At the recent Kingston WritersFest Book Lovers Lunch — always a hugely popular event — indie Toronto bookseller Ben McNally picked his fave books of fall 2012. Chatelaine asked him to highlight his top 5 non-fiction releases and tell us why he chose them. For his top fiction releases, click here.
1. The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, $22. Our habits define us. Some are beneficial, some detrimental. Duhigg, with dazzling use of examples both personal and institutional, looks at how some people, and some businesses have oversome bad habits.
2. The Fishing Fleet, Anne de Courcy, $20. A breezy but illuminating examination of the British Raj, seen through the eyes of some of the women who joined the annual exodus from England. Fascinating personal stories make this one sparkle.
3. Private Empire, Steve Coll, $26. Coll examines the extraordinary discipline and foresight that CEO Lee Raymond used to forge Exxon-Mobil into the powerhouse that it is today. Ultimately dispiriting, this book highlights the immense power wielded by multi-national corporations.
4. Embers of War, Fredrik Logevall, $31. An intense and magisterial examination of the French colonial misadventure in Indochina. In great detail and with surprising suspense, Logevall explains how the Americans inherited a losing game.
5. Glittering Images, Camille Paglia, $23. A subjective wide-ranging survey of the history of art, chosen and expatiated on by the ever entertaining and informative (if occasionally controversial) Paglia. This will be a beautiful book. — Ben McNally