Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are bestsellers, and showcase what’s resonating with audiences right now! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!
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5. Hungry by Jeff Gordinier
Hungryby Jeff Gordinier is a story for any food lover to wet your appetite for meals and adventure. Feeling stuck in a dead-end work life, Gordinier happens into a fateful meeting with a Danish chef Rene Redzepi. The two begin the adventure of a lifetime, to set off across the world to find new flavors, new meals, and new food together. Across the world, they begin this road trip. In Sydney, they forage for sea rocket and sandpaper figs in suburban parks and on surf-lashed beaches. On a boat in the Arctic Circle, a lone fisherman guides them to what may or may not be his secret cache of the world’s finest sea urchins. And back in Copenhagen, the quiet canal-lined city where Redzepi started it all, he plans the resurrection of his restaurant on the unlikely site of a garbage-filled lot. Along the way, readers meet Redzepi’s merry band of friends and collaborators, including acclaimed chefs such as Danny Bowien, Kylie Kwong, Rosio Sánchez, David Chang, and Enrique Olvera.
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4. Nuking the Moon by Vince Houghton
Nuking the Moonby Vince Houghton is a funny, hilarious book on so called ‘intelligence’ schemes the military left on the drawing board. Among them are attempts to use cats as listening devices, make aircraft carriers out of icebergs, psyche out Japanese soldiers by dropping foxes onto beaches, and yes…nuking the moon in order to shift hurricane trajectories. Obviously, none of these insane ideas came to reality but you’d be surprised how close them each came in this hidden history of government antics.
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3. They bled blue by Jason Turbow
They Bled Blueby sportswriter Jason Turbow captures the Los Angeles Dodgers’ thrilling, improbable 1981 championship season, highlighting the behind the scenes antics of the edgy and cast of colorful characters of the team. Eventually, this team went on to defeat the New York Yankees. This is a summer treat for fans of sports, mad tales of excess, and the quirkiness that is the rollicking, crazy ride of the 1981 baseball season.
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2. The Vinyl Frontier by Jonathan Scott
The Vinyl Frontierby Jonathan Scott is an unlikely story of the 1977 NASA team attempting to craft the perfect playlist to place on the Voyager probe. Led by the great Carl Sagan, the music was intended not just to represent humanity but also to advertise our world to any intelligent alien forms of life. This book tells of how the record, The Sounds of Earth, was created. The final playlist contains music written and performed by well-known names such as Bach, Beethoven, Glenn Gould, Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson, as well as music from China, India and more remote cultures such as a community in Small Malaita in the Solomon Islands. It also contained a message of peace from US president Jimmy Carter, a variety of scientific figures and dimensions, and instructions on how to use it for a variety of alien lifeforms. This is a fascinating book showcasing the creation of one of humanity’s greatest achievements.
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1. Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz
Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz is a tale of one man’s journey across the American South. Tony Horwitz recounts the experience of an American journalist who was sent to explore the South prior to the Civil War as an assignment. The book follows this journalist’s journey, as the South proved to be an alien, hostile environment. He traveled for fourteen months on stagecoach, horseback, and by boat, becoming America’s first renowned landscape architect. In the modern day, Tony Horwitz tries to follow the journey undertaken over a century ago, seeking context for the divide between the South and the rest of America.
We’re deep into baseball season, yet again, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m an Astros fan, for the better part of twenty-five years now, sue me. I could go on and on and on about the World Series win, but I know none of you care, that is, of course, unless you’re also Astros fans.
Baseball is America’s past time, allegedly. Considering how often the men cohabitating our offices put on the game and talk shit about my beloved Astros (they’re all Yankees and Mets fans, of course), I’d say baseball is still deep in the hearts of most Americans. As such, there’s probably a few people who would love to add some baseball books to their home library. We’ve picked ten of our favorites and supplied the Amazon descriptions, so you know just what you’re getting.
You think your team is bad? In this landmark work on one of the most tortured franchises in baseball, one reporter discovers that nine innings can feel like an eternity.
