Non-fiction: Not Just "Heavy" Reading

Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral

By Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

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"In this deliciously entertaining slice of Southern life (and death), inveterate hostess Gayden Metcalfe explains everything you need to know to host an authentic Southern funeral, such as: Can you be properly buried without tomato aspic? Who prepares tastier funeral fare, the Episcopal ladies or the Methodist ladies? And what does one do when a family gets three sheets to the wind and eats the entire feast the night before a funeral?"

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Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 1941-45

By Leo Marks

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"In 1942, with a black-market chicken tucked under his arm by his mother, Leo Marks left his father's famous bookshop, 84 Charing Cross Road, and went off to fight the war. He was twenty-two. Soon recognized as a cryptographer of genius, he became head of communications at the Special Operations Executive (SOE), where he revolutionized the codemaking techniques of the Allies and trained some of the most famous agents dropped into occupied Europe."

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Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit

By Frank W. Abagnale, Jr.

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Frank Abagnale pretended to be an airline pilot, an attorney, a professor, and a physician, among others, and conned a lot of people out of a lot of money. Hard to believe one person could get away with so much for so long in real life! His story is so compelling that it became a major feature film.
Also available in large print.

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Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years

By Michael J. Collins, M.D.

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A fascinating and often touching account of an orthopedic surgeon's four-year residency. Share the ups and downs of a young man just starting out on his chosen career.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

By John Berendt

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Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.
Available on audio as well as in a movie version starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.

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Running with Scissors: A Memoir

By Augusten Burroughs

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The true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed.

Also available on audio.

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

By Mary Roach

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A few of the chapter titles will tell you more about this book than we can: A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste; The Cadaver That Joined the Army; and Out of the Fire, into the Compost Bin. Need we say more????

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The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

By Mark Obmascik

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Three birding fanatics compete with each other and themselves to see the most number of birds in and around the U.S. in one year. Where they go, what they do, and how much they spend are almost unbelievable. Talk about obsessed!

Also available on audio.

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

By Erik Larson

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"Before the turn of the 20th century, a city emerged seemingly out of the ash of then dangerous Chicago, a dirty, grimy, teeming place ravaged by urban problems. Daniel Burnham, the main innovator of the White City of the 1892 World's Fair, made certain that it became the antithesis of its parent city, born to glow and gleam with all that the new century would soon offer. While the great city of the future was hastily being planned and built, the specially equipped apartment building of one Herman Webster Mudgett was also being constructed. Living in a nearby suburb and walking among the hundreds of thousands of visitors who would eventually attend the fair, Mudgett, a doctor by profession more commonly known as H.H. Holmes, was really an early serial killer who preyed on the young female fair goers pouring into Chicago."
Also available on audio.

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The Orchid Thief

By Susan Orlean

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John Laroche is a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy, in spite of the fact that he is missing his front teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. In 1994, Laroche and three Seminole Indians were arrested with rare orchids they had stolen from a wild swamp in south Florida that is filled with some of the world's most extraordinary plants and trees. Laroche had planned to clone the orchids and then sell them for a small fortune to impassioned collectors. After he was caught in the act, Laroche set off one of the oddest legal controversies in recent memory, which brought together environmentalists, Native American activists, and devoted orchid collectors. The result is a true tale that is strange, compelling, and hilarious.
Later made into the movie, Adaptation, starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep.

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