3 recommendations for non-fiction reading : NPR



DANIEL ESTRIN, HOST:

You could be swimming in salt water this summer or in chlorinated water or maybe in a deep pool of books. And maybe you don’t know what to read. Well, we’ve got you covered. NPR’s Books We Love, Summer Edition, have all kinds of suggestions from our staff — today, some of the best nonfiction of 2022 so far. Our cultural correspondent Neda Ulaby kicks things off with “Making Videogames: The Art Of Creating Digital Worlds” by Duncan Harris and Alex Wiltshire.

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NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: I chose this book because I’m not a fan of video games, but I’m an art lover. And the thing is, I feel really, deeply disconnected from the world of video games, which is a world that I understand is really important and that I really respect. So I wanted to find a way to understand.

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ULABY: I’m a sucker for a beautiful coffee table art book, and that’s what this book is. And what it does is it explains how math and design come together to create an incredibly immersive visual experience. So you might be surprised, like me, to learn how the heightened naturalism of the Hudson River school inspired the look of a famous game called Red Dead Redemption 2, which is kind of an alternate western, or how the beautiful atmospheric fights in the game Control is taken from the films of Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed the movie “Drive”. I had never thought before of the artistry that goes into creating the textures of someone’s shiny hair or a creature’s ruffled fur or the way the patina of a rusty spaceship transports a player deeper into another world.

(SOUNDBITE OF STREAMBEATS BY HARRIS HELLER’S “BASEMENT TAN”)

BRONSON ARCURI, BYLINE: This is Bronson Arcuri. I’m a producer in the visuals team. And the book I would recommend is “The Nineties” by Chuck Klosterman.

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ARCURI: You see, I was a kid in the 90s, and this book finally got me through that decade for the first time as an adult. And finally, everything that was happening in 2022 fell into place. It was like watching the second season of a TV show and finally being able to catch up on the first. I think if you were there, “The Nineties” is a perfect reminder of what that decade was really like. And if you were too young, they tell you everything you need to know.

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JANET WOOJEONG LEE, BYLINE: Hello. I’m Janet Woojeong Lee, producer of It’s Been A Minute. The book I want to share with everyone is “Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home”.

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LEE: This is the first cookbook by New York Times food writer Eric Kim. In the book, Eric begins by introducing Korean pantry essentials like the different jangs, or pasta, with kimchi. Then he moves on to comfort food recipes with his own twist – sweets like his homemade pain au lait or something a little saltier like salmon with red peppers.

(SOUNDBITE OF STREAMBEATS BY HARRIS HELLER’S “SAN ANDREAS”)

LEE: What I love about Eric’s writing in this book is that each recipe is peppered with stories of his childhood in Atlanta and his loved ones who influenced his cooking. And even if you don’t really like food, I would say this is definitely a memoir with food. It will make you smile, make you hungry and take you back to your childhood kitchen. It’s just a great read, and I hope you enjoy it.

(SOUNDBITE OF STREAMBEATS BY HARRIS HELLER’S “SAN ANDREAS”)

ESTRIN: You’ve heard NPR staff recommend “Making Videogames,” “The Nineties,” and “Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home.” For more ideas on what to read — cookbooks, nonfiction, historical fiction, whatever interests you — dive into our We Love book list at npr.org/bestbooks.

(SOUNDBITE OF STREAMBEATS BY HARRIS HELLER’S “SAN ANDREAS”)

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