Posted Friday, June 5, 2009
Summer is a good time for a fun, light read but it's also an occasion for serious reading. Books that explain why the economy had a meltdown, project America's future, provide biographic revelations or take us behind the scenes of history in the making. Friday on The Sound of Ideas, local librarians and a New York Times book reviewer join us to suggest non-fiction titles that will hold your interest and broaden your mind. Whether it's the life of William F. Buckley, the story of America's "horse soldiers" in Afghanistan or ruminations on what makes people succeed that grabs your fancy, join us for a literary view of politics, history, business and more and bring your summer reading list along too.
Arts and Culture, Other, Community/Human Interest, Miscellaneous
Books Selected by Valerie Kocin:
Books about today's financial situation:
-Hot, Flat and Crowded, Thomas Friedman
-Winning, Jack Welch
-Madoff: Corruption, Deceit and the Making of the World's Most Notorious Ponzi Scheme, Peter Sander
-Ecological Intelligence, Daniel Goleman
-The Wal-Mart Effect, Charles Fishman
-Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
Books that talk about coping with today's financial situation:
-Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan, Suze Orman
-Surviving a Layoff, Lita Epstein
-10-10-10, 10 Minutes, 10 Months, 10 Years; A Life Transforming Idea, Suzy Welch
-The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks
Books Selected by Barry Gewen:
-Wendell Steavenson, "The Weight of a Mustard Seed"
-David Kilcullen, "The Accidental Guerrilla"
-Simon Schama, "The American Future"
-Richard Posner, "A Failure of Capitalism"; also, "How Judges Think"
-Fareed Zakaria, "The Post-American World"; also, "The Future of Freedom"
-Kevin Phillips, "Bad Money"
-Douthat and Salam, "Grand New Party"
-Christopher Caldwell, "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West"
-David Kennedy, "Freedom from Fear," a book from 1999 that is probably the definitive history of FDR and the New Deal.
-David Brooks, "Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There"
- Liaquat Ahamed, "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World"
Books Selected by Patrick Manning:
-Ideas Are Free: How the Idea Revolution is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations, by Alan Robinson & Dean Schroeder
-Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert Putnam
-Snoop: What your Stuff Says About You, by Sam Gosling
-Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies, and Other Pricing Puzzles, by Richard McKenzie
-Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking, by Steve Allen
-The Banana Scultor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer: Hobbies, Collecting, and Other Passionate Pursuits, by Susan Sheehan and Howard Means
-How Would You Move Mt. Fuji: How the World’s Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers, by William Poundstone
-Candy Freak, by Steve Almond
-Carnival Undercover, by Bret Witter
-Farms and Foods of Ohio, by Marilou Suszko
-Iconic America, by Tommy Hilfiger & George Lois
-Call Me Ted, by Ted Turner
ideastream® Staff Picks:
-Losing Mom & Pup by Christopher Buckley. A memoir of growing up with two amazing and strong figures. Delightfully written, capturing the quirks and eccentricities of his father, the leading conservative intellectual of his day, William F. Buckley, and the devotion in William’s marriage to Pat, a piece of work in her own rite (“She could have been a fantastic spy.”) Christopher’s story about what happened to his parents ashes after death is worth the price of the book by itself. Also, the book reminds us that occasionally great and passionate thinkers can actually enjoy the company of those on the opposite side of the political fence, rendering in this case close friendships between William Buckley and the likes of George McGovern and John Kenneth Galbraith.
-Manic by Terri Cheng. A Hollywood entertainment lawyer at the top of her game at times and yet also found herself at times in a state of paralyzed lethargy or in the grip of reckless exuberance. For anyone who has encountered bipolar disorder up close, it’s a most informative read.
David Molpus, Executive Editor
I have "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" on order and can’t wait to get it in. It's by Christopher McDougall.