In early 1973, gonzo sportswriter Mike Shropshire agreed to cover the Texas Rangers for the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, not realizing that the Rangers were arguably the worst team in baseball history. Seasons in Hell is a riotous, candid, irreverent behind-the-scenes account in the tradition of The Bronx Zoo and Ball Four, following the Texas Rangers from Whitey Herzog’s reign in 1973 through Billy Martin’s tumultuous tenure. Offering wonderful perspectives on dozens of unique (and likely never-to-be-seen-again) baseball personalities, Seasons in Hell recounts some of the most extreme characters ever to play the game and brings to life the no-holds-barred culture of major league baseball in the mid-seventies.
Here, back in print, is Jimmy Breslin’s marvelous account of the improbable saga of the New York Mets’ first year, as Bill Veeck notes in his Introduction, “preserving for all time a remarkable tale of ineptitude, mediocrity, and abject failure.” Indeed the 1962 Mets were the worst major league baseball team ever to take the field. (The title of the book is a quote from Casey Stengel, their manager at the time.) Breslin casts the Mets, who lost 120 games out of a possible 162 that year, as a lovable bunch of losers. And, he argues, they were good for baseball, coming as a welcome antidote to “the era of the businessman in sports…as dry and agonizing a time as you would want to see.” Although they were written forty years ago, many of Breslin’s comments will strike a chord with today’s sports fan, fed up with the growing commercialism of the games. Against this trend Breslin sets the exploits of “Marvelous” Marv Throneberry, Stengel, and the rest of the hapless Mets.
“October 1964 should be a hit with old-time baseball fans, who’ll relish the opportunity to relive that year’s to-die-for World Series, when the dynastic but aging New York Yankees squared off against the upstart St. Louis Cardinals. It should be a hit with younger students of the game, who’ll eat up the vivid portrayals of legends like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the Yankees and Bob Gibson and Lou Brock of the Cardinals. Most of all, however, David Halberstam’s new book should be a hit with anyone interested in understanding the important interplay between sports and society.”
In this gripping account of one of the most important steps in the history of American desegregation, Jules Tygiel tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s crossing of baseball’s color line. Examining the social and historical context of Robinson’s introduction into white organized baseball, both on and off the field, Tygiel also tells the often neglected stories of other African-American players–such as Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron–who helped transform our national pastime into an integrated game. Drawing on dozens of interviews with players and front office executives, contemporary newspaper accounts, and personal papers, Tygiel provides the most telling and insightful account of Jackie Robinson’s influence on American baseball and society. The anniversary issue features a new foreword by the author.
Bill Lee, a Pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, describes his life and career and his outlook on baseball. “I can think of a lot worse things in baseball than marijuana or peyote, if used in moderation,” he wrote. “Things such as walks, designated hitters, and astro-turf.”
From the subway ride to the ballpark, through batting practice and warm-ups, to the game-winning home run, A Day in the Bleachers describes inning by inning the strategies, heroics, and ineluctable rhythms of the opening game of the 1954 World Series. Here are the spectacular exploits of the Indians and Giants, and of a young player named Willie Mays, who made the most-talked-about catch in baseball history.
Since major league baseball began in 1871, there have been roughly thirty million pitches thrown to batters. Only one of them killed a man. This is the story of Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians, a popular player struck in the head and killed in August 1920 by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. Was it, as most baseball observers thought at the time, a tragic but unavoidable accident? Mike Sowell’s brilliant book investigates the incident and probes deep into the backgrounds of the players involved and the events that led to one of baseball’s darkest moments.
Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. Following the low-budget Oakland Athletics, their larger-than-life general manger, Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts, Michael Lewis has written not only “the single most influential baseball book ever” (Rob Neyer, Slate) but also what “may be the best book ever written on business” (Weekly Standard).
