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Non Fiction You Can't Miss

Compelling nonfiction that will leave you eager to learn more.

Playlist Tags: Blue Willow Bookshop

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Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light

Essays

By Helen Ellis
Narrated by: Helen Ellis
Length: 2 hours 49 minutes

Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light

“Helen Ellis's essays in Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light are equal parts "let me tell you how it is" and sass. Her chapters celebrate the good, bad, and ugly of growing older with a dear group of friends. Read this book to find a kindred spirit then give it away to a girlfriend who needs the same. Human connection is the most important thing and Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light celebrates that.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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The Anthropocene Reviewed

Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

By John Green
Narrated by: John Green
Length: 10 hours 3 minutes

If you enjoyed Why Fish Don't Exist, then you’ll love The Anthropocene Reviewed.

“A lovely lovely listen read by the author. This is the perfect book to take on a long walk or drive that will make you look at the world in a fresh way. Drawing on personal anecdotes, history, literature and science, Green embraces both small and big ideas and makes you grateful for things you might have once overlooked. 5/5 stars for this audiobook!”

Bank Square Books image Katie, Bank Square Books
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On Juneteenth

By Annette Gordon-Reed
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 3 hours 44 minutes

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the nation’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction... Read more »

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Wonderworks

The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature

By Angus Fletcher
Narrated by: Jacques Roy
Length: 15 hours 11 minutes

This “fascinating” (Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author of Outliers) examination of literary inventions through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante, shows how writers have created technical breakthroughs—rivaling scientific inventions—and engineering enhancements to the human heart and mind.

Literature is a... Read more »

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Four Hundred Souls

A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

By Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain
Narrated by: Various
Length: 14 hours 1 minutes

Four Hundred Souls

“An absolutely stunning history of African America for people who do not normally read history. Compiled of short stories, essays, and poems, it is perfect for someone who is intimidated by lists of names and dates. Each individual voice stands on its own but together they truly make a 'choir' that flows together beautifully. This is a one-of-a-kind history that is essential reading for everyone.”

Quail Ridge Books image Tia, Quail Ridge Books
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Robert E. Lee and Me

A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause

By Ty Seidule
Narrated by: Ty Seidule
Length: 10 hours 45 minutes

"The narrator’s skill as an educator is evident in this production. Seidule's varied tone and pace keep listeners engaged while he describes historical events in detail." -- Booklist

This program is read by the author.

In a forceful but humane narrative, former soldier and head of the West Point history department Ty Seidule's Robert E. Lee and Me...

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The Presidents vs. the Press

The Endless Battle between the White House and the Media--from the Founding Fathers to Fake News

By Harold Holzer
Narrated by: James Lurie
Length: 21 hours 54 minutes

An award-winning presidential historian offers an authoritative account of American presidents' attacks on our freedom of the press.

“The FAKE NEWS media,” Donald Trump has tweeted, “is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Has our free press ever faced as great a threat? Perhaps not—but the tension between presidents and... Read more »

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The Splendid and the Vile

A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

By Erik Larson
Narrated by: John Lee & Erik Larson
Length: 17 hours 48 minutes

The Splendid and the Vile

“Larson does a splendid job again of creating the personal story out of a larger historical event. Here he concentrates on the Churchills and the two years of the London blitz. By using diaries and letters, he tells of the immense loss of life and property. He also gives voice to the great spirit of the people who endured this. We are transported to 10 Downing Street and the official weekend home of the prime minister where meetings, meals, parties, and intrigue abound.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Valerie, Blue Willow Bookshop
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The Third Rainbow Girl

The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia

By Emma Copley Eisenberg
Narrated by: Emma Copley Eisenberg
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes

The Third Rainbow Girl

“In this thoughtful and immersive chronicle of the 1980 murders that thrust West Virginia’s Pocahontas County into the national spotlight, Eisenberg seeks to better understand not only the crimes and their aftermath, but also the lasting impact the region (which she came to know independent of her inquiry) had on her. A complex and captivating read, The Third Rainbow Girl weaves true crime with memoir to stunning effect.”

Powell's Books image Tove Holmberg, Powell's Books
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Imperfect Union

How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War

By Steve Inskeep
Narrated by: Steve Inskeep
Length: 13 hours 48 minutes

Imperfect Union

“I am always impressed at the breadth of knowledge Inskeep shows about his subject matter, and this book is no different. Inskeep does a fantastic job of balancing their incredible qualities with their despicable ones; Jessie was anti-slavery but very much a racist, and John was a fearless leader that often put his charges in harm's way. I thoroughly enjoyed this read about a subject matter of which I knew very little. Inskeep's performance on the audiobook is outstanding as well!”

Parnassus Books image Chelsea, Parnassus Books
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Mobituaries

Great Lives Worth Reliving

By Mo Rocca
Narrated by: Mo Rocca
Length: 11 hours 45 minutes

Mobituaries

“As entertaining and informative as his podcast. Mo examines people who didn't get their due. Each "mobituary" showcases the highlights, contributions and influences of known and unknown individuals. His trademark humor is throughout. Enjoyable little snippets. Great audio too.”

