales in captivity and may spell the end of having trainers in the water with the ocean’s top predators.

 

1. When the Whales Walked by Dougal Dixon

 

 

When the Whales Walked by Douglas Dixon is all about evolution! Since evolution has become a popular primary school topic in the UK, a fleet of books on the subject has hit the shelves. Most opt for the all-too-familiar tale of the intrepid Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle and finches in the Galápagos, or the peppered moths that would follow. Here, the authors opt for something else, offering 13 stories about the early experimentation of animal forms in a bid to help younger readers understand how we got here. Besides the eponymous whale, there are chapters on early dinosaur flight and warm-blooded crocodiles, alongside more familiar stories of snakes with legs and fish with feet.

All in-text images via Amazon

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