Watch out for these non-fiction favorites

Over the years I have covered the book beat, I’ve discovered some interesting statistics — on average women read more books than men do.

While there are many readers who read both fiction and non-fiction, women are more likely to read fiction and men are more likely to read non-fiction.

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I want to encourage men to read more books. With that in mind here are some upcoming non-fiction titles that might be of interest to all readers but hopefully, to men in particular:

“The Infernal Library — On Dictators, the Books they Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy” by Daniel Kalder (Henry Holt, 364 pages, $30) March 6

Did you know that some dictators began their careers as writers? Evil men have written horrifying books and some fairly mediocre poetry.

This study of the literary output of madmen like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini is chilling and informative.

“Memphis Rent Party — The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown” by Robert Gordon (Bloomsbury, 240 pages, $28) March 8

The city of Memphis has been a fertile musical hotbed for generations.

The music writer Robert Gordon examines the tuneful threads of soul, rock ‘n’ roll, and the blues that have flowed out of Memphis and continue to do so today.

“The Death of Democracy — Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic” by Benjamin Carter Hett (Henry Holt, 266 pages, $28) April 3

How did a democracy allow itself to be taken over by a murderous, racist maniac? It happened in Germany. The author examines how Hitler was able to seize power as a democratic government was collapsing.

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“Space Odyssey — Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece” by Michael Benson (Simon and Schuster, 477 pages, $30) April 3

This book is being issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Stanley Kubrick’s monumental film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” If you loved that film, you’ll probably like this book.

“Voices from the Rust Belt” edited by Anne Trubek (Picador, 272 pages, $16) April 3

This collection of essays about residents of what is known as the “Rust Belt” or the “Post-Industrial Midwest” that stretches through Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and portions of New York, Wisconsin, and Illinois, reveals a range of voices that show this region to be far more diverse than one might have thought.

“Young Washington — How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father” by Peter Stark (Ecco, 500 pages, $35) May 1

George Washington’s early career serving as a young British officer in the wilderness of the Ohio Valley depicts some aspects of his personality that could surprise you. He was immature, naive and fairly self-absorbed. And he had some incredible adventures.

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“The Black Prince — England’s Greatest Medieval Warrior” by Michael Jones (Pegasus, 488 pages, $29.95) May 1

Edward of Woodstock was a 14th century English prince and the eldest son of King Edward III. He became known as “The Black Prince” and his victory in 1356 over the French at Poitiers marked England’s most dominant period during the Hundred Years War. He ruled over Aquitaine, a large portion of west and southwest France.

“Those Turbulent Sons of Freedom — Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys and the American Revolution” by Christopher S. Wren (Simon and Schuster, 286 pages, $26) May 8

This revisionist history of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys gives readers a portrait of a band of ruffians who did some good things during the American Revolution but perhaps were not quite the heroic warriors of legend. George Washington kept his distance from them.

“The Flying Tigers — the Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan” by Sam Kleiner (Viking, 290 pages, $28) May 15

Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there were already some American fliers secretly fighting the Japanese in the skies over China, Burma, Vietnam and Thailand. The Army pilot Claire Chennault was their leader. This is their little-known story.

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Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at vick@vickmickunas.

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