Notable New Nonfiction: March 2017
Here are some highlights from the new nonfiction titles added to the catalog recently.
Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.
Thinking Machines: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence-and Where It's Taking Us Next by Luke Dormehl
When most of us think about Artificial Intelligence, our minds go straight to cyborgs, robots, and sci-fi thrillers where machines take over the world. But the truth is that Artificial Intelligence is already among us. It exists in our smartphones, fitness trackers, and refrigerators that tell us when the milk will expire. In some ways, the future people dreamed of at the World's Fair in the 1960s is already here. We're teaching our machines how to think like humans, and they're learning at an incredible rate. In Thinking Machines, technology journalist Luke Dormehl takes you through the history of AI and how it makes up the foundations of the machines that think for us today. Furthermore, Dormehl speculates on the incredible--and possibly terrifying--future that's much closer than many would imagine.
Gods: An Official Sekret Machines Investigation of the UFO Phenomenon by Tom DeLonge
An exceptional examination from award-winning author, producer and lead singer of blink182, Tom DeLonge with renowned research author Peter Levenda, Sekret Machines: GODS will take you on an eye-opening journey that transcends speculation and is based on unprecedented access to officials at the highest levels of government, military and industrial agencies who have provided insights and assistance never before experienced by any researchers in this controversial field. GODS takes us beyond speculation to certain knowledge of what lies at the heart of the most important Phenomenon ever to confront human understanding.
The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler
Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world. In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton's London to Mae West's Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history's first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love.
Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China by Alec Ash
Wish Lanterns offers a deep dive into the life stories of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child, netizen, and self-styled loser. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north. "Fred," born on the tropical southern island of Hainan, is the daughter of a Party official, while Lucifer is a would-be international rock star. Snail is a country boy and Internet gaming addict, and Mia is a fashionista rebel from far west Xinjiang. Following them as they grow up, go to college, find work and love, all the while navigating the pressure of their parents and society, Wish Lanterns paints a vivid portrait of Chinese youth culture and of a millennial generation whose struggles and dreams reflect the larger issues confronting China today.
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris by Holly Tucker
Appointed to conquer the "crime capital of the world," the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests and as he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic--not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly back-stabbing world of the king's court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris's most illustrious churches and cathedrals. As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: Could Louis's mistresses could be involved in such nefarious plots?
Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon by Frank Close
On 21 August 2017, over 100 million people will gather in a narrow belt across the USA to witness the most watched total solar eclipse in history. Eclipse - Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon, written by well-known popular science author Frank Close, describes the spellbinding allure of this most beautiful natural phenomenon. The book explains why eclipses happen, reveals their role in history, literature and myth, and focuses on eclipse chasers, who travel with ecstatic fervour to some of the most inaccessible places on the globe to be present at the moment of totality.
Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, A Family's Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them by Gina Bari Kolata
If your family carried a mutated gene that foretold a brutal illness and you were offered the chance to find out if you’d inherited it, would you do it? Would you walk toward the problem, bravely accepting whatever answer came your way? Or would you avoid the potential bad news as long as possible? A work of narrative nonfiction,Mercies in Disguise is the story of a family that took matters into its own hands when the medical world abandoned them. It’s a story of a family that had to deal with unspeakable tragedy and yet did not allow it to tear them apart. And it is the story of a young woman—Amanda Baxley—who faced the future head on, determined to find a way to disrupt her family’s destiny.
The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History by Jon Morris
Every hero needs a villain. But not all villains are dangerous--some are incompetent, comical, or just . . . weird. In his follow-up to The League of Regrettable Superheroes, author Jon Morris presents over a hundred of the strangest, most stupefying supervillains to ever see print in comics. Meet D-list rogues like Brickbat (choice of weapon: poisonous bricks), Robbing Hood (steals from the poor to give to the rich), Swarm (a crook made of bees; Nazi bees), and many more. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains affectionately and hilariously profiles oddball criminals from the history of comics.
Bit Rot: stories + essays by Douglas Coupland
"Bit rot" is a term used in digital archiving to describe the way digital files can spontaneously and quickly decompose. As Douglas Coupland writes, "Bit rot also describes the way my brain has been feeling since 2000, as I shed older and weaker neurons and connections and enhance new and unexpected ones." A thought-provoking, binge-worthy new collection of essays, stories, and musings from Douglas Coupland, Bit Rot explores the different ways in which twentieth-century notions of the future are being shredded, and it is a literary gem of the digital age.
A Rabble of Dead Money: The Great Crash and the Global Depression, 1929-1939 by Charles R. Morris
The Great Crash of 1929 violently disrupted the United States' confident march toward becoming the world's superpower. The suddenness of the cataclysm and the long duration of the collapse scarred generations of Americans. A Rabble of Dead Money is a lucid and fast-paced account that pulls together the intricate threads of policy, ideology, international hatreds, and sheer cantankerousness that finally pushed the world economy over the brink. Vividly told and deeply researched, this book anatomizes history's greatest economic catastrophe-and draws its lessons for the present.
Captain Fantastic: Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s by Tom Doyle
In August 1970, Elton John achieved overnight fame with a rousing performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Over the next five years, the artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight went from unheard of to unstoppable, scoring seven consecutive #1 albums and sixteen Top Ten singles in America. Captain Fantastic gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the rise, fall, and return to glory of one of the world's most mercurial performers. Rock journalist Tom Doyle's insider account of the Rocket Man's turbulent ascent is based on a series of one-on-one interviews in which Elton laid bare many previously unrevealed details of his early career. A fascinating portrait of the artist at the apex of his celebrity, Captain Fantastic takes us on a rollicking fame-and-drug-fueled ride aboard Elton John's rocket ship to superstardom.
Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael T. Osterholm
Today it's easier than ever to move people, animals, and materials around the planet, but the same advances that make modern infrastructure so efficient have made epidemics and even pandemics nearly inevitable. And as outbreaks of Ebola, MERS, yellow fever, and Zika have demonstrated, we are woefully underprepared to deal with the fallout. We could wake up to a reality in which many antibiotics no longer cure, bioterror is a certainty, and the threat of a disastrous influenza pandemic looms ever larger. So what can we do in order to protect ourselves from mankind's deadliest enemy? Drawing on the latest medical science, case studies, policy research, and hard-earned epidemiological lessons, Deadliest Enemy explains what we need to do to keep ourselves safe from infectious disease. Only by understanding the challenges we face can we prevent the unthinkable from becoming the inevitable.