Ziauddin Sardar's Mecca: The Sacred City (Bloomsbury) is a history of a sacred place marked by discord.
In The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution (W. W. Norton), Jonathan Eig gives a tale of sociology, medicine, religion, and activism.
Peter Ackroyd's Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life (Nan A. Talese) is an appreciation of the artist and an acknowledgement of his many flaws.
Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians (Da Capo Press) by Justin Martin is essential reading for those interested in American literature.
In Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One's Looking (Crown), Christian Rudder crunches the numbers, and learns lessons.
American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny (Harper) by Christopher Miller reviews what used to make us laugh (and still does).
Time in Powers of Ten: Natural Phenomena and Their Timescales (World Scientific) by Gerard 't Hooft and Stefan Vandoren contemplates the briefest, the longest, and everything in between.
The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar: Living with a Tawny Owl (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) by Martin Windrow describes a vital friendship.
The Pillar: The Life and Afterlife of the Nelson Pillar (New Island Books) by Donal Fallon tells more than just the story of a Dublin monument.
Just My Typo: From "Sinning with the Choir" to "The Untied States" (Three Rivers Press) by Drummond Moir is a funny collection of mistakes.