by Randall Munroe
Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon? Randall Munroe is here to help. In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, “ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is, including: food-heating radio boxes (microwaves), the other worlds around the sun (the solar system), and the bags of stuff inside you (cells), just to name a few.
by Bill Bryson
According to NPR, at its best, is a funny and pleasant travelogue, and, at its worst, a long and grumpy Yelp review.
Following (but not too closely) a route the author dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits. With his instinct for the funniest and quirkiest and his eye for the idiotic, the bewildering, the appealing, and the ridiculous, he offers insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today.
How the Post Office Created America examines the surprising role of the postal service in our nation’s political, social, economic, and physical development.
Winifred Gallagher presents the history of the post office as America’s own story, told from a fresh perspective over more than two centuries. The mandate to deliver the mail—then “the media”—imposed the federal footprint on vast, often contested parts of the continent and transformed a wilderness into a social landscape of post roads and villages centered on post offices.