NYC Non-Fiction Book Club discussion

what are you reading or interested in reading?

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message 1: by Teddee (new)

Teddee (tedvonswinkertoodleloo) | 5 comments Mod
I wanted to poll people and find out what type of books you're reading right now or lately. Maybe we can all throw out some suggestions of books we'd like to read.

I'm currently on an architectural history kick. Finished a book on the neighborhood of Elmhurst Queens. Now working on a History of Housing in NYC, a history of tenements and apartment buildings. The history provides great context for why we have modern building code restrictions that otherwise seem strange and arcane such as setbacks and lot coverage restrictions.


message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (quilt00) | 1 comments I'm making my way through The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War by Graham Robb (it's feeding into my present francophile state-of-mind).

I'm finding it an easy read with some very interesting tidbits on the nuances of the "French" culture. I am amazed that France was able to develop any kind of national identity given the sheer quantity of native
languages and differences in the various regions in the "Hexagon."

message 3: by Lawrence A (new)

Lawrence A | 4 comments I'm presently reading the prize-winning, massive (and massively satisfying)tome entitled "Gotham," which is a history of New York City from the Dutch settlement in 1624 until the consolidation of Greater New York in 1898. I'm taking it a little bit at a time, so that I can read other books as well. I am currently up to about page 950, which means I've just gotten past the 1863 Civil War Draft Riots, NYC's reaction to the assassination of Lincoln, and the post-bellum business and building boom of the late 1860s/early 1870s. A few months ago, I read a good little monograph, written in the 1960s by Arthur Zilversmit, about the emancipation of slaves and the eradication of slavery in the northern states between 1775 and 1848.

message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullarosa) | 1 comments Well, ahem, I happen to be reading fiction at the moment and hardly anything especially literary but...I like historical books about New York. Loved the Power Broker for example but my tastes in books and music are very eclectic.


message 5: by Annie (new)

Annie (annie5) | 1 comments Oh good, looks like I am not the only person who just read something fiction - finished Now and Then by Robert Parker.

message 6: by Kim (new)

Kim M-M (KimM-M) | 1 comments I am reading a fiction book right now 'The God of Small Things', but my next book is 'Angel of Grozny'. It's a true story based in Chechnya.
I'm interested in the political and historical in the non-fiction genre. How people survived, and how doing so changed them. I like memoirs- mostly of survivors of conflicts.

message 7: by Andy (new)

Andy  | 4 comments Rome 1960. This is the third book that I am reading by the author David Maraniss. After this I will begin reading 4 books by the late David Halberstam -- starting with The Best * Brightest . I am very interested in American History, Political Science and sports

message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1 comments I'm reading VOLUNTARY MADNESS: MY YEAR LOST AND FOUND IN THE LOONY BIN by Norah Vincent.
She checks herself in to 3 different types of mental facilities and remains undercover. The book is her immersive journalistic take on the experience. She covers a breadth of topics, and as she herself states, when looking for answers often comes up with just more questions--although that's a start. While I don't love the writing per se, I love her as a narrator, and enjoy and am on board fully with her train of thought. It is very personal for journalism, and she is very vulnerable to the reader. I recommend it if you are interested at all in mental illness- the system that tries to remedy it, the outside world, the patients, the staff, those wary of drug companies, those who believe in such systems, etc... it's just an interesting read I'm finding and she is somehow a reliable narrator despite her real life mental issues.

message 9: by Teddee (new)

Teddee (tedvonswinkertoodleloo) | 5 comments Mod
Amy- your post reminds me of a book I read a few years ago Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx. The author apparently spent 5 or 10 years of her life living amongst a poor Bronx family and the people surrounding that family and then wrote a nonfiction book that reads like a novel. It's an amazing window into the lives of the American urban poor. Interesting the lengths authors are going to in order to get that authentic knowledge about their subjects now.

message 10: by Andy (new)

Andy  | 4 comments American Gunfight - The Plot to Kill President Truman... and 1920 The Year of Six Presidents

message 11: by Andy (last edited Apr 09, 2009 06:30AM) (new)

Andy  | 4 comments I am reading a book about Mayor David Dinkins...David Dinkins and NYC Politics by Wilbur C Rich. It explores the impact media has on a minority big city mayor. Dinkins administration is often view as unfavorable (high crime, racial tension, economic trouble), but why?

message 12: by Scott (new)

Scott (sdaspin) | 2 comments Non-fiction I have read recently are Billionaire's Vinegar, The Lost City of Z, The Monster of Florence, Step by Step, and Lone Survivor. I diverse mix, but I would recommend all of them. I just added a few more on my reading list.

message 13: by Craig (new)

Craig I would like to suggest "Strength in What Remains" for an upcoming book club read.

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