Early in the 1920s, the New York Giants sent a scout to watch a young Cuban play for Foster’s American Giants, a baseball club in the Negro Leagues. During one at-bat this talented slugger lined a ball so hard that the rightfielder was able to play it off the top of the fence and throw Christobel Torrienti out at first base. The scout liked what he saw, but was disappointed in the player’s appearance. “He was a light brown,” recalled one of Torrienti’s teammates, “and would have gone up to the major leagues, but he had real rough hair.” Such was life behind the color line, the unofficial boundary that prevented hundreds of star-quality athletes from playing big-league baseball.
When Only the Ball Was White was first published in 1970, Satchel Paige had not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame and there was a general ignorance even among sports enthusiasts of the rich tradition of the Negro Leagues. Few knew that during the 1930s and ’40s outstanding black teams were playing regularly in Yankee Stadium and Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. And names like Cool Papa Bell, Rube Foster, Judy Johnson, Biz Mackey, and Buck Leonard would bring no flash of smiling recognition to the fan’s face, even though many of these men could easily have played alongside Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Hack Wilson, Lou Gehrig–and shattered their records in the process. Many baseball pundits now believe, for example, that had Josh Gibson played in the major leagues, he would have surpassed Babe Ruth’s 714 home runs before Hank Aaron had even hit his first. And the great Dizzy Dean acknowledged that the best pitcher he had ever seen was not Lefty Grove or Carl Hubbell, but rather “old Satchel Paige, that big lanky colored boy.”
In Only the Ball Was White, Robert Peterson tells the forgotten story of these excluded ballplayers, and gives them the recognition they were so long denied. Reconstructing the old Negro Leagues from contemporary sports publications, accounts of games in the black press, and through interviews with the men who actually played the game, Peterson brings to life the fascinating period that stretched from shortly after the Civil War to the signing of Jackie Robinson in 1947. We watch as the New York Black Yankees and the Philadelphia Crawfords take the field, look on as the East-West All-Star lineups are announced, and listen as the players themselves tell of the struggle and glory that was black baseball. In addition to these vivid accounts, Peterson includes yearly Negro League standings and an all-time register of players and officials, making the book a treasure trove of baseball information and lore.
A monumental and poignant book, Only the Ball Was White reminds us that what was often considered the “Golden Age” of baseball was also the era of Jim Crow. It is a book that must be read by anyone hoping not only to understand the story of baseball, but the story of America.
Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, rawer, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb ran the bases. In the monumental classic The Glory of Their Times, the golden era of our national pastime comes alive through the vibrant words of those who played and lived the game.
“August Adolphus Busch Jr., the new president of the Cardinals, is a chubby gentleman called Gussie, about the size of a St. Louis brewer. He has horn-rimmed glasses, a zillion dollars and an air of pleased bewilderment. He rides to the hounds and travels by bus.” It’s not hard to pluck a memorable passage from the sportswriting of Red Smith. In more than fifty years as a newspaperman, notably with the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Times, he earned a reputation as the best writer ever to confront the game of baseball―astute, clever, witty, and stylish. In this bountiful selection of his most memorable columns―175 of them, from 1941 to 1981―baseball fans can recapture some of baseball’s greatest moments and most unforgettable characters. Jackie Robinson’s debut is here, and so is Hank Greenberg hitting home runs; Enos Slaughter scoring the winning run in the seventh game of the 1946 World Series; Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Boudreau; the sly antics of Charles Dillon Stengel; Durocher’s lip; Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, and scores of others. It’s a baseball feast. Readers who are not baseball fans will have to be satisfied with just wonderful writing. With 14 black-and-white photographs.
Five Seasons covers the baseball seasons from 1972 through 1976, described as the “most significant half decade in the history of the game.” The era was notable for the remarkable individual feats of Hank Aaron, Lou Brock, and Nolan Ryan, among others. It also presented one of the best World Series of all time (1975), including still the greatest World Series game ever played (Game Six).
Along with visiting other games and campaigns, Roger Angell meets a trio of Tigers-obsessed fans, goes to a game with a departing old-style owner, watches high-school ball in Kentucky with a famous scout, and explores the sad and astounding mystery of Steve Blass’s vanished control. Angell’s Five Seasons is a gem and a gift for baseball lovers of all ages.