Best Books of June: Nonfiction

Jon Foro on June 07, 2017

We-Are-Never225Here are a few of our favorite nonfiction titles for June. See more of our nonfiction picks, and all of the Best Books of the Month

Samantha Irby brings a collection of funny (at times hilarious) and poignant essays in We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. There were more than a few times that I caught myself laughing out loud while reading these glimpses into Irby's life and observations, and other times that I felt like she had climbed into my mind and said all the things I'm not edgy enough to vocalize. From her fantastically odd relationship with her weird cat, Helen Keller, to her real and vulnerable battles with health issues, Irby's writing and wit crosses all demographic lines and speaks to all beings. Since finishing ‘Never Meeting’ I have gone back and read post after post of Irby's blog… just because I want more. Be ready to be caught off guard with power and laughter. --Penny Mann


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Upstream: Searching for Wild Salmon, from River to Table by Langdon Cook
A few years back, Langdon Cook wrote The Mushroom Hunters, an unusual book about the underground economy of fungi foraging and the weirdoes and outsiders who fuel it, which we leveraged for this little boondoggle. His latest, Upstream, does the same for salmon, following the paths of these essential fish from spawning grounds and hatcheries to the tables of exclusive restaurants – a voyage spanning history, culture, adventure, politics, and commerce. [Full disclosure: Lang is a former colleague who occasionally pulls Chris and me out to the river for some tortured attempts at fly fishing. It’s not that he’s a bad teacher.]

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  Shark Drunk: The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean by Morten Stroksnes
The true story of two Norwegian weirdoes (I say it with love) who embark on a Mellvillian/Hemingwayesque quest to catch a Greenland shark, a leviathan more than 25 feet long and weighing more than a ton. What the extensive subtitle doesn’t tell you is that its blood contains a hallucinogenic toxin, and they aim to drink it.

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Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton
The myth of the cowboy – Hollywood’s white-Stetson’d, "Home on the Range "-hummin’ paragon of American self-determination – has in part relied on a certain key omission: the cows. Christopher Knowlton’s  Cattle Kingdom explores the brief, pre-industrialization heyday of the cattle industry and the long shadow it cast over the West, from the slaughter of millions of bison and the dawn of the conservation movement, to more recent developments like the “Sagebrush Rebellion” and the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. Yippie ki-yay, cattle-ropers!

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