New Non-Fiction eBooks

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Wild Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307957658
Availability: Available Now
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 2012

You will probably be hearing about this book everywhere. Believe the hype. (e.g. Sunday New York Times Book ReviewSF ChronicleGoodReads). I, for one, am willing to put my reputation of 18.5 years as a bookseller on the line for this one. You will love it. Wild is, at its base, a memoir of a struggling young woman and her challenging solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (1,100 miles of it!). But it's so much more--full of heart, humor, hope, and humanity. Still need convincing? My wife (a writer and former bookseller) and I almost never read the same book (it seems inefficient to us--is that weird?). In rare instances, we will more or less force the other to read something-- and she read (and loved) Wild. So it's not a guy book or a women's book--it's just a great book. --Pete

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679643951
Availability: Available Now
Published: Random House - February 6th, 2012

In the tradition of the best contemporary narrative nonfiction (Random FamilyNothing to EnvyUnder the Banner of HeavenBehind the Beautiful Forevers reads like a rich, character-driven novel. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo details life in the Annawadi slum of Mumbai--and the lives of some of India's poorest people--without being pitying or sentimental. Poverty does not make the people in her book noble, but her account of their day-to-day lives gives them a voice. This book will change the way you look at globalization and the world.

Season of the Witch Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439127872
Availability: Available Now
Published: Free Press - May 7th, 2012

We all know the terrible things that happened in the Bay Area in the late '60's and '70's: Zebra murders and Zodiac killings, SLA kidnappings and terror, Charlie Manson and Jim Jones, the mayor and a supervisor assassinated in their offices. What really hit home for me reading Season of the Witch is how closely these events came one upon another. This is a fascinating, but ultimately uplifting, story of a crazy time in San Francisco history.

God's Hotel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101561812
Availability: Available Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 25th, 2012

Fifty years ago, every county in the nation had an almshouse, a place for the care of those who are sick and poor. Now San Francisco's Laguna Honda is the last of its kind. When Victoria Sweet began working there more than 20 years ago, she expected her tenure to be a short one. But she found that at Laguna Honda, she could practice a different type of medicine than she would have been allowed in a regular hospital, what she came to call "slow medicine." God's Hotel is filled with amazing stories of this type of care: of the illnesses and recovery (and often relapse) of the patients; of Dr. Sweet's own spiritual journey; and of the funky old hospital itself, with its chicken coop and its open wards, as it struggles to retain its identity in a battle with efficiency experts who've never looked a patient in the eye. This book is filled with wisdom, humor, and even a few miracles.

Chasing Venus Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307958617
Availability: Available Now
Published: Vintage - April 30th, 2012

Andrea Wulf's exciting history of the scientific quest to understand, predict, and chronicle the transit of Venus across the face of the sun stands out among the handful of books published to coincide with 2012's transit--which happens on June 6. Full of remarkable characters and daring adventure, Wulf's history proves that while the heavens provide us with sublime spectacles, there are no less magnificent endeavors happening here on earth.

Steve Jobs Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451648553
Availability: Available Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 23rd, 2011

Life Sentences Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307957443
Availability: Available Now
Published: Knopf - January 16th, 2012

Long live William Gass! One of the greatest essayists of the latter half of the 20th century, Gass, now an octogenarian, shows no signs of letting up or letting his readers down. This collection spans typically Gassian themes, from grammar to genocide, and is ripe with his distinctive verbal wit and flashy, exuberant style. A marvelous collection to be savored.

The Information Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307379573
Availability: Available Now
Published: Vintage - February 28th, 2011

Telegraphy, Morse code, the drum language of the Congo, genetics,
thermodynamics, language, entropy, cybernetics, quantum physics... a
tour of the index of James Gleick's latest work of popular science
writing reveals just how ubiquitous and inescapable the concept of
information has become. A must-read for anyone interested in
understanding the currents of our time, Gleick's work is already being
hailed as a classic. --SS

Bossypants Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316175869
Availability: Available Now
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - April 4th, 2011

Bossypants is truly hilarious, smart, and weird, just like Tina Fey --
and just like Tina Fey, it is thoroughly entertaining. But don't take
our word for it, check out the blurbs from Mark Twain, the internet, and Tina's dad.

Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455506781
Availability: Available Now
Published: Twelve - August 31st, 2011

Fire Season Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062078902
Availability: Available Now
Published: HarperCollins e-books - April 4th, 2011

I was 15 or 16 when I read Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels and fell in love with the idea of spending months in solitude as a fire lookout deep in the wilderness. That smoldering daydream has been rekindled by Philip Connors' fine new memoir/ecological history, Fire Season. Spend a season with Connors in a remote corner of New Mexico to get a clear-eyed view of a rare breed of humanity. --Stephen

Empire of the Summer Moon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416597155
Availability: Available Now
Published: Scribner - May 24th, 2010

Empire of the Summer Moon is two stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second is the saga of a pioneer woman, Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped by Comanches as a nine-year-old girl, and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches. "A ripping good read" about "an epic frontier peopled with real men and women, living and dying and hoping and dreaming at the bloody edge of civilization."

The Clockwork Universe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062042262
Availability: Available Now
Published: HarperCollins e-books - February 7th, 2011

For two thousand years, if one wanted to know about the natural world and the stars above, one merely consulted Aristotle. The development of the scientific method was a philosophical revolution. Dolnick illuminates this change in quick, breezy, and eminently accessible chapters. This is the summer beach read of science history books. I never suspected physics and calculus could be discussed in such an engaging and entertaining manner. --Jeff M.

Blood, Bones & Butter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781588369314
Availability: Available Now
Published: Random House - February 28th, 2011

This sumptuous and candid chef memoir satisfies like an exhilarating and earthy ragout. Hamilton is the owner of the celebrated East Village restaurant Prune -- her childhood nickname given by her boundary-lacking mother, from whom she learned the art of brasserie cooking. The memoir chronicles her decade spent working in high-volume warehouse catering kitchens, wielding a spatula through her undergrad and MFA-earning years, all while journaling religiously and astutely. With her "Protestant dishwasher work ethic," Hamilton unclogs grease traps, butchers lambs and works the brunch shift over hot burners at nine months pregnant. This memoir is a resonant, salty, working-class addition to the genre of hash-slinger confessional. --KD

The Social Animal Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679603931
Availability: Available Now
Published: Random House - March 7th, 2011

David Brooks tells the story of how success happens, why we behave the way we do and why we need the things we seek with all the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation. At once broad in scope and intimately human in its depiction of people and relationships, The Social Animal is an insightful and enlightening examination of who we are and why.

The Magnetic North Cover Image
ISBN: 9781429991940
Availability: Available Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 31st, 2011

Sara Wheeler is the best guide you could ask for. She gives her readers the history and culture of the areas she's visiting, and introduces them to the people she meets without becoming a personality in her own book. The Magnetic North is an invaluable survey of the Arctic, both where it has been and where it is heading.

The Emperor of All Maladies Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439181713
Availability: Available Now
Published: Scribner - November 15th, 2010

The Pulitzer Prize winning Emperor of All Maladies is expertly researched, clearly narrated, and hopeful, if realistic. It's everything you hope for in a non-fiction narrative.
For those not interested at first glance, I just have to say that this is one of the most compelling non-fiction books I've read in years. A page-turner chock full of scientists, discovery, failure, "victims," genomics, politics, moral quandaries and a persistently evasive disease that will, alas, afflict one in three American women and one in two American men in their lifetimes. Knowledge is power, right? Get your knowledge here.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679604075
Availability: Available Now
Published: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - September 6th, 2010

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679603757
Availability: Available Now
Published: Random House - November 15th, 2010