Nonfiction with Bill Gates

Although I tend toward novels, preferring to immerse myself in imaginary characters and plots, periodically I accidentally find a nonfiction book to read.  Zeitoun by Dave Eggers is at the top of my recommended list, and biographies of Cleopatra or one of the Roosevelts can always transport me.

Recently, I happened upon Bill Gates’ list of books on his blog gatesnotes  – some fiction, but mostly nonfiction.   Gates organizes his books by category: Most Recent, Title, Reviewed, Science and Technology,Business, Philanthropy, Politics and Policy, Heroes and Gamechangers, Saving Lives, Energy, Education – and he has read them all.

Although I did not relate to his reviews, I found two familiar titles of books I’d read and enjoyed: Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  Just reading the list gave me a perspective on Bill Gates.

I also got some ideas for books to read – maybe you will too.  A few I plan to order from the library include:

  • One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs
  • Tap Dancing to Work by Warren Buffett
  • The Man Who Fed the World by Leon Hesser

Related Reviews:


Moonwalking with Einstein


Stories Not for the Nervous

Ghost stories for Halloween – or anytime.  Alfred Hitchcock edited a collection of scary tales – short stories, novelettes, and a novel – in the 1965 Stories Not for the Nervous that includes “various tomes of terror, sagas of suspense…groupings of grue…” from the master of suspense.  From a futuristic Twilight Zone short story by Ray Bradbury to a complete novel – “Sorry, Wrong Number” – the collection will have you looking over your shoulder and turning on all the lights.

I found this classic through the Dave Eggers interview in the New York Times book review section.  Eggers wrote one of my favorite nonfiction books – Zeitoun. When interviewed for By the Book,  Eggers admitted to “reading ghost stories and having a blast {when he} found a collection Hitchcock edited.”

Perfect for Halloween or anytime you are looking for old-fashioned scary fun.

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National Book Giveaway

Modeled on a British program that distributed over 1 million books, World Book Night in the United States recently gave away 500,000 free paperbacks to potential readers who may not otherwise be able to own a book – no e-books; all physical books in hand.

A list of 30 titles for the giveaway, compiled by librarians, bookseller, and publishers, included:

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Zeitoun  by Dave Eggers
  • A Reliable Wife  by Robert Goolrick
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The History of Love  by Nicole Krauss
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

For the full list, go to “World Book Night List of Books” – here

How many have you read?

Novel Destinations

Like most public libraries, mine is trying to motivate summer readers with a plan that includes rewards; besides the obvious benefits of enjoying the books, the library is offering bookmarks, posters, and other paraphanalia as part of the game to get patrons to read more.  This summer the theme is Novel Destinations – a way to vicariously combat island fever and get away – through a book.

A few of their titles look promising:

  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (destination – Mississippi)
  • The Calligrapher’s Daugher by Eugenia Kim (destination – Korea)
  • The Broken Shore by Peter Temple (destination – Australia)
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (destination obvious)

I found an amazing link – Fiction of Place – that had more references than I could manage, but bookmarked anyway.  And then thought of books I’d read that had the place as important as the characters: Bill Bryson’s Lost Continent, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, Tepper Isn’t Going Out by Calvin Trillin, and Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun.


If you can’t get there by train, plane, or car – travel by the books will do.

Do you have any fictional itineraries to recommend?