What I like about non-fiction is that it covers such a huge territory. The best non-fiction is also creative. - Tracy Kidder.
Nonfiction encompasses a wealth of reading possibilities - history, essays, memoirs, scientific research, travel guides, cookbooks - essentially everything that is based on fact, real events and real people. Recent nonfiction titles for the Kindle that you might have missed:
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East, by Anthony Shadid. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print Length: 336 p. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (9 reviews). Kindle edition $10.39. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"In spring 2011, Anthony Shadid was one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya, cuffed and beaten, as that country was seized by revolution. When he was freed, he went home. Not to Boston or Beirut - where he lives - or to Oklahoma City, where his Lebanese-American family had settled and where he was raised. Instead, he returned to his great-grandfather’s estate, a house that, over three years earlier, Shadid had begun to rebuild. House of Stone is the story of a battle-scarred home and a war correspondent’s jostled spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this poignant and resonant memoir, the author of the award-winning Night Draws Near creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. In the process, Shadid memorializes a lost world, documents the shifting Middle East, and provides profound insights into this volatile landscape." - Publisher.
The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks, by Joe Kloc. The Atavist, 2012. Amazon Short (154 KB). Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (7 reviews). Kindle edition $1.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled. Lending: Enabled.
"Joseph Gutheinz is on a mission to save the moon. Decades ago, astronauts brought back 850 pounds of rocks from their lunar journeys; the U.S. gave some away as 'goodwill' gifts to the world’s nations. Over time, many of them disappeared, stolen or lost in the aftermath of political turmoil, and offered for millions on the black market. Gutheinz, first as a NASA investigator and then the leader of a intrepid group of students, has dedicated his life to getting them back. Author Joe Kloc tells a wild story of geopolitics, crime, science, and one man’s obsession with keeping the moon out of the wrong hands." - Publisher.
Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan, by Sean Parnell, with John R. Bruning. William Morrow, 2012. Print Length: 384 p. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (15 reviews). Kindle edition $12.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"In combat, men measure up. Or don't. There are no second chances. In this vivid account of the U.S. Army's legendary 10th Mountain Division's heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan, Captain Sean Parnell shares an action-packed and highly emotional true story of triumph, tragedy, and the extraordinary bonds forged in battle. At twenty-four years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush..." - Publisher.
Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, by Lauren Winner. HarperOne, 2012. Print Length: 272 p. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (44 reviews). Kindle edition $11.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"In the critically acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God, Lauren F. Winner chronicled her sojourn from Judaism to Christianity. Now...Winner describes how experiences of loss and failure unexpectedly slam her into a wall of doubt and spiritual despair: 'My belief has faltered, my sense of God’s closeness has grown strained, my efforts at living in accord with what I take to be the call of the gospel have come undone.' Witty, relatable, and fiercely honest, Winner lays bare her experience of what she calls the 'middle' of the spiritual life. In elegant and spare prose, she explores why - in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety, loneliness, and boredom of her deepest questioning about where (or if) God is - the Christian story still explains who she is better than any other story she’s ever known...an absorbing meditation combining literary grace with spiritual wisdom." - Publisher.
Simon: The Genius in My Basement, by Alexander Masters. Delacorte Press, 2012. Print Length: 368 p. This title has complex layouts and has been optimized for reading on devices with larger screens. Amazon customer rating: none yet. Kindle edition $12.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"An intimate portrait of an everyday genius. Alexander Masters tripped over his first subject on a Cambridge pavement, and the result was the multi-award-winning bestseller Stuart: A Life Backwards. The second, he’s found under his floorboards. One of the greatest mathematical prodigies of the twentieth century stomps around the basement in semi-darkness, dodging between stalagmites of bus timetables and engorged plastic bags. He eats tinned kippers stirred into packets of Bombay Mix. Simon is exploring a theoretical puzzle so complex and critical to our understanding of the universe, that it is known as the Monster. It looks like a sudoku table - except a sudoku table has nine columns of numbers. The Monster has 808017424794512875886459904961710757005754368000000000. The Genius in my Basement is the grumpy, poignant, comical story - more intimate than either the author or his subject intended - about the frailty of brilliance, Britain’s most uncooperative egghead, and a happy man." - Publisher.
The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America, by Scott Weidensaul. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print Length: 496 p. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (16 reviews). Kindle edition $15.40. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"Frontier: the word carries the inevitable scent of the West. But before Custer or Lewis and Clark, before the first Conestoga wagons rumbled across the Plains, it was the East that marked the frontier - the boundary between complex Native cultures and the first colonizing Europeans. Here is the older, wilder, darker history of a time when the land between the Atlantic and the Appalachians was contested ground - when radically different societies adopted and adapted the ways of the other, while struggling for control of what all considered to be their land. The First Frontier traces two and a half centuries of history through poignant, mostly unheralded personal stories - like that of a Harvard-educated Indian caught up in seventeenth-century civil warfare, a mixed-blood interpreter trying to straddle his white and Native heritage, and a Puritan woman wielding a scalping knife whose bloody deeds still resonate uneasily today. It is the first book in years to paint a sweeping picture of the Eastern frontier, combining vivid storytelling with the latest research to bring to life modern America’s tumultuous, uncertain beginnings." - Publisher.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. Random House, 2012. Print Length: 402 p. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (34 reviews). Kindle edition $13.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern - and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year. An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees - how they approach worker safety - and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones. What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives. Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation." - Publisher.
Note to readers: The book prices quoted here are the Amazon.com prices in effect at the time of the blog posting. Please follow the links to the individual book to check the current price.