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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

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

“Whatever else it was, it was one hell of summer.” That’s Bryson’s excellent summary of the epochal summer of 1927 with its captivating events (Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic; the invention of TV), outsized characters performing deeds heroic (the Babe's pursuit of home run glory) or dubious (Al Capone’s rule of Chicago), cultural faux pas (the popularity of eugenics and the heydey of the KKK), and just plain weirdness (Alvin Kelly establishes a new record by sitting atop a flagpole for 12 days).

Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye

Before the summer blockbuster “Man of Steel” hits theaters on June 14th, be sure to pick up Superman: the High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Lexington native Larry Tye.

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield

To truly chronicle NBC's heyday Warren Littlefield would have needed to add several more volumes to Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. Which isn't to say it wasn't an interesting read it just seemed to leave so much out. It's understandable that so much emphasis is put on big hits Seinfeld, Friends and Will & Grace, especially when many of the main players in those shows participated in the book.

Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich

A rollicking, fast paced, less-than-reverent but scrupulously researched romp through two millenniums of popes. The cast is vast: 265 men (a very entertaining chapter explores the dubious possibility of a ninth century female Pope Joan) not to mention various antipopes. A few popes bring marvelous diplomatic and ecclesiastical skills to the task. Leo I keeps the Huns at bay and saves Rome from destruction. Scholarly Benedict XIV delicately keeps the 18th century peace and reforms the Holy See.

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier

Have you ever been to nowhere?  Frazier has.  Travels in Siberia chronicles his several journeys to Siberia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Frazier provides us with both an enjoyable travelogue of his adventures across the bleak and barren tundra, and with more historical snippets about the role Siberia has played in the history of Russia.  Some of Frazier’s stories have you laughing out loud, while many others leave you scratching your head at the unbelievable, but true accounts of Siberia. 

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