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Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams was singular. The most important woman in jazz history, though her contributions are almost completely overlooked. This biography digs deep into her personal and spiritual life and rescues her reputation as one of jazz's most important composers and arrangers.

58ef2454 tiny Christopher Bussmann for jazz, history, Biography, and nyc
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Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide

This is a lovely color photo field guide to city weeds, or spontaneous urban plants, by botanist and lecturer Peter del Tredici, who argues in an inspiring and logical introduction that the plants ""naturally"" growing in a city are those requiring the least resources to maintain, the weeds. Del Tredici makes a case for cultivating beautiful, sustainable urban landscapes using the wildflowers already abundant around us, then curates an excellent field guide for identifying them.

Or you could use Michael Pollan's review below, which I copied from Amazon.com:

""Peter Del Tredici has written one of those rare books that completely overturns the way you look at the landscape—in this case, the landscape of the city's derelict cracks and corners, which in his hands becomes a place of unusual interest, value, and beauty. Though ostensibly a field guide, this book is much more than that—it offers a deep and wise reconsideration of our most cherished ideas about nature. You will never look at an 'invasive species' the same way again.""—Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma"

4fdba1ac tiny Rae Winkelstein for crafts, hobbies, gardening, landscaping, home, encyclopedia, and nyc
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Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

The definitive biography of Thelonious Monk is a bracing look at a 20th Century iconoclast and goes beyond jazz to focus on the great historical and cultural implications of Monk's work and jazz's tortuous relationship with mainstream culture and the civil rights movement. A penetrating look at an often mysterious figure whose music is still misunderstood.

58ef2454 tiny Christopher Bussmann for jazz
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Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year, Expanded Edition

Fantastic story about a fantastic teacher who gets burned out after a year or so. She has great alternative titles for major subject names, among many other great ideas intertwined in her story.

8816ba6f tiny Vincenzo LaRuina for teaching and education
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AIA Guide to New York City

Great reference for those curious about architecture in NYC

64244e8d tiny Stephen Dargo for new york city and architecture
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Basta de historias!: La obsesión latinoamericana con el pasado y las 12 claves del futuro (Vintage Espanol) (Spanish Edition)

So, this one is for all the Spanish speakers out there because there is unfortunately no English translation.

However, it is a great book about a journalist who traveled the world to examine educational systems in different countries (India, Israel, South Korea -- to name a few) in order to compare them to that of Latin American countries and figure out why L.A. is so behind when other countries with an equally large (or larger) population living in poverty are advancing.

Very well written and extremely interesting! 

Ed418885 tiny Marianna Breytman for journalism, spanish, and education
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Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built

A great book about the amazing institution that is Russ & Daughters -- the Jewish appetizing store on the Lower East Side.

It talks about the history of the store, how the Lower East Side has changed with different populations moving in and out, and also includes recipes! 

Ed418885 tiny Marianna Breytman for history, food history, and lower east side
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The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Consider this your primer for writing and editing in English. It's a quick read and still highly relevant. 

F40ce79e tiny Grace Duggan for writing and editing
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The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English

Clark takes a great approach toward pesky grammar points. This is an engaging, interesting, and highly informative read. 

F40ce79e tiny Grace Duggan
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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Vintage International)

A book about running, and writing. Murakami took up running and writing at the same time, and he puts the two activities side by side. A totally lovely read.

28c7e1da tiny Dory Kornfeld for marathons, running, and murakami
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The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition

This is the book to buy if you are looking for an American English style guide and don't have one already dictated by your job or field. It has answers to every style question you'll have -- and online forums for new style needs that come up along the way.

F40ce79e tiny Grace Duggan
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Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats

I love everything I've made from here, especially the fudgesicles and pop tarts. Definitely chock full of good rainy day projects. 

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The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home

We're lucky to have Diana as a teacher at the Brainery, and even if you can't take a class, I'd highly recommend her cookbook. The best scallion pancakes ever, amongst a million other great recipes!

16ec9eca tiny Jen for cooking, chinese food, diana kuan, dumplings, and wontons
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Uncommon Carriers

These are long, long essays by McPhee, most of which were originally published in The New Yorker on a topic I never really thought about before: how things get from one place to another.

There're essays on long-haul truckers, UPS sorting facilities, and tow boats on the Illinois River, to name a few. An awesome primer on the Way Things Work. 

travel and transportation
28c7e1da tiny Dory Kornfeld for quilting and crafting
28c7e1da tiny Dory Kornfeld for quilting and crafting
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Art Deco Complete: The Definitive Guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s

These are all great texts for anyone interested in Art Deco design.

Missing Danielle Mastrangelo for art deco and design
28c7e1da tiny Dory Kornfeld for quilting and crafting
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Art Deco, 1910-1939

These are all great texts for anyone interested in ART DECO design. 

Missing Danielle Mastrangelo for design and art deco
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The Cube

The Cube is a fun, visual book on the history of the Rubik's Cube and other twisty puzzles. Lots of pictures, color. Fun, interesting designs. 

2159fc87 tiny Jonathan Bohm for puzzles and rubik's cube
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Speedsolving the Cube

Speedsolving is a quick guide to learning how to solve the Rubik's Cube efficiently. Also has outlines for more advanced puzzles (4X4, 5X5).

2159fc87 tiny Jonathan Bohm for rubik's cube
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Bloodchild and Other Stories

You should read this because how many black female science fiction authors do you know? And also, if you are a true sci-fi junkie, I guarantee her stories will blow your mind.

D8d6329a tiny Wynnie Lamour for science fiction
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Masters of the Dew

You should read this because it's recognized as one of the first novels to be written about the everyday Haitian peasant. Plus, it was translated from French into English by another legend, Langston Hughes!

D8d6329a tiny Wynnie Lamour for haiti
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Clinical Pathophysiology Made Ridiculously Simple

This is my own portable guide to understand the concepts behind disease pathways.

23ed4a4e tiny Farah for medicine, disease, and pathophysiology