Going to be traveling & need good book recs. Open to business bios, but also interested in good fiction, particularly historical or noir. Ideas?
Book mentions in this thread
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor TowlesThe mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series "The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, [and] twists of fate." —The Wall Street Journal He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson'An irresistible page-turner that reads like the most compelling, sleep defying fiction' TIME OUT One was an architect. The other a serial killer. This is the incredible story of these two men and their realization of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and its amazing 'White City'; one of the wonders of the world. The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair - and his own devilish charms - to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago's infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World's Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium. These two disparate but driven men are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century . . .
The Fish That Ate the Whale
by Rich CohenThe author of Sweet and Low presents a historical profile of Samuel Zemurray that traces his rise from a penniless youth to one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful men, offering insight into his capitalist talents and the ways in which his life reflected the best and worst of American business dealings.
by Bill BrowderExpelled from Russia after exposing corruption in Russian companies, an investment broker describes how his attorney was detained, tortured and beaten to death for testifying against Russian law enforcement officers who stole millions in taxes paid to the government. Illustrations. Tour.
by Marc LevinsonIn April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about. But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new technology. It required years of high-stakes bargaining with two of the titans of organized labor, Harry Bridges and Teddy Gleason, as well as delicate negotiations on standards that made it possible for almost any container to travel on any truck or train or ship. Ultimately, it took McLean's success in supplying U.S. forces in Vietnam to persuade the world of the container's potential. Drawing on previously neglected sources, economist Marc Levinson shows how the container transformed economic geography, devastating traditional ports such as New York and London and fueling the growth of previously obscure ones, such as Oakland. By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world's workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe. Published in hardcover on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage, this is the first comprehensive history of the shipping container. Now with a new chapter, The Box tells the dramatic story of how the drive and imagination of an iconoclastic entrepreneur turned containerization from an impractical idea into a phenomenon that transformed economic geography, slashed transportation costs, and made the boom in global trade possible.
Killers of the Flower Moon
by David GrannWINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST FACT CRIME SHORTLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NON-FICTION SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION **SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY MARTIN SCORSESE STARRING LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND ROBERT DE NIRO** ‘A riveting true story of greed, serial murder and racial injustice’ JON KRAKAUER ‘A fiercely entertaining mystery story and a wrenching exploration of evil’ KATE ATKINSON ‘A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the history of the American West’ JOHN GRISHAM From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z, now a major film starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattison, comes a true-life murder story which became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. ‘David Grann has a razor-keen instinct for suspense’ LOUISE ERDRICH
Buried in the Sky
by Peter ZuckermanWinner of the National Outdoor Book Award and the Banff Mountain Book Award for Mountain Literature "Gripping, intense…Buried in the Sky will satisfy anyone who loved [Into Thin Air]." —Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe When eleven climbers died on K2 in 2008, two Sherpas survived. Their astonishing tale became the stuff of mountaineering legend. This white-knuckle adventure follows the Sherpas from their remote villages in Nepal to the peak of the world’s most dangerous mountain, recounting one of the most dramatic disasters in alpine history from a fascinating new perspective. Winner of the NCTE George Orwell Award and an official selection of the American Alpine Club Book Club.
The Fifth Season
by N. K. Jemisin"Intricate and extraordinary." - New York Times on The Fifth Season (A New York Times Notable Book of 2015) WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL 2016 This is the way the world ends...for the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy. For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out: The Inheritance Trilogy The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms The Broken Kingdoms The Kingdom of Gods The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition) Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction) The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella) Dreamblood Duology The Killing Moon The Shadowed Sun The Broken EarthThe Fifth SeasonThe Obelisk Gate
by Bill BrowderFollowing his explosive New York Times bestseller Red Notice, Bill Browder returns with another gripping thriller chronicling how he became Vladimir Putin’s number one enemy by exposing Putin’s campaign to steal and launder hundreds of billions of dollars and kill anyone who stands in his way. When Bill Browder’s young Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was beaten to death in a Moscow jail, Browder made it his life’s mission to go after his killers and make sure they faced justice. The first step of that mission was to uncover who was behind the $230 million tax refund scheme that Magnitsky was killed over. As Browder and his team tracked the money as it flowed out of Russia through the Baltics and Cyprus and on to Western Europe and the Americas, they were shocked to discover that Vladimir Putin himself was a beneficiary of the crime. As law enforcement agencies began freezing the money, Putin retaliated. He and his cronies set up honey traps, hired process servers to chase Browder through cities, murdered more of his Russian allies, and enlisted some of the top lawyers and politicians in America to bring him down. Putin will stop at nothing to protect his money. As Freezing Order reveals, it was Browder’s campaign to expose Putin’s corruption that prompted Russia’s intervention in the 2016 US presidential election. At once a financial caper, an international adventure, and a passionate plea for justice, Freezing Order is a stirring morality tale about how one man can take on one of the most ruthless villains in the world—and win.
Men Without Women
by Haruki MurakamiA dazzling new collection of short stories--the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic. From the Hardcover edition.
by Mohsin HamidMoth Smoke is the first novel by Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist 'You know you're in trouble when you can't meet a woman's eye, particularly if the woman happens to be your best friend's wife.' In Lahore, Daru Shezad is a junior banker with a hashish habit. When his old friend Ozi moves back to Pakistan, Daru wants to be happy for him. Ozi has everything: a beautiful wife and child, an expensive foreign education - and a corrupt father who bankrolls his lavish lifestyle. As jealousy sets in, Daru's life slowly unravels. He loses his job. Starts lacing his joints with heroin. Becomes involved with a criminally-minded rickshaw driver. And falls in love with Ozi's lonely wife. But how low can Daru sink? Is he guilty of the crime he finds himself on trial for? 'A vivid portrait of contemporary young Pakistani life, where frustration and insecurity feed not only the snobbery, decadence and aspirations of the rich, but also the resentment of the poor'The Times 'Fast-paced, intelligent . . . pulls us, despite ourselves, into its spiralling wake'New Yorker 'A subtly audacious . . .prodigious descendant of hard-boiled lit and film noir. A steamy and often darkly amusing book about sex, drugs, and class warfare in postcolonial Asia' Village Voice 'Stunning, a hip page-turner' Los Angeles Times 'Sharply observed, powerful, evocative' Financial Times 'A novel of remarkable wit, poise, profundity, and strangeness. A treat'Esquire Mohsin Hamid is the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, received numerous awards, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has contributed essays and short stories to publications such as the Guardian, The New York Times, Financial Times, Granta, and Paris Review. Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he spent part of his childhood in California, studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has since lived between Lahore, London, and New York.
The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe international bestseller and modern classic - over 20 million copies sold worldwide 'Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendour and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots. One gorgeous read' STEPHEN KING 'An instant classic' DAILY TELEGRAPH The Shadow of the Wind is a stunning literary thriller in which the discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive... Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'Cemetery of Lost Books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind... A SUNDAY TIMES bestseller and Richard & Judy book club choice.
The Spy and the Traitor
by Ben MacintyreThe son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, Oleg Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. The CIA officer assigned to identify him was Aldrich Ames, who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets. -- adapted from jacket.
by Roberto BolañoTHE POSTHUMOUS MASTERWORK FROM "ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL MODERN WRITERS" (JAMES WOOD, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW) Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.
A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole'My favourite book of all time... it stays with you long after you have read it - for your whole life, in fact' Billy Connolly A monument to sloth, rant and contempt, a behemoth of fat, flatulence and furious suspicion of anything modern - this is Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, noble crusader against a world of dunces. The ordinary folk of New Orleans seem to think he is unhinged. Ignatius ignores them, heaving his vast bulk through the city's fleshpots in a noble crusade against vice, modernity and ignorance. But his momma has a nasty surprise in store for him: Ignatius must get a job. Undaunted, he uses his new-found employment to further his mission - and now he has a pirate costume and a hot-dog cart to do it with... Never published during his lifetime, John Kennedy Toole's hilarious satire, A Confederacy of Dunces is a Don Quixote for the modern age, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes a foreword by Walker Percy. 'A pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities ... it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue' The New York Times
by William FinneganSurfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses -- off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships annealed in challenging waves.
