Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Books

Full list for 2015 is here. This month was nicely balanced, with hints of technology, travel and history. Disappointed by fiction.

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story
Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story
Building on the national bestselling success of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, preeminent pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman unleashes his best book yet—the story of his cross-country tour of sites where rock stars have died and his search for love, excitement, and the meaning of death.

For 6,557 miles, Chuck Klosterman thought about dying. He drove a rental car from New York to Rhode Island to Georgia to Mississippi to Iowa to Minneapolis to Fargo to Seattle, and he chased death and rock ‘n’ roll all the way. Within the span of twenty-one days, Chuck had three relationships end—one by choice, one by chance, and one by exhaustion. He snorted cocaine in a graveyard. He walked a half-mile through a bean field. A man in Dickinson, North Dakota, explained to him why we have fewer windmills than we used to. He listened to the KISS solo albums and the Rod Stewart box set. At one point, poisonous snakes became involved. The road is hard. From the Chelsea Hotel to the swampland where Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane went down to the site where Kurt Cobain blew his head off, Chuck explored every brand of rock star demise. He wanted to know why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing...and what this means for the rest of us.
A little disjointed and not about what it purports to be about, but I'm pretty certain he could write about anything and I'd love it. His encyclopedic knowledge of the collective (and solo) oeuvre of Kiss is really something.
Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

SPRING CHICKEN is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest obsession: How can we live longer? And better? In his funny, self-deprecating voice, veteran reporter Bill Gifford takes readers on a fascinating journey through the science of aging, from the obvious signs like wrinkles and baldness right down into the innermost workings of cells. We visit cutting-edge labs where scientists are working to "hack" the aging process, like purging "senescent" cells from mice to reverse the effects of aging. He'll reveal why some people live past 100 without even trying, what has happened with resveratrol, the "red wine pill" that made headlines a few years ago, how your fat tissue is trying to kill you, and how it's possible to unlock longevity-promoting pathways that are programmed into our very genes. Gifford separates the wheat from the chaff as he exposes hoaxes and scams foisted upon an aging society, and arms readers with the best possible advice on what to do, what not to do, and what life-changing treatments may be right around the corner. 

An intoxicating mixture of deep reporting, fascinating science, and prescriptive takeaway, SPRING CHICKEN will reveal the extraordinary breakthroughs that may yet bring us eternal youth, while exposing dangerous deceptions that prey on the innocent and ignorant.
Enjoyable and well-researched review of the "anti-aging" market and what you can do (and buy) to stay young and avoid dementia.

Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle AgesCathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages

Recommended by Pat.

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas.In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life.
In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.
Really enjoyed this, but I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. Is air conditioning as important to society as agriculture? Maybe not, but it's a legitimate question.

The Complete Stories of Truman CapoteThe Complete Stories of Truman Capote


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