Skip to main content
UMW Libraries
Simpson | Stafford | Special Collections

Popular Reading: General Non-Fiction

View popular reading books by genre and make suggestions for what you would like to read.

The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History

PN1992.77.D28 S65 2016  

For almost seventeen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brilliantly redefined the borders between television comedy, political satire, and opinionated news coverage. It launched the careers of some of today's most significant comedians, highlighted the hypocrisies of the powerful, and garnered 23 Emmys. Now the show's behind-the-scenes gags, controversies, and camaraderie will be chronicled by the players themselves, from legendary host Jon Stewart to the star cast members and writers-including Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Steve Carell, Lewis Black, Jessica Williams, John Hodgman, and Larry Wilmore-plus some of The Daily Show's most prominent guests and adversaries: John and Cindy McCain, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, and many more. 

This oral history takes the reader behind the curtain for all the show's highlights, from its origins as Comedy Central's underdog late-night program hosted by Craig Kilborn to Jon Stewart's long reign to Trevor Noah's succession, rising from a scrappy jester in the 24-hour political news cycle to become part of the beating heart of politics-a trusted source for not only comedy but also commentary, with a reputation for calling bullshit and an ability to effect real change in the world. 

Through years of incisive election coverage, Jon Stewart's emotional monologue in the wake of 9/11, his infamous confrontation on Crossfire, passionate debates with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, feuds with Bill O'Reilly and Fox, the Indecisions, Mess O'Potamia, and provocative takes on Wall Street and racism, The Daily Show has been a cultural touchstone. Now, for the first time, the people behind the show's seminal moments come together to share their memories of the last-minute rewrites, improvisations, pranks, romances, blow-ups, and moments of Zen both on and off the set of one of America's most groundbreaking shows.

The View from the Cheap Seats

PR6057.A319 A6 2016  

An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman’s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.

An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seatsexplores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaiman—offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.

Evicted

HD7287.96.U6 D47 2016

In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

The Bob's Burgers Burger Book

 TX714 .B68 2016  

The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book gives hungry fans their best chance to eat one of Bob Belcher’s beloved specialty Burgers of the Day in seventy-five original, practical recipes. With its warm, edgy humor, outstanding vocal cast, and signature musical numbers, Bob’s Burgers has become one of the most acclaimed and popular animated series on television, winning the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and inspiring a hit ongoing comic book and original sound track album. Now fans can get the ultimate Bob’s Burgers experience at home with seventy-five straight from the show but actually edible Burgers of the Day. Recipes include the "Bleu is the Warmest Cheese Burger," the "Bruschetta-Bout-It Burger," and the "Shoot-Out at the OK-ra Corral Burger (comes with Fried Okra)." Serve the "Sweaty Palms Burger (comes with Hearts of Palm)" to your ultimate crush, just like Tina Belcher, or ponder modern American literature with the "I Know Why the Cajun Burger Sings Burger." Fully illustrated with all-new art in the series’s signature style, The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book showcases the entire Belcher family as well as beloved characters including Teddy, Jimmy Pesto Jr., and Aunt Gayle. All recipes come from the fan-created and heavily followed blog "The Bob’s Burger Experiment."

 

Thing Explainer

Q173 .M86 2015  

Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon?  Randall Munroe is here to help.  In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, “ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is, including:
 

  • food-heating radio boxes (microwaves)
  • tall roads (bridges)
  • computer buildings (datacenters)
  • the shared space house (the International Space Station)
  • the other worlds around the sun (the solar system)
  • the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates)
  • the pieces everything is made of (the periodic table)
  • planes with turning wings (helicopters)
  • boxes that make clothes smell better (washers and dryers)
  • the bags of stuff inside you (cells)


How do these things work? Where do they come from? What would life be like without them? And what would happen if we opened them up, heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and so many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone—age 5 to 105—who has ever wondered how things work, and why.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One & Two

PR6120.H67 H37 2016  

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016. 

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

Humans of New York: Stories

 

F128.37 .S734 2015

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project —to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. In the first three years, his audience steadily grew from a few hundred to over one million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List. It has appeared on that list for over twenty-five weeks to date. The appeal of HONY has been so great that in the course of the next year Brandon's following increased tenfold to, now, over 12 million followers on Facebook. In the summer of 2014, the UN chose him to travel around the world on a goodwill mission that had followers meeting people from Iraq to the Ukraine to Mexico City via the photos he took. 

Now, Brandon is back with the follow up to Humans of New York that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of NY, the dialogue he's had with them has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of humans, complete with stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor. Let Brandon Stanton and the people he's photographed astonish you.

Weed the People

HV5822.M3 B375 2015

The legalization of marijuana is the next great reversal of history. Perhaps the most demonized substance in America, scientifically known as Cannabis sativa, simply a very fast growing herb, thrived underground as the nation's most popular illegal drug. 

Now the tide has shifted: In 1996 California passed the nation's first medical marijuana law, which allowed patients to grow it and use it with a doctor's permission. By 2010, twenty states and the District of Columbia had adopted medical pot laws. In 2012 Colorado and Washington state passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana for adults age 21 and older.

