Nonfiction
The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity

The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity

$9.99$1.99

I don’t know enough about math to even describe this book: ask me in three months? Goodreads reviewers swear it’s readable, and the author has been a frequent guest on Radiolab, which gives me hope. While it sounds interesting, this isn’t the kind of book I’d usually take to the beach. I’m making a place for it this summer.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
The Economy of Cities

The Economy of Cities

Author:
Series: The summer syllabus
Genre: Nonfiction

I’m weirdly fascinated by urban planning, so this follow-up to Jacob’s classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities (one of the books that makes me feel like I’m not crazy) is on my must-read list. Many consider this later work by Jacobs to be her crowning achievement as an author and shaper of society.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Technology is changing the way we interact with each other: but is that good or bad, and what should we do about it? Turkle, an MIT professor, draws on 15 years of data to show how face-to-face relationships are changing in the facebook age. Because I make my living largely from behind a screen, this is on my must-read list.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

This book has been enthusiastically recommended by several book nerds with great taste, and explores the history of mapmaking from the olden days of parchment to today’s google maps and GPS. I love a good map (who doesn’t?) and am totally intrigued: when it comes to geography, I don’t know enough to know what I don’t know.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Creativity, Inc.

Creativity, Inc.

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 →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Remedy

The Remedy

$12.99$5.49Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

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 →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir

Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir

$11.99$1.99

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 →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

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 →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Libro.fm
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

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 →
Buy from Amazon
The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm

$10.99$1.99Audiobook: 1.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Adventure, Book 3
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: 2012 Reading Guide

This true story of the storm of the century, which took place off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1991, weaves in the tales of the fishing crew aboard The Andrea Gail and the dramatic rescue of the three-person crew aboard the sailboat Satori in the Atlantic. A compelling and page-turning tale of man vs. nature. Add Audible narration for $3.99.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Born to Run

Born to Run

Author:
Series: Adventure, Book 2
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: 2012 Reading Guide

McDougall’s quest begins with a simple question: “Why does my foot hurt? In search of the answer, he delves into a world of ultramarathons, American expats and the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. Don’t be put off by the lengthy segue about Why Running Shoes Are Bad. This is a great book.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day

Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day

$15.95$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

K2 is slightly shorter than Mt. Everest, but it's far more deadly: for every four climbers who have summited, one has died trying. In August 2008, a series of disasters—avalanches, ice falls, broken safety ropes—contributed to the deaths of a record 11. Miraculously, two Sherpas survived. This book chronicles the disaster from the Sherpas' perspective, and brings their fascinating history to life. A must-read for anyone who loved Into Thin Air. Riveting.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

I didn't think I was interested in the story of a racehorse, but after devouring Unbroken, I trusted Hillenbrand to take me on a remarkable ride, no matter the topic. She masterfully weaves together the stories of a knock-kneed racehorse and the three men who made him a champion: a bookish half-blind jockey, an eccentric trainer, and a limelight-loving owner. An incredible tale.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Libro.fm
Buy from Bookshop
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew were stranded on the Antarctic ice for 20 months beginning in January 1915. Alexander's story (which is named for Shackleton's ship) is compiled largely from the journals of Shackleton's 27-man crew and contains jawdropping photos by the expedition's photographer. Spellbinding.

More info →
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Bookshop
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

This is a real-life Ocean’s 11 tale of a 2003 robbery in Antwerp, Belgium, when thieves broke into a supposedly airtight vault and made off with 108 million dollars of loot. The crime was flawless, but the getaway was clumsy, and real-life diamond experts Campbell and Selby were called in to track down the thieves in a real-life worldwide goose chase.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Read-Aloud Handbook

The Read-Aloud Handbook

Don’t be fooled by the title: this book tells you not just how to read aloud to your children, but why, and why it’s important for you to be reading, too. Packed with tips, strategies, and over a hundred great titles, this is a book you’ll pull off the shelf whenever you’re in need of a pep talk or some new book suggestions.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

In this fascinating follow-up to The Long Tail Wired editor Anderson explores what it means when almost anyone can own the means of production. He examines what it looks like when the Web generation turns to the real world, covering today’s cottage industries, niche markets, the new “factories,” and what it means for our future.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This genre-defying narrative combines history, science, memoir, and biography. You’ve been affected by the HeLa cells derived from Maryland woman Henrietta Lacks, called “immortal” because they thrive in the lab: they’ve been used to develop the polio vaccine, cure cancer, and fight the flu. But her family didn’t discover anything about the cells until more than twenty years after her 1951 death. Skloot unearths the incredible story of how that happened, weaving the tale of the HeLa cells together with Lacks’ personal narrative.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

I can't tell you how many MMD readers have told me about this brand-new book, just out this month. First, the bad news: most of you are gonna hate it.

The good news: if you're in the target audience, this is a great addition to your coffee table. You'll love this book if you have a serious—and thorough—love of classic literature, don't mind a few f-bombs, and pride yourself on your snarky sense of humor. Lavery lampoons Jane Eyre and Rebecca, Edgar Allen Poe and The Yellow Wallpaper, Medea and King Lear. A great Christmas gift or coffee table addition for the right reader.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
A Room of One’s Own

A Room of One’s Own

$7.95$0.99

Woolf's long essay about society and art and sexism is thoroughly of its time and timeless. She argues that a woman must have money and a room of her own (literally and figuratively) in order to write well. It's a little slow to get into but keep at it: this is one of Woolf's most accessible and rewarding works.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe―many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions.

A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a graphic novel for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Bookshop
The Mother Tongue: English And How It Got That Way

The Mother Tongue: English And How It Got That Way

Author:
Genre: Nonfiction

From the publisher: "With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Jacobs's manifesto aims to convince readers everywhere: reading is supposed to be fun! I expected Jacobs to be stuffy, but he won my heart when he called Harold Bloom a snob. Lots of good nuggets and insights for book lovers, plus inspiration to expand your reading list and spend more time between the spines. This book is best enjoyed slowly, a few pages at a time. 162 pages.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore

Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore

A nonfiction book about laundry in the Summer Reading Guide? Absolutely. This conversational guide to a dreaded household chore was the book I didn’t know my reading life—or laundry room—needed in the pandemic era. I find reading about domesticity to be reliably soothing, but in Richardson’s hands, the subject makes for fascinating narrative fodder as well. Who knew? Among his entertaining anecdotes (my favorite being his hero’s account of removing a fresh permanent marker stain from a bride’s gown on her wedding day), Richardson offers practical tips I tried right away: I’ve removed lipstick from ivory cashmere, chocolate and marinara from a beloved white hoodie, and brightened our white bed linens so they look like new. I never expected to find so much satisfaction in doing laundry, but this bright and cheerful book changed my outlook. A perfect gift for myriad occasions.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating
A Briefer History of Time
If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission

If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission

Author:
Genre: Nonfiction

"In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes," writes Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. "And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns." I had to google to see if this Jo Piazza was the same Jo Piazza who co-authored The Knockoff. I was delighted to see that it is.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

The title is admittedly a little dry but the content is so good! This is Turkle's wake-up call to our modern era where we're over-connected to each other when apart but under-connected—thanks to our devices—when together. As a professor at MIT Turkle collected reams of research on how our devices are serving us well, and how they're not. (The latter column is the fuller one.) It gets depressing at times, but Turkle is persistently optimistic about how we can control our technology, instead of the other way around. Resistance is not futile, but highly effective, and once we understand how our devices are really affecting us, we'll be empowered to change. Surprisingly fascinating.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Magic and Loss