Nonfiction

My Pick
Orlean, Susan. Rin Tin Tin. S. & S. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9781439190135. $26.99. CD: S. & S. Audio.
In September 1918, Corp. Lee Duncan rescued a five-day-old German Shepherd pup from a bombed-out war-dog kennel in World War I France and named him Rin Tin Tin after the petite French puppets given to American soldiers for good luck. He brought Rin Tin Tin back to America, where the dog demonstrated some uncanny talents (like jumping fences nearly 12 feet high) and soon became a major movie star, after stepping in for a badly behaved wolf in The Man from Hell’s River and pulling Warner Bros. from the brink of financial ruin. Thus began the story of a family of dogs, stretching over 11 generations, that has captured the imagination of the American public through film, radio, and television. It’s good news that the Rin Tinrintintin Nonfiction Tin saga is being told by Orlean, an author drawn to unexpected stories just begging to be told (see, for instance, her best-selling The Orchid Thief). So many dog lovers, and everyone knows Rinty; I’m betting on this one.

My Pick
Sobel, Dava. A More Perfect Heaven: How Nicolaus Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Oct. 2011. 272p. ISBN 9780802717931. $24.
Author of such engrossing international best sellers as Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter, Sobel has both the knowledge and the writerly grace to deliver a clear understanding of what Copernicus wrought. In the early 1500s, he was perfecting a manuscript that substantiated through hundreds of observations his contention that the earth moved around the sun. It took a 1539 visit from Georg Joachim Rheticus, a youthful German mathematician with Protestant leanings, to convince him to publish On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres and change the world. A book on science and personality that should intrigue us all; with a 14-city tour to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Denver, Miami, Houston, and Dallas.

My Pick
Spiegelman, Art. MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus. Pantheon. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780375423949. $35 with DVD.
When it was first published 25 years ago, Spiegelman’s Maus shook up everyone; why approach the horrors of the Holocaust through a graphic novel using fuzzy little rodents? Now Spiegelman reflects on his creation of a Pulitzer Prize‚ winning classic, ongoing response to readers, and love for his chosen medium. A DVD helps clarify the visual process. Sure to breed excitement; pick up The Complete Maus (ISBN 9780679406419. $35), releasing this October to celebrate the anniversary, if your Mauses are dog-eared.

Brower, Sam. Prophet’s Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Oct. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9781608192755. $26.
Brower has some story to tell; it was his sturdy work that led to the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the twisted leader of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. That Brower himself was raised in the (mainstream) Church of Latter Day Saints should lend depth to his discussion. Poised to be big; with a 15-city tour to Salt Lake City, Provo, Phoenix, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Albuquerque, New York, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Chicago, and Buffalo

Buchanan, Patrick J. Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? St. Martin’s. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780312579975. $26.99. CD: Macmillan Audio.
Surprisingly, outspoken Republican pundit Buchanan is offering his first book since Obama took office. Not surprisingly, he argues that liberal policies have hurt America‚ and that in fact the America he knows won’t be around much longer unless something big happens. Now he’s looking at Tea Partiers and other Republican upstarts to rejuvenate the conservative movement. As political debate rages, this book will be in demand.

Carnegie & Associates Inc. How To Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age. S. & S. Oct. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9781451612578. $26.
It’s one thing to win friends and influence people in 1937, when Dale Carnegie’s motivational classic‚ sire of the entire self-help movement‚ was first published. It’s quite another in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and other endless unspooling social media. So this update is welcome (and in fact overdue), and I for one need it.

Chast, Roz. What I Hate: From A to Z. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Oct. 2011. 64p. ISBN 9781608196890. $15.
New Yorker readers who love Chast’s shaggy-neurotic cartoon characters will thrill to this book, which features an A to Z of contemporary life’s little horrors, complete with never-before-seen cartoons‚ one for each letter. A seems to be abduction and J Jello, but I’m at a loss for Z. Guesses? One of the publisher’s biggest October titles.

Chopra, Deepak & Leonard Mlodinow. War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality. Harmony, dist. by Crown. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780307886880. $26; eISBN 9780307886903. CD: Random Audio.
Chopra is the author of over 50 mega-best-selling spirituality titles. Mlodinow is a CalTech physicist who is both a best-selling author and coauthor with Stephen Hawking of A Briefer History of Time and The Grand Design. Together they debate the origins of the universe and the concept of design. Yes, Mr. Dawkins (see below), this is a hot topic, and the authors have already traded perspectives on Larry King. Should be big, though I suspect not as big as the audience for either author; we all know what we think.

