Digital Browsing: Nonfiction from Kelvin

Hello readers!

“Nonfiction” is, perhaps, too broad a term for books. From science to biography, from photography how-to to the history of the airplane, nonfiction spans everything that’s not made up out of author’s heads. But no matter how diverse these books are, they all share one commonality: they are true. We are constantly learning, even after school is done, and these books help us do that. If you’re looking to dig into something meaty and real while you’re at home, here are the best books to help you become an armchair scientist, historian, biographer, photographer…

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs, by Henry Carroll


The title pretty much says it all. Simple but not simplistic, this book is a pleasure to read, look at, and learn from, regardless of whether or not you care about taking photographs.


The Information (A History, A Theory, A Flood), by James Gleick


From primitive African drums to blogs, texts, and tweets, Gleick examines every aspect of information: what it is, how it assumes meaning, how we learned to control its dissemination, and how its ubiquitous presence in today’s world continues to influence and change us.


The Airplane: How Ideas Gave Us Wings, Jay Spenser


Whether you find it exhilarating or terrifying, modern-day flight is undeniably fascinating. This is the story of how we, formerly a land-bound species, came to invent complex and fast machines that allow us to leave the ground.


The Character of Physical Law, by Richard Feynman


Feynman was as much a philosopher of theoretical physics as well as one of the field’s true geniuses. Gifted also with a spell-binding personality, his lectures joyously take the listener and reader below the surface of equations deep into the heart of nature itself.


Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey


Bailey is my favorite practitioner of literary biography. I could have listed as well Bailey’s A Tragic Honesty: the Life and Work of Richard Yates, and I eagerly await his eventual work on the life and art of Philip Roth.


About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made, by Ben Yagoda


Another literary biography of sorts, about the life and times of The New Yorker magazine, the personalities that helped give birth to it and vice versa.


Einstein’s Monsters (The Life and times of Black Holes), by Chris Impey


I remain as fascinated by black holes as I was when I first read about them as a kid. We’ve learned a lot about these mysterious objects in the years since, but they still warp my mind, along with space and time.


Atom Land: A Guided Tour Through the Strange and Impossibly Small World of Particle Physics, by Jon Butterworth


A great introduction for those encountering the deep, fundamental weirdness of our world for the first time. The fun and breezy style puts the reader on the same level as those who spend their lives and careers trying to decipher the mysteries hinted at in the title.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach


Roach writes about what fascinates her, stuff you probably haven’t thought much about. I chose this title because it was among the first of hers I ever read, but they are all unforgettable as well as laugh-out-loud funny.


Eight Lessons On Infinity: A Mathematical Adventure, by Halm Shapira


If black holes and sub-atomic physics don’t sufficiently blow your mind, there’s always the concept of infinity, which turns out to be important in those other two subjects as well. Written for the lay-person, non-mathematician, Shapira’s book explores famous ideas around infinity, including Zeno paradoxes, Hilbert’s Infinite Hotel, and many more concepts that will make you feel smarter while challenging your view of reality.


You can purchase any or all of these wondrous nonfiction books on our website by clicking their titles above. Shipping for orders of $20 or more is free in the time of pandemic!

Happy reading!

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