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Old 02-25-2010, 10:56 AM   #1
kennyc
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What Non-Fiction are you reading or do you recommend?

Is there a general non-fiction recommendation thread?

I ran across this:

Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Responsibility in America

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Without-L...7109634&sr=8-1

Looks good.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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One of the last non-fiction I seriously enjoyed was "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies." http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Ste.../dp/0393317552

I have no idea how well the Kindle version reads because the print version I read had quite a few interesting maps and charts. The Wikipedia entry on this book covers the criticism of this book fairly well. Still highly worth reading to me.

I also finally got around to finishing "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid." That book is hard to read cover-to-cover. Too much cognitive effort and an amazing read. Huh, looks like no Kindle version available (http://www.amazon.com/Godel-Escher-B...tt_at_ep_dpt_4).
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:29 PM   #3
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Ah yes. I started GGS in paperback but ended up putting it down....I probably should give it another go...I read Godel.... many many years ago...

I'm currently reading "The Trouble With Physics: ..." by Lee Smolin
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:41 PM   #4
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I've just finished Against Intellectual Monopoly, a very interesting book that tries to show the reader (using lots of historical examples) that the idea that "patents foster innovation" is horribly misguided, because patent protection almost always becomes relevant only decades after an industry has already proven it can thrive without those protections.

Last edited by zerospinboson; 02-25-2010 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:57 PM   #5
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I've just finished Against Intellectual Monopoly, a very interesting book that tries to show the reader (using lots of historical examples) that the idea that "patents foster innovation" is horribly misguided, because patent protection almost always becomes relevant only decades after an industry has already proven it can thrive without those protections.

Interesting. Did you feel it made its case or not?
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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Interesting. Did you feel it made its case or not?
In spades.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:33 PM   #7
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In spades.
Thanks. Sounds interesting given the current IP climate.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:12 AM   #8
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What a timely thread! I am very much in a non-fiction phase right now. Just finished 'Living Oprah' by Robyn Okrant, about a woman who goes through an entire year doing everything Oprah says. A few eye-rolling moments, but overall better than I thought it would be. This was a library book (i.e. a proper commercial ebook, untouched by conversion hacks) and even so it had some end of chapter summary tables that were a pain to read on my reader (although they did have a polite warning at the start of the ebook that this may be so).

I am currently reading 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' and it is very good. It is about a woman whose cells became the first 'immortal line' used in medical research. A fascinating story.

Others on my TBR list:

- How I Write by Janet Evanovich
- Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey
- Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
...

I am currently reading 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' and it is very good. It is about a woman whose cells became the first 'immortal line' used in medical research. A fascinating story.

..
That does sound fascinating....
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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I highly recommend anything by Paul Theroux. He writes the best travel books.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:41 PM   #11
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I primarily read nonfiction but I do so in hardcover, not in ebook. However, I will give you some recommendations for books (but I do not guarantee either price or availability in ebook).
  1. The Nature of the Book by Adrian Johns (I reviewed it today at my blog).
  2. Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade, edited by Oleg Grabbar and Benjamin Z. Kedar (I discussed it generally on my blog several days ago.)
  3. The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of “Proper” English from Shakespeare to South Park by Jack Lynch (I reviewed the book earlier this month at my blog.)
  4. Louis Brandeis: A Life by Melvin Urofsky (2009) (I reviewed this biography at my blog last month. It is one of the best written biographies I have ever read.)

The following are books that I bought recently and are in my to-read pile.
  1. Churchill by Paul Johnson (2009)
  2. Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution by Kirkpatrick Sale (1995)
  3. A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerillas in the American Civil War by Daniel E. Sutherland (2009)
  4. The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition by Thomas P. Slaughter (2008)
  5. The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithridates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor (2010)
  6. Jewish Terrorism in Israel by Ami Pedhazur and Arie Perliger (2009)
  7. Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp by Christopher R. Browning (2010)
  8. The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade by Susan Wise Bauer (2010) (I previously bought and read her excellent The History of the Ancient World)
  9. For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus by Frederick Brown (2010)

The following book I read years ago but would still highly recommend:

Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored by Mary Gabriel (1998)

Victoria Woodhull lived in the late 1800s and was the first woman to run for president of the United States and was the first female stockbroker on Wall Street. This book is a fascinating look at one of the women who changed American attitudes at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
What a timely thread! I am very much in a non-fiction phase right now. Just finished 'Living Oprah' by Robyn Okrant, about a woman who goes through an entire year doing everything Oprah says. A few eye-rolling moments, but overall better than I thought it would be. This was a library book (i.e. a proper commercial ebook, untouched by conversion hacks) and even so it had some end of chapter summary tables that were a pain to read on my reader (although they did have a polite warning at the start of the ebook that this may be so).

I am currently reading 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' and it is very good. It is about a woman whose cells became the first 'immortal line' used in medical research. A fascinating story.

Others on my TBR list:

- How I Write by Janet Evanovich
- Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey
- Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I just bought one of this series - it's delightful! Think I will read all the volumes! Thank you for listing them in your post!
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:31 PM   #13
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One book that I can highly recommend is: The boy who harnessed the wind
http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Harnes.../dp/B002PEP4U0
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:14 PM   #14
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One book that I can highly recommend is: The boy who harnessed the wind
http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Harnes.../dp/B002PEP4U0
I've heard of that one and even saw a brief interview with the "boy" on BBC.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:49 PM   #15
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I agree about Guns, Germs and Steel. Fascinating!

I also enjoyed The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester, The Gutenberg Revolution: The Story of a Genius and an Invention That Changed the World by John Man, and a few of Oliver Sacks' books.

I recently had recommended The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It examines, as I understand it, what changes (and over what time-line) would occur if humans vanished from the earth (virus, etc).
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