Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (Liveright Publishing) by Jim Holt takes readers on a philosophical tour of big mysteries.
With the Hand: A Cultural History of Masturbation (Reaktion Books) by Mels van Driel attempts to understand the many taboos.
Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan A. Talese) by Jefferson Morley recounts an important episode in race relations.
View Versailles (Abrams) by Valérie Bajou if you can't get there yourself
In Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll (Lyons Press) Joe Oestreich tells about real-life rocking.
Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China (Penguin Books), by Paul French, tells of a sensational murder and the unusual way it was solved just before WWII swallowed up the old city.
Kyle Gann takes the silent music seriously in No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33" (Yale University Press).
R. I. Moore in _The War on Heresy_ (Belknap Press) reevaluates the heretics.
Geoffrey G. Ward tells the story of his great-grandfather in A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States (Knopf)
Island Practice: Cobblestone Rash, Underground Tom, and Other Adventures of a Nantucket Doctor (PublicAffairs) by Pam Belluck describes an unorthodox doc's helpful ways.