You don’t have to be a sneakerhead to appreciate kicks, but you do have to read Kicks to fully grasp their cultural import. As Nicholas Smith writes, the story of American sneakers is the story of California skateboarders, New York rappers, sports icons, game-changing inventors, family feuds, high fashion, global economies, and the track coach who changed athletics forever by pouring rubber into his wife’s waffle iron. Lace ’em up: you’re going on an adventure.
Timothy C. Winegard
To some, the mosquito is a mere summertime nuisance. To Timothy Winegard, it was George Washington’s secret weapon during the American revolution. And the reason for Starbucks’s global domination. Not to mention the insect that singularly caused Scotland to surrender its sovereignty to England. Mosquito is the extraordinary untold story of the globe’s ultimate agent of change: the insect that has determined the fates of countless nations and economies, and killed nearly half of humanity along the way.
A national bestseller, D-Day Girls is the dramatic true story of the women who left their families, risked their lives, and paved the way for Allied victory as saboteurs in France. This rigorously researched thriller of a nonfiction book is the story of ambushed Nazis, blown-up train tracks, prison breaks, romance, treachery, and astonishing heroism, sure to inspire and enthrall readers in equal measure.
The World in a Grain
When we think about sand, we need to take our heads out of the—well, you know. From concrete buildings and paved roads to Egypt’s pyramids, NASA telescopes, and your smartphone, just about everything is made of sand. Behind water and air, it’s the natural resource we consume more than any other; and like so many other things essential to our future, it’s running out. A finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, The World in a Grain is the provocative examination of sand’s role in our lives and of the people who mine it, sell it, build with it, and sometimes even kill for it.
Was Eve’s apple actually a banana, as some scholars claim? How did Central American republics rise and fall over the crop? Is there a remedy to the rapid destruction of banana plantations around the world? In this fast-paced, surprising, and supremely entertaining read, award-winning journalist Dan Koeppel unpeels the history, cultural significance, and endangered future of the world’s most popular fruit.
Policing the Black Man
Angela J. Davis
Praised by Toni Morrison and Henry Louis Gates Jr., this compelling, timely, crucial anthology features essays by some of the nation’s most respected experts on law and criminal justice. Policing the Black Man tackles racism’s roots and role in the criminal justice system, police brutality, racial profiling, implicit bias, mass incarceration, and more. This collection is required reading for anyone interested in race and justice in America.
As powerful as it is improbable, Stronghold is the breathtaking tale of Guido Mahr’s crusade to protect the world’s last bastion of wild salmon. Through Tucker Malarkey’s prose, readers go on a wild adventure with Rahr, from Oregon to Alaska to the Russian Far East, contending with scientists, oligarchs, corrupt officials, and unlikely allies on a mission to save a near-extinct species whose future may closely resemble our own.
Selected as a New York Times Notable Book, The Wave is the latest from bestselling author Susan Casey. In this adrenaline rush of a read, Casey travels the globe with people who seek the world’s most colossal waves. For surfers like Laird Hamilton, conquering 100-foot waves is the challenge of a lifetime; for scientists who study them, these ocean monsters represent foreboding forces in our planet’s waters.
In Lasagna, you’ll fall in love—or back in love—with this baked pasta icon. Anna Hezel and the editors of TASTE offer 50 recipes for the classic dish, from meatball to spinach to the eggy carbonara variety and beyond. Exuberant, informative, and filled with mouth-watering photography, the book provides the ideal lasagna for every occasion as well as perfect complementary dishes.
The Omega Principle
Omega-3 fatty acids: sensation of a dietary supplement, multibillion-dollar business, and embodiment of the human threat to all marine life and the fate of our oceans? In The Omega Principal, award-winning author James Beard explores the history of omega-3s, probes its relationship to our health and the future of our planet, and reveals that the promise of the “miracle compound” may not be what it seemed.
The Life of Frederick Douglass
David F. Walker
David F. Walker, the award-winning graphic novelist whose work includes Shaft, Luke Cage, and Deadpool, is back with a beautiful and compelling graphic-novel biography of the escaped slave, abolitionist, public speaker, and most photographed man of the 19th century. With artful storytelling and vivid imagery, you’ve never seen Douglass like this.
The author of Zealot returns with another New York Times bestseller. In his riveting latest, Reza Aslan explores humans’ historical and present impulse to humanize God, for better or for worse. He challenges readers to consider the divine, our conception of it, and the way it informs religions, cultures, governments, and our everyday lives. Timely and thoughtful, God is sure to win praise from believers and nonbelievers alike.
During World War II, the Japanese managed to crack every code the United States used—until the Marines recruited Navajo servicemen to develop and implement a secret military language. Chester Nez was one of these code talkers, who created the only unbroken code in modern warfare and helped assure allied victory in the Pacific Theater. Code Talker, Nez’s memoir, is the gripping story of a man whose experience with discrimination didn’t silence his calling or diminish his courage to defend the United States.
After Cod and The Big Oyster, the king of one-thing books is back with a fascinating and unlikely history of the only rock we eat. In Salt, bestseller Mark Kurlansky explores how this household item has shaped human civilization in establishing trade routes and cities, provoking wars, inspiring revolutions, and more. A surprising masterpiece, readers will savor Salt from start to finish.
Thanks to Flour Lab, you can skip the supermarket and go DIY on breads, pasta, pizza, and cakes; in other words, the four best foods on the planet. In this informative and authoritative guide, star chef Adam Leonti introduces home bakers to 20 tentpole recipes featuring freshly milled flour—which, you’ll learn, is better-tasting and more nutritious than the pre-ground stuff we’re used to.
These days it seems impossible to focus on one thing for more than, like, four seconds (says the guy with 8 million tabs open right now). Good news! The reading list below is the remedy; we’ve rounded up some of the best nonfiction books, each of which is about a single—and totally fascinating—subject matter.
From the tiny (mosquitos) to the massive (100-foot waves), and from salt to bananas to the shoes on your feet, you’ll learn the cultural, technological, environmental, and geopolitical impact on a very specific topic. So close those tabs, open a book, and dive deeper than you ever thought possible.
Featured Image: @criskorah/Twenty20