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I stopped making resolution for reading a few years ago and decided to go to my whims. In past I always said I would read more non-fiction but it never happened. Came this year when I was going away to Asia for a month the tide started to change. Sometimes it just takes one book to whet the palate. It’s too premature and ambitious to call 2013 the year of non-fiction, but I do have several at my fingertips.

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow is an accomplished physicist with some long time connections with Caltech. His book begins with anecdotes that illustrate the role of the subconscious mind. Mr. Mlodinow shows us time and again that the mind does not work quite like we think it does. For example, our vision has certain blind spots. But these do not register. The mind is quite marvelous in that it is extremely good at filling in gaps.

China: A Macro History by Ray Huang
This book kept my friend up for a few nights in a row, so I picked up for the ultra long haul flight to Asia but didn’t get to it. Dr. Huang posed an extremely ambitious goal to explain fundamental differences of Western and Chinese civilizations, and to explore trends of Chinese government, military, cultural and religious institutions as they develop from legendary to modern times. The book is organized in chapters, each covering roughly a time span of the major dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. Concentration is more on trends (thus the title word “macro”) then on events, more on developments of concepts rather then careers.

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz
From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men’s footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David’s story of how he came to fall in love with—and even understand—this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city.

Concierge Confidential: The Secrets of Serving Champagne Bitches and Caviar Queens by Michael Fazio
The title says it all!

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon
This book tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration for the hit PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and the basis of the fictional character Lady Cora Crawley. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war.


3 Responses

  1. Fiction is calling your name. True Story! Honest!, Well, almost. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BEIQYPC

  2. Non-fiction can be a delightful thing, if well written. Sometimes it can be dull, heavy, and the pages seem to weigh a ton, making one feel as if one is wading through a book, rather than enjoying the flow of the words.

    Two that I’d recommend: The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This is not a book that I would ever normally read, but, I am glad I did. It’s wonderful.

    The second: The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. Some of his writing style gets a little predictable, but, the entire story is remarkable.

  3. I love non-fiction and seem to read more of that than fiction most years.

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