Nonfiction Staff picks

 
 
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THE RESIDENCE

Kate Andersen Brower

A history of the service staff that maintains the White House: 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 28 fireplaces. Brower interviews fiercely loyal maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen and engineers who have worked for many different administrations. The staff moves one family out and the next family in on Inauguration Day, learns how to cook for different tastes (or not), and even works on perfecting a shower for one president. A fascinating read! 

-Lori

 
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THE BILLION DOLLAR SPY

David E. Hoffman

A fascinating story of espionage during the Cold War. A terrific character study of spies and their handlers. Includes intricate details of tradecraft used by the CIA and KGB. Written in flowing prose that reads like a novel. If you enjoy John Le Carre try this excellent real-life version.

-Carole & Lori

 
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RED NOTICE

Bill Browder

More exciting than any fictional thriller. A real eye-opener into the financial workings of the Soviet Union and the perils of taking on the oligarchies.

-Carole

 
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Bettyville

George Hodgman

This is not light reading. But if you want a true story that examines the human heart and the complexities of family relationships, it is a gem. The author, a middle-aged New York City book editor, returns to his small hometown of Paris, Missouri to care for his 91-year-old mother, Betty, who is in failing health, but still a feisty, opinionated lady. As the two try to meld their worlds, the author reveals more and more about their relationship, past and present. Beautifully written and crafted, and with a wry sense of humor it is the story of a son’s love for his mother, his sense of family duty, and the meaning of home—even when personalities and circumstances have made his return almost that of a prodigal son. 

-Nancy

 
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the tennis partner

Abraham Verghese

Verghese moves to El Paso, Texas as his marriage falls apart. He starts working at the county hospital as a staff physician where he meets medical student, David Smith.  David is an ex tennis pro and also a former drug addict. This is a beautifully written story of their rich and complex friendship. 

-Lori & Robert

 
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World enough & time

Christian McEwen

Well-researched and thoroughly readable, a wonderful treatise on the benefits of building “slow time” into one’s daily schedule and the positive effect it can have on creativity and general well-being.  Peppered throughout with wisdom from all religions and quotes from artists, writers, scientists, and other creative luminaries, this is a book to savor.  Eloquent prose balanced with an intimate approach takes this book a cut above others of similar genre and makes this a wonderful read any time of the day.  Settle in with a cup of coffee and enjoy! 

-Nancy

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FOLLOWING ATTICUS

Tom Ryan

Why would a very out-of-shape middle-aged man and a very small dog even think about climbing a 4,000 ft. peak in winter, let alone climb 48 of them? The twists and turns in this true story will have you asking yourself. . . "How on earth did they survive that?!” A touching and enduring tale of man, dog, and the greater community of life.

-Nancy

 
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LADY ALMINA AND THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY

Lady Fiona Carnarvon

Subtitled “The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle,” the current Countess of Carnarvon brings to life the story of its former chatelaine, Lady Almina Carnarvon, and history of the castle that was used as a setting in the acclaimed PBS series, Downton Abbey.  Fans of the show will find that, in this case, fact is just as interesting and compelling as fiction. From the grandeur and opulence of Edwardian times to the sorrow and sacrifice of World War I, Lady Almina’s metamorphosis from socialite to humanitarian is impressive and worthy of recognition.

-Nancy

 
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THE DISAPPEARING SPOON

Sam Kean

Bubbles in a glass of beer led to the invention of one of the most important pieces of scientific equipment.  The euro is the most sophisticated, counterfeit-proof money every created.  Delightful facts, like these, highlight mans creativity and eccentricity.  In a saucy style, the author helps us appreciate the most fundamental of resources, the elements, and old ideas, which we build on, reject, or re-embrace.

-Marcia

 
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EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON

S.E. Gwynne

Not many authors write a first book that immediately becomes a NYT bestseller. If you have any interest in the old western frontier or perhaps just enjoy a very well-written history book, look no further.

-Phil

 
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PLAYING WITH THE ENEMY

Gary W. Moore

True story of a baseball prodigy sidelined by WWII. A decision to teach German POW’s baseball changes his life forever. A moving and enjoyable story about baseball and the pursuit of a dream.

-Bud

 
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THE FORGOTTEN 500

Gregory A. Freeman

It was one of the boldest rescue operations of WWII – getting over 500 downed airmen safely out of Yugoslavia. Courage, daring and political intrigue in abundance. But, why was the story buried for 50 years? A great read for history buffs and adventure fans alike.

-Bud