Picks and Pans Review: Great Reads

updated 06/26/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/26/2006 01:00AM

>Nonfiction

Pleasurable Kingdom by Jonathan Balcombe Dumb animals? Not according to this well-reasoned, engaging book by animal behaviorist Balcombe, who argues that critters share our capacities for humor, empathy and aesthetic pleasure.

Best Seat in the House by Christine Brennan Raised in a pre-Title IX era, when organized sports were male turf, USA Today's Brennan writes an irresistible memoir paying tribute to the remarkable dad who inspired her to become one of the country's top female sportswriters.

But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn Chronicling her journey up the ladder at Rolling Stone, this disarmingly funny memoir about celebrity journalism allows readers to live vicariously as Dunn reveals tricks for getting stars to spill.

Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters An advocate for the homeless in Britain, Masters vibrantly profiles one Stuart Shorter—convict, junkie and "society-loathing bastard"—as both a terror and a delight. Beginning with Shorter's leap in front of a train, it's a quirky, affecting book.

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