July’s Simply Held Nonfiction Picks

Have you joined Simply Held? If not, you’re missing out! Ten different nonfiction titles are chosen four times a year by our librarians and automatically placed on hold for you. Those selections come from the following categories: biography, body mind spirit, cookbook, explore your world, poetry, self-help, social justice, strength through struggle, theologies, and true crime. Join Simply Held to have any of the new nonfiction picks automatically put on hold for you four times a year.

Biography pick

Gentleman Bandit: The True Story of Black Bart, the old West’s most infamous stagecoach robber by John Boessenecker

Black Bart is widely regarded today as not only the most notorious stage robber of the Old West but also the best behaved. Over his lifetime, Black Bart held up at least twenty-nine stagecoaches in California and Oregon with mild, polite commands, stealing from Wells Fargo and the US mail but never robbing a passenger. Such behavior earned him the title of a true “gentleman bandit.”

His real name was Charles E. Boles, and in the public eye, Charles lived quietly as a boulevardier in San Francisco, the wealthiest and most exciting city in the American West. Boles was an educated man who traveled among respectable crowds. Because he did not drink, fight or consort with prostitutes, his true calling as America’s greatest stage robber was never suspected until his final capture in 1883. Sheriffs searched and struggled for years to find him, and newspaper editors had a field day reporting his exploits. Legends and rumors trailed his name until his mysterious death, and his ultimate fate remains one of the greatest mysteries of the Old West.

Now historian John Boessenecker sheds new light on Black Bart’s beginnings, reputation and exploits, bringing to life the glittering story of the mysterious stage robber who doubled as a rich, genteel socialite in the golden era of the Wild West.

This title is also available in large print.

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Body, Mind, Spirit pick

Dream Analysis Made Easy: Everything You Need to Know to Harness the Power of Your Dreams by Krystina Sypniewski

Your dreams offer vital insights into many aspects of life. This easy-to-use book goes a step further than traditional dream books. Within these pages are many examples to show you how to analyse and make sense of your own dreams. While offering some symbolic guidance the emphasis is always on the numinous meaning for the individual. The dreams you will work with include Recurring, Prophetic, Nightmare, Lucid and Direct Soul communication.

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Cookbook Pick

Grilling with Golic and Hays: Operation BBQ Relief cookbook by Mike Golic and Stan Hays / photography by Ken Goodman

Champion pitmaster and CEO and co-founder of Operation BBQ Relief Stan Hays joins forces with NFL veteran and former ESPN Radio host Mike Golic in this celebration of the connection of BBQ and sports.

Good for the stomach, better for the soul—quality comfort barbecue and side dishes that reflect the character and warmth of the national nonprofit Operation BBQ Relief. The 80+ recipes from your favorite sports stars, pitmasters, and chefs combine the worlds through the power of food.

Grilling with Golic and Hays: Operation BBQ Relief Cookbook aims to inspire hope and compassion through the stories of overcoming challenges that are present in both the athletic world and the work of Operation BBQ Relief. Armed with a caravan of cooks, mobile pits, kitchens, and volunteers, Operation BBQ Relief delivers support through hot meals in times of need, feeding first responders and communities affected by natural disasters, along with year-round efforts to fight hunger through various programs.

Each of the 80+ comforting recipes—from appetizers to ribs, and from seafood to desserts—will include a short biography of each sports star or chef contributor. Gorgeous photography throughout the book showcases recipes such as:

Smoked Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
Lobster Pasta Salad
Tequila BBQ Spare Ribs
Southwest Brisket Chili
Chipotle Smoked Chicken
Salmon Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Mango Salsa
Rum Cake
Chargrilled Pineapple Piña Colada

Barbecue and sports have connected people and families everywhere, from tailgates to sports watch parties. It is this connection that also drives the heart of Operation BBQ Relief and each community they serve with hope, friendship, and compassion.

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Explore Your World pick

A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters by Andrew H. Knoll

How well do you know the ground beneath your feet?

Odds are, where you’re standing was once cooking under a roiling sea of lava, crushed by a towering sheet of ice, rocked by a nearby meteor strike, or perhaps choked by poison gases, drowned beneath ocean, perched atop a mountain range, or roamed by fearsome monsters. Probably most or even all of the above.

The story of our home planet and the organisms spread across its surface is far more spectacular than any Hollywood blockbuster, filled with enough plot twists to rival a bestselling thriller. But only recently have we begun to piece together the whole mystery into a coherent narrative. Drawing on his decades of field research and up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest science, renowned geologist Andrew H. Knoll delivers a rigorous yet accessible biography of Earth, charting our home planet’s epic 4.6 billion-year story. Placing twenty first-century climate change in deep context, A Brief History of Earth is an indispensable look at where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Features original illustrations depicting Earth history and nearly 50 figures (maps, tables, photographs, graphs).

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Poetry pick

Everything Comes Next: Collected & New Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye

This celebratory book collects in one volume award-winning and beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s most popular and accessible poems.

Featuring new, never-before-published poems; an introduction by bestselling poet and author Edward Hirsch, as well as a foreword and writing tips by the poet; and stunning artwork by bestselling artist Rafael López, Everything Comes Next is essential for poetry readers, classroom teachers, and library collections.

Everything Comes Next is a treasure chest of Naomi Shihab Nye’s most beloved poems, and features favorites such as “Famous” and “A Valentine for Ernest Mann,” as well as widely shared pieces such as “Kindness” and “Gate A-4.” The book is an introduction to the poet’s work for new readers, as well as a comprehensive edition for classroom and family sharing. Writing prompts and tips by the award-winning poet make this an outstanding choice for aspiring poets of all ages.