Roy Norris, Senior Director of Educational Services
-How the States Got Their Shapes, by Mark Stein
I’ve always wondered the rhyme and reason behind some of the odder shaped states in the nation, and this book does a great job at explaining why. Taking a look at each state, Stein explains how each border (north, south, east, and west) was formed.
Joseph Sheppa, Interactive Content Manager
-Lush Life: A Novel by Richard Price
Dan Wyman, Grants Development Manager
-Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. The new widow writes, “If you are living in love, you are in heaven no matter where you are.”
-The Translator by Daoud Hari. In Darfur, a land of no doctors, babies aren’t named until weeks after they are born until it’s clear, “the spirit in this child wants to stay.”
-Fearproof Your Life : How to thrive in a world addicted to fear by Joseph Bailey
-The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity: A Simple Guide to Unlimited Abundance by Edwene Gaines
-Questions About Angels by Billy Collins. If an angel fell off a cloud would he leave a hole?
-Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: Best advice book on writing.
-On Writing: A memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Second best advice book on writing.
-The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian. A tale of love at the end of two lives on Route 66. “I’m falling apart and John can barely remember his name. But that’s all right,” the main character says. “Between the two of us, we are one whole person.”
-Creative Mind by Ernest Holmes. A slim book on how to change your mind and your life.
Regina Brett, Host, The Sound of Ideas & Plain Dealer Columnist
-Obama: From Promise to Power by David Mendell (a good primer on the who he was before the Oval Office)
-Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis (a good book to read "in," if not cover to cover)
-The Night of the Gun by David Carr (a meditation on memory and addiction from a man who did more than hit rock bottom, he scraped along it face first for years)
-Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (haven't read this yet but want to)
-Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. I'm looking forward to reading her next book, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.
Dan Moulthrop, Host, The Sound of Ideas
-Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. I wish everyone would read sections of this book so I could avoid some of my road rage! It talks about how "late mergers" actually help the flow of traffic. Also, he address psychological aspects of driving; why we avoid eye contact and how we end up socially interacting in our cars.
Bridget De Chagas, Producer, The Sound of Ideas
-Chasing Daylight (How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life) by Eugene O’Kelly. Made me stop to think about how to “stretch” time and be present in the moment…
Alina Martinet, Communications Specialist
-King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hochschild
-The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins
-Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires, by Selwyn Raab
-Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill
The MLK Series by Taylor Branch is good. I’ve read the first (awesome) and am in the middle of the second:
-Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63
-Pillar of Fire : America in the King Years 1963-65
-At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68
Caitlin Johnson, Assistant Producer
-Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
-Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
-White Oleander, Janet Fitch
-She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb
-Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
-Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
Biana Cuic, Underwriting Account Manager
- Hot Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman..it’s been out since 2008, but it’s a must-read. Takes a look at America’s purpose in the 21st century, and examines global warming, population growth, and globalization. Pretty innovative.
-Eat This Not That! by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. As a college kid this has been super-helpful. It’s obviously not one of those books that you read cover to cover, but it tells you the best things (healthwise) to eat when you have to eat out.
- The Twilight Series, by Stephenie Meyer. No Joke. Though I’m 21 years old and these books are for teenagers, they are a-mazing. I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon and read them, thinking they were too juvenile, but I have been captivated by Meyer like the rest of the world.
Megan Smith, ideastream Intern
-A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman
-Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography by Marion Meade
-The Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne
David Kanzeg, Director of Programming
"Will You Take Me As I Am?: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period" by Michelle Mercer
Bobby Jackson, Music Director
-Joe Queenan – Closing Time – a memoir of growing up in a dysfunctional Philadelphia family. Queenan can be wickedly funny describing otherwise grim situations.
-Bill Bryson – The Lost Continent – Travels in Small Town America. This is at least 10 years old, but still relevant and funny as Bryson visits towns both small and large all across the country. Some of his observations on these towns’ quirks and ironies will have you laughing out loud.
