Adult Non-Fiction

The Ninth : Beethoven and the World in 1824

The Ninth : Beethoven and the World in 1824 Book Cover

Beethoven's 9th Symphony remains one of the most precedent-shattering and influential compositions in the history of music. It amazed and confused listeners at its premier in Vienna yet became a standard for subsequent generations of creative artists. The author treats this subject as part biography, part history, and part memoir - and explores the amazing talent of a composer who was already deaf but could produce such a masterpiece. Not an easy read but worth the effort.

The Cruelest Miles

The Cruelest Miles Book Cover

This is one of the best books that I have read recently. It is the true story of an outbreak of diptheria in Nome, Alaska in 1925. During winter, Nome is completely isolated from the rest of the world, the only access is by dog sled over hundreds of miles of frozen tundra, across mountains and water. In order to get the life-saving serum to Nome's dying children, a relay of mushers and dog teams is organized to transport the medicine, at great danger to the men and dogs involved. It is an amazing and heart-warming tale of man's and dog's courage in the face of almost unimaginable conditions.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010 Book Cover

Very interesting pieces that are well-written and informative. I had planned on reading just the stories that were interesting to me but actually read them all. If you have any interest in science and nature you won’t be disappointed.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana Book Cover

When the Taliban invaded Kabul, the Sidiqi family was forced to rearrange family roles. The men and of the family were forced to leave the city, and the women and girls were unable to continue careers or education, which was very devastating to them. Unable to work and provide for the family as they were shut in their home, the women joined together to start sewing in their home for tailors throughout the city. Not only were they able to form a successful business during those hard times, they also educated and helped many women in similar situations to start their own business ventures, which brought back the empowerment of women in a terrifying time.

My Reading Life

My Reading Life Book Cover

Conroy revisits a life of reading by sharing anecdotes of humorous and touching stories of his love of books and reading since childhood and the influences they have had on his life and career. From the pleasures of his local library to his relationship with an English teacher, a bookshop owner,a book rep, and the authors he loves, his stories are amazing in their wisdom and honesty. He still reads 200 pages every day.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things Book Cover

Introducing a new industrial revolution: Environmentalism has always been at odds with industry and vice versa; environmentalists trying to rein in industrial growth and industry fighting against the constraints of the environment. The problem lies with the linear life cycle of production: cradle to grave. This means that lots of time and effort is put into extracting raw materials from the earth and producing a product whose life cycle inevitably ends in a landfill where it can never be recovered. Picture instead industry that is cradle to cradle. A product is designed with the idea that all the components are valuable as either biologic or technical nutrients. “Products that, when their useful life is over, do not become useless waste but can be tossed onto the ground to decompose and become food for plants and animals and nutrients for soil; or, alternately, that can return to industrial cycles to supply high-quality raw materials for new products”. With this revolutionary concept, the idea of waste is eliminated. This book provides examples of companies that are succeeding at cradle to cradle design. Instead of merely recycling (which often means down-cycling) these companies and innovators are seeing their products through their whole life cycle rather than just into the consumer’s hands. This change in perspective could make peace between the natural world and human productivity.

The Future of Life

The Future of Life Book Cover

Considered his most personal and timely book to date, biologist E.O.Wilson assesses the precarious state of our environment. He examines the mass extinctions occurring now and provides a specific plan to save our world. He has a vision that is as economically sound as it is environmentally necessary. The current scientific information he presents is written in an engaging and persuasive style that is easily understood by everyone. An elegant manifesto of why biodiversity matters.

The Case for God

The Case for God Book Cover

This book is a comprehensive history of religion as it relates to humanity starting with the most basic ideological systems of the civilizations of 30,000 years ago and bringing us to present religious (and anti-religious) belief systems. Ms. Armstrong portrays religion and faith as valid, and even vital, structures of humanity making an excellent argument for the pragmatism of religious beliefs and faith as they goes face to face with philosophy and science.

The Countess of Stanlein Restored

The Countess of Stanlein Restored Book Cover

This is the story of an Antonio Stradivari violincello crafted in 1707. It now belongs to the cellist Bernard Greenhouse, in his eighties and semi-retired, who allows the New York virtuoso luthier Rene Morel to perform a complete restoration. This book tracks the process - a meticulous enterprise that took almost 2yrs. It's a very interesting story that musicians or artists of any kind will appreciate, including many of the emotions of Greenhouse and Morel during the restoration, and the trepidation that the Stanlein's sound may be altered in the process.