~posted by Frank
Bored with biographies? Tired of travel guides? Sick of self help? Had it with histories? Here are six new nonfiction titles on topics that are singular, peculiar, and fascinating.
Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David. David tells the stories of death by clothing – whether intentional or accidental. Tales of deadly dyes, flammable fabrics and explosive clothing throughout history will keep you enthralled.
Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver by Frances Bakehouse.
This surprisingly popular history of the beaver, which the author posits is North America’s most influential animal, goes back 15,000 years to examine its integral role in human history.
Beast: Werewolves, Serial Killers and Maneaters: Solving the Mystery of the Monsters of the Gévaudan by S.R. Schwalb and Gustavo Sánchez Romero. What exactly happened that killed up to 100 people in rural France in the 1760s? Schwalb and Romero investigate the origin of La Béte, France’s Infamous Beast.
Matthias Buchinger: “The Greatest German Living” by Ricky Jay. Jay, one of the world’s foremost sleight of hand artists, explores the life of Matthias Buchinger – magician, calligrapher, inventor, musician – who stood 29 inches tall and was born with no arms or legs.
Bad Clowns by Benjamin Radford. This examination of bad clowns, imagined (Punch and Judy, Krusty, Pennywise) and real (John Wayne Gacy) is the perfect read for those (many) of us who really, really hate clowns.
Step Right Up! Classic American Target and Arcade Forms by Richard Tucker. This somewhat less creepy alternative to Bad Clowns looks at shooting gallery targets and other arcade forms found in amusement attractions at the turn of the previous century.