Non Fiction

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Modern Romance

When I first heard that Aziz Ansari was releasing a book about romance, I thought it was going to be chapters full of his stand-up sketches bemoaning the methods of dating in today’s world. I still wanted to read it because I think Ansari is hilarious; however, I did not expect his book to be part ...

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The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

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There are thousands and thousands of blogs, but only a handful of superstar bloggers. One of them is Ree Drummond who blogs about her life on the Oklahoma cattle ranch where she lives with her husband and four children. Ree’s blog features her photography, recipes, and tales of life on a working ...

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Born To Rule

Queen Victoria had nine children and 40 grandchildren. Of her granddaughters, five became queens. They all reigned during tumultuous times and all suffered their share of hardship and disappointment. Julia Gelardi tells the story of these five women in Born to Rule, a fascinating look at a lost era. ...

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Medium Raw

In the ten years since Kitchen Confidential, doting (and non-smoking) dad Tony Bourdain has settled into the kind of fat cat celebrity raconteur he once took delight in ridiculing. It’s clear that he thinks he’s sold out (he cheerfully admits Rachael Ray bought him off with a fruit basket), but ...

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Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading

Unlike Lizzie Skurnick, I do remember the book that made me a reader: B is for Betsey by Carolyn Haywood. It was written before my mom was born, but I was completely captivated. It led to an epic reading summer, in which I devoured the entire Haywood oeuvre, scouring the various libraries of Monmout ...

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Mistress of the Monarchy

Of course I bought Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir because of Anya Seton’s historical novel Katherine. I love the novel, and I thought it would be deeply interesting to take a closer look at its main characters from a historian’s point-of-view. I was not disappointed. The love story o ...

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A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age

America does not have royalty or a peerage, but for a period of time right after the Civil War, until the outbreak of World War I, an observer of the social scene in New York might think we did. During this time, known as the Gilded Age, members of society gave lavish balls, built spectacular homes, ...

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The Great Derangement

If you read Rolling Stone or watch Bill Maher's HBO series, you're probably familiar with Matt Taibbi, who is one of the show's roving political reporters. There's no mistaking his political point of view, but his screeds are always tempered with humor. And, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, he' ...

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The Nasty Bits

When I first came across Anthony Bourdain in 2001, I referred to him as a "gonzo bon vivant pirate chef." He continues the stories he began in Kitchen Confidential in The Nasty Bits, although in this book he not only writes about the realities of being a [bad boy, natch] chef, he also writes about h ...

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Kitchen Confidential

Somehow, someway I managed to avoid ever really working in a restaurant except for a brief stint as a waitress in a bar where all the ad guys drank every afternoon, resulting in my revelation that, “hey, that’s what I want to be when I grow up”. So the truth is that I didn’t think I’d be ...