Nonfiction

 Mount Ararat is the most fabled mountain in the world. For millennia this massif in eastern Turkey has been rumored as the resting place of Noah's Ark following the Great Flood. But it also plays a significant role in the longstanding conflict between Turkey and Armenia. Author Rick Antonson joined a five-member expedition to the mountain's nearly 17,000-foot summit, trekking alongside a contingent of Armenians, for whom Mount Ararat is the stolen symbol of their country.

Nonfiction Book Group June 2016

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The Wright brothers by David G McCullough
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of courage, determination and ceaseless curiosity.

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This year marks the 100th awarding of the Pulitzer Prizes. The 2016 winners include:

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Winner of the Fiction Category, this is a gripping spy novel, a moving story of love and friendship, and a layered portrayal of a young man drawn into extreme politics,The Sympathizer examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Celebrate Earth Day 2016 by planting a tree! Why? They combat climate change by absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere, and help us breathe clean air by absorbing odors and pollutant gases.  And they're beautiful to look at!

Planting with trees by Andrew McIndoe

A look at the high-wire walk made by Philippe Petit in 1974 between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City, and how it is still considered one of history's most artistic crimes.

The legacy of Roger Ebert's life, recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of the world-renowned film critic and social commentator, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America .

2014's Academy Award winning documentary Citizenfour is a real life international thriller that unfolds by the minute. With unprecedented access, this gripping behind-the-scenes chronicle follows award-winning director Laura Poitras (My Country, My Country) and journalist Glenn Greenwald's remarkable encounters with whistle-blower Edward Snowden in a hotel room in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents that provide evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA). The documentary not only shows the dangers of government surveillance, but makes audiences feel them. After seeing the film, viewers will never think the same way about their phone, e-mail, credit cards, web browser or digital footprint again..

Learn about your food - where it comes from, how it's made, and the history of how and why we started to eat what we eat - with some of these informative documentaries.

This film shows how human desires are an essential, intricate part of natural history by exploring the natural history of four plants -the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato - and the corresponding human desires - sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control. This two-hour documentary begins in Michael Pollan's garden, and roams the world, from the fields of Iowa to the apple forests of Kazakhstan, from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip markets of Amsterdam.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of food journalist Pollan's thesis. Humans used to know how to eat well, he argues, but the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." Indeed, plain old eating is being replaced by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Pollan's advice is: "Don't eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food."

Based on two decades of reporting, NBC's chief foreign correspondent's riveting story of the Middle East revolutions, the Arab Spring, war, and terrorism seen up-close--sometimes dangerously so. When he was just twenty-three, a recent graduate of Stanford University, Richard Engel set off to Cairo with $2,000 and dreams of being a reporter. Shortly thereafter he was working freelance for Arab news sources and got a call that a busload of Italian tourists were massacred at a Cairo museum. This is his first view of the carnage these years would pile on. Reporting as NBC's Chief-Foreign Correspondent, he reveals his unparalleled access to the major figures, the gritty soldiers, and the helpless victims in the Middle East during this watershed time.

In the months after her husband's death, Martha Washington told several friends that the two worst days of her life were the day George died -- and the day Thomas Jefferson came to Mount Vernon to offer his condolences. What could elicit such a strong reaction from the nation's original first lady? Though history tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie, there were, in fact, many conflicts among the Founding Fathers -- none more important than the one between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The chief disagreement between these former friends centered on the highest, most original public office created by the Constitutional Convention -- the presidency.

More than fifty years before the American Revolution, Boston was in revolt against the tyrannies of the Crown, Puritan Authority, and Superstition. This is the story of a fateful year that prefigured the events of 1776.

April is Arab American Heritage Month.  Read about some of our well known and accomplished Arab American citizens.

Finding my voice by Diane Rehm

Hoda Kotb grew up in two cultures--one where summers meant playing at the foot of the ancient pyramids and another where she had to meet her junior prom date at the local 7-Eleven to spare them both the wrath of her conservative Egyptian parents. She's traveled the globe for network television, smuggling videotapes in her shoes and stepping along roads riddled with land mines. She's weathered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and a personal Category 5 as well: divorce and breast cancer in the same year. And if that's not scary enough, she then began cohosting the fourth hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford.

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