This page is a listing, in no particular order, of the non-fiction books we are considering. Suggest more by sending an e-mail to the webmaster.
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry–a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
86 copies in PINES, 296 pp
Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
How do we think without thinking, seem to make choices in an instant — in the blink of an eye — that actually aren’t as simple as they seem? Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, the author reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
109 copies in PINES, 277 pages
Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson
Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries
How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? Acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson argues that beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts, or “killer applications”—competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic—that the Rest lacked, allowing it to surge past all other competitors.
12 copies in PINES
Life Is So Good by George Dawson
What makes a happy person, a happy life? In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a 101-year-old man who learned to read when he was 98, reflects on the philosophy he learned from his father—a belief that “life is so good”—as he offers valuable lessons in living and a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century.
Born in 1898 in Marshall, Texas, the grandson of slaves, George Dawson tells how his father, despite hardships, always believed in seeing the richness in life and trained his children to do the same. As a boy, George had to go to work to help support the family, and so he did not attend school or learn to read; yet he describes how he learned to read the world and survive in it. “We make our own way,” he says. “Trouble is out there, but a person can leave it alone and just do the right thing. Then, if trouble still finds you, you’ve done the best you can.”
At ninety-eight, George decided to learn to read and enrolled in a literacy program, becoming a celebrated student. “Every morning I get up and I wonder what I might learn that day. You just never know.”
39+ copies, 260 pages
A London researcher was the first to assert that the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine known as MMR caused autism in children. Following this “discovery,” a handful of parents declared that a mercury-containing preservative in several vaccines was responsible for the disease. If mercury caused autism, they reasoned, eliminating it from a child’s system should treat the disorder. Consequently, a number of untested alternative therapies arose, and, most tragically, in one such treatment, a doctor injected a five-year-old autistic boy with a chemical in an effort to cleanse him of mercury, which stopped his heart instead. Children with autism have been placed on stringent diets, subjected to high-temperature saunas, bathed in magnetic clay, asked to swallow digestive enzymes and activated charcoal, and injected with various combinations of vitamins, minerals, and acids. Instead of helping, these therapies can hurt those who are most vulnerable, and particularly in the case of autism, they undermine childhood vaccination programs that have saved millions of lives. An overwhelming body of scientific evidence clearly shows that childhood vaccines are safe and does not cause autism. Yet widespread fear of vaccines on the part of parents persists. In this book, Paul A. Offit, a national expert on vaccines, challenges the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public and exposes the opportunism of the lawyers, journalists, celebrities, and politicians who support them. Offit recounts the history of autism research and the exploitation of this tragic condition by advocates and zealots. He considers the manipulation of science in the popular media and the courtroom, and he explores why society is susceptible to the bad science and risky therapies put forward by many antivaccination activists.
20 copies in PINES, 328 pages
A People’s History of Science: Miners, Midwives, and “Low Mechanicks” by Clifford D. Conner
Challenges popular beliefs that credit such figures as Galileo, Newton, and Einstein with bringing about modern science, explaining how everyday laborers participated in creating science and continue to do so today, in an account that also documents how the development of science affects ordinary people.
3 copies in PINES, 554 pages
An astonishing, never-before-told story of the Second World War, based on newly declassified documents and exclusive interviews.
In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time.
28 copies in PINES, 313 pages
American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips
An explosive examination of the coalition of forces that threatens the nation, from the bestselling author of American Dynasty. In his two most recent bestselling books, American Dynasty and Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips established himself as a powerful critic of the political and economic forces that rule—and imperil—the United States, tracing the ever more alarming path of the emerging Republican majority’s rise to power. Now Phillips takes an uncompromising view of the current age of global overreach, fundamentalist religion, diminishing resources, and ballooning debt under the GOP majority. With an eye to the past and a searing vision of the future, Phillips confirms what too many Americans are still unwilling to admit about the depth of our misgovernment.
Many copies available in PINES
Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King (Harper)
PINES – 27 copies
A richly detailed chronicle of racial injustice in the Florida town of Groveland in 1949, involving four black men falsely accused of rape and drawing a civil rights crusader, and eventual Supreme Court justice, into the legal battle.
The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence by Carl Sagan
PINES – 33 copies
Dr. Carl Sagan takes us on a great reading adventure, offering his vivid and startling insight into the brain of man and beast, the origin of human intelligence, the function of our most haunting legends–and their amazing links to recent discoveries. “A history of the human brain from the big bang, fifteen billion years ago, to the day before yesterday…It’s a delight.”
The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson
ARCPLS: 3 print copies, PINES: 53 print copies
categories: language study, language enthusiasm
The author of the acclaimed The Lost Continent now steers us through the quirks and byways of the English language. We learn why island, freight, and colonel are spelled in such unphonetic ways, why four has a u in it but forty doesn’t, plus bizarre and enlightening facts about some of the patriarchs of this peculiar language.
Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein
The most definitive collection of Albert Einstein’s popular writings, gathered under the supervision of Einstein himself. The selections range from his earliest days as a theoretical physicist to his death in 1955; from such subjects as relativity, nuclear war or peace, and religion and science, to human rights, economics, and government.
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle is truly astonishing–a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.
20 copies in Pines, high demand