Summer Escapes 2013 Nonfiction

Angelou, Maya. Mom & Me & Mom. Random House, c2013. In this book, Angelou details what brought her mother to send her away, and unearths the well of emotions she experienced long afterward as a result. For the first time, she reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence, a presence absent during much of the author's early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. Their reunion a decade later began a story that has never before been told.


Bach, Richard. Travels with Puff, a gentle game of life and death. Nice Tiger, c2013. In the tradition of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, and Richard Bach’s own bestseller, Illusions, Travels with Puff recounts Bach’s journey from Florida to Washington State in his small seaplane. With humor, wisdom and insight that could only come from one of the world’s most beloved authors and an accomplished pilot, the book also challenges our ideas of fate and our futures, and asks us how can we prepare for the emergencies in our own lives. Can we ever really be safe? And, is being safe always what we want?


Kiernan, Denise. The Girls of Atomic City: the untold story of the women who helped win World War II. Simon & Schuster, 2013. This is the story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. One of the Manhattan Project's secret cities, it did not appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out.


Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air. Villard, c1997. The author describes his spring 1996 trek to Mt. Everest, a disastrous expedition that claimed the lives of eight climbers, and explains why he survived.  


Lawson, Jenny. Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (a mostly true memoir).  G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2012.  In an illustrated memoir, the creator of the Bloggess blog shares humorous stories from her life, including her awkward upbringing in Texas and her relationship with her husband.


Oz, Daphne. Relish: an adventure in food, style, and everyday fun. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2013.  Daphne Oz, a co-host on the hit daytime talk show The Chew, bestselling author of The Dorm Room Diet, and Dr. Mehmet Oz's daughter, offers simple, practical advice on living your best life right now.      


Pollan, Michael. Cooked: a natural history of transformation. The Penguin Press, 2013.  Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements--fire, water, air, and earth--to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook. 


Philbrick, Nathaniel. Bunker Hill: a city, a siege, a revolution. Viking, c2013. Recounts the events of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution, tracing the experiences of Patriot leader Dr. Joseph Warren, a newly recruited George Washington, and British General William Howe. 


Roach, Mary. Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal. W.W. Norton, c2013. Few of us realize what strange wet miracles of science operate inside us after every meal. In her trademark style, Mary Roach investigates the beginning, and end, of our food, addressing such questions as why crunchy food is so appealing, how much we can eat before our stomachs burst, and whether constipation killed Elvis.


Sedaris, David. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. rom the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.


Sokolov, Raymond A. Steal the menu: a memoir of forty years in food. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. When Raymond Sokolov became food editor of The New York Times in 1971, he began a long, memorable career as restaurant critic, food historian, and author. Here he traces the food scene he reported on in America and abroad, from his pathbreaking dispatches on nouvelle cuisine chefs like Paul Bocuse and Michel Guérard in France to the rise of contemporary American food stars like Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz, and the fruitful collision of science and cooking in the kitchens of El Bulli in Spain, the Fat Duck outside London, and Copenhagen's gnarly Noma.


Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.


Thompson, Neal. A Curious Man: the strange and brilliant life of Robert "Believe it or not" Ripley. Crown Publishers, 2013. The marvelously compelling biography of Robert Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist turned globetrotting millionaire who won international fame by celebrating the world's strangest oddities. 


Twain, Mark. Travel Writings: “The Innocents Abroad”  “Roughing It” “A Tramp Abroad” “Life on the Mississippi” and “Following the Equator.”


Twain, Mark. Mark Twain's letters from Hawaii; edited and with an introduction by A. Grove Day.  Appleton-Century, c1966. 25 letters written as a roving reporter for the Sacramento Union, a newspaper.


Zuckoff, Mitchell. Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II. HarperCollins, 2013. On November 5, 1942, a U.S. cargo plane on a routine flight slammed into the Greenland ice cap. Four days later, a B-17 on the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on the B-17 survived. The U.S. military launched a second daring rescue operation, but the Grumman Duck amphibious plane sent to find the men flew into a severe storm and vanished. In this thrilling adventure, Mitchell Zuckoff offers a spellbinding account of these harrowing disasters and the fate of the survivors and their would-be saviors.