Water A Biography - Giulio Boccaletti (Vintage)

"Provides essential reading for those seeking to explore how humanity's relationship with nature has influenced the development of legal and political systems and offers invaluable insights into current debates surrounding climate change and sustainability. I couldn't recommend it more highly." --Lee C. Bollinger, President and Seth Low Professor of the University, Columbia University


The Power of Geography - Tim Marshall (Scribner Book Company)

Tim Marshall's global bestseller Prisoners of Geography offered us a "fresh way of looking at maps" ( The New York Times Book Review), showing how every nation's choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas, and walls. Since then, the geography hasn't changed, but the world has.

Now, in this "wonderfully entertaining and lucid account, written with wit, pace, and clarity" ( Mirror, UK), Marshall takes us into ten regions set to shape global politics. Find out why US interest in the Middle East will wane; why Australia is now beginning an epic contest with China; how Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UK are cleverly positioning themselves for greater power; why Ethiopia can control Egypt; and why Europe's next refugee crisis looms closer than we think, as does a cutting-edge arms race to control space.

Innovative, compelling, and delivered with Marshall's trademark wit and insight, this is "an immersive blend of history, economics, and political analysis that puts geography at the center of human affairs" ( Publishers Weekly).


An Atlas of Extinct Countries - Gideon Defoe (Europa Compass)

A hilarious history of short-lived countries and the often eccentric people who founded them. Defoe's skewering of the human ego and the misguided notions behind these unique and often squirrelly nations is enlightening and great entertainment."--Don Luckham


Seven Games: A Human History - Oliver Roeder ( W.W. Norton & Company)

Illuminating...offers powerful insights into why we play games and what we can learn from them...accessible, enjoyable...raises provocative and sometimes unsettling questions about the nature of intelligence and the unintended consequences when machines play better than we do....If you are intrigued by this rare opportunity to pull back the curtain on how humans and computers learn, then you will be richly rewarded.--Lucinda Robb "Washington Post"


On Browsing - Jason Guriel (Biblioasis)

"A defense of the dying art of losing an afternoon--and gaining new appreciation--amidst the bins and shelves of brick-and-mortar shops. Written during the pandemic, when the world was marooned at home and consigned to scrolling screens, On Browsing's essays chronicle what we've lost through online shopping, streaming, and the relentless digitization of culture. The latest in the Field Notes series, On Browsing is an elegy for physical media, a polemic in defense of perusing the world in person, and a love letter to the dying practice of scanning bookshelves, combing CD bins, and losing yourself in the stacks."


Hotel Splendide - Ludwig Bemelmans ( Puskin Press)

In this charming and uproariously funny hotel memoir, Ludwig Bemelmans uncovers the fabulous world of the Hotel Splendide--the thinly disguised stand-in for the Ritz--a luxury New York hotel where he worked as a waiter in the 1920s. With equal parts affection and barbed wit, he uncovers the everyday chaos that reigns behind the smooth facades of the gilded dining room and banquet halls.

In hilarious detail, Bemelmans sketches the hierarchy of hotel life and its strange and fascinating inhabitants: from the ruthlessly authoritarian maître d'hôtel Monsieur Victor to the kindly waiter Mespoulets to Frizl the homesick busboy. Illustrated with his own charming line drawings, Bemelmans' tales of a bygone era of extravagance are as charming as they are riotously entertaining.


Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty - Anderson Cooper (Harper Paperbacks)

When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father's small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, no one could have imagined that one day he would, through ruthlessness, cunning, and a pathological desire for money, build two empires--one in shipping and another in railroads--that would make him the richest man in America. His staggering fortune was fought over by his heirs after his death in 1877, sowing familial discord that would never fully heal. Though his son Billy doubled the money left by "the Commodore," subsequent generations competed to find new and ever more extraordinary ways of spending it. By 2018, when the last Vanderbilt was forced out of The Breakers--the seventy-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius's grandson and namesake had built--the family would have been unrecognizable to the tycoon who started it all.

Now, the Commodore's great-great-great-grandson Anderson Cooper, joins with historian Katherine Howe to explore the story of his legendary family and their outsized influence. Cooper and Howe breathe life into the ancestors who built the family's empire, basked in the Commodore's wealth, hosted lavish galas, and became synonymous with unfettered American capitalism and high society. Moving from the hardscrabble wharves of old Manhattan to the lavish drawing rooms of Gilded Age Fifth Avenue, from the ornate summer palaces of Newport to the courts of Europe, and all the way to modern-day New York, Cooper and Howe wryly recount the triumphs and tragedies of an American dynasty unlike any other.

Written with a unique insider's viewpoint, this is a rollicking, quintessentially American history as remarkable as the family it so vividly captures.


Why Architecture Matters - Paul Goldberger (Yale University Press)

"Architecture begins to matter," writes Paul Goldberger, "when it brings delight and sadness and perplexity and awe along with a roof over our heads." In Why Architecture Matters, he shows us how that works in examples ranging from a small Cape Cod cottage to the vast, flowing Prairie houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Guggenheim Bilbao. He eloquently describes the Church of Sant'Ivo in Rome as a work that "embraces the deepest complexities of human imagination."

In his afterword to this new edition, Goldberger addresses the current climate in architectural history and takes a more nuanced look at projects such as Thomas Jefferson's academical village at the University of Virginia and figures including Philip Johnson, whose controversial status has been the topic of much recent discourse. He argues that the emotional impact of great architecture remains vital, even as he welcomes the shift in the field to an increased emphasis on social justice and sustainability.


Finlay Donovan Knocks 'em Dead - Elle Cosimano (Minotaur Books)

"The second entry in Elle Cosimano's Finlay Donovan series, another bumbling comedy of errors and hilarious, fast-paced mystery, upends the life of a struggling writer and single mother."--Shelf Awareness


A Month in the Country - Michael Holroyd (New York Review of Books)

"Carr's prose is spare, elegant and buoyed with wit; the idyllic countryside and its inhabitants are rendered in affectionate detail." -- Publisher's Weekly