Two diverse and game-changing books (along with On Photography) about art and photography.
If you don't feel like reading Luca Turin's book about scent you might as well read Chandler Burr's book about him.
Pictures of wood. Radial, horizontal, and vertical cuts of wood. That's about it.
It might sound weird, but if you raise your eyebrows, I will say to you: it is stunning.
Douglas Hofstadter's classic take on mathematics, art, and knowledge. The publisher says it's "in the spirit of Lewis Carroll" and I'm one to agree.
"How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science" was such a good subtitle I bought this one in hardcover.
David Wondrich has returned to fill us all in on the most social of drinks. After reading it you'll demand your friends come over for a bowl or two.
Everything ever about meat. This book is a blessing for the carnivore inside of you.
It's a great retrospective on the past 30 years of hacking, sure, but the fun part is all of the now-archaic technology. 2400 baud modems! Payphones!
This book taught me how to synthesize methyl salicylate from aspirin, which I then used to make a slightly poisonous wintergreen flavoring.
A great social history of the soda fountain.
Do you want to make 20 gallons of Stoughton bitters? Purify nitric acid? Cure liver problems? This 1872 guide has you covered.
A nice history on one of NYC's most interesting characters.
I wrote this book as a Grammar for Smart Grownups....clear language, busting some grammar myths, clear examples.
The transition to digital technology on the trading floor. A great modern day ethnography (thanks to Rachel for the tip!)
A funny, sciency guide to the nine major cloud types. Lots of good photos. At the very least you'll never forget what a cumulonimbus cloud is.
From Brainery friend Ben Feldman, the tale of a gruesome 19th century NYC scandal.