From Christine Lahti to the Duchess de Guermantes | Last of the Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2018

Abrams, Stacey. Minority Leader: How To Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change. Holt. Apr. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781250191298. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781250191304. SELF-HELP/POLITICAL
House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly who’s now running for Georgia governor, Abrams won national acclaim for helping register voters of color in her state and getting business to recruit, train, and hire young people of color. Here, she shows readers from any marginalized population how to become their own advocates, proactively using their otherness while recognizing their fears. Not just local appeal; there are audiences out there that could really  benefit from this book.

Brusatte, Steve. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World. Morrow. Apr. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780062490421. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062490452. SCIENCE/PALEONTOLOGY
Moving from small, darting creature to the various swan-necked, armored, and teethy biggies we recognize best, University of Edinburgh paleontologist Brusatte offers a thoroughgoing account of dinosaurs, from their origins and evolution, to their habits and habitats, to their fiery demise and lock on our imagination. From a shining new light in the field; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Crosley, Sloane. Look Alive Out There: Essays. MCD: Farrar. Apr. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780374279844. $26; ebk. ISBN 978037471180. CD: Macmillan Audio. ESSAYS
After taking a detour to write the well-received debut novel, The Clasp, Crosley returns to the format that made New York Times best sellers of I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number. Readers can readily relate when Crosley describes the frisson of climbing an active volcano, playing herself on Gossip Girl, and going through fertility treatments, even if they’ve never had those experiences. Funny but deep, and fans are lining up.

Johnson, Kirk Wallace. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century. Viking. Apr. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9781101981610. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101981627. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. NATURE
In June 2009, 20-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist dropped into a branch of the British Museum of Natural History in Tring, England, after a performance and stole 299 rare bird skins collected by Victorian-era naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. Why? That’s the question asked by journalist Johnson (To Be a Friend Is Fatal) when his fly-fishing guide told him about the theft. If nothing else, the birds’ gorgeous feathers figure largely in the apparently highly regarded Victorian art of salmon fly-tying.

Jones, Lucy. The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them). Doubleday. Apr. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780385542708. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385542715. Downloadable: Random Audio. NATURAL DISASTERS
Nature’s upheavals aren’t all bad—earthquakes produce natural springs, for instance, while volcanic spill results in fertile soil—but the human cost can include lost lives, overturned governments, and reshaped cities. Jones, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, surveys events from Pompeii to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, showing their consequences while arguing that while nature’s sound-and-light shows are inevitable, human catastrophe is not. We need to hear this now.

Jurek, Scott. North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail. Little, Brown., Apr. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780316433792. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316433785. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316510202. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR
Internationally renowned ultrarunner Jurek has won most of his sport’s main events, including three consecutive victories in the 153-mile Spartathlon. But deciding that he was going to break the speed record for the Appalachian Trail was a different sort of challenge. He did it in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes. With a 150,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for October 2017.

Lahti, Christine. True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age. HarperWave. Apr. 2018. 224p. 9780062663672. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062663696. MEMOIR
In a series of essays like “Mama Mia,” “Shit Happens,” and “Running on Empty.” Academy, Emmy, and Golden Globe award-winning actress and director Lahti unfolds her life story, moving from a fractious-family childhood to her early career experiences to the struggles of a middle-aged woman in Hollywood today. With a 75,000-copy first printing; definitely feminist and funny.

McNamara, Eileen. Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World. S. & S. Apr. 2018. 464p. ISBN 9781451642261. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781451642278. BIOGRAPHY
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist McNamara doesn’t just tell the story of Eunice Kennedy, who used father Joe’s money, the political power of brothers John and Robert, and her own Stanford-refined smarts and audacity to advance the rights and well-being of both children and adults with intellectual disabilities. (Among other things, she founded the Special Olympics.) McNamara argues that this was the Kennedy who left the most important legacy of all. Written with access to never-before-seen private papers.

Schilthuizen, Menno. Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution. Picador. Apr. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781250127822. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781250127839. SCIENCE
Evolution takes place over eons, right? Not always, says evolutionary biologist Schilthuizen, a senior research scientist at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. We can see evidence of quick adaptation especially in cities, where moths are beginning to eschew light bulbs, song birds now sing at a higher pitch than the traffic, and lizards have evolved feet better at gripping concrete. Cool!

van Haaften, Julia. Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography. Norton. Apr. 2018. 544p. ISBN 9780393292787. $49.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393292794. BIOGRAPHY/ART
Founding curator of the New York Public Library’s photography collection in 1980, van Haaften chronicles the life and art of a woman who made all the difference in 20th-century photography. From celebrities in Roaring Twenties Paris to rapidly changing 1930s New York to key scientific moments in the 1950s, Berenice Abbott made images that shaped how we still see her world. With 100 photographs.

Vollmann, William T. No Immediate Danger: Volume One of Carbon Ideologies. Viking. Apr. 2018. 624p. ISBN 9780399563492. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780399563508. GLOBAL WARMING
National Book Award winner for his novel Europe Central, Vollmann also writes politically engaged nonfiction like Rising Up and Rising Down, a seven-volume study of violence nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. For this first volume in a new work on global warming, he risked traveling to the contaminated, unearthly no-go zones of Fukushima, Japan. Next up, in June 2018: coal mining and oil and natural gas production.

Weber, Caroline. Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin de Siècle Paris. Knopf. Apr. 2018. 768p. ISBN 9780307961785; ebk. ISBN 9780307961792. Downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY
Geneviève Halévy Bizet Straus; Laure de Sade, Comtesse de Adhéaume de Chevigné; and Élisabeth de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay, Comtesse Greffuhle: three highest-of-high-society women who enthralled all of fin de siècle Paris, particularly Marcel Proust. He used them to create the Duchesse de Guermantes, who reigns over his magnum opus, À la Recherche du temps perdu. Barnard professor Weber (Queen of Fashion) takes us into their glorious salons and busy yet often lonely lives.

Share
Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*