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Notable New Nonfiction: May 2018

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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Habeas Data: Privacy Vs. the Rise of Surveillance Tech by Cyrus Farivar

Until the 21st century, most of our activities were private by default, public only through effort; today anything that touches digital space has the potential (and likelihood) to remain somewhere online forever. That means all of the technologies that have made our lives easier, faster, better, and/or more efficient have also simultaneously made it easier to keep an eye on our activities. Or, as we recently learned from reports about Cambridge Analytica, our data might be turned into a propaganda machine against us. In 10 crucial legal cases, Cyrus Farivar explores the tools of surveillance that exist today, how they work, and what the implications are for the future of privacy.

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The Ashtray (Or the Man Who Denied Reality) by Errol Morris

In 1972, philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn threw an ashtray at Errol Morris. This book is the result. At the time, Morris was a graduate student. Now we know him as one of the most celebrated and restlessly probing filmmakers of our time, the creator of such classics of documentary investigation as The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War. Kuhn, meanwhile, was--and, posthumously, remains--a star in his field, the author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a landmark book that has sold well over a million copies and introduced the concept of "paradigm shifts" to the larger culture. And Morris thought the idea was bunk. The Ashtray tells why--and in doing so, it makes a powerful case for Morris's way of viewing the world, and the fundamental idea of the necessity of truth.

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I Really Didn't Think This Through: Tales From My So-Called Adult Life by Beth Evans

Like Mindy Kaling meets Hyperbole and a Half, I Really Didn't Think This Through gets at the heart of what makes life both so challenging and so joyful--figuring out how to be a person in the world. Armed with her beloved illustrations, popular Instagram artist Beth Evans tackles a range of issues--from whimsical musings to deeply personal struggles--in this imaginative anti-guide to being your own person.

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Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty Year Fall - And Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill

From the award-winning journalist and best-selling author, a tour de force examination of how and why major American institutions no longer serve us as they should, causing a deep rift between the vulnerable majority and the protected few; and how some individuals and organizations are laying the foundation for real, lasting change. In this revelatory narrative covering the years 1967 to 2017, Steven Brill gives us a stunningly cogent picture of the broken system at the heart of our society. He shows us how, over the last half-century, America's core values--meritocracy, innovation, due process, free speech, and even democracy itself--have somehow managed to power its decline into dysfunction.

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Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings by Linda Carroll

The propulsive, inspiring Cinderella story of Stymie, an unwanted Thoroughbred, and Hirsch Jacobs, the once dirt-poor trainer who bought the colt on the cheap and molded him into the most popular horse of his time and the richest racehorse the world had ever seen. The $1,500 pittance Jacobs paid to claim Stymie became history's biggest bargain as the ultimate iron horse went on to run a whopping 131 races and win 25 stakes, becoming the first Thoroughbred ever to earn more than $900,000. The Cinderella champion nicknamed "The People's Horse" captivated the masses with his rags-to-riches success story. In a golden age when horse racing rivaled baseball and boxing as America's most popular pastime, he was every bit as inspiring a sports hero as Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis.

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Still Waters: The Secret World of Lakes by Curt Stager

In Still Waters, Curt Stager introduces us to the secret worlds hidden beneath the surfaces of our most remarkable lakes, leading us on a journey from the pristine waters of the Adirondack Mountains to the wilds of Siberia, from Thoreau's cherished pond to the Sea of Galilee. Through decades of firsthand investigations, Stager examines the significance of our impacts on some of the world's most iconic inland waters. Along the way he discovers the stories these lakes contain about us, including our loftiest philosophical ambitions and our deepest myths. For him, lakes are not only mirrors reflecting our place in the natural world but also windows into our history, culture, and the primal connections we share with all life.

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Six Basic Cooking Techniques: Culinary Essentials for the Home Cook by Jennifer Clair

This vividly photographed manual takes you inside culinary instructor Jennifer Clair's best-selling cooking class and teaches you the six foundational skills needed to maximize your culinary potential. Learn the correct way to handle a chef's knife, cook meat to perfection, create impressive pan sauces, and prepare restaurant-worthy vegetable dishes. Each chapter includes a collection of tempting recipes to practice your newfound techniques, plus helpful, myth-busting "Students Ask" and "Chefs Say" columns which explain important kitchen wisdom (why you shouldn't mince basil or mint, why blanching vegetables is better than steaming, what are the three key flavors that make all food delicious, and more).

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Complete Crochet Course: The Ultimate Reference Guide by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

Filled with step-by-step photography throughout for an easy-to-follow and fully visual experience, this unparalleled guide teaches you how to crochet from the very first stitch--and will keep you crocheting as you gain experience! The Complete Crochet Course explains all the tools, materials, and techniques you need, from choosing a hook and yarn to seaming, working in the round, handling specialty stitches, and adding details.

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Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture by Ken Jennings

In Planet Funny, Ken Jennings explores this brave new comedic world and what it means--or doesn't--to be funny in it now. Tracing the evolution of humor from the caveman days to the bawdy middle-class antics of Chaucer to Monty Python's game-changing silliness to the fast-paced meta-humor of The Simpsons, Jennings explains how we built our humor-saturated modern age, where lots of us get our news from comedy shows and a comic figure can even be elected President of the United States purely on showmanship. Entertaining, astounding, and completely head-scratching, Planet Funny is a full taxonomy of what spawned and defines the modern sense of humor.

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Know Thyself: Western Identity from Classical Greece to the Renaissance by Ingrid Rossellini

In this book the independent scholar Ingrid Rossellini surveys the major ideas that, from Greek and Roman antiquity through the Christian medieval era up to the dawn of modernity in the Renaissance, have guided the Western project of self-knowledge. Addressing the curious lay reader with an interdisciplinary approach that includes numerous references to the visual arts, Know Thyself will reintroduce readers to the most profound and enduring ways our civilization has framed the issues of self and society, in the process helping us rediscover the very building blocks of our personality.

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To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine

At the launch party for her memoir Clothes Music Boys in 2014, Viv Albertine received the news her mother was dying. She left the party immediately and spent a few final hours with a woman who had been an enormous presence and force in her life. In the weeks that followed, Viv was left with the task of sorting through her mother's affairs. In that process she came across one fatally curious item: a bag labelled "To throw away unopened". This auspicious moment lies at the heart of Viv Albertine's second book, part memoir, part manifesto, part polemic in which she touches on sex, ageing, feminism (in all its guises) and other conundrums that characterize the 21st century life.

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The Smartphone Photography Guide: Shoot, Edit, Experiment, Share by Peter Cope

Smartphones have put powerful cameras, literally, in our pockets and encouraged us to document our lives in ever-increasing detail. But do we realize their full potential? This dedicated guide explores the best practices for taking, creating, manipulating, and sharing photographs and videos on your smartphone. Instructive and inspirational, it covers the Top 10 rules for picture taking, delves into popular genres (such as children and pets, concerts and festivals, action and sports), and provides Pro Tips for achieving more professional-quality images.