Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who's On Top: Nonfiction

This week's Spotlight:
Hardcover:
GULP:
by Mary Roach

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find names for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.


Paperback:
THINKING, FAST AND SLOW
by Daniel Kahneman

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.
 

Ebook:
ANGELA'S ASHES 
by Frank McCourt  
  
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.


Top 5 Nonfiction:
Hardcover: 
1, LEAN IN, by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell
2. GULP, by Mary Roach
3. CARRY ON, WARRIOR, by Glennon Doyle Melton
4. THE GREAT DEFORMATION, by David Stockman
5. SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY, by Deborah Perry Piscione

Paperback:
1. PROOF OF HEAVEN, by Eben Alexander
2. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, by Ben Carson with Candy Carson
3. WILD, by Cheryl Strayed
4. THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, by Daniel Kahneman
5. AMERICAN SNIPER, by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice

Ebook: 
1. LEAN IN, by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell
2. ANGELA'S ASHES, by Frank McCourt
3. GULP, by Mary Roach
4. BRAIN ON FIRE, by Susannah Cahalan
5. PROOF OF HEAVEN, by Eben Alexander

Disclaimer: All blurbs come from Goodreads.com, all list come from NYTimes.com.

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