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Learning New Things

Learning New Things

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

Playlist Tags: Volumes Bookcafe genre: Nonfiction non fiction fun

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The Art of Gathering

How We Meet and Why It Matters

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

The Art of Gathering

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

The Booksmith image Lisa, The Booksmith
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Spineless

The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

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

Spineless

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

Sarah Reif image Sarah Reif, Kramerbooks
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Word by Word

The Secret Life of Dictionaries

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

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

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

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How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

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

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

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The Devil in the White City

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

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

The Devil in the White City

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

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

A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

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

How the Word Is Passed

“Smith has crafted a resource, narrative and detailed explanation into how we teach the legacy of slavery. He recounts visits from everywhere from NYC to the Whitney Plantation, integrating stories of people and visitors today. This book is lays a beautiful written foundation for interrogating the history we've been taught. Particularly phenomenal as an audiobook, Smith's skills as a poet and writer shine bright!”

Wellesley Books image Eliza, Wellesley Books
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An American Summer

Love and Death in Chicago

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

2020 J. ANTHONY LUKAS PRIZE WINNER

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


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

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Stiff

The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

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

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

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

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The Order of Time

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

The Order of Time

“I was drawn to this book, the third in Rovelli's recent series of short introductions to the mind-blowing propositions of modern physics, by its inexhaustibly poignant and fascinating subject: time. He spends the first half of the book explaining why time doesn't exist, and the second half explaining why, at least for us lesser mortals, it does. (That he does so, in the audio version, in the deliciously elegant voice of Mr. Cumberbatch, is a wonderful bonus.) It is indeed mind-blowing, while also being movingly human, and while it is short (just four-plus hours in listening time), I expect I'll have to listen at least once more for some of these simply stated but earth-shiftingly difficult concepts to start fitting into my brain.”

Phinney Books image Tom, Phinney Books
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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

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

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

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This Is Your Mind on Plants

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

This Is Your Mind on Plants

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

Bookstore1Sarasota image James, Bookstore1Sarasota
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A Short History of Nearly Everything

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

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

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

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Time Travel

A History

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

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

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

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At Home

A Short History of Private Life

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

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

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

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Four Thousand Weeks

Time Management for Mortals

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

Four Thousand Weeks

“Burkeman’s title emphasizes that if we make it to 80 years of age, we live roughly four thousand weeks. That intro alone sounds pretty sobering, but Burkeman takes us through philosophers’ and scientists’ wisdom across centuries with conclusions that are very optimistic. Burke reassures us with stories such as the American who in 1969 went through a brutal orientation to become a Zen Buddhist with secrets to feeling at peace by merely stopping avoidance to the obvious, diving in to reclaim control of our lives.”

Bookstore1Sarasota image Roxanne, Bookstore1Sarasota
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Entangled Life

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

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

Entangled Life

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

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

A New Origin Story

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

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

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

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Mythos

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

Mythos

“Brush up on your classical mythology painlessly with the help of Stephen Fry! The Greek gods are brought to life with a fresh perspective and loads of uncensored naughty bits served with a side of pop culture references. Best enjoyed by listening to the Libro.fm audiobook to fully appreciate the storytelling aspect of these tales that were meant to be enjoyed in the oral tradition. But hard to resist the gorgeous package of the cloth bound hardback. I own both. :)”

Fountain Bookstore image Kelly, Fountain Bookstore
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Cultish

The Language of Fanaticism

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

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

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

Read more »

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Don't Believe a Word

The Surprising Truth About Language

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

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

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

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

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