Every so often a nonfiction book will break out of the genre stereotypes and present fascinating true information in an accessible and highly entertaining style that will hook you as surely as easily as your favorite fiction author’s work. Imagine how excited we were this week when we received not one but two nonfiction books sure to cause you to stay up late: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot) and Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. (from author’s website)
For more information check out the book page on the NPR website. There you’ll find interviews, the history behind the book, and reviews.
“Steve Jobs, staring down death, had just received a new liver. He lay in a Memphis hospital bed in 2009, floating in and out of consciousness, but he was alert enough — and acting like Steve Jobs, authoritarian design sage — that he pronounced an oxygen mask totally unacceptable. He disapproved of the design.”-Washington Post
Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. (book description)
This Washington Post review offers a great look at both the book and its brilliant but controversial subject.