Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part five: Nonfiction

Here's part five of the Boing Boing Holiday Gift Guide, a roundup of the bestselling items from this year's Boing Boing reviews. Today's installment is nonfiction books.

Don't miss the rest of the posts: kids' stuff, fiction, gadgets and comics. Tomorrow I'll wrap it up with DVDs and CDs.

Good Calories, Bad Calories
(Gary Taubes)
Gary Taubes, whose NYT article on Atkins rekindled the low-carb eating movement, sums up his reserarch on low-carb eating
Original Boing Boing post

Transit Maps of the World
(Mark Ovenden)
Sheer subway-porn
Original Boing Boing post

Magic and Showmanship: A Handbook for Conjurers
(Henning Nelm)
Classic book about conjuring has many lessons for writers
Original Boing Boing post

(Nick Abadzis)
Graphic novel tells the sweet and sad story of the first space-dog
Original Boing Boing post

Mutter Museum Historic Medical Photographs
(Laura Lindgren)
Haunting book of Victorian pathological curiosities
Original Boing Boing post

Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World
(David Koenig)
The secret history of Walt Disney World
Original Boing Boing post

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
(Michael Pollan)
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Original Boing Boing post

Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations
(Stephen M. Kosslyn)
Cognitive science vs. crappy PowerPoint slides
Original Boing Boing post

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
(Clay Shirky)
Clay Shirky's masterpiece
Original Boing Boing post

The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism
(Matt Mason)
To get rich off pirates, copy them
Original Boing Boing post

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
(Suketu Mehta)
Exhausting and beautiful love-note to Mumbai
Original Boing Boing post

Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan
(Lisa Katayama)
Make Magazine meets Hints From Heloise by way of postwar Japan
Original Boing Boing post

China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- and the Challenge for America
(James Kynge)
Book captures the grand sweep of changes in the most populous nation on Earth
Original Boing Boing post

Punk House: Interiors in Anarchy
(Abby Banks, Timothy Findlen, Thurston Moore)
Communal homes of the anarcho-syndicalist lifestyle
Original Boing Boing post

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need
(Daniel H. Pink)
Optimistic and iconoclastic career guide in manga form
Original Boing Boing post

Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture
(DJ Spooky)
Essays on the future of music edited by DJ Spooky
Original Boing Boing post

Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights
(Bill Ivey)
How the DMCA, Clear Channel and copyright extension are killing culture
Original Boing Boing post

The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It
(Jonathan Zittrain)
How to save the Internet from the Internet
Original Boing Boing post

The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey
(Emmanuel Goldstein)
Best of 2600 Magazine anthology
Original Boing Boing post

A People's History of American Empire
(Howard Zinn)
Fantastic comic-book adaptation of Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States
Original Boing Boing post

Secrets of the Mouse: An Unofficial Behind-the-Scenes Guide to Disneyland Park
(Alan Joyce)
Insider Disneyland guide
Original Boing Boing post

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
(John Medina)
Oliver Sacks meets GETTING THINGS DONE
Original Boing Boing post

My Mother Wears Combat Boots: A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us
(Jessica Mills)
Kick-ass punk-parenting book
Original Boing Boing post

True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
(Farhad Manjoo)
The science, history and economics of self-deception
Original Boing Boing post

The Quirks & Quarks Guide to Space: 42 Questions (and Answers) About Life, the Universe, and Everything
(Jim Lebans)
Bite-sized answers to the massive questions of inquisitive astronomical ponderers
Original Boing Boing post

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
(Cory Doctorow)
Collection of my infamous articles, essays, and polemics. championing free speech and universal access to information
Original Boing Boing post

The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night
(Suzy Giordano)
The best parenting book I've read
Original Boing Boing post

How Children Learn
(John Holt)
Cllassic of human, kid-centered learning
Original Boing Boing post

The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies
(Patrick Buckley, Lily Binns)
Nerdy cookbook for kitchen hackers
Original Boing Boing post

Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin
(Kenny Shopsin, Carolynn Carreno)
Memoir and cookbook from Shopsin's, the best, most eclectic eatery in Greenwich Village
Original Boing Boing post

How Children Fail
(John Holt)
Angry lessons from failures to teach
Original Boing Boing post

Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope
(Emmanuel Guibert)
Extraordinary graphic novel memoir of a US GI who arrived in Europe at the end of WWII and stayed
Original Boing Boing post

Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street
(Michael Lewis)
A timely moment to revisit 20-year-old memoir of the rise and fall of a financial bubble
Original Boing Boing post

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation
(Jonathan Hennessey)
US Constitution in graphic novel form
Original Boing Boing post

Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan
(Chip Kidd)
The lost Japanese Batman comics of 1966
Original Boing Boing post

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
(Leslie T. Chang)
Amazing memoir by American-born Chinese journalist
Original Boing Boing post

Bound by Law?: Tales from the Public Domain
(Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins)
The "Understanding Comics" of copyright, in a new edition
Original Boing Boing post

The Essential Groucho: Writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx
(Stefan Kanfer)
A book of fine grouchovian material that contains at least five guaranteed laughs on every page
Original Boing Boing post

Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology and Politics in Science
(John Grant)
The history, cause, effect and state of bad science
Original Boing Boing post


  1. Shopsin’s isn’t in Greenwich Village. It used to be, but hasn’t been for some years. It’s on the Lower East Side: Essex and Delancey.

  2. Magic and Showmanship for writers? Care to elaborate, Cory? I saw a review on Amazon to this effect but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  3. I don’t anything about the book, but there is a glut of “I used to be a rocker, and now I’m a cool parent” books.

    Can’t they just grow up? No one wants to be an adult anymore.

  4. No, it’s about how to help your child acquire the learned skill of sleeping through the night, so that she (and we) are more awake, happy and alert during the day as we play together.

  5. The photographs from the Mutter Museum are FASCINATING – and still fairly unknown. Great pick!

  6. I just picked up “The Essential Groucho” last week. I’ve only just begun, but it’s great! Definite recommend for everyone…except humorless jerks. They probably shouldn’t bother.

  7. I have not read a single book on that list. However, as of now, I have thrown out my old list and will just use this one for now.

    Karl Frank

  8. Greetings

    #3 I bought ‘magic and showmanship’ after I read the review, its focusd on magic especially “big” magic with assistants and props but he also discusses showmanship, focusing audience attention, and the rhythum of a act with building tension to climax ending.

    All stuff that had application to plotting and writing

    I’d recommend it

  9. Hey, the graphic novel Alan’s War reminded me of this other graphic novel I had read a long time ago; it was my grandfather’s book and I have no idea where he got it from as graphic novels were not aplenty then. It’s called “A funny kind of war” by Sgt. Robert Briggs. Was written in the 40s and is about the IIWW. Was quite funny and would recommend that to people who haven’t read it.

    Of course, I haven’t been a longtime graphic novel enthusiast, so if everyone already knows about this book, ignore this post.


  10. @ #8 Takuan

    Very funny and apposite but I prefer to think that what Darn (and implicitly Andrew) was commenting on was that the definition of the sets here was not well-considered, as it resulted in so much duplication – some of these have appeared more than twice and it does make scrolling very boring when one has to scroll past so many repeated items again and again to get to a real new item. I haven’t checked but it *seems* like some of these have qualified to be in every single set (yawn) – somewhat validly calling into question the sets used.

    (“Oh the humanity”, or to get my retaliation in first – “yes this is the worst thing I have to worry about and yes I am very sad”)


  11. I’m just going to mention that I bought the “Hungry Scientist Handbook” largely on the strength of the first BoingBoing post about it, where Ivan was quoted as saying it was for everybody: “[y]our brother, your mother, your kid neighbor.” Well, I got it for the thirteen-year-old son of a family friend, a tinkerer and real whiz in the kitchen – sounds like the book would be perfect for him, right? Except the very first project is caramel lingerie. Complete with pictures of pretty ladies sitting around in caramel netting undies. Ahem. Look, I’m not a prude, but that’s not something I’m comfortable giving to someone I consider my kid cousin, you know?

    Anyway, of course I hold no grudge against BoingBoing – I just wanted to let everyone know. It’s a fun-looking book, and if I were a gadgeteer myself I’d be all over some of these projects (LED birthday candles? Hell yes!), but it’s not all-ages.

Comments are closed.