Does the name you give your child affect his or her success in life? Can you tell whether a Sumo wrestler cheated without ever seeing a match?
If you've asked these questions, chances are, you've read Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
Subtitled "A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything," this nonfiction book has sold millions of copies and inspired a documentary, which you can preview now:
The documentary seems to be destined for success. It was made by the directors of Super Size Me and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to favorable press. It opens in theaters on October 1. But here's the catch: On September 3, the documentary will be released on iTunes . . . a month prior to its big screen release.
Do the producers hope to appeal to viewers who wouldn't watch the movie anywhere but on their laptop?
Will you watch Freakonomics: The Movie? Where will you watch it? On your computer or in the theater?
Also in BookPage: Read an interview with Stephen J. Dubner about SuperFreakonomics.
John Vaillant's book The Golden Spruce—about a logger and a 300-year-old tree—won The Governor General Literary Award for Nonfiction in 2005. His next book doesn't come out until August 24, but it's already building a fair bit of buzz.
From its publisher description, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival sounds like nothing if not gruesome and incredibly suspenseful:
When Yuri Trush was called in to investigate an attack by a Siberian tiger, what he found was unlike anything he'd ever encountered. Nothing remained of the victim but stumps of bone protruding from his boots. Even more chilling was the evidence that this attack had been carefully orchestrated, as if the tiger was seeking revenge. Before long, the beast struck again, and Trush, leader of a tiger conservation unit, found himself forced to hunt this animal through the brutal cold of a Siberian winter, becoming intimately acquainted with the tiger's history, motives, and unique method of attack--until their harrowing final encounter.
Stumps of bone? A man-eating tiger? Brad Pitt? Sounds like a blockbuster to me. Will you read The Tiger?
Also in BookPage: Read a review of The Golden Spruce.