Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. In trying to discover why a tribe of sandalled indigenous Mexicans happen to be the greatest long-distance runners on the planet, McDougall also uncovers the problems with the modern running shoe, how our ancient ancestors ran down their food, and some things that bring simple joy to living. Also, he tells a really good story.
Losing My Cool, by Thomas Chatterton Williams. Williams immersed himself in the middle-class black approximation of thug life hiphoppery in his middle school and high school years, but soon learned it was a dead end. His father's relentless influence, and his father's huge library, led Williams back to a love of learning. This is perhaps the best memoir since Lac Su's I Love Yous Are for White People.
The Gun, by C. J. Chivers. An excellent history of automatic weapons, and in particular the AK-47. Chivers explains how this weapon, more than any other, including the Bomb, has changed the face of our world.