Staff Picks Bonanza: Nonfiction

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As much fiction as we read, even booksellers like a dose of reality every now and then! Here are some brilliant nonfiction titles that the M&Q staff loves. Memoirs, biographies, essays, and history–these titles are all the more fascinating for their examination of real lives and places.

Foolproof and Fanciful Father’s Day Ideas

Let’s hear it for the dads! Seeing your dad this weekend? Don’t want to show up empty-handed? Here are our ideas–some traditional, others less so–to show dad your appreciation. Because while there’s a million kinds of fathers out there, it’s a known fact that they all love books. (The experience of a bunch of booksellers may have led to skewed data on this subject.)

outdoorsy dad books

Outdoorsy dad: Let’s Go Fishing by Eric Dregni or The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry.
Minnesota history expert Eric Dregni’s latest takes on the cultural importance of fishing in the North Woods. Illustrated throughout, and chock-full of lore to surprise even the most seasoned angler. Berry’s Unsettling of America, recently republished, is a classic of environmental writing and American literature in general. A must for any eco-conscious dad!

foodie dad books

Foodie dad: The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meat by Chris Ying & the Editors of Lucky Peach. Or, for veggie dads, try the hilarious and ever-popular Thug Kitchen!
A celebration of sausages, hot dogs, charcuterie, and more encased meats from all over the world, The Wurst of Lucky Peach is definitely the way to a meat-loving dad’s heart. Meanwhile, Thug Kitchen has all the hip factor without the animal proteins. Let dad explore the mostly vegan recipes in this hilarious internet sensation-turned-cookbook.

dramatic dad books

Dramatic dad: Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt or Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Is dad a total film buff, or does Broadway have his heart? Movie-loving dads will find a kindred spirit in Patton Oswalt’s memoir about his silver screen obsession. And if (like the rest of America) Dad’s aboard the Hamilton train, treat him to the behind-the-scenes info and full libretto featured in the companion book by the show’s creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

other dad books

New dad: This is Ridiculous, This is Amazing by Jason Good
Great for soon-to-be or brand new dads, this book uses lists (“Things Parents can Never Do Again,” “Reasons a Toddler is Crying”) to describe the indescribable joy and weirdness of being a parent.

Culture critic dad: The Geography of Madness by Frank Bures
Jon Ronson meets David Grann in this fascinating, wildly entertaining adventure and travel story about how culture can make us go totally insane. Great for travelers, sociologists, and the naturally curious.

Gamer dad: Extra Lives by Tom Bissell
If your dad fits the bill of tech guru, game enthusiast, or kid at heart, these essays on the art and relevance of video games from Renaissance man Bissell are sure to entertain.

prints corner hand

Still stumped? Check out our huge selection of unique prints. We’ve got nature scenes, vintage car and food ads, old maps, and more starting at just $1.99. Perfect for decorating dad’s favorite space!

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 19.

A Smattering of Mother’s Day Ideas

It’s the time of year to tell the moms out there that we appreciate them. Here’s what we’re suggesting this year.

1250024110_fullWhen Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

Get out the tissues. Right before Williams’ mother died, she told her to take her many journals (a Mormon tradition) and only read them once she had passed. A while after her mother died, Williams finally looked through them. They were all empty. When Women Were Birds is part memoir, part exploration on voice — having one and choosing whether or not to use it. She explores being a woman, being a mother, being a daughter, and what her mother could have been trying to say. Poetic and beautiful. –Julianne

0992834910_fullWe Go to the Gallery by Miriam Elia

Don’t be fooled by the cute cover. This is a hilarious send-up of capital-M Motherhood and capital-A Art all at once. It would be a good one for my kids to get me! –Jessi




1101874937_fullBut wait, there’s more:

If your mom is a rad lady of science, try Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.


1571313516_fullIf she’s into nonfiction, essays, and nature: Things that Are by Amy Leach



1101973129_fullIf she’s a news junkie: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (formerly The Taliban Shuffle) by Kim Barker



1594206805_fullIf she’s spiritual and creative: Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett





And if she’s a fiction addict: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld




Of course, we have a lot more options at the store, and there are a lot more types of moms than listed above, so please don’t hesitate to draft a bookseller into your last-minute  search! We’ll help you find the perfect gift for mom (because the perfect gift, it goes without saying, is a book.)

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8. See you soon!