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"A Short History of Nearly Everything"


Administrator and Stuntman
Staff member
I read it years ago. It's a great read and I think it sets the reader up to move on to more detailed texts on the subjects he covers.

Speaking of non-fiction, here are some recommendations that I have come up with over the years:

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain. The book that started it all. All the dirty secrets of the restaurant industry can be found here. Anthony Bourdain's writing style is very conversational and in your face as you would expect any good New Yorker to be.

A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain. Anthony Bourdain travels around the world in search of the perfect meal. Not limiting himself to food, he also rates the quality of porn in various countries. You'll laugh, you'll cringe, but mainly you'll laugh.

The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones by Anthony Bourdain. This is essentially a collection of essays and articles written for newspapers and magazines.

No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain. This is more than just a companion to his TV show of the same name in that it has fresh new material.

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (P.S.) by Anthony Bourdain. I think it's best to think of this book as a follow-up to Kitchen Confidential. Boy, does Bourdain love his pho!

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Quite possibly the funniest collection of autobiographical essays I have ever read.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. If you liked Me Talk Pretty One Day then you owe it to yourself to read this.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. Jared Diamond looks at the rise and fall of Easter Island, the Mayans, the Anasazi, and the Norse of Greenland and looks into why and how they failed. He then looks at modern societies and says, based on past societies, which ones are succeeding and which ones are collapsing. His observations and conclusions are bound to anger the Australians and the Chinese. The Haitians and Rwandans can't complain because they can't afford this book (that's a joke people).

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. Why did Europe "conquer" the world and not Mesoamerica or the Polynesians or the Africans or the Chinese? Jared Diamond attempts to answer this seemingly simple question. It's not a light read but well worth the effort.

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe. When ecologists warn that if current exploitation continues, all of the ocean's major fish stocks will collapse around 2048, what is a seafood lover to do? Taras Grescoe, a self-proclaimed piscavore sets out to find out if it's possible to eat responsibly in a world of short-sighted overfishing. Highly recommended.

The End of Elsewhere: Travels Among the Tourists by Taras Grescoe. Taras Grescoe journeys from the coast of Spain to the coast of China but does so "among the tourists" where the tourist rut has been cut the deepest.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. From black holes to gravity to the nature of times and space to the search for the grand unifying theory, Hawking does the best job I have seen so far in presenting the material in layman's terms without needing a PhD in Physics to understand what he is saying.

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene. Superstring Theory 101. if you're still confused as **** at the end, that's ok.

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West by Tom Holland. A very readable and engaging history of the Greek-Persian war.

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. If you enjoyed the TV mini-series then you will enjoy the book.

War As I Knew It by George S. Patton. Gen. Patton, arguably one of the best American generals ever, died from a car accident in December 1945 so he was never able to write his memoirs. What survived was his diary. This book presents his edited diary and contains many of the quotes that have been attributed to him.

Attacks by Erwin Rommel. This is basically Erwin Rommel's WWI diary. Fascinating insight into one of the greatest military minds of the 20th Century.

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson . Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy. Very detailed account of the Allied liberation of North Africa. It's interesting to read this after reading Patton's War As I Knew It and read two different accounts of the same action.

I really need to update this list.