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.

Publisher of the Month: Soho Crime

soho crime table 2

Soho Crime, a division of Soho Press, has specialized in publishing international crime fiction for more than twenty years.  Their books and series run the entire range of crime fiction—detective fiction, police procedurals, thrillers, espionage novels, revenge novels, stories of thieves, assassins, and underworld mob bosses—but you can always count on an immersive adventure steeped in cultural detail.

Visit the Soho table until February, and be sure to check for the red “Staff Pick” stickers!

Gift Guide: Creativity and Memoir

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert 1594634718_item

For those on your list who are the creative type, or aspire to nurture their creative side, Big Magic is a gift to consider, especially for fans of Eat, Pray, Love. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us.

If You Want to Write – Brenda Ueland  1555974716_item

In her ninety-three remarkable years, Brenda Ueland published six million words. The Minneapolis native said she had two rules she followed absolutely: to tell the truth, and not to do anything she didn’t want to do. Her integrity shines throughout If You Want to Write, her bestselling classic on the process of writing that has already inspired thousands to find their own creative center. Carl Sandburg called this book “the best book ever written about how to write.” Yet Ueland reminds us that “whenever I say ‘writing’ in this book, I also mean anything that you love and want to do or make.” It is a gift of getting to know Brenda Ueland as much as learning about writing.

Bluets – Maggie Nelson  1933517409_item

A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.

The Snow Leopard – Peter Matthiessen

0143105515_fullAn unforgettable spiritual journey through the Himalayas— now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.

IN 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Z en Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest—to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.

022627845x_itemThe Dead Ladies Project – Jessa Crispin

Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels to places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependent on James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive proposition.

For the curious traveler, or simply the curious reader, who is always in search of new adventures both on the page and off.