The magnitude of the change in America's relationship to marijuana can't be measured in only economic or social terms: There are deeper shifts going on here - cultural realignments, social adjustments, and financial adjustments. The place of marijuana in our lives is being rethought, reconsidered, and recalibrated. Four decades after Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs, that long campaign has reached a point of exhaustion and failure. The era of its winding down as arrived. 

Weed the People will take readers a half-step into the future. The issues surrounding the legalization of pot vary from the trivial to the profound. There are new questions of social etiquette: Is one expected to offer a neighborly toke? If so, how? Is it cool to bring cannabis to a Super Bowl party? Yea or nay on the zoning permit for a marijuana shop two doors down from the Safeway? Plus, there are the inevitable conversations between parents and children over exactly what this adult experiment with marijuana means for the

This is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of The Grateful Dead

ML421.G72 J33 2015

In This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, two of the most well-respected chroniclers of the Dead, Blair Jackson and David Gans, reveal the band’s story through the words of its members, their creative collaborators and peers, and a number of diverse fans, stitching together a multitude of voices into a seamless oral tapestry. Capturing the ebullient spirit at the group’s core, Jackson and Gans weave together a musical saga that examines the music and subculture that developed into its own economy, touching fans from all walks of life, from penniless hippies to celebrities, and at least one U.S. vice president.

This definitive book traces the Dead’s evolution from its humble beginnings as a folk/bluegrass band playing small venues in Palo Alto to the feral psychedelic warriors and stadium-filling Americana jam band that blazed all the way through to the 90s. Along the way, we hear from many who were touched by the Dead―from David Crosby and Miles Davis, to Ken Kesey, Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Garcia, and a host of Merry Pranksters, to legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, and others.

Throughout their journey the Dead broke (and sometimes rewrote) just about every rule of the music business, defying conventional wisdom and charting their own often unusual course, in the process creating a business model unlike any seen before. Musically, too, they were pioneers, fusing inspired ideas and techniques with intuition and fearlessness to craft an utterly unique and instantly recognizable sound. Their music centered on collective improvisation, spiritual and social democracy, trust, generosity, and fun. They believed that you can make something real, spontaneous, and compelling happen with other musicians if you trust and encourage each other, and jam as if your life depended on it. And when it worked, there was nothing else like it.

Hamilton: The Revolution

ML410.M57 M57 2016  

Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

American Girls

HQ799.2.I5 S35 2016  

Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women is the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.

With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls. 

Provocative and urgent, American Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body

RA778

In almost every interview she gives, Kate Hudson is asked the same questions: What do you eat? How do you stay so fit? What workout do you do? What’s your secret? Well, the secret is that the sound bites the media loves so much don’t tell the story, and the steps you need to take to have a healthy, vibrant and happy life can’t be captured in a short interview. The key to living well, and healthy, is to plug into what your body needs, understanding that one size does not fit all, all the time, and being truly honest with yourself about your goals and desires.

Like everyone else, Kate is constantly on the move, with a life full of work, family, responsibilities and relationships. In Pretty Happy, Kate shows how she honors her relationship with herself through exercise, making the right choices about what she eats, and constantly going back to the drawing board and starting fresh, instead of holding herself to unrealistic standards of perfection and giving up when she falls short. Focusing on the Four Pillars of Health to enhance her well-being, Pretty Happy shows the benefits of:

  • Cultivating an Intuitive Relationship With Your Body
  • Eating Well
  • Awakening Your Body through movement
  • The Miracle of Mindfullness

Full of questionnaires to help you assess your Body Type and your stress levels, advice about cleanses and keeping your diet and body balanced, and plenty of interactive Drawing Board exercises, Pretty Happy is a beautiful, insightful, and personal look at health from the inside out, an authentic plan for an authentic life from a woman who truly lives what she speaks.

My Drunk Kitchen

 

TX652 .H37176 2014

One day, lonely cubicle dweller and otherwise bored New York City transplant Hannah Hart decided to make a fake cooking show for a friend back home in California. She opened her laptop, pulled out some bread and cheese, and then, as one does, started drinking. The video was called "Butter Yo Sh*t" and online sensation My Drunk Kitchen was born.

My Drunk Kitchen (the book!) includes recipes, stories, color photographs, and tips and tricks to inspire your own adventures in tipsy cooking. Hannah offers cocktail recommendations, culinary advice (like, remember to turn off the oven when you go to bed), and shares never-before-seen recipes such as:

  • The Hartwich (Knowledge is ingenuity! Learn from the past!)
  • Can Bake (Inventing things is hard! You don't have to start from scratch!)
  • Latke Shotkes (Plan ahead to avoid a night of dread!)
  • Tiny Sandwiches (Size doesn't matter! Aim to satisfy.)
  • Saltine Nachos (It's not about resources! It's about being resourceful.)

In the end, My Drunk Kitchen may not be your go-to guide for your next dinner party . . . but it will make you laugh and drink . . . I mean think . . . about life.