Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NYT 100 Notable Books

The NY Times has released the 2008 edition of its annual list of 100 notable books of the year. There are a bunch of fascinating-looking books, so check it out. Books that caught my attention (all from the non-fiction section):

  • CHASING THE FLAME: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World. By Samantha Power. (Penguin Press, $32.95.) Vieira de Mello, who was killed in Iraq in 2003, embodied both the idealism and the limitations of the United Nations, which he served long and loyally.
  • DESCARTES’ BONES: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason. By Russell Shorto. (Doubleday, $26.) Shorto’s smart, elegant study turns the early separation of Descartes’s skull from the rest of his remains into an irresistible metaphor.
  • THE DRUNKARD’S WALK: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. By Leonard Mlodinow. (Pantheon, $24.95.) This breezy crash course intersperses probabilistic mind-benders with profiles of theorists.
  • FACTORY GIRLS: From Village to City in a Changing China. By Leslie T. Chang. (Spiegel & Grau, $26.) Chang’s engrossing account delves deeply into the lives of young migrant workers in southern China.
  • THE SUPERORGANISM: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies. By Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson. (Norton, $55.) The central conceit of this astonishing study is that an insect colony is a single animal raised to a higher level.
  • THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. By David Hajdu. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) A worthy history of the midcentury crusade against the comics industry.
  • TRAFFIC: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). By Tom Vanderbilt. (Knopf, $24.95.) A surprising, enlightening look at the psychology of the human beings behind the steering wheels.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful list yes. Dan Howitt.