For you intellectual types—you know who you are—these compelling nonfiction reads weave together story with tales of start-up culture, baseball, animation, origin stories, bacteria, business, and more.
If you've ever dreamed of opening your own bookstore, this one's for you. Wendy Welch and her husband flee jobs they loathe and escape to the tiny Virginia coal-mining town of Big Stone Gap, where they buy a huge white house to fulfill their lifelong dream of—what else?—opening a used bookstore—a decision fueled by piles of nachos and pitchers of sangria. It was an audacious goal (do people still buy real books, anyway?) but they lived to write about it. Book nerds will swoon over the behind-the-scenes peeks at a bookseller's life. A must-read for book (and bookstore) lovers. More info →
This deeply-researched, fascinating glimpse into twitter's early days has the pacing of a good novel and is rich with interesting insights into social media, the larger web, start-up culture, and human nature. You can't make this stuff up—but if you tried, you could only hope to invent anecdotes as bizarre and readable as the ones in this account. Recommended reading for Jon Krakauer fans. More info →
At age 6, Goodwin's father taught her how to keep score, igniting a lifelong love affair with baseball—and the Brooklyn Dodgers. This family history is hopelessly tangled with post-war life on Long Island and the grand scale events of the era. Popular (and accessible) historian Goodwin gives a fascinating glimpse into 1950s New York: the advent of television, Cold War nuclear drills, and the rise of the free agent. Surprisingly, this book isn't much of a departure from her prize-winning work on heavy-hitting subjects like Lincoln, FDR, and the Kennedys. Lots of fun—even for Yankees fans. You don't have to love baseball to love this book, but it sure doesn't hurt. More info →
If you liked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is for you. Tuberculosis was the biggest killer in the 19th century, and one of the most frightening—because no one knew its cause. When Nobel winner Robert Koch announced he had found a treatment for the disease, the world flocked to his door. But Conan Doyle (better known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes) remained skeptical, and justifiably so: Koch's faulty remedy proved to be his undoing. Goetz's account of fledgling germ theory, medical pioneers, brash personalities, and deadly diseases reads like a true crime thriller. Follow this one up with A Study in Scarlet. More info →
Pixar has been called the most fascinating company on the planet, and it's easy to see why in this enthralling history, filled with big players (Steve Jobs, George Lucas) and bigger leaps forward in technology that changed the animation business, and popular culture with it. Catmull gives us a glimpse inside the company-like-no-other, from the little things (why they ditched their oval table for a square) to the big ones (Pixar's annual shutdown day, devoted to company-wide improvement). Sure to delight creatives, managers, and anyone who loves a good yarn, and an absolute must-read for Pixar fans. More info →