Cultural Conversations, from The New Yorker to Film to St. Mark’s Place | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2015, Pt. 1


Calhoun, Ada. St. Marks Is Dead : The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street. Norton. Nov. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780393240382. $27.95. SOCIAL SCIENCE St. Mark’s Place, in lower Manhattan, occupies only three blocks, but in the intellectual life of the country it occupies a much grander space. Starting out as Colonial Dutch Director-General Peter Stuyvesant’s pear […]

Two North Korean Memoirs, a Challenge to Fracking, Ted Koppel on Cyberattack Unpreparedness, & More | More Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 5


Briggle, Adam. A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking: How One Texas Town Stood Up to Big Oil and Gas. Liveright: Norton. Oct. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781631490071. $26.95. SCIENCE/ENERGY Yes, philosophy professors can go activist, as Briggle did when he moved to Denton, TX, to teach at the University of North Texas. He quickly became an […]

Sing Along with Carrie Brownstein, Elvis Costello, Beyoncé, & More | Music Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 5


Bareilles, Sara. Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song. S. & S. Oct. 2015. 208p. ISBN 9781476727776. $28. MEMOIR The five-time Grammy Award–nominated American singer-songwriter and musician talks about her craft in that same revelatory style that has made her a big name since her 2007 hit, “Love Song.” The life balance she […]

Eight Essential Memoirs from Barrymore, Cisneros, Fraser, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4


Barrymore, Drew. Wildflower. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781101983799. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101983805. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR While 1990’s Little Girl Lost details Barrymore’s drug and alcohol abuse as a very young actress, this book covers the durable actress’s life since age 14, when she found herself living on her own. How it’s all come […]

Luc Sante’s Paris, Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette, World War II Revisionism, & More | History & Biography Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 3


Brown, Richard H. & Paul E. Cohen. Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence, 1755–1783. Norton. Oct. 2015. 160p. ISBN 9780393060324. $75. HISTORY When war broke out between Britain and its American colonies, surveyors, artists, and engravers rushed to capture the ever-changing topography of the various battlefields, thus providing important visual information for combatants—and an […]

Four Essential Sci/Med Titles from Tim Flannery, Lisa Randall, & More | Nonfiction Previews, October 2015, Pt. 2


Flannery, Tim. Atmosphere of Hope: The Search for Solutions to the Climate Crisis. Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780802124067. $27; ebk. ISBN9780802190925. NATURE Ten years ago, Flannery helped jump-start the conversation on climate change with The Weather Makers, a No. 1 international best seller that was named an ALA Notable Book and has over […]

Frank Sinatra at 100 | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1


Brady, John. Frank & Ava: In Love and War. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250070913. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466881570. BIOGRAPHY Rising star Ava Gardner had two brief marriages behind her when she first encountered Frank Sinatra, married with three children and on a downward slide, his film and recording studios having dropped him. Gardner […]

From Sisters in Law O’Connor & Ginsburg to Expanding Children’s Brains | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4,


Ananthaswamy, Anil. The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self. Dutton. Aug.  2015. 320p. ISBN 9780525954194. $26.95. MEDICAL If you like Oliver Sacks, you’ll love this new work by Ananthaswamy, an award-winning science journalist and former deputy news editor and current consultant for New Scientist. His smart approach to […]

Biography (e.g., J.M. Coetzee, Mary McGrory) & History (e.g., World War II) | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3


Attwell, David. J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face to Face with Time. Viking. Sept. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780525429616. $27.95. LITERARY CRITICISM/BIOGRAPHY Currently a professor at the University of York, Attwell completed an MA in African literary theory and criticism at the University of Cape Town, where his supervisor was Nobel Prize–winning novelist J.M. […]

Essential Memoirs from Margo Jefferson, Wendell Pierce, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 2


Jefferson, Margo. Negroland. Pantheon. Sept. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780307378453. $25. MEMOIR Former New York Times theater critic Jefferson defines Negroland as “a small region of Negro America where residents are sheltered by privilege and plenty,” and in 1947 she was born into it. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the […]