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Tom Acitelli

Whiskey Business: How Small-Batch Distillers Are Transforming American Spirits

Chicago Review Press

Acitelli is a deft man with titles, as witness his earlier book on craft brewing, The Audacity of Hops. Whiskey Business chronicles craft distilling in America, its origins, ascendency, and possible future. The term “craft spirits” itself, the bastard offspring of distillers and ad men, is both descriptive and misleading (like “organic”). Acitelli tells his story in a timeline, hopscotching over years and jumping all over the map of America. His account of the rise of Absolut vodka is a business school seminar. The story of the near-collapse of the whiskey market in the 1970s is a cautionary tale.

– Bruce Collier

Joseph Finder

The Switch


Finder’s particularly skilled at stories about ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary situations, the kind of thing Hitchcock used to turn into great movies. Here, a coffee entrepreneur’s laptop gets switched at the airport with a United States Senator’s, and all hell breaks loose. Aside from page-turning suspense, there’s a great piece of dialogue about the NSA that could have wandered in from one of Barry Eisler’s books.

– Chris Manson

Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Audible, Narrated by the Author

Noah, the comedian that replaced Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, describes his experiences as a colored (the term used in South Africa to describe half-white, half-black folks) person growing up in a black family in South Africa during apartheid. The title is derived from Noah being born mixed race in a time when relations between blacks and whites were illegal. The content is serious, but he adds enough comedy to keep it light and easy to read. I hate to admit this, but I did not realize how recent apartheid was until I read this memoir, and I certainly did not understand how complex and sometimes arbitrary the legal system was in South Africa during that time. Life was especially hard for black women, as the reader learns through Noah’s stories about his mother. Noah’s audiobook narration adds a lot to his already amazing story.

– Marilu Morgan
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