Notable New Nonfiction: December 2016
Here are some highlights from the new nonfiction titles added to the catalog recently.
Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.
Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from reality? For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions. In each chapter, he discusses a particular book--what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor those we've loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully.
Tools of the Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
Tim Ferriss, on his hugely popular podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, has interviewed top performers of every type. Here, in the ultimate self-help book, he distills and tests the key insights from these elite athletes and adventurers, entrepreneurs and executives, creative thinkers, researchers, and more, to help readers learn to become healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken by Lodro Rinzler
Buddhism has a lot to say about suffering--and there are likely few times we suffer more intensely than when we break up with a romantic partner. It feels like you may never recover sometimes. But Lodro Rinzler has wonderfully good news for those suffering heartbreak: the 2,500-year-old teachings of the Buddha are the ultimate antidote for emotional pain. And you don't need to be a Buddhist for them to apply to you. In this short and compact first-aid kit for a broken heart, he walks you through the cause and cure of suffering, with much practical advice for self-care as you work to survive a breakup.
Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito
Today, not only is everything digital getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, we also have the Internet. When these two revolutions-one in technology and the other in communications-joined, an explosive force was unleaded that changed the very nature of innovation. And with any change, we have seen many strategic blunders and extraordinary learning curves along the way. At last, in "Whiplash", Joi Ito and Jeff Howe have distilled nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period. These principles give us a roadmap on how to thrive no matter what industry we're in.
Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman
A young historical gastronomist named Sarah Lohman proposes that American food is united by eight flavors: black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. In "Eight Flavors", Lohman sets out to explore how these influential ingredients made their way to the American table. Lohman introduces the explorers, merchants, botanists, farmers, writers, and chefs whose choices came to define the American palate. Weaving together original research, historical recipes, gorgeous illustrations and Lohman’s own adventures both in the kitchen and in the field, "Eight Flavors" takes you on a journey through the past to tell us something about our present, and our future. We meet John Crowninshield a New England merchant who traveled to Sumatra in the 1790s in search of black pepper. And Edmond Albius, a twelve-year-old slave who lived on an island off the coast of Madagascar, who discovered the technique still used to pollinate vanilla orchids today.
Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery by Caren Cooper
All around the world, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of everyday people are choosing to participate in the scientific process. Working in cooperation with scientists in pursuit of information, innovation, and discovery, these volunteers are following protocols, collecting and reviewing data, and sharing their observations. They are our neighbors, our in-laws, and people in the office down the hall. Their story, along with the story of the social good that can result from citizen science, has largely been untold, until now. Citizen scientists are challenging old notions about who can conduct research, where knowledge can be acquired, and even how solutions to some of our biggest societal problems might emerge. In telling their story, Cooper will inspire readers to rethink their own assumptions about the role that individuals can play in gaining scientific understanding and putting that understanding to use as stewards of our world.
Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. It's likely the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually "think for themselves"? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia? By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind--and on our own.
Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver
Shoeboxes and paper bags are fine for other cats. But your favorite felines deserve luxurious living spaces! This DIY construction guide includes fun and easy instructions for making cardboard trains, ships, food trucks, rockets, and other hideouts. Also included are tips for climbing towers and scratching pads that they can use to stay sharp. All twenty projects are quick to assemble and require inexpensive and easy-to-find materials. You can customize them to match your cat's wildest desires!
The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship by Alex Beam
Author Alex Beam has fashioned this clash of literary titans into a delightful and irresistible book--a comic contretemps of a very high order and a poignant demonstration of the fragility of even the deepest of friendships. "The Feud" is the deliciously ironic (and sad) tale of how two literary giants destroyed their friendship in a fit of mutual pique and egomania.
The Rise of Athens: The Story of the World's Greatest Civilization by Anthony Everitt
Although the history of Athens is less well known than that of other world empires, the city-state's allure would inspire Alexander the Great, the Romans, and even America's own Founding Fathers. It's fair to say that the Athenians made possible the world in which we live today. In this peerless new work, Anthony Everitt breathes vivid life into this most ancient story. Filled with tales of adventure and astounding reversals of fortune, "The Rise of Athens" celebrates the city-state that transformed the world--from the democratic revolution that marked its beginning, through the city's political and cultural golden age, to its decline into the ancient equivalent of a modern-day university town.
Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo by Sandrine Revel
Glenn Gould was a Canadian pianist, a child genius who became a worldwide superstar of classical music remembered for, among others, his almost revolutionary interpretations of Bach. This graphic novel biography seeks to understand the eccentric personality behind the persona. Who is the mysterious Glenn Gould? Why did he abruptly end his career as a performing musician? Why did he become one of the very first of his peers to disappear from the public eye like J.D. Salinger? Sandrine Revel delves into the life of Gould with hand painted illustrations and the viewpoint of an adoring fan.
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind by Siri Hustvedt
A radical collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology and philosophy by the prize-winning author of The Blazing World reflects her explorations into the workings of human perception and how they are reflected by gender bias, the mind-body challenge and neurological disorders.