1. Susan Napier, Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art. A thorough and serious treatment of Miyazaki’s career, focusing on his creative works rather than biography per se.
3. Matthew Polly, Bruce Lee: A Life. A quite good, serious, and well-researched biography of the master, especially good in setting up the context of the martial arts in Lee’s time. I hadn’t known that James Coburn took 106 private lessons with Bruce, nor that Steve McQueen was another notable pupil. Nor had I known how much Bruce studied the fights of Muhammad Ali for some of his film sequences.
4. James Crabtree, The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age. Delivers on exactly what it promises, a strong look at India’s wealthy class.
5. Thomas Weber, Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi. Perhaps you, like me, are totally sick of Hitler books. But how exactly did his ideas morph into…what they became? This book is detailed, well-documented, psychologically insightful, at times even brilliant.