Politics, Memoir, Science, Food: Last of the Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2020, Pt. 4

Finding ourselves at home and (sometimes far) abroad through early fall nonfiction.

Biss, Eula. Having and Being Had. Riverhead. Sept. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780525537458. $26. Downloadable. POLITICS
Author of the New York Times best-booked and best-sellingOn Immunity and the National Book Critics Circle Award–winning Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays, Biss returns with a sharp-eyed look at work and leisure in the capitalist world. It’s framed by her move into her first home, which she said split her life into two parts: before and after cover of Cao's Family in Six Tones owing a washing machine.

Cao, Lan & Harlan Margaret Van Cao. Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, an American Daughter. Viking. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781984878168. $28. Downloadable. MEMOIR
A law professor and novelist (The Lotus and the Storm), Cao came to America four decades ago as a 13-year-old refugee from Vietnam and still feels less than sure-footed in her adoptive country. American-born daughter Margaret feels right at home, but her life has been shaped her family’s experience of war, flight, and culture clash. A dual memoir, with Harlan sometimes using fantastical interludes to reconstruct her mother’s pained flashbacks.

Marchant, Jo. The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars. Dutton. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780593183014. $28. Downloadable. SCIENCE

As shown by award-winning science writer Marchant, humans have always been driven by the stars—in our art, our science, our religious beliefs, and our social relations. And for proof, here we experience the summer solstice at a 5,000-year-old tomb in Ireland and visit with medieval monks trying to grasp the nature of time and Tahitian sailors steering by the stars. Now we’re losing that connection to the heavens, and we need to get it back.

Wong, Cecily & others. Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide. Workman. Sept. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9781523502196. $39.95. CULINARY
Those Atlas Obscura folks are at it again. Having given us a fabulous travel/social website and a book of the same name claiming more than 815,000 copies in print, they are now viewing history through food, glorious food. After all, who doesn't want to hear about maggot cheese, stinkbug tacos, and urine-fermented skate?

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