-Tom Brokaw – Boom, Voices of the 60’s. If you lived through this decade, these reminisces from the famous and not-so-famous will bring back memories of things you might have forgotten, as well as viewpoints you might not have considered back then
Barbara Crouse, Underwriting Account Manager
Two great non-fictions reads for foodies:
-Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver
-The Best Food Writing of 2008, by Holly Hughes, editor
Dave DeOreo, Producer, Around Noon & Applause
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Kite Runner was an outstanding book, so I wanted to also read this author’s next book. It’s written from a female perspective; makes you realize how tremendously hard life is for women in Afghanistan.
Grace Heese, Underwriting Account Manager
-The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, by George Friedman
-Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, by Josh Bernoff & Charlene Li
-Disrupting Class:How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton Christensen
-Stalking Irish Madness, by Patrick Tracey
-Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, by Pope Brock
-The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman
-Too Fat to Fish: Artie Lange, by Artie Lange
-The Good Years: From 1900 to the First World War, by Walter Lord
-The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World, by W. Cleon Skousen
-Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, by Mark R. Levin
Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.
Here are a couple of winners and a few I really loved:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, (winner of the Annisifeld-Wolf award 2008)
Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout (winner of 2009 Pulitzer for fiction)
Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel
Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx (or any of her collections of “Wyoming Stories")
"Hold Love Strong” by Matthew Goodman
The story about a family living in “the projects” in NYC. Provided me with a glimpse of day-to-day life in an urban setting that I do not know. I loved the characters and was sad that the story ended.
Just finished “Cheever: A Life” : by Blake Bailey. Quite a large book and I couldn’t put it down. While there were riveting personal ( and many times, tawdry) anecdotes, there was also a sense of Mr. Cheever’s writing process and the
climate of the literary “New Yorker” world through several decades.
Have to admit that it shattered many of
my notions that all things literary were on a higher plane and for a few days didn’t think I would ever read another of my hero’s short stories. I’m over it and glad the book came my way.
Love your show!
Just picked up “Stalking Irish Madness: Searching for the Roots of My Family’s Schizophrenia “ by Patrick Tracey at the Shaker Heights Library and haven’t been able to put it down. It recently won the PEN New England award for nonfiction. The book weaves memoir with Irish lore as the author attempts to puzzle together why four of his family members---including two sisters---have schizophrenia.
I strongly recommend Little Pink House which is the story of Kelo vs. New London, Connecticut, a bitter and drawn-out imminent domain case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The author, Jeff Benedict, manages at once to present a very moving portrait of the players involved while clearly explaining some fairly complex legal points.
The book I’m suggesting is, The Next 100 Years, by George Friedman. I just finished reading this book and it is part non-fiction, and part projection. Together the author uses an unbelievably succinct economic and geopolitical approach to create a book that is so intriguing its worth reading just to widen your horizons.
I think if you’re into global politics, or the future you’ll love this book.
I picked up a very interesting new non-fiction book at the library recently that other readers might enjoy. It’s called “The Horse Boy” by Rupert Isaacson. It’s about a father (and mother!) who undertake a great adventure to the steppes of Mongolia in hopes of helping their autistic son. Their son, Rowan, had shown a connection with horses at home, it seemed that being with the horses opened up the boy’s ability to communicate. The father had heard about the horse people of Mongolia and he takes his son and wife on a quest in search of a way to help his son. An amazing story.
I am fond of reading, especially I like English and American classical literature. Unfortunately have no much time for reading, thus read whenever have a free minute (usually on my way to work and back home). Ebooks have become my good friends - http://www.ebook-search-queen.com/ (ebook search engine)
For those who have read Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, while visiting my daughter, I found in the Northampton, MA Library “For Sale” shelf, Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison, Augusten Burroughs’ older brother who has Asperger’s syndrome. It gives you a deeper view of the lives the boys led with non-nurturing parents and, in spite of that, were both able to craft for themselves productive and successful lives. A little scary at times, it’s a wonder they grew to adulthood, but an absolutely fascinating read.