general non-fiction

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Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

This book sounds like it could be a very dry diatribe against the processed food industry, but I listened to the audiobook version and with the exceptional voice talents of Scott Brick (who also narrates Clive Cussler and Steve Berry thrillers) it is not only interesting, but extremely compelling. The author has extensively researched major companies, including Kelloggs, General Foods, and Coca-Cola, and lays out how they have become reliant on salt, sugar and fat.

National Book Awards Announced

Yesteday, November 18, the National Book Awards were announced. Founded in 1950, these awards are intended to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

The top winners in each category are:

Sea of Thunder by Evan Thomas

There has never been, and may never again be, a war at sea on the scale of the one that climaxed at Leyte Gulf in October 1944. It should be remembered for its individual acts of heroism and defiance, but more so for the blunders and misunderstandings that are inherent in war.

American Warlord by Johnny Dwyer

The true story of the son of infamous Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. Born while Taylor was going to college in Boston, Chucky’s mom moved him to Florida in high school to get him out of some bad circles in Massachusetts. At the age of 17 he visited his father in Liberia during the fighting that preceded Charles’ assumption of the Liberian presidency and went from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. He led a murderous militia and was charged with the personal security of his father, which included running a clandestine torture and execution camp.

Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

Did you enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point? Every wondered how to get people to remember things you tell them? Just tired of everyone looking at you like one of the adults in a Peanuts cartoon (wah wah, wah wah wah wah….)? There is a very good reason this book has been translated into more than two dozen languages and been names one of the top business books ever written. While a lot of what is contained within this book will strike you as common sense, it is clearly a common sense that we all routinely fail to employ. I recommend listening to the audiobook version of this book, as I did.

Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall

How a daring band of misfits mastered the lost secrets of strength and endurance. This is a really engaging non-fiction read that tackles several diverse ideas and weaves them together with a very compelling story. It opens in WWII with the kidnapping of a Nazi general from the heart of occupied Crete. It travels back to the origins of the Greek mythical heroes and takes a detour visiting moden urban heroes practicing parkour.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

A hilarious and entertaining investigation into the messy realm that is modern dating, Aziz Ansari provides comic relief upheld by facts, anecdotes and research.  Reading the book is not unlike watching one of his stand up specials, as he projects his humor on different cultural perspectives of relationships, online dating and texting.  What makes Modern Romance so enjoyable is Ansari’s own lens and light judging of the socially awkward, weird and desperate in all of us.

BiblioTech by John Palfrey

How do libraries survive the age of Google while simultaneously bracing for slashed budgets? In BiblioTech, John Palfrey provides a guide for libraries in the digital age. Some of his proposed ideas might be met with resistance from those hanging on to the library of their youth; however, “nostalgia can actually be dangerous,” Palfrey cautions.

Griftopia by Matt Taibbi

Has America become a veritable paradise for those willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get to the very top?  In Griftopia, Matt Taibbi's electrically charged exploration of the 2008 mortgage crisis, the author makes a convincing argument that indeed our country has been overrun by egomaniacal crooks (insert favored Wall Street banker here) who will stop at nothing to earn that quick million, especially when their disastrous efforts are met with golden parachutes and not stainless steel handcuffs.  A perfect summertime read for those who prefer a healthy dose of indignation while hitti

MassBook Awards Must-Read books in Non-Fiction for 2015

book coversJust released today, the short-list of nonfiction Must-Read Books from the MassBook Awards!

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