Collins, Judy. Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780307717344. $26; eISBN 9780307717368. CD: Random Audio.
Here’s a nostalgic trip. Great folkie Collins discusses her recording career (40 albums, lots platinum, plus several top-ten hits), her music associates (among them Joan Baez, David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell), and her memorable love affair with Stephen Stills. Not to mention her struggles with alcohol. Backed by cross-promotion with her forthcoming CD, this is sure to please serious music fans and all readers of a certain age.

Covey, Stephen R. The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems. Free Pr: S. & S. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781451626261. $28. CD: S. & S. Audio.
Covey, whose books can be habit-forming‚ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the most influential business book of the 20th century by Chief Executive magazine, and his books have sold more than 20 million copies overall‚ here shows how the concept of third alternative works in conflict resolution. Lots of anger out there, so not a bad idea.

The Dalai Lama. A Profound Mind: Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life. Harmony, dist. by Crown. Oct. 2011. 208p. ISBN 9780385514675. $24; eISBN 9780307952448.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the more prolific authors now publishing, and sales of his books‚ evidently in the hundreds of thousands‚ suggest that there’s an inexhaustible audience for his gentle teachings. This book focuses on various methods of mind training, which allow one to achieve emotional mastery and hence sweeter harmony with the world.

Dawkins, Richard (text) & Dave McKean (illus.). The Magic of Reality. Free Pr: S. & S. Oct. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9781439192818. $29.99. CD: Random Audio.
Author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, much-decorated evolutionary biologist Dawkins has taught at both Berkeley and Oxford; illustrator McKean spooked up Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, designed the Broadway musical Lestat, brought many of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter creatures to the screen, wrote the graphic novel Cages, and in general is responsible for hundreds of book, CD cover, and advertising illustrations. What a team to highlight the world’s wondrous natural phenomena; should attract readers.

Deen, Paula. Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes. S. & S. Oct. 2011. 400p. ISBN 9781416564072. $26.99.
A new classic? I’m not sure whether that’s contradictory or just something that needs to be proven. But there’s no doubt that cooks everywhere will want the latest from Food Network queen Deen, here reinvestigating her Southern roots.

de Graaf, John & David Batker. What’s the Economy For, Anyway? Why It’s Time To Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Oct. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9781608195107. $25.
What’s the economy for? To provide the greatest good for the greatest number over the longest period of time, says de best-selling author Graaf (Affluenza), who draws on a film of the same name he recently produced to show how to make the economy work for us. With coauthor Batker, director of Earth Economics, he first challenges the GDP as a measure of success‚ an argument I’ve heard elsewhere lately. It’s an eyebrow raiser that this book will host a launch event at a World Bank/IMF annual meeting.

Eck, Diana L. India: A Sacred Geography. Harmony, dist. by Crown. Oct. 2011.
336p. ISBN 9780385531900. $27; eISBN 9780385531917.
A National Humanities Medal‚ bedecked professor of comparative religion at Harvard, Eck put in ten years on this tome, which sums up India’s secular and spiritual history while showing how the latter shaped the former. Instructive to compare with Wendy Doniger’s controversial National Book Critics Circle finalist, The Hindus: An Alternative History; Eck seems less to be rethinking than simply illuminating the Hindu-India knot.

Foer, Jonathan Safran, ed. New American Haggadah. Little, Brown. Oct. 201. 160p. ISBN 9780316069861. $29.99.
The author whose career burst to the fore with Everything Is Illuminated pulls together a brand-new Haggadah, freshly translated by Nathan Englunder (The Ministry of Special Cases) and featuring commentary by Howard Jacobson, Lemony Snicket, Alain de Botton, Judith Shulevitz, Tony Kushner, and others. Pretty astonishing. Look for a big push at Hanukkah and another, more fittingly, at next year’s Passover.

Graedon, Joe & Teresa Greadon. Top Screwups Doctors Make and How To Avoid Them: Don’t Be a Statistic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2011. 272p. ISBN 9780307460912. $25; eISBN 9780307460936.
Anyone who’s ever suffered medical misdiagnosis or error (yearly perhaps hundreds of thousands, perhaps upwards of a million, depending on the source) is likely familiar with works by the Graedons, patient-safety experts whose ten books have jointly sold over three million copies. Here they give advice for avoiding medical screwups while providing enough scary stories to encourage you to take that advice. Important for most healthcare collections.

Jarvis, Jeff. Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Is Revolutionizing Life, Business, and Society. S. & S. Oct. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9781451636000. $26.99.
Entertainment Weekly creator, This Week in Google cohost, and BuzzMachine blogger, cutting-edge journalist Jarvis embraces the Internet and wants it to be even more open. How refreshing. Grab this as an important part of the contemporary tech conversation and see what Jarvis has to say about libraries.

