Mar 4, 2014 — The French capital wasn't always beautiful. Author Joan DeJean details the city's transformation in the 17th century, as new bridges and boulevards turned desolate terrain into the City of Light.
Feb 25, 2014 — Plans for man-made islands — designed by Rice University architecture students — have attracted the attention of one of the world's largest oil companies as a way to house way-offshore oil workers.
Feb 6, 2014 — In Scent And Subversion, Barbara Herman explains how, at the turn of the 20th century, most perfumes were still just one note, floral. Then along came a fragrance that changed everything. "With Chanel No. 5," Herman says, "Coco Chanel said, 'A woman needs to smell like a woman, and not a rose.'"
Jan 24, 2014 — At No. 4, Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter describe the recovery of stolen art in The Monuments Men.
Jan 4, 2014 — The term "Rube Goldberg machine" has become shorthand for a convoluted contraption made up of a series of chain reactions. But Goldberg was also a real person, whose ideas for whimsical devices have captivated imaginations for decades.
Jan 1, 2014 — In softcover nonfiction, Sonali Deraniyagala writes about losing her family to the 2004 tsunami, Nick Turse explores civilian deaths in Vietnam, David Esterly shares his path to becoming a master woodcarver, and Bruce Feiler collects tips for building a happier family. In fiction, Ruth Ozeki tells the story of a depressed 16-year-old.
Dec 15, 2013 — Each Lenten season, Christians travel to Rome to visit a different martyr's shrine each day. The pilgrim-worn path, which dates back to the dawn of Christianity, includes some of the city's most striking churches and historic art. Theologian George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage, says the journey grounded his faith in real places and people.
Dec 13, 2013 — Debuting at No. 14, Humans of New York is photographer Brandon Stanton's visual census of the city.
Dec 13, 2013 — Embarrassing photos with a seasonal theme fill Awkward Family Holiday Photos. It debuts at No. 14.
Dec 11, 2013 — Fresh Air's book critic says it's just a fluke that 9 of the 11 titles she picked this year were written by female authors. Her favorites include a jumbo-sized Dickensian novel, a biography of Ben Franklin's sister, a comedy of manners, a stunning Scandinavian mystery and more.