NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of July 28, 2011Susan Casey tracks the scientific discovery of physics-defying ocean waves — and extreme surfers' efforts to ride them — in The Wave. It appears on the list for a seventh week.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling numerous medical and scientific discoveries.
Describes the actions of both whites and Comanches during a 40-year war over territory, in a story that begins with the kidnapping of a white girl who grew up to marry a Comanche chief and have a son, Quanah, who became a great warrior.
The author of Blink identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers, in a resource that covers such topics as the secrets of software billionaires, why certain cultures are associated with better academic performance and why The Beatles earned their fame.
Recounts the author's experiences with the reclusive Tarahumara Indians, whose techniques allow them to run long distances with ease, and describes his training for a 50-mile race with the tribe and a number of ultramarathoners.
Artist and musician Patti Smith recounts her romance, lifetime friendship and shared love of art with Robert Mapplethorpe in an illustrated memoir, with a colorful cast of characters including Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol and William Burroughs.
The lead guitarist for The Rolling Stones recounts his life, from a youth obsessed with Chuck Berry to the formation of the Stones and their subsequent stardom, and discusses his problems with drugs, the death of Brian Jones, and his relationship with Mick Jagger.
The Happiness Project chronicles the author's year spent testing the edicts of conventional wisdom to assess their potential for improving life, describing various activities ranging from getting more sleep and singing to her children to starting a blog and imitating a spiritual master.
A collection of stories about animals that have forged unlikely, abiding bonds with other animals of different species, from Koko the gorilla and All Ball the kitten to Owen the hippo and the tortoise Mzee.
A psychologist offers insight into the canine mind, drawing on current cognitive research to illuminate a dog's perceptual abilities and the experiences that shape dog behavior, with stories about the author and her canine friend.
An account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event — architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.
Traces the recent discovery of physics-defying ocean waves at heights previously thought impossible, the efforts of the scientific community to understand the phenomenon, the pursuits of extreme surfers to ride these waves, and the destructive capabilities of tsunamis.
Documents the story of a long-time New Orleans resident who was forced to stay behind during Hurricane Katrina while the rest of his family evacuated, describing how he spent days after the storm traveling by canoe to feed abandoned animals before he was inexplicably arrested.
The second child of a scholarly, alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, from the Arizona desert to Las Vegas to an Appalachian mining town, during which she and her siblings had to fend for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
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