Non-Fiction

August 2019

Brown White Black: An American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion

Intimate and honest essays on motherhood, marriage, love, and acceptance

Brown, White, Black is a portrait of Nishta J. Mehra's family: her wife, who is white; her adopted son, who is black; and their experiences dealing with America's rigid ideas of race, gender, and sexuality. Her clear-eyed and incisive writing on her family's daily struggle to make space for themselves amid racial intolerance and stereotypes personalizes some of America's most fraught issues. Mehra writes candidly about her efforts to protect and shelter her young son from racial slurs on the playground and from intrusive questions by strangers while educating him on the realities and dangers of being a black male in America. In other essays, she discusses her childhood living in the racially polarized city of Memphis; coming out as queer; being an adoptive mother who is brown; and what it's like to be constantly confronted by people's confusion, concern, and expectations about her child and her family. Above all, Mehra argues passionately for a more nuanced and compassionate understanding of identity and family.


Both poignant and challenging, Brown, White, Black is a remarkable portrait of a loving family on the front lines of some of the most highly charged conversations in our culture.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world's top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

David Epstein examined the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields--especially those that are complex and unpredictable--generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't see.

Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.

Milkwood: Real skills for down-to-earth living

The skills that we learn bind our lives together. Do you want to know how to grow your own food? Or how to keep bees? How to forage for edible seaweed along the shoreline, or wild greens down by the stream? Maybe you're curious about growing mushrooms or how to grow the perfect tomato. You're invited to make these skills your own. Designed to be read with a pot of tea by your elbow and a notebook beside you, Milkwood is all you need to start living a more home-grown life. From DIY projects to wild fermented recipes, the in-depth knowledge and hands-on instruction contained in these pages will have your whole family fascinated and inspired to get growing, keeping, cooking and making. Milkwood is the name of Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar's first farm as well as their school where anyone can learn skills for down-to-earth living. Kirsten, Nick and a team of educators offer courses on topics contained in this book as well as permaculture design, natural building and much more. Kirsten and Nick live on a small regenerative farm near Daylesford, Australia, where many things from the sprouted grain they feed their chickens to ingredients that make up dinner is homegrown.

Talking to Robots: Tales from Our Human-Robot Futures

Award-winning journalist David Ewing Duncan considers 24 visions of possible human-robot futures--Incredible scenarios from Teddy Bots to Warrior Bots, and Politician Bots to Sex Bots--Grounded in real technologies and possibilities and inspired by our imagination.

What robot and AI systems are being built and imagined right now? What do they say about us, their creators? Will they usher in a fantastic new future, or destroy us? What do some of our greatest thinkers, from physicist Brian Greene and futurist Kevin Kelly to inventor Dean Kamen, geneticist George Church, and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, anticipate about our human-robot future? For even as robots and A.I. intrigue us and make us anxious about the future, our fascination with robots has always been about more than the potential of the technology-it's also about what robots tell us about being human.

Heavy: An American Memoir

In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.

Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been.

In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.

A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.