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Notable New Nonfiction: February 2017

Here are some highlights from the new nonfiction titles added to the catalog recently.

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

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The Memory Code: The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments by Lynne Kelly

Using traditional Aboriginal Australian song lines as a starting point, Dr. Lynne Kelly has identified a powerful memory technique used by our ancestors and indigenous people around the world. This ancient technique is the secret purpose behind the great prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, which have puzzled archaeologists for so long. The henges across northern Europe, the elaborate stone houses of New Mexico, huge animal shapes in Peru, the statues of Easter Island—these all serve as the most effective memory system ever invented by humans. They allowed people in non-literate cultures to memorize the vast amounts of information they needed to survive. But how? For the first time, Dr. Kelly unlocks the secret of these monuments and their uses as "memory places" in her fascinating book. Additionally, The Memory Code also explains how we can use this ancient mnemonic technique to train our minds in the tradition of our forebears.

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Loving Bravely: 20 Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want by Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon

Most relationships end because one or both people haven't done the internal work necessary to develop self-awareness and take responsibility for their own experiences. We've all heard "You can't love anyone unless you love yourself," but amid life's distractions and the myth of perfect, romantic love, how exactly do you do that? In Loving Bravely, psychologist, professor and relationship expert Alexandra H. Solomon introduces the idea of relational self-awareness, encouraging you to explore your personal history to gain an understanding of your own relational patterns, as well as your strengths and weaknesses in relationships. By doing so, you'll learn what relationships actually require, beyond the fairytale notions of romance.

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Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church by Carol Howard Merritt

Healing Spiritual Wounds addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness. Merritt does not sugarcoat the wrongs institutions long seen as trustworthy have inflicted on many innocent victims. Sympathetic, understanding, and deeply positive, she offers hope and a way to help them heal and reclaim the spiritual joy that can make them whole again.

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The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions…and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

This is the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of the creation and growth of Airbnb, the online lodging platform that has become, in under a decade, the largest provider of accommodations in the world. At first just the wacky idea of cofounders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb has disrupted the $500 billion hotel industry, and its $30 billion valuation is now larger than that of Hilton and close to that of Marriott. Fortune editor Leigh Gallagher explores the success of Airbnb along with the more controversial side of its story. Regulators want to curb its rapid expansion; hotel industry leaders wrestle with the disruption it has caused them; and residents and customers alike struggle with the unintended consequences of opening up private homes for public consumption.

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Manly Health and Training: To Teach the Science of a Sound and Beautiful Body by Walt Whitman

In the fall of 1858, a thirteen-part essay series appeared in the New York Atlas, under the title Manly Health and Training. This nearly 47,000-word journalistic effort, written by Walt Whitman under the pen name "Mose Velsor," was lost for more than 150 years. Recently rediscovered, this long-lost health manifesto, for men and for America, emphasizes moderation and a holistic relationship between the mind and the body. In true Whitman style, the author advises men to get up early each morning, take cold baths, exercise, build muscles, eat moderately (with an emphasis on meat, much like today's Paleo diet), avoid catching venereal diseases from prostitutes, and to cheer up, instead of sinking into the “blues.” A truly significant discovery, Walt Whitman’s Manly Health and Training is an entertaining health manifesto that sheds new light on one of America’s major nineteenth-century authors.

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Convergence: The Idea at the Heart of Science by Peter Watson

Convergence is a history of modern science with an original and significant twist. Various scientific disciplines, despite their very different beginnings, have been coming together over the past 150 years, converging and coalescing. Intimate connections have been discovered between physics and chemistry, psychology and biology, genetics and linguistics. In this groundbreaking book, Peter Watson identifies one extraordinary master narrative, capturing how the sciences are slowly resolving into one overwhelming, interlocking story about the universe.

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Princess Pamela's Soul Food Cookbook: A Mouth Watering Treasury of Afro-American Recipes by Pamela Strobel

Princess Pamela ruled a small realm, but her powers ranged far and wide. Her speakeasy-style restaurant in Manhattan was for three decades a hip salon, with regulars from Andy Warhol to Diana Ross. Her iconic Southern dishes influenced chefs nationwide, and her cookbook became a bible for a generation who yearned for the home cooking left behind in the Great Migration. One of the earliest books to coin soul food, this touchstone of African-American cuisine fell out of print more than forty years ago. Her book stands out for its joie de vivre and pathos as well as the skill of its techniques and is now available again for cooks everywhere to re-create these soul-satisfying dishes at home. Pamela's recipes have the clarity gained from a lifetime of practice--cardinal versions of Fried Chicken and Collard Greens, but also unusual gems like Pork Spoon Bread and Peanut Butter Biscuits--all peppered with sage advice on living and loving.

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High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic by Glenn Frankel

It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirty-two days but achieved instant box-office and critical success. It won four Academy Awards in 1953, including a best actor win for Cooper. And it became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favorite film, celebrating moral fortitude. In this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of a great American Western, exploring how Carl Foreman's concept of High Noon evolved from idea to first draft to final script, taking on allegorical weight. Both the classic film and its turbulent political times emerge newly illuminated.

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I Am Flying Into Myself: Selected Poems, 1960-2014 by Bill Knott

For half a century, Bill Knott’s brilliant, vaudevillian verse electrified the poetic form. Over his long career, he studiously avoided joining any one school of poetry, preferring instead to freewheel from French surrealism to the avant-garde and back again—experimenting relentlessly and refusing to embrace straightforward dialectics. Whether drawing from musings on romantic love or propaganda from the Vietnam War, Knott’s quintessential poems are alive with sensory activity, abiding by the pulse and impulse of a pure, restless emotion. This provocative, playful sensibility has ensured that his poems have a rare and unmistakable immediacy, effortlessly crystalizing thought in all its moods and tenses.

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The Allure of Battle: How Wars Have Been Won and Lost by Cathal J. Nolan

The Allure of Battle systematically examines a series of great battles, each described in the standard literature as the "turning point" of the war in which they occurred. It asks how they actually fit in the histories of those wars and military history more generally. In each case Nolan will show that even huge and important battles, which are widely considered to have been decisive, actually and mainly contributed to victory or defeat by compressing attrition, which is what in the end led to the outcome of each and every war. He will also illustrate how the character of longer wars of attrition also fundamentally shaped extended periods of postwar peace, that military, moral, and matériel exhaustion rather than battlefield supremacy per se was determinative.

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Bad Singer: The Surprising Science of Tone Deafness and How We Hear Music by Tim Falconer

A work of scientific discovery, musicology, and personal odyssey, Bad Singer is a fascinating account from an award-winning journalist and author. Tim Falconer -- a self-confessed "bad singer" -- is one of only 2.5 percent of the population that has been afflicted with amusia, ie: he is scientifically tone-deaf. Bad Singer chronicles his quest to understand the brain science behind tone-deafness and to search for ways to retrain the adult brain. He also investigates why we love music and deconstructs what we are really hearing when we listen to it. Throughout this journey of scientific and psychological discovery, he puts theory to practice by taking voice and breathing lessons with a voice coach in order to achieve his personal goal: a public display of his singing abilities.

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To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

Transhumanism is a movement pushing the limits of our biology--our senses, intelligence, and lifespans--in the hopes that, with technology, we can become something better, something other, than ourselves. Where is our obsession with technology leading us? What does the rise of AI mean not only for our offices and homes, but for our humanity? Could the technologies we create to help us eventually bring us to harm? Addressing these questions and more, O'Connell presents a thoughtful, provocative, often hilarious look at a growing movement. In investigating what it means to be a machine, he offers a surprising meditation on what it means to be human.