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Self-Help pick

Making Great Relationships: Simple Practices for Solving Conflicts, Building Connection, and Fostering Love by Rick Hanson, PhD

Relationships are usually the most important part of a person’s life. But they’re often stressful and frustrating, or simply awkward, distant, and lonely. We feel the weight of things unsaid, needs unmet, conflicts unresolved. It’s easy to feel stuck.

But actually, new research shows that you create your relationships every day with the things you do and say, which gives you the ability to start improving them now. You have the power to make all your relationships better just by making simple changes that start inside yourself.

New York Times bestselling author of Buddha’s Brain and Hardwiring Happiness, Rick Hanson, PhD, brings his trademark warmth and clarity to Making Great Relationships, a comprehensive guide to fostering healthy, effective, and fulfilling relationships of all kinds: at home and at work, with family and friends, and with people who are challenging. As a psychologist, couples and family counselor, husband, and father, Dr. Hanson has learned what makes relationships go badly and what you can do to make them go better.

Grounded in brain science and clinical psychology, and informed by contemplative wisdom, Making Great Relationships offers fifty fundamental skills, including:

• How to convince yourself that you truly deserve to be treated well
• How to communicate effectively in all kinds of settings
• How to stay centered so that conflict doesn’t rattle you so deeply
• How to see the good in others (even when they make it difficult)
• How to set and maintain healthy boundaries or resize relationships as needed
• How to express your needs so that they are more likely to be fulfilled

With these fifty simple yet powerful practices, you can handle conflicts, repair misunderstandings, get treated better, deepen a romantic partnership, be at peace with others, and give the love that you have in your heart. Making Great Relationships will teach you how to relate better than ever with all the people in your life.

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Social Justice pick

Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond

The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages?

In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow.

Elegantly written and fiercely argued, this compassionate book gives us new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem. It also helps us imagine solutions. Desmond builds a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty. He calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.

This title is also available as a Libby eBook.

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Strength Through Struggle pick

Life on Delay: Making Peace with a Stutter by John Hendrickson

In the fall of 2019, John Hendrickson wrote a groundbreaking story for The Atlantic about Joe Biden’s decades-long journey with stuttering, as well as his own. The article went viral, reaching readers around the world and altering the course of Hendrickson’s life. Overnight, he was forced to publicly confront an element of himself that still caused him great pain.

He soon learned he wasn’t alone with his feelings: strangers who stutter began sending him their own personal stories, something that continues to this day. Now, in this reported memoir, Hendrickson takes us deep inside the mind and heart of a stutterer as he sets out to answer lingering questions about himself and his condition that he was often too afraid to ask.

In Life on Delay, Hendrickson writes candidly about bullying, substance abuse, depression, isolation, and other issues stutterers like him face daily. He explores the intricate family dynamics surrounding his own stutter and revisits key people from his past in unguarded interviews. Readers get an over-the-shoulder view of his childhood; his career as a journalist, which once seemed impossible; and his search for a romantic partner. Along the way, Hendrickson guides us through the evolution of speech therapy, the controversial quest for a “magic pill” to end stuttering, and the burgeoning self-help movement within the stuttering community. Beyond his own experiences, he shares portraits of fellow stutterers who have changed his life, and he writes about a pioneering doctor who is upending the field of speech therapy.

Life on Delay is an indelible account of perseverance, a soulful narrative about not giving up, and a glimpse into the process of making peace with our past and present selves.

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Theologies pick

Muddy People: A Muslim Coming-Of-Age by Sara El Sayed

A quick, clever, warm-hearted debut about growing up in an Egyptian-Muslim family.

Sara is growing up in a family with a lot of rules. Her mother tells her she’s not allowed to wear a bikini, her father tells her she’s not allowed to drink alcohol, and her grandmother tells her to never trust a man with her money.

After leaving Egypt when Sara was only six years old, her family slowly learns how to navigate the social dynamics of their new home. Sara feels out of place in her new school. Her father refuses to buy his coworkers a ginger beer, thinking it contains alcohol. Her mother refuses to wear a hijab, even if it would help them connect with other local Muslims. And Sara learns what it feels like to have a crush on a boy, that some classmates are better friends than others, and that her parents are loving, but flawed people who don’t always know what’s best for her, despite being her strongest defenders.

For readers of Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy and Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart, this heartwarming book about family and identity introduces a compelling new voice, with a coming-of-age story that will speak to everyone who’s ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

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True Crime pick

Ted Bundy and the Unsolved Murder Epidemic: the Dark Figure of Crime by Matt DeLisi

This book revisits the life and crimes of Ted Bundy. It seeks to reconcile the contradictions and controversies about his life that underscore the broader US unsolved murder problem, one that is estimated at between 250,000 to 350,000 open, unresolved, or cold cases. The incidence of crime is far greater than is captured by official statistics; most offenses are never detected, a concept known as the dark figure of crime which is explored here. Drawing on 25 years of practitioner, research, and consultant experiences with the most violent criminals, this book offers solutions toward clearing the current backlog of unsolved murders in the United States many of which were never reported and disproportionately perpetrated by offenders like Bundy. This compelling book speaks to students, academics and readers interested in true crime, serial murder, homicide and criminal justice.

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Join Simply Held to have any of the new nonfiction picks automatically put on hold for you four times a year.

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