If you’ve ever wondered, as Heidegger, put it, “why is there something rather than nothing?” try imagining nothing. That inconceivable void is the point of departure for Jim Holt’s thorough parsing of the question, Why Does the World Exist? (Liveright,$16.95). Holt, author of Stop Me If You’ve Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes, is a genial and thoughtful guide to the many theories we’ve come up with to explain the universe, from creation myths and a benign deity to godless materialist theories and on to the wild, everything-goes scenarios of the multi-verse. For each line of inquiry, Holt surveys the major literature and interviews the experts, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each argument. So why is there something? Ultimately, the answers don’t resolve the matter but raise more questions, implicitly suggesting, perhaps, that the world exists to make us wonder.
Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871403599
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Liveright - April 8th, 2013

Set in an eve-of-war 1937 China that today is both mysterious and somehow romantic, Midnight in Peking (Penguin, $16), by Paul French, is everything that a true-crime narrative should be. It transports us to a particularly exotic land that fills our heads with magic while simultaneously making us cringe at the gruesome death of a beautiful and privileged young Western woman. Always mystifying, never kitschy, this book leaves the reader equal parts mesmerized and horrified while finally offering an answer to the question, who killed Pamela Werner?
Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143123361
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - April 30th, 2013

Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball’s Color Line (Atlantic, $25),by Tom Dunkel, is sports journalism and narrative history at its best. While most Americans think of Jackie Robinson’s debut in the Major Leagues as the event that broke the color barrier in baseball, Dunkel has unearthed a remarkable and previously untold story of a formidable semipro baseball team in the mid 1930s that included some of the nation’s most talented black ball players, including Satchel Paige and Quince Troupe. The team didn’t play in New York City or Chicago or a major metropolitan area, but in the drought-ravaged, Depression-ravaged remoteness of Bismarck, North Dakota, in the mid 1930s.

Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball's Color Line Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802120120
Availability: Out of Print in This Format
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 2nd, 2013

Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball's Color Line Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802121370
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - April 8th, 2014