The History of the Future by Blake J. Harris (490 pages)
In 2012, nineteen-year-old Palmer Luckey -inventor, gamer, dreamer-lives alone in a trailer in Long Beach, California. Like Walter in Breaking Bad, Luckey has transformed his trailer into a makeshift laboratory - except instead of a meth lab, his has been optimized to build virtual reality headsets, which, at this time, is a technology that very few in the world still care about. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, VR died in the nineties and is now nothing more than a failed flight of fancy like jetpacks or flying cars. Luckey, however, is adamant about its resurrection; so, too, are other visionaries.
Enter famed coder and video game pioneer John Carmack, who is developing a game that might be the prefect software companion to Luckey's hardware. Soon enough, the two team up, and with the help of a charismatic serial entrepreneur, a brilliant Russian programmer, and dozens of other colorful characters, Luckey's scrappy startup - Oculus - kickstarts a virtual reality revolution. What happened next turns out to be the ultimate entrepreneurial journey: a tale of battles won and lost, lessons learned, and never-ending twists and turns, - including an unlikely, multi-billion-dollar acquisition by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who wants to help bring VR to the masses.
Drawing on hundreds of exclusive interviews with the key players driving this revolution, The History of the Future weaves together a rich, cinematic narrative that captures the break-throughs, breakdowns, and human drama of trying to change the world. The result is a modern-day tale of the American Dream that gives readers a front-row seat to the birth of a game changing new industry.
Blake J. Harris is the bestselling author of Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation.
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (480 pp)
One morning in 1945, a boy is driven by his father to a mysterious place hidden away in the heart of the old city: The Cemetery of Lost Books. There, Daniel Sempere finds a cursed book which will change the course of his life and plunge him into a labyrinth of intrigue and secrets concealed in the dark soul of the city.
The Shadow of the Wind is a literary thriller set in Barcelona in the first half of the 20th century, from the fading splendour of Modernism to the shadowy post-war world. The Shadow of the Wind has elements of mystery, historical, and comedy of manner genres but it is most of all a tragic love story which echoes through time. With great narrative power, the author reveals plots and intrigues as though opening up a Russian doll in an unforgettable tale about the secrets of the heart and the magic of books, maintaining the mystery until the last page.
Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.
American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics and the Birth of American CSI
Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities--beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books--sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the "American Sherlock Holmes," Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest--and first--forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural.
Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.
Dylan Goes Electric! by Elijah Wald
One of the music world’s pre-eminent critics takes a fresh and much-needed look at the day Dylan “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival, timed to coincide with the event’s fiftieth anniversary.
On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at Newport Folk Festival, backed by an electric band, and roared into his new rock hit, Like a Rolling Stone. The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world—Dylan’s declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation—and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music.
In Dylan Goes Electric!, Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the sixties. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan’s artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative, analysis of why it matters.
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azar Nafisi, a bold and inspired teacher, secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; some had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they removed their veils and began to speak more freely–their stories intertwining with the novels they were reading by Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, as fundamentalists seized hold of the universities and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the women in Nafisi’s living room spoke not only of the books they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.
Azar Nafisi’s luminous masterwork gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny, and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.