P.K.'s Picks

We help you find the books you'll love!!

P.K. is our fearless leader and owner of the Towne Book Center and Cafe. He most enjoys history, biography and business books.

The Dinner Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780385346856
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth Press - October 29th, 2013

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.


The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780312425074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - July 24th, 2007

In this new edition, Thomas L. Friedman includes fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. Weaving new information into his overall thesis, and answering the questions he has been most frequently asked by parents across the country, this third edition also includes two new chapters--on how to be a political activist and social entrepreneur in a flat world; and on the more troubling question of how to manage our reputations and privacy in a world where we are all becoming publishers and public figures.


Lion (Movie Tie-In) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399584695
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books - November 1st, 2016

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.
Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.


The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do about Them Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393352184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 25th, 2016

In The Great Divide, Joseph E. Stiglitz expands on the diagnosis he offered in his best-selling book The Price of Inequality and suggests ways to counter America s growing problem. With his signature blend of clarity and passion, Stiglitz argues that inequality is a choice the cumulative result of unjust policies and misguided priorities.

Gathering his writings for popular outlets including Vanity Fair and the New York Times, Stiglitz exposes in full America's inequality: its dimensions, its causes, and its consequences for the nation and for the world. From Reagan-era to the Great Recession and its long aftermath, Stiglitz delves into the irresponsible policies deregulation, tax cuts, and tax breaks for the 1 percent that are leaving many Americans farther and farther beyond and turning the American dream into an ever more unachievable myth. With formidable yet accessible economic insight, he urges us to embrace real solutions: increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy; offering more help to the children of the poor; investing in education, science, and infrastructure; helping out homeowners instead of banks; and, most importantly, doing more to restore the economy to full employment. Stiglitz also draws lessons from Scandinavia, Singapore, and Japan, and he argues against the tide of unnecessary, destructive austerity that is sweeping across Europe.

Ultimately, Stiglitz believes our choice is not between growth and fairness; with the right policies, we can choose both. His complaint is not so much about capitalism as such, but how twenty-first-century capitalism has been perverted. His is a call to confront America's economic inequality as the political and moral issue that it is. If we reinvest in people and pursue the other policies that he describes, America can live up to the shared dream of a more prosperous, more equal society.


The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781616204518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - December 2nd, 2014

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew.


North Korea Undercover: Inside the World's Most Secret State Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781681772233
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pegasus Books - October 25th, 2016

Award-winning BBC journalist John Sweeney is one of the few foreign journalists to have witnessed the devastating reality of life in the controversial and isolated nation of North Korea, having entered the country undercover, posing as a university professor with a group of students from the London School of Economics Huge factories with no staff or electricity; hospitals with no patients; uniformed child soldiers; and the world-famous and eerily empty DMZ the DeMilitarized Zone, where North Korea ends and South Korea begins all framed by the relentless flow of regime propaganda from omnipresent loudspeakers. Free speech is an illusion: one word out of line and the gulag awaits. State spies are everywhere, ready to punish disloyalty and the slightest sign of discontent Drawing on his own experiences and his extensive interviews with defectors and other key witnesses, Sweeney'sNorth Korea Undercover pulls back the curtain, providing a rare insight into life there today, examining the country's troubled history and addressing important questions about its uncertain future.


Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307743152
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - September 13th, 2011

Groundbreaking and comprehensive, "Driven to Distraction "has been a lifeline to the approximately eighteen million Americans who are thought to have ADHD. Now the bestselling book is revised and updated with current medical information for a new generation searching for answers.
Through vivid stories and case histories of patients both adults and children Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this disorder including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.


Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374273538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 22nd, 2016

Tom Friedman is one of the country's leading and most recognized opinion writers, with a record of multiple best-selling books, successful TV documentaries, and regular speaking engagements around the world. When President Obama wanted to discuss the Iran deal, his chosen format was a video interview with Friedman.

Friedman's last two books focused on environmental change and the decline of manufacturing. "Thank You For Being Late" takes a much wider view, connecting farflung and unfamiliar dots to give readers a new picture of their world, much as "The World Is Flat" did in its day.


Cracking the Cube: Going Slow to Go Fast and Other Unexpected Turns in the World of Competitive Rubik's Cube Solving Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501121920
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone Books - October 18th, 2016

A journalist and aspiring speedcuber attempts to break into the international phenomenon of speedsolving the Rubik's Cube think chess played at the speed of Ping-Pong while exploring the Cube's rise to iconic status around the globe and the lessons that can be learned through solving it.
In Cracking the Cube, Ian Scheffler reveals that cubing isn t just fun and games. Along with participating in speedcubing competitions from the World Championship to local tournaments and interviewing key figures from the Cube's history, he journeys to Budapest to seek a meeting with the legendary and notoriously reclusive Rubik, who is still tinkering away with puzzles in his seventies.
Getting sucked into the competitive circuit himself, Scheffler becomes engrossed in solving Rubik's Cube in under twenty seconds, the quasi-mystical barrier known as sub-20, which is to cubing what four minutes is to the mile: the difference between the best and everyone else. For Scheffler, the road to sub-20 is not just about memorizing algorithms or even solving the Rubik's Cube. As he learns from the many gurus who cross his path, from pint-sized kids to engineering professors, it's about learning to solve yourself.


Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781476759692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 14th, 2016

The New York Times bestselling author of Contagious explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat in this fascinating and groundbreaking work.
If you re like most people, you think that your choices and behaviors are driven by your individual, personal tastes, and opinions. You wear a certain jacket because you liked the way it looked. You picked a particular career because you found it interesting. The notion that our choices are driven by our own personal thoughts and opinions is patently obvious. Right? Wrong.
Without our realizing it, other people's behavior has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous occasion. Even strangers have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions: our attitudes toward a welfare policy shift if we re told it is supported by Democrats versus Republicans (even though the policy is the same in both cases).
But social influence doesn t just lead us to do the same things as others. In some cases we conform, or imitate others around us. But in other cases we diverge, or avoid particular choices or behaviors because other people are doing them. We stop listening to a band because they go mainstream. We skip buying the minivan because we don t want to look like a soccer mom.
In his surprising and compelling Invisible Influence, Jonah Berger integrates research and thinking from business, psychology, and social science to focus on the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it and how we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior.


I'm Thinking of Ending Things Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781501126925
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - June 14th, 2016

In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago's early work, Michel Faber's cult classic "Under the Skin," and Lionel Shriver's "We Need to Talk about Kevin," "I m Thinking of Ending Things" is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page and never lets you go.


From Beirut to Jerusalem Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781250034410
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - December 11th, 2012

One of the most thought-provoking books ever written about the Middle East, "From Beirut to Jerusalem" remains vital to our understanding of this complex and volatile region of the world. Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman drew upon his ten years of experience reporting from Lebanon and Israel to write this now-classic work of journalism. In a new afterword, he updates his journey with a fresh discussion of the Arab Awakenings and how they are transforming the area, and a new look at relations between Israelis and Palestinians, and Israelis and Israelis. Rich with anecdote, history, analysis, and autobiography, "From Beirut to Jerusalem "will continue to shape how we see the Middle East for many years to come.


The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393248890
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 7th, 2016

Shaped by his twenty-five years traveling the world, and enlivened by encounters with villagers from Rio to Beijing, tycoons, and presidents, Ruchir Sharma’s The Rise and Fall of Nations rethinks the "dismal science" of economics as a practical art. Narrowing the thousands of factors that can shape a country’s fortunes to ten clear rules, Sharma explains how to spot political, economic, and social changes in real time. He shows how to read political headlines, black markets, the price of onions, and billionaire rankings as signals of booms, busts, and protests. Set in a post-crisis age that has turned the world upside down, replacing fast growth with slow growth and political calm with revolt, Sharma’s pioneering book is an entertaining field guide to understanding change in this era or any era.


When to Rob a Bank: ...and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062385802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - May 10th, 2016

Surprising and erudite, eloquent and witty, When to Rob a Bank demonstrates the brilliance that has made the Freakonomics guys an international sensation, with more than 7 million books sold in 40 languages, and 200 million downloads of their Freakonomics Radio podcast.

When to Rob a Bank is Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner s curated collection from the most readable economics blog in the universe. Drawn from 10 years of entries on Freakonomics.com, where they employ a style that is more casual, more personal, and more outlandish than in their books, they answer such questions as: Why don't flight attendants get tipped? If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? And why does KFC always run out of fried chicken?

You'll discover: What people lie about, and why the best way to cut gun deaths, why it might be time for a sex tax, and yes, when to rob a bank (Short answer: never; the R.O.I. is terrible)

You'll also learn a great deal about Levitt and Dubner's own quirks and passions, from gambling and golf to backgammon and the abolition of the penny.


The Wright Brothers Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476728759
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 3rd, 2016

The #1 "New York Times" bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly Wilbur and Orville Wright.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.
In this enjoyable, fast-paced tale ("The Economist"), master historian David McCullough shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly ("The Washington Post) "and captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished ("The Wall Street Journal"). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished "The Wright Brothers" soars ("The New York Times Book Review")."


George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781595231109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sentinel - October 28th, 2014

As a Long Islander endlessly fascinated by events that happened in a place I call home, I hope with this book to give the secret six the credit they didn't get in life. The Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who give so much for their country but, because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions.

Brian Kilmeade
When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon beover. Instead, Washington rallied thanks in largepart to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring.


Washington realized that he couldn t beat theBritish with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. So carefully guarded were the members identities that one spy s name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one remains unknown today. But by now, historians have discovered enough information about the ring sactivities to piece together evidence that these six individuals turned the tide of the war.


The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780393247213
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 5th, 2015

In 2006, Ben S. Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, the unexpected apex of a personal journey from small-town South Carolina to prestigious academic appointments and finally public service in Washington s halls of power.

There would be no time to celebrate.

The bursting of a housing bubble in 2007 exposed the hidden vulnerabilities of the global financial system, bringing it to the brink of meltdown. From the implosion of the investment bank Bear Stearns to the unprecedented bailout of insurance giant AIG, efforts to arrest the financial contagion consumed Bernanke and his team at the Fed. Around the clock, they fought the crisis with every tool at their disposal to keep the United States and world economies afloat.


The Sociology Book Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781465436504
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) - July 7th, 2015

The Sociology Book" takes on some of humankind's biggest questions: What is society? What makes it tick? Why do we interact in the way that we do with our friends, coworkers, and rivals?


Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781610395830
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: PublicAffairs - February 23rd, 2016

What drug lords learned from big business
How does a budding cartel boss succeed (and survive) in the $300 billion illegal drug business? By learning from the best, of course. From creating brand value to fine-tuning customer service, the folks running cartels have been attentive students of the strategy and tactics used by corporations such as Walmart, McDonald s, and Coca-Cola.
And what can government learn to combat this scourge? By analyzing the cartels as companies, law enforcers might better understand how they work and stop throwing away $100 billion a year in a futile effort to win the war against this global, highly organized business.


Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393352795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 14th, 2016

Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words, we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments.


Be Frank with Me Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062413727
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - September 6th, 2016

A sparkling debut combining the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where d You Go, Bernadette.

Reclusive literary legend M. M. Mimi Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress.