by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney | 304 pgs, published 2011

Non-fiction! Shocking!

Baumeister and Tierney are researchers, and they’ve done countless studies of their own; the book also draws on studies done by other researchers to give convincing evidence in favor of their conclusions. Of course, that could just mean the authors are skilled writers.

The point of the book is that it takes energy to exercise willpower; you need to eat the right kinds of foods to give your brain the necessary fuel; willpower can be strengthened by frequent use. Most importantly, developing small habits (like shaving every morning or having good posture) strengthens your willpower, and it will be easier to have self-control in other areas of your life.

Basically, think of willpower like a muscle. Be strong!

Buy Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength on Amazon



by Ann Aguirre | 262 pgs, published 2011

I know, I say this all the time, but it’s worth repeating for quite a few of the books you’ll see reviews for in the next bit: I don’t keep track of where I got a book recommendation from, or what genre the book is, and I definitely don’t read reviews beforehand.

So I didn’t know that this was a zombie book.

Wait, wait! Now that we’ve got that out in the open, let me say, it’s a fascinating, well-written YA dystopian book. Very worth your time. Just…zombies, ok? Hear me out.

There’s been a massive plague, society has disintegrated, so far this is typical dystopian stuff. Life expectancy is barely two decades. The main character, Deuce, lives in an enclave of survivors in the underground tunnels of New York. Totally not weird: there are tunnel monsters, or Freaks. Yes, those are zombies. But the way the enclave has structured its little society is fascinating, the story is fast-paced, the characters are interesting.

Some post-apocalyptic zombie books where they never say “zombies” are no good. This one, great. Trust me!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley | 384 pgs, published 2009

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce likes spending time in the laboratory and experimenting with poisons. It adds some interest to her otherwise boring life. Fortunately, early one morning she finds a man lying in the garden outside her window, and once he dies, she has plenty to do: solve his murder.

Think chemistry + stamp collecting + Harriet the Spy + English countryside in the 1950s. If this sounds good, please read the book! I seldom go for mysteries, but this was immensely fun to read. Very enjoyable. There are, apparently, other Flavia de Luce books, but this is a perfectly good stand-alone book.

Buy The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie on Amazon