Excerpts: Best Books 2009
December 29, 2009 In this sharp-eyed chronicle, Joan Biskupic details how Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's formative experiences translate into his strict constructionist reading of the U.S. Constitution — and how his self-proclaimed unwavering interpretations are often anything but concrete.
December 29, 2009 This book reveals the personal odyssey of Deogratias Niyizonkiza, an American-trained physician living and working in the central African nations of Burundi and Rwanda. His personal tale is one of triumph and misery as he fights to bring modern medical care to his homeland.
December 29, 2009 In his health care expose, T.R. Reid, a reporter for the Washington Post, reveals numerous opponents of American health care reform as liars, or at best, ill-informed. Reid discusses the benefits of overseas health care programs and tries to dispel the fearful myth of "socialized health care."
December 23, 2009 Pierre Bayard's book manages to make the reader feel infinitely more literate without having to do all the heavy work of reading. It's chock full of perceptions, philosophy and bon mots.
December 23, 2009 Benjamin Nugent's book posits itself as the "history of the nerd," explaining the many facets of "geek-dom" that exist alongside a pervasive strain of anti-intellectualism in America. The book includes keen observations on jocks, racism, autism, and, of course, Dungeons and Dragons.
December 23, 2009 This new reissue of Elaine Dundy's 1962 hit is far more literary than "chick lit" but just as much fun, absolutely crackling with deviousness and wit.
December 23, 2009 Miriam Toews' novel is a light, modern On the Road: a poignant American road-trip novel with a twist. It's Canadian.
December 23, 2009 Daniel Everett went to the Amazon as a Christian missionary, but ended up spending decades living with the Piraha tribe. This book, his account of those decades with the remote tribe, is riveting, serious escapism.