The Columbus Post Dispatch has named Death at SeaWorld one of the top three nonfiction books of 2012. Quite an honor.
• Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Whales in Captivity (St. Martin’s) by David Kirby: The investigative journalist examines several deaths caused by killer whales at theme parks and makes a convincing case that the animals don’t belong in captivity.
• The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City (Knopf) by Alan Ehrenhalt: In a provocative and nuanced study, the urbanist argues that, in many cases, the flow of residents out of urban centers into suburbs has reversed itself, with hopeful results.
• Wild (Knopf) by Cheryl Strayed: In her mid-20s, after the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, and with no backpacking experience, Strayed decided to hike the demanding Pacific Crest Trail. Her account of the misbegotten adventure is moving and darkly funny.