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
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 Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
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
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

I nearly didn't read this book because of the horrible title, and that would have been a shame. I'm so glad I relied on a friend's recommendation, and my own enjoyment of Gawande's latest release Being Mortal, and read it anyway. This brief, engaging book is about how to successfully live and work in a world that's becoming increasingly complex. Gawande draws fascinating examples from medicine, construction, and aviation to explain why systems remain vulnerable to human error, and what we can do about it. Highly recommended.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Underland: A Deep Time Journey

Underland: A Deep Time Journey

From the publisher: In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through “deep time”—the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present—he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. Woven through Macfarlane’s own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls “the awful darkness within the world.”

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Libro.fm
Buy from Bookshop
The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

$11.91$1.99Audiobook: 4.49 (Whispersync)
Author:
Genre: Nonfiction

I heard the author speak last year and his presentation on how to discover and develop natural talent was fascinating, whether or not you're an athlete. I wrote about it here. The book is a little heavy on the science for the typical reader, but it's well worth diving into if the topic interests you. I'd pay for the high jump story alone. Add Audible narration for $4.49.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape

Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape

From the publisher: In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country’s still unfolding history, and ideas of “race,” have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds, from “Indian Territory” and the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. capital, Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Libro.fm
Buy from Bookshop
The Gift of Failure
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Longlisted for the National Book Award, Wilkerson's latest book explores how America has been shaped by a hidden caste system. Wilkerson links the caste systems of the United States, India, and Nazi Germany in a story-driven deep dive into history, class, and race. I loved The Warmth of Other Suns and can't wait to read this one. Wilkerson's narrative nonfiction makes a great gift for history buffs and readers who appreciate true stories, well-told.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania
Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference

Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference

$10.99$0.99Audiobook: 11.49 (Whispersync)

This topic won't be new to readers of Crystal's popular blog Money Saving Mom, but much of the content is. Crystal calls this a hands-on manual to help you discover your passions and talents and turn those into a profitable business. I most appreciated the behind-the-scenes looks at Crystal's own business: what's made her successful, and what mistakes she's made along the way.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
These Truths

These Truths

Take a closer look at American history with Jill Lepore's sweeping overview, beginning in 1492. The title comes from “these truths,” as Jefferson called them: political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. The book explores whether those truths have held up over the course of our nation's history. Lepore is a gifted writer, and her impeccable research reveals nuance behind our typical textbook version of events. Bonus: this one is in paperback! No matter which historical time period your loved one is obsessed with, this book will cover it and shed light on a new perspective.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End

Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End

I resisted reading this for a year because it sounded so heavy: it's a personal meditation on aging, death, and dying. But Gawande, a surgeon by trade, tackles weighty issues by sharing lots of stories to go with the research, making this book eminently readable. Ultimately, this book is about what it means—medically and philosophically—to live a good life. I'm so glad I didn't wait longer to read this: this book gave me a much better understanding of the wants and needs of my own aging family members. I found all the superlatives I'd heard bandied about to hold true: it's riveting, absorbing, paradigm-shifting, life-changing.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
The Alchemist

The Alchemist

This is the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of treasure and sets off on a journey to find it, meeting all kinds of interesting characters along the way. This little book has been on the bestseller lists for years and has over a million ratings on Goodreads.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Public shaming used to be a common punishment, but it was stopped long ago: not because it was ineffective, but because it was deemed far too cruel. But with the dawn of social media, public shaming is back in a big way, and it's being carried out by ordinary people. Ronson walks the reader through some recent examples of lives ruined over one public mistake: a fabricated quote in a book, one ill-considered tweet, one Facebook photo that went viral. This is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time, and I'm not saying that lightly. An important but uncomfortable read for anyone on social media, and that's most of us.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble