Category Archives: Nonfiction

English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation by Beth Levin

This book explores 3,000 English verbs and how they act in sentences. They are grouped into categories that have the same properties. This defines how they are used by native speakers. This book is designed as a reference for linguists, and it absolutely allows them to understand the verbs and consider the properties that are relevant to designate use.

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Filed under Linguistics, Nonfiction, Science

Mad Science: Einstein’s Fridge, Dewar’s Flask, Mach’s Speed, and 362 Other Inventions and Discoveries that Made our World edited by Randy Alfred

Wired Magazine has a column called This Day in Tech. This book is a collection from these that covers all 366 days of the year. In these nice short one- to two- page synopses of important tech events were fun and informative. The best part is that they don’t require any significant science knowledge to be able to learn from them. I had lots of fun reading these!

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Filed under Computer Science, Nonfiction, Science

Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin

Miss Manners is the ultimate source of correct etiquette. This guide tells you everything you need to know for basically any life situation. Whether you read it straight through or you read just the sections pertaining to your current issue, it is absolutely worth reading. You will definitely learn something new!

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Filed under Classics, Nonfiction, Nonfiction Classics

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

In 2010 BBC asked the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, to choose 100 objects in the Museum’s collection to illustrate the entire history of humanity. These were presented in groups of five objects per week on BBC Radio, with a theme for each week. This book compiles these presentations and edits them down into book form. The first objects are simple hand axes and he then works through monies, statues, pottery and more all the way to the solar-powered lamp of 2010. I had expected the objects to be woven together to create a complete picture, and this was a bit lacking. In addition, there were certain archeological sites that were clearly favored (possibly due to the large number of objects from these locations/civilizations found in the Museum’s collection). Overall, the book gave a good overview of the history of the world, excellent for those with little background.

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Filed under Archeology/Anthropology, History, Nonfiction, Science

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Sayuri started her life as Chiyo in the small fishing town of Yoroido. Then her life changed when she was sold to an okiya in Kyoto. This book tells the story of her life from when she was that young Chiyo through where she was when telling the story, an old woman living in New York City and running a Japanese tea house. Readers get a never-before-seen look at the world of the geisha from one of the very best. I read the entire book in a matter of days, it’s one of the stories that you neve want to put down.

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Filed under Biography, History, Nonfiction

Einstein’s Genius Club by Burton Feldman

Einstein, Russell, Gödel and Pauli met weekly at Einstein’s house in Princeton during the winter of 1943-44. There they talked about a variety of topics. Using this as the start of a discussion of the history of science and math, Feldman manages to cover much of the science conducted during the first half of the 20th Century. Although this gives only a broad overview, it is quite interesting to see what a small world the scientific community is, and how they interacted through two world wars and their own personal arguments. Although I would not recommend this to someone who has a lot of scientific knowledge, it is a great chance for non-scientists to explore the topic of quantum mechanics.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Physics, Science

Brains: How They Seem to Work by Dale Purves

This book is part autobiography part recap of where neuroscience came from and where it is now. Mr. Purves happened to start university around the time that neuroscience was gaining ground, and he knew many of the top players in this field. Starting with the low-level “how neurons work” all the way through modern guesses at the overarching process of the brain, he allows the reader to understand the field and its major players without having to have knowledge beforehand. In addition to this chance to learn about the brain, this book also gives us a truly enjoyable story with helpful illustrations.

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Filed under Biography, Biology, Neuroscience, Nonfiction, Psychology, Science