Holiday books: Our 31 nonfiction picks
Entertainers share their secrets, scientists tell it like it is (and historians like it was), while Robert Reich and Bill O’Reilly dig in.
Unfaithful Music and Diasppearing Ink
Blue Rider Press, $30
The musician who brought the world “Everyday I Write the Book” finally makes good on his promise with this long, definitive autobiography.
A Pre-posthumous Memoir
Harper Design, $40
The Monty Python member, animator and director of “Brazil” and “The Fisher King” tells his story in this manically illustrated book.
I'll Never Write My Memoirs
Gallery Books, $26.99
The model, actress and singer reveals what it was like to go from Studio 54 VIP to James Bond film costar in this ironically titled book.
Why Not Me?
Crown Archetype, $25
Comedian, television showrunner and bestselling author Kaling’s second book is a humourous essay collection focusing on friendship, Hollywood and love.
The sequel to Kaplan’s “Frank: The Voice” arrives in time for Sinatra’s centennial; it covers a lotta livin’ — romances, successes, scandals, films and music — from 1954 until his last days.
Dream in Blue
University of Texas Press, $22.95
The pride of East L.A. finally get a book about their incredible musical career. Journalist Morris chronicles the history of Los Lobos.
Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy
Grove Press, $28
Nesteroff presents a history of the last century of comedy in the U.S., from the days of vaudeville to the new era of viral Internet videos.
Year of Yes
How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Simon & Schuster, $24.99
Consider it handled. The “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator explains her decision to challenge her introversion and how that changed her life.
The Song Machine
Inside the Hit Factory
W. W. Norton , $26.95
New Yorker staff writer Seabrook explores how today’s pop hits are now less art than exacting science and why “Gangnam Style” gets stuck in your head.
The rock musician follows up her National Book Award-winning “Just Kids” with this reflection on life as an artist and a human being.
The Courage to Act
A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath
Ben S. Bernanke
W.W. Norton, $35
The two-term Federal Reserve chairman chronicles the institution’s response to the 2008 financial crisis that threatened to bring about a worldwide economic collapse.
The New Tsar
The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin
Steven Lee Myers
A biography of the controversial leader who grew up poor in Leningrad, joined the KGB, and has steered Russia to new prominence as prime minister and president.
The Transformation of an American Family
Alice Ellis Nut
Random House, $27
Pulitzer Prize-winner Nutt reports on a family who adopted infant male identical twins and faced challenges within and without when one grew up to be a transgender girl.
Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
Henry Holt, $30
The writing team behind “Killing Lincoln” returns with another bestseller focusing on President Reagan, whose career was almost ended by a would-be assassin.
For the Many, Not the Few
Robert R. Reich
The former U.S. secretary of Labor argues that special interests have stacked the deck against American workers, resulting in the disappearance of the middle class.
Where Everybody Looks Like Me
At the Crossroads of America’s Black Colleges and Culture
Despite the vital role historically black colleges and universities have played in our culture, Stodghill argues, the current moment presents them with critical challenges.
A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone
Tim Duggan Books, $28
The story of the battle between President Obama and al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, who became the first American citizen killed in a U.S. drone strike.
The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse
Piu Marie Eatwell
The strange story of the uproar that ensued around 1900 when a British woman claimed that her dead father-in-law had actually been a secretive, wealthy duke.
The Gay Revolution
The Story of the Struggle
Simon & Schuster, $35
A definitive, detailed and readable history of the movement for civil rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people, from the 1950s to the present day.
The Making of Asian America
Simon & Schuster, $29.95
A monumental work that covers Asians in America since the 1500s, exploring the ways in which they were needed and discriminated against, banned and lauded.
Masters of Empire
Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America
Michael A. McDonnell
Hill and Wang, $35
Before the Revolutionary War, the Anishinaabeg were a dominant force in the Great Lakes region; this is a history of these long-neglected Native Americans.
Paradise of the Pacific
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26
Hawaiian novelist Moore considers Hawaii’s efforts to reckon with colonization between 1777, when Capt. James Cook spotted Kauai, and the American annexation in 1898.
Right Out of California
The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism
Kathryn S. Olmsted
The New Press, $27.95
Historian Olmsted looks at how the left of 1930s California prompted business leaders to create the powerful conservative movement that led to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Alecos Papadatos, Abraham Kawa and Annie Di Donna
This graphic historical novel from the authors of the hit “Logicomix” details the birth of democracy in war-torn Greece 2,500 years ago.
The Devil's Chessboard
Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secert Government
Bestselling author Talbot argues that as CIA director, Dulles was a deeply corrupt figure who operated with impunity at home as well as abroad.
This Old Man
A collection of essays, letters and more from the 95-year-old New Yorker contributor best known for his intelligent writing about baseball.
Part memoir, part reflection on race and culture from an author who grew up in an upper-class African American household in Chicago.
My Kitchen Year
136 Recipes That Changed My Life
Random House, $35
Reichl reflects on how her life was turned upside down when her magazine, Gourmet, was shut down in 2009 and how cooking helped her find her place again.
The Arab of the Future
A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984
Metropolitan, $26 paper
In this graphic memoir, Sattouf recounts his childhood moving between France, Libya and Syria with his mother and his capricious father.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3
University of California Press, $45
The annotated conclusion of Mark Twain’s memoirs details the final years of the beloved humorist’s life, including rants against Teddy Roosevelt and travels in Bermuda.
Dietrich and Riefenstahl
Hollywood, Berlin and a Century in Two Lives
How the "Blue Angel" actress and the Nazi filmmaker came from similar backgrounds in Germany but ended up on very different sides of World War II.
Goddess of Love Incarnate
The Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr
This biography goes behind the curtain with burlesque queen St. Cyr, an entertainer whose discipline was overshadowed by her figure.
Science / Technology
We Have the Technology
How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians and Scientists are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time
Oakland journalist Platoni explores new research that shows how sensory perception and human experience are unexpectedly complicated and changeable.
Thunder & Lightning
Weather Past, Present, Future
Random House, $35
The author and artist behind the award-winning “Radioactive” returns with a graphic book about the past, present and future of weather and how it affects humankind.
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs
The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
Physicist Randall believes that dark matter is to blame for the extinction of dinosaurs, and she explains what this might mean for the future of life on Earth.
The Invention of Science
A New History of the Scientific Revolution
Wootton explains how the work of scientists in the 16th and 17th centuries intersected with events, including the invention of the printing press, to reset how we perceive and engage with the world.
Raw: My 100% Grade-A, Unfiltered, Inside Look at Sports
Gallery Books, $26
The controversial sports radio host has never had much of a filter. His new book promises to bring readers an insider’s perspective on American sports.
Jeanne Marie Laskas
Random House, $16 paper
The basis for the Will Smith movie, Laskas’ book tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the medical examiner who investigated chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football players.
I Feel Like Going On
Life, Game and Glory
Ray Lewis with Daniel Paisner
The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker opens up about his childhood, his football career and the murder trial that almost ended his career.
Find a Way
Nyad’s 111-mile swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64 inspired the world; she explains how she was able to accomplish her incredible feat.
Got to Give the People What They Want
True Stories and Flagrant Opinions From Center Court
Crown Archetype, $28
The basketball commentator played for six teams during his NBA career; in this book, he offers both stories and his takes on life on the hardwood.
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