Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Turn of a Thoughtful Page

Worth Mentioning
How do you choose books? Maybe you have a favorite author whose books you always read; maybe you read the blurbs on the book jacket or the emerging virtual equivalent. Do you make it a point to read books recommended by NPR, the NYT, Wall Street Journal, other favored magazine or TV talk show? Or do you find your next read via Goodreads or LibraryThing? Does a catchy title influence your choice? A friend's recommendation? Browsing an online bookstore? The shelves of your public library?

All of the above in some way factor into our quick lists of recommended reads. Here goes...

Bestseller Buzz
Salt, Sugar Fat : How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss -- Provocative for sure with encouragement to read the labels.

Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw -- Advice from a popular psychologist : how to handle baiters and haters, users an abusers, and other rhyming combinations.

The last from the late, great Maeve and the latest from Jodi, and James. Though we do try to keep current, the latter will probably have released another bestseller by the time we publish this post...

Critical Acclaim and a Novel with Connecticut Roots
The Curse : Big-time Gambling's Seduction of a Small New England Town : a Novel by Robert H. Steele -- Steele's a CT resident and former Congressman. Pair this one with Jeff Benedict's Without Reservation.

The Carbon Crunch : How We're Getting Climate Change Wrong -- and How to Fix It by Dieter Helm -- Plenty of lively reviews of Helm's book, all around the block and on all sides of the climate debate.

Detroit : An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff -- Ostensibly about the Motor City with a huge but... Reviewed all over, from many different perspectives; podcast and book excerpt on NPR.

Foodopoly : the Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America by Wenonah Hauter -- As point-of-view reference, the author is the executive director of Food & Water Watch. View an author book talk on C-SPAN2.

The Dinner : a Novel by Herman Koch -- Recommended by disparate sources ranging from the Economist to Oprah's Book Club 2.0, this Dutch novel has been compared to Gone Girl, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Defending Jacob.

Reading History : Popular Books
Coolidge by Amity Shlaes -- A book about our country's 30th President; now attracting renewed attention. View an author book talk on C-SPAN.

The Barbarous Years : The Peopling of British North America by Bernard Bailyn -- Scholarly but accessible account of life in British Atlantic colonies with a narrative that flows geographically. Representative comments from The Daily Beast and The New Republic.

The World Until Yesterday : What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond -- From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel.

1775 : A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips -- "Iconoclastic historian and bestselling author.. punctures the myth that 1776 was the watershed year of the American Revolution." Mmm, sounds interesting.

Thomas Jefferson : The Art of Power by Jon Meacham -- Meacham also won a Pulitzer for American Lion (President Andrew Jackson). Pair this one with a counterpart, David McCullough's John Adams.