An education-reference book recommendation: Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2s2OREG.
Although Raboy at times becomes mired in Marconi’s corporate machinations and personal life, he is especially adroit at portraying how Marconi was swept up in the modern world he helped create.
Book description from Google Books:
A little over a century ago the world went wireless. Cables and all their limiting inefficiencies gave way to a revolutionary means of transmitting news and information almost everywhere, instantaneously. By means of “Hertzian waves,” as radio waves were initially known, ships could now make contact with other ships (saving lives, such as on the doomed R.M.S. Titanic); financial markets could coordinate with other financial markets, establishing the price of commodities and fixing exchange rates; military commanders could connect with the front lines, positioning artillery and directing troop movements. Suddenly and irrevocably, time and space telescoped beyond what had been thought imaginable. Someone had not only imagined this networked world but realized it: Guglielmo Marconi. As Marc Raboy shows us in this enthralling and comprehensive biography, Marconi was the first truly global figure in modern communications. Born to an Italian father and an Irish mother, he was in many ways stateless, working his cosmopolitanism to advantage. Through a combination of skill, tenacity, luck, vision, and timing, Marconi popularized-and, more critically, patented-the use of radio waves. Soon after he burst into public view with a demonstration of his wireless apparatus in London at the age of 22 in 1896, he established his Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company and seemed unstoppable. He was decorated by the Czar of Russia, named an Italian Senator, knighted by King George V of England, and awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics-all before the age of 40. Until his death in 1937, Marconi was at the heart of every major innovation in electronic communication, courted by powerful scientific, political, and financial interests, and trailed by the media, which recorded and published nearly every one of his utterances. He established stations and transmitters in every corner of the globe, from Newfoundland to Buenos Aires, Hawaii to Saint Petersburg. Based on original research and unpublished archival materials in four countries and several languages, Raboy’s book is the first to connect significant parts of Marconi’s story, from his early days in Italy, to his groundbreaking experiments, to his protean role in world affairs. Raboy also explores Marconi’s relationships with his wives, mistresses, and children, and examines in unsparing detail the last ten years of the inventor’s life, when he returned to Italy and became a pillar of Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime. Raboy’s engrossing biography, which will stand as the authoritative work of its subject, proves that we still live in the world Marconi created.
The book is rated 3.81/5 at goodreads.com, from 16 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s2LxcQ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2qJOaMt.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A law book recommendation: The Other One Percent: Indians in America (Modern South Asia) by Sanjoy Chakravorty

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2mwzHVG.
…“The Other One Percent” is a rigorous, fact-based analysis of how cross-border flows of brainy and ambitious people make the world a better place. Politicians and policymakers in both America and in India should make sure they read it.
Book description from Google Books:
One of the most remarkable stories of immigration in the last half century is that of Indians to the United States. People of Indian origin make up a little over one percent of the American population now, up from barely half a percent at the turn of the millennium. Not only has its recentgrowth been extraordinary, but this population from a developing nation with low human capital is now the most-educated and highest-income group in the world’s most advanced nation. The Other One Percent is a careful, data-driven, and comprehensive account of the three core processes – selection,assimilation, and entrepreneurship – that have led to this rapid rise. This unique phenomenon is driven by – and, in turn, has influenced – wide-ranging changes, especially the ongoing revolution in information technology and its impact on economic globalization, immigration policies in the U.S.,higher education policies in India, and foreign policies of both nations. If the overall picture is one of economic success, the details reveal the critical issues faced by the immigrants stemming from the social, linguistic, and class structure in India, the professional and geographicdistribution in the U.S., the simultaneous expressions of pan-Indian and regional identities and simultaneous leadership in high-skill industries (like computers and medicine) and low-skill industries (like hospitality and retail trade), and the multi-generational challenges of a diverse group fromthe world’s largest democracy fitting into its oldest.
The book is rated 3.62/5 at goodreads.com, from 8 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mXCDHX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tw7AJt.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A non-fiction book recommendation: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2txuIre.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last Hermit may not appeal to everyone. But for those who desire an amazing true story that is told with immeasurable depth and compassion, it is an extraordinary glimpse into a world that defies much of what we think we know about people.
Book description from Google Books:
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.  A New York Times bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The book is rated 3.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 8807 ratings. See 1529 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2paTfvV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paTU0h.