Bookworm of Edwards image Karin, Bookworm of Edwards
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The Body

A Guide for Occupants

By Bill Bryson
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Length: 14 hours 4 minutes

The Body

“At home while peeling wallpaper or making diner—or just closing my eyes for a while—a non-fiction audio book is a perfect companion, especially if it’s teaching me something as well as being entertaining. The Body: A Guide For Occupants by Bill Bryson, narrated by Bill Bryson, is exactly that kind of book. Bryson’s voice is genial, sometimes humble, and yet informative and authoritative, and I was pleased that he choice to narrate it. And the subject is me! Well, sort of. But what could be more compelling than learning about this body that has taken care of me for, well, many years now. And even the insights that might not relate to me at this moment are fascinating. I kept thinking about my friends and how this book could help me to better understand their aches and pains and medical conditions. And, maybe most importantly, by listening to this book I became amazed at the idea that these bodies of ours do so much to keep us healthy and alive—and to understand how we should be helping our bodies to do so. I’d love to quote all the facts I’ve learned—such as information about viruses, and the odd facts that seem unbelievable, such as the Anton-Babinski syndrome, where people who are blind refuse to believe it—but that’s why you should listen to this book, to find these gems for yourself.”

Loganberry Books image Sarah, Loganberry Books
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Running with Sherman

The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero

By Christopher McDougall
Narrated by: Christopher McDougall
Length: 12 hours 12 minutes

Running with Sherman

Running With Sherman is one of those special books that just makes you happy. Sherman, an abused donkey adopted by Christopher McDougall and family, needs a task, and that task turns out to be joining the World Championship of burro running in Colorado. In his inimitably engaging style, McDougall has taken the best of his two previous books—the personal stories of Born to Run and the history from Natural Born Heroes—and created the most enjoyable book I’ve read this year. I laughed, I got teary, I smiled a lot. Sherman is my new hero!”

Pete Mock image Pete Mock, McIntyre's Fine Books
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Sea Stories

My Life in Special Operations

By Admiral William H. McRaven
Narrated by: Admiral William H. McRaven
Length: 10 hours 14 minutes

In this instant New York Times bestseller, the celebrated author of Make Your Bed shares amazing adventure stories from his career as a Navy SEAL and commander of America's Special Operations Forces.
Admiral William H. McRaven is a part of American military history, having been involved in some of the most famous missions in recent memory,... Read more »

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The Book of Delights

By Ross Gay
Narrated by: Ross Gay
Length: 5 hours

The Book of Delights

“For those of you having a rough year, take comfort and inspiration from Ross Gay’s aptly titled The Book of Delights. After going through a bumpy patch himself, Gay tasked himself with a year’s worth of essays, each day focusing on something delightful. What resulted is a warm, thoughtful range of reflections on tomato plants, high fives, and airport security. The Book of Delights is a companion to keep with you, whether on your nightstand, in the bathtub, or on the subway, for a brief moment of emotional respite. Definitely one of my first delights of 2019.”

Molly Gillespie image Molly Gillespie, Joseph-Beth Booksellers
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Educated

A Memoir

By Tara Westover
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hours 9 minutes

Educated

“I loved this book! Tara Westover's memoir is the kind that sounds like it should be a novel—and this book reads like one in the best way—and I think I found myself gasping and covering my mouth about once per chapter. Westover describes her upbringing in a fundamentalist Mormon, survivalist, anti-government, anti-medicine family, enduring neglect and abuse and never attending school, in a way that still somehow manages to make her family members seem sympathetic despite their actions. She is honest about her early beliefs and conflicts and addresses her own lapses in memory throughout the book, and when she finally leaves home to go to college and beyond, you can't help but cheer for her. Julia Whelan does a fantastic job narrating the book, as well, giving each character a distinct personality, but in a way that isn't distracting to the story being told. Her voice is alternately innocent and chilling and gives an added depth to a fascinating story.”

Bank Square Books image Elissa, Bank Square Books
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The Good Neighbor

The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

By Maxwell King
Narrated by: LeVar Burton
Length: 14 hours 7 minutes

The Good Neighbor

“A wonderful biography of an American icon who seemed too good to be true. And yet, believe it or not, he was an even better, more caring man than he portrayed on television. If you are a fan of Fred Rogers and want to understand what drove him to create Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, this is an essential read. Learning more about Rogers’ life through the words of his family and friends in this well-researched and comprehensive biography will give you even more reason to admire the man. And when’s the last time a biography made you cry tears of joy?”

Octavia Books image James Wilson, Octavia Books
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These Truths

A History of the United States

By Jill Lepore
Narrated by: Jill Lepore
Length: 28 hours 59 minutes

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation. The American experiment rests on three ideas?"these truths," Jefferson called them?political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too,... Read more »

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Braiding Sweetgrass

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Narrated by: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Length: 16 hours 44 minutes

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our... Read more »

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