1. A Plague Upon Humanity, by Daniel Barenblatt (Harper Collins, $25.95): Called the “Secret of Secrets” by the doctor who was its mastermind, Japan’s Unit 731 research facility tested biological weapons on hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians for nearly fifteen years. If you’re interested in atrocities, step right up.
2. Remember Me, by Trezza Azzopardi (Grove, $23): A homeless woman narrates the joys and tragedies that led up to her life on the street in this latest from the author whose debut novel about Maltese Britons, The Hiding Place, was a Booker Prize finalist.
3. Jim Marshall, the Father of Loud, by Rich Maloof (Backbeat, $29.95): This biography of the namesake of the “Marshall stack,” the man whose innovative amps have empowered rock guitarists from Pete Townshend to Jimmy Page to Eddie Van Halen, is also an impassioned study of the amps themselves.
4. The Dorama Encyclopedia, by Jonathan Clements and Motoko Tamamuro (Stone Bridge, $24.95): This unique and detailed guide welcomes you to the world (as seen locally Saturday nights on channel 26) of Japanese TV dramas — from Geisha Detective to Naked Cop to The Unringing Beeper to The Supermarket War.