Citizen Coke: The Making Of Coca-Cola Capitalism by Bartow J. Elmore. (Norton) The global taste for the soft drink, which was the world’s most valuable brand in 2012, has created a tremendous environmental strain. Elmore outlines an ecological history of Coca-Cola, tracing the company’s consumption of ingredients and raw materials – glass, aluminum and plastic. In the mid-2010s, Coca-Cola’s water use was enough to serve the needs of 2 billion people, or nearly a quarter of the world’s population.
Thomas Murphy by Roger Rosenblatt. (Ecco/HarperCollins) Murph, the cheerful, aging Irish poet at the heart of this novel, takes care to delight in life’s pleasures. “Rosenblatt’s accomplishment is to draw the reader so completely into Murphy’s mind and heart and memory, so thoroughly into the poet’s amused (and sometimes bemused) consciousness,” that plot becomes secondary, Times’ reviewer Brian Doyle said.
The Art Of The Publisher by Roberto Calasso. Translated by Richard Dixon. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $15.) Calasso is a novelist and the head of Adelphi Edizioni, an Italian publishing house known for printing works by international authors like Georges Simenon, Vladimir Nabokov and Jorge Luis Borges. Here he lays out a case for the industry as a literary genre unto itself.
Flight Of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon. (Anchor) Drawing on stories from real-life passengers, Lawhon’s novel details the Hindenburg’s doomed, four-day trans-Atlantic crossing. The book “beautifully exploits the unique, excruciating kind of suspense in which the poor horrified reader knows from the start exactly what’s going to happen,” Max Byrd said in The Times.
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The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life Of Lady Margaret Douglas by Alison Weir. (Ballantine) Casual Tudor observers may not be familiar with Douglas, but she closely orbited the monarchy: as a lady-in-waiting to four wives of King Henry VIII, her uncle; as a foe of two queens; and as a prisoner who did stints in the Tower of London. Her dynastic ambition helped secure a legacy for her family by jockeying her grandson James VI of Scotland to the throne. Weir has compiled her biography in dazzling, granular detail.
ARCADIA by Iain Pears. (Vintage) Overlapping story lines crisscross this ambitious novel. Pears ranges from 1960s Oxford, where Henry Lytten, an academic and former spy, is drafting a utopian story, to a surreal, oligarchic world where a scientist, Angela Meerson, discovers a machine whose consequences reverberate across decades and realities.
The Invention Of Science: A New History Of The Scientific Revolution by David Wootton. (Harper Perennial) Columbus’ voyage to the Americas in 1492 had profound ramifications for science; until then, it was believed that all significant knowledge was already at hand, but the discovery catalyzed a fertile era of modern science between 1572 and 1704, the book argues.
New York Times