A solid Mary Roach read.
A little announcement: the sequel.

Authors you love even through their books that you don't.

For whatever reason, Steve Almond is one of those writers who I really enjoy, even when I'm not particularly loving their specific books.

Almond Take his latest, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. I was pretty pumped to get this one, as I enjoy Almond and I really enjoy music (although I have not been what you would call a slobbering fanatic about any one group, singer, or style for some time). I've been reading it off and on, but never more than two short chapters at a time or so; nothing in it has really set me on fire.

But, even so? I just enjoy Steve Almond's writing. I enjoyed interludes like this:

"Back in fourth grade, Alissa Fox brought to class a miraculous device her father supposedly helped invent. It had a numerical keyboard and performed all four basic math functions, with the results visible (sort of) on a tiny gray screen. Of especial interest was the fact that you could turn the machine over and type a secret series of numbers, o as to produce words such as 'hello' and 'boobs' and 'bigboobs.' This machine--called a cal-cu-lator--so totally blew our minds that it was assumed that Alissa Fox's dad was int he CIA and could shoot lasers from his teeth.

Back when I was teaching undergrads how to write short stories that would horrify their parents, I often told this story, in an effort to compel my classes to think about how quickly technology has transformed our species, has shifted our attention from individual imaginative tasks to collective screen addiction and thereby replaced the peculiar sensitivities of our internal lives with a series of frantic buy messages. One of my students would eventually respond to this by smiling timidly and saying, Man, you're really old."

Which is a great lead-in, really, to discussing how formats of music have changed (and a discussion of the relative merits and drawbacks of each), which is what he does in this chapter.

This book may not be the one for you. But do give Steve Almond a try. I'd particularly suggest his titles Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America (about his investigations into how different candies are made) or Not That You Asked: Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions (an essay collection).