A humour book recommendation: The Rookie: An Odyssey through Chess (and Life) by Stephen Moss

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2qJNYNA.
The Rookie is written for a general audience, but I imagine relative experts would get pleasure out of it – not least that of schadenfreude. An appendix includes 10 of Moss’s games in algebraic notation…
Book description from Google Books:
Chess was invented more than 1,500 years ago, and is played in every country in the world. Stephen Moss sets out to master its mysteries, and unlock the secret of its enduring appeal. What, he asks, is the essence of chess? And what will it reveal about his own character along the way?In a witty, accessible style that will delight newcomers and irritate purists, Moss imagines the world as a board and marches across it, offering a mordant report on the world of chess in 64 chapters–64 of course being the number of squares on the chessboard. He alternates between “black” chapters–where he plays, largely uncomprehendingly, in tournaments–and “white” chapters, where he seeks advice from the current crop of grandmasters and delves into the lives of great players of the past. It is both a history of the game and a kind of “Zen and the Art of Chess;” a practical guide and a self-help book: Moss’s quest to understand chess and become a better player is really an attempt to escape a lifetime of dilettantism. He wants to become an expert at one thing. What will be the consequences when he realizes he is doomed to fail?Moss travels to Russia and the US–hotbeds of chess throughout the 20th century; meets people who knew Bobby Fischer when he was growing up and tries to unravel the enigma of that tortured genius who died in 2008 at the inevitable age of 64; meets Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen, world champions past and present; and keeps bumping into Armenian superstar Levon Aronian in the gents at tournaments. He becomes champion of Surrey, wins tournaments in Chester and Bury St Edmunds, and holds his own at the famous event in the Dutch seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee (until a last-round meltdown), but too often he is beaten by precocious 10-year-olds and finds it hard to resist the urge to punch them. He looks for spiritual fulfillment in the game, but mostly finds mental torture.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 36 ratings. See 5 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s39h0g.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s3romH.

A health book recommendation: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2bd1y6v.
The book is a fast, light read, but it is made poignant by the understanding that Isabel’s life is still on an upward swing — things get better, she finds love, she begins to move on — while Edward is heading toward his slow decline.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple–a nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter–engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves her own Edward–and everyone deserves to read this book.” –Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire   When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.” “A dinner with Edward is nothing to demur. Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.” –George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir  
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 1644 ratings. See 366 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd0L5G.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pPdvVq.

A current-affairs book recommendation: Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues by Bill Moyers

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/1I22FkT.
Readers of his new book, “Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues,” will feast on four dozen wide-ranging conversations…
Book description from Google Books:
One of the highest-rated public affairs programs on public television, Bill Moyers Journal drew up to two million weekly viewers from 2007 to 2010. Through incisive, morally engaging conversations with some of the leading political figures, writers, activists, poets, and scholars at work today, the Journal captured the essence of the past three pivotal years in American life and politics, including the final act of the Bush Administration and the early years of Obama.Now, Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues brings this groundbreaking work to the page. From Michael Pollan, David Simon, and Jane Goodall to John Grisham, Karen Armstrong, and Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues introduces the ideas that matter today—on subjects as diverse as the politics of food, race in the age of Obama, aging in America, the power of poetry, wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the conflict over gay marriage, and the fate of the American newspaper.With extensive new commentary from Bill Moyers—in the tradition of his national bestsellers A World of Ideas and Healing and the Mind—here is an unparalleled guide to the debates, the cultural currents, and above all the fascinating people who have so powerfully shaped the world we live in.
The book is rated 4.24/5 at goodreads.com, from 192 ratings. See 40 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1I22FBr.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tn76VT.

A comic book recommendation: Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cv5mRv.
Finally, Franc, working in ligne claire style, makes everything colourful and vivid. Sometimes, his choices are (this isn’t really a criticism) predictable: the rust red of a desert in the gloaming; the sprightly green of an English links in spring. But at others, he turns everything on its head.
Book description from Google Books:
The life of Agatha Christie was as mysterious and eventful as her fiction. This beautifully illustrated graphic novel traces the life of the Queen of Whodunnit from her childhood in Torquay, England, through a career filled with success, mischief, and adventure, to her later years as Dame Agatha. Revealing a side to Christie that will surprise and delight many readers, Agatha introduces us to a free-spirited and thoroughly modern woman who, among other things, enjoyed flying, travel, and surfing. Centering around an episode in 1926 when Christie staged her own disappearance, Agatha is an intriguing, entertaining, and funny exploration of the 20th century’s best-loved crime novelist.
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 445 ratings. See 113 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cX3nCM.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sEnGgE.