"All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

This book is not about chemistry, and it probably is the most "literary" book that I have written about in these pages.  It is a beautiful story about the lives of a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, who escapes during the Nazi occupation of France with her father, the master locksmith of the Paris Museum of Natural History, to St. Malo, where lives her great-uncle in a grand house by the sea.

Soccernomics: Why Transfers Fail, Why Spain Rule the World and Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

Lots of us learned about percentages and statistics by studying batting averages, and many of our students are passionately choosing players for fantasy leagues in various sports. Is it possible to find methods for the evaluation of players in soccer using methods similar to those in "Moneyball"? This question and many others are addressed in "Soccernomics"

Mammogram Math (The Way We Live Now)

Imagine a highly reliable cancer test. It detects 95% of a certain type of cancer, and has a "false positive" rate of only 1%. This test is used on a population in which this type of cancer occurs in 0.5%. One day your doctor tells you that you have tested positive. What is the chance that you are actually sick? Surprisingly, it is only about 32 percent!

The Symmetries of Things

This beautiful book could certainly enhance your coffee table, but don't buy it just for its looks. Be prepared to spend some time with it, and join the wonder that mathematicians are expressing at the brilliance of this new way of describing and inventing symmetries.

Group Theory in the Bedroom, and Other Mathematical Diversions

I am an enthusiastic fan of Brian Hayes' "Computing Science" column in the Sigma Xi publication, American Scientist, which is the source of most of the essays in this book. Before that, I read his articles in The Sciences, a now-defunct but beautiful little magazine once published by the New York Academy of Sciences.