Four years after publishing I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron, now 70, is more concerned than ever about aging. In her new book, I Remember Nothing, she rues cleavage that "looks like a peach pit" and taking "so many pills in the morning you don't have room for breakfast." In the title essay, Ephron flags life events of which she has retained nada — including meeting Eleanor Roosevelt in 1961 and seeing The Beatles live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. She quips, "I was not at Woodstock, but I might as well have been because I wouldn't remember it anyway," and concludes, "On some level my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can't remember it, who can?"
Geologist, journalist and now best-selling author Simon Winchester has spent his life following his curiosity to far-flung corners of the world. And though he has crossed many oceans, the one that has made the greatest impression on him is the one closest to home. Atlantic is a biography of the world's second largest ocean, which chronicles its origins, history and cultural influence.
Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, tackles the existence of multiple universes in his latest book, The Hidden Reality. Recent discoveries in physics and astronomy, he says, point to the idea that our universe may be one of many universes populating a grander multiverse. Greene thinks the key to understanding these multiverses comes from string theory, the area of physics he has studied for the past 25 years, which attempts to reconcile a mathematical conflict between two already accepted ideas in physics: quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity.
Long before he sold 50 million records worldwide — and before he appeared alongside Warren Buffett on the cover of Fortune magazine, accumulated more than a dozen Grammy Awards and became the CEO of his own record label — Jay-Z was living with his mom in the Marcy Houses housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, just trying to survive day by day. Now 41, Jay-Z hasn't forgotten his past. In his new book, Decoded, he unpacks the detailed riffs and lyrics that make up 36 of his songs while examining both his own life and the growth of hip-hop over the past two decades.
Russell Simmons has been called the godfather of hip-hop, and is considered one of the most successful African-American entrepreneurs in America today. He helped launch the careers of rap stars Run-DMC and 50 Cent, and created a host of high-flying enterprises, from fashion lines to hit TV shows. In his new book, Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All, Simmons talks about the role that yoga has played in his success. "Operating from a calm center doesn't mean you're not operating," he tells NPR's Michel Martin. "This book ... is about consciousness — and a state of needing nothing is how I define 'super rich.' "
Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also leads a weekly chat on books and reading in the digital age every Friday from 4-5 p.m. ET on Twitter. Follow her at @charabbott or check out the #followreader hashtag.