Maalouf, Amin. Disordered World: Setting a New Course for the Twenty-First Century. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Oct. 2011. 228p. ISBN 9781608195848. $24.
Born in Lebanon of Christian parents and now living in France, Maalouf must know how disordered the world can be. He’s primarily a novelist, and a richly absorbing one (he’s won the Prix Goncourt), but two decades ago he wrote The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, still persuasively in print. Here he brushes aside the idea of East-West conflict, arguing that both sides have compromised their values and must look to common ground. Hopeful reading from a rigorous writer.

Meyers, Jeffrey. John Huston: Courage and Art. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2011. 496p. ISBN 9780307590671. $30; eISBN 9780307590695.
Meyers often does biographies of outsized, often brawly guys‚ from Hemingway and D.H. Lawrence to Bogart and Gary Cooper‚ so I guess it was time for him to light on mega-director Huston (The Maltese Falcon). Lots of original interviews and newly opened archival material to spice up the proceedings, and there’s not much available on Huston in the way of biography (vs. film critique). For all film buffs.

Rogak, Lisa. And Nothing but the Truthiness: The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780312616106. $25.99.
The editor of the New York Times best-selling Barack Obama in His Own Words and author of Edgar and Anthony Award‚ nominated Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King takes on Stephen Colbert. Great credentials, but can Rogak do funny? Well, she’s also the author of Latin for Pigs.

Scheeres, Julia. A Thousand Lives: The Story of Jonestown. Free Pr: S. & S. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9781416596394. $26.
No, Scheeres wasn’t at Jonestown, but, as revealed by her New York Times best-selling Jesus Land, she has some personal insight into religious fanaticism. She grew up in a punitive Calvinist home in Indiana and was sent to Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic with her adopted black brother, where they endured corporal punishment and racial taunts. That her memoir was evenhanded, forgoing self-pity and bombast, suggests that this new book on a laden topic will hew to truth seeking instead of sensationalism.

Stewart, David O. American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America. S. & S. Oct. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9781439157183. $28.
Burr. The very name makes us shudder. But Stewart, a Washington, DC‚ based lawyer who spent his time defending criminals and challenging government actions as unconstitutional before writing the award-winning best seller, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, should be able to unfold Burr’s complexities and motivations. Moreover, Stewart wants to show us what Burr and his actions have to say about the young American republic. A myth buster.

Viesturs, Ed with David Roberts. The Will To Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest To Climb Annapurna, the World’s Most Deadly Peak. Crown. Oct. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780307720499. $26; eISBN 9780307720443.
Mount Everest may be the highest mountain on Earth, but Annapurna, also in the Himalayas, is the most dangerous. The first American to scale all 14 of the world’s mountains over 8000 meters, Viesturs should know; it took him three scary attempts to reach the top. Here he combines you-are-there reporting with larger spiritual questions. Mountain-climbing reportage still seems to be hot.

Wertheim, Margaret. Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Oct. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780802715135. $20.
The popularity of books on physics is surprising, given how mathematically thorny the subject can be. But as science writer Wertheim shows, there’s a whole underground school of outsider physicists who put observation before abstraction and demonstrate their conclusions with humble tools like disco fog machines (hence the smoke rings of the title). Good for all the readers who can’t admit that they don’t understand Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene.

West, Jerry & Jonathan Coleman: West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life. Little, Brown. Oct. 2011. 336p. ISBN 9780316053495. $27.99. lrg. prnt. Downloadable: Hachettte Audio.ÔøΩ
Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA All-Star, NBA champion, coach, general manager and executive vice-president of the Los Angeles Lakers and president of the Memphis Grizzlies, basketball immortal West would seem to have a lot to say about the game. But he also talks about his painful West Virginia childhood (I never learned what love was, and am still not entirely sure I know today) and how it shaped him. Fans will want.

Wilson, Jennifer. Running Away to Home: Our Family’s Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2011. 320p ISBN 9780312598952. $24.95.
Fed up with the shallowness of their life and shocked into action when they lost half their savings in the market crash, Wilson and her architect husband move with their two children to Mrkopalj, Wilson’s ancestral home in Croatia. Finding deeper truth through displacement is a pretty common memoir gambit. But most people write about moving to France or Italy, not a country newly unshackled from communism and civil war, which makes this book potentially interesting. Wilson is a travel writer by profession, which bodes well, and the reading group guide suggests serious publisher support. Consider.

Share
Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

Featuring YD Feedwordpress Content Filter Plugin