Intoxicated by My Illness
by Anatole BroyardAnatole Broyard, long-time book critic, book review editor, and essayist for the New York Times, wants to be remembered. He will be, with this collection of irreverent, humorous essays he wrote concerning the ordeals of life and death—many of which were written during the battle with cancer that led to his death in 1990. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year “A heartbreakingly eloquent and unsentimental meditation on mortality . . . Some writing is so rich and well-spoken that commentary is superfluous, even presumptuous. . . . Read this book, and celebrate a cultured spirit made fine, it seems, by the coldest of touches.”—Los Angeles Times “Succeeds brilliantly . . . Anatole Broyard has joined his father but not before leaving behind a legacy rich in wisdom about the written word and the human condition. He has died. But he lives as a writer and we are the wealthier for it.”—The Washington Post Book World “A virtuoso performance . . . The central essays of Intoxicated By My Illness were written during the last fourteen months of Broyard’s life. They are held in a gracious setting of his previous writings on death in life and literature, including a fictionalized account of his own father’s dying of cancer. The title refers to his reaction to the knowledge that he had a life-threatening illness. His literary sensibility was ignited, his mind flooded with image and metaphor, and he decided to employ these intuitive gifts to light his way into the darkness of his disease and its treatment. . . . Many other people have chronicled their last months . . . Few are as vivid as Broyard, who brilliantly surveys a variety of books on illness and death along the way as he draws us into his writer’s imagination, set free now by what he describes as the deadline of life. . . . [A] remarkable book, a lively man of dense intelligence and flashing wit who lets go and yet at the same time comtains himself in the style through which he remains alive.”—The New York Times Book Review “Despite much pain, Anatole Broyard continued to write until the final days of his life. He used his writing to rage, in the words of Dylan Thomas, against the dying of the light. . . . Shocking, no-holds-barred and utterly exquisite.”—The Baltimore Sun
Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth," the president says at the time. "God has called him home." Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy's body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction's ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? Praise for Lincoln in the Bardo "A luminous feat of generosity and humanism."--Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review "A masterpiece."--Zadie Smith "Ingenious . . . Saunders--well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain--crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows."--Vogue "Saunders is the most humane American writer working today."--Harper's Magazine "The novel beats with a present-day urgency--a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on."--Vanity Fair "A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love."--Elle "Wildly imaginative"--Marie Claire "Mesmerizing . . . Dantesque . . . A haunting American ballad."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Exhilarating . . . Ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "It's unlike anything you've ever read, except that the grotesque humor, pathos, and, ultimately, human kindness at its core mark it as a work that could come only from Saunders."--The National
by Andrew JohnstonWhile some say it's not truly possible to be fat and healthy, it's quite easy to be skinny and sick. These days it's sadly all too simple. Follow a fad diet. Emulate reality weight-loss shows. Some of you may need to go no farther than your doctor's office and ask for a prescription. Drastic diets or intense exercise or even fancy injections and supplements can all make you thin. Yet they can never make you healthy. True health is never extreme. Merging simple with science and a generous supply of common sense, Spot On: Nutrition focuses on moderation--a concept widely forgotten in recent years. Or maybe it's just the idea that's been lost as "experts" inundate us with misinformation. It's time to become your own guru. This book will help you do just that. Author of Holistic Strength Training for Triathlon, Andrew is a former professional cyclist, the first Leukemia Survivor to qualify for and finish the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, the first Leukemia Survivor to win an Iron Distance Triathlon, and twice voted One of the Top Trainers in America by Men's Health. Don't believe him when he says he's "officially retired from competition." He's simply focusing most of his energy into various creative projects, including raising a son - his biggest feat yet! Andrew also has several more books in the Spot On series nearing completion. So with a little luck (and maybe a shower sacrificed here and there), he'll get those other works published soon. His readers will then be able to combine the other Spot On subjects with optimal nutrition to enjoy the health that is their birthright.
The Dancing Wu Li Masters
by Gary ZukavThis is an account of the essential aspects of the new physics for those with little or no knowledge of mathematics or science. It describes current theories of quantum mechanics, Einstein's special and general theories of relativity and other speculations, alluding throughout to parallels with modern psychology and metaphorical abstractions to Buddhism and Taoism. The author has also written "The Seat of the Soul".
The Sun Does Shine
by Anthony Ray HintonA powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit. "An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity." - Archbishop Desmond Tutu In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence--full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon--transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton's memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man's freedom, but you can't take away his imagination, humor, or joy.