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Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) I haven't written this up yet, but maybe some of the rest of you could get the ball rolling. Which nonfiction caught and held your interest?


message 2: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 05, 2011 03:14PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Only one book got my top rating this year (5). It was on Joe McCarthy. The rest here I gave a 4 rating to. That is an above average rating.

The non fiction books I enjoyed this year were:

The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America~~Jonathan Kozol I simply love Kozol. He was interviewed in depth this year on C-Span Book TV. That interview made me love him all the more.

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin~Kathy Griffin Either you like her humor or you don't. I think she is a hoot. I love her TV show, My Life On The D-list, also.

Open: An Autobiography~Andre Agassi I don't particularly care about tennis. But this book really is about so much more. The book is well written.

Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction~Geraldine A. Johnson This is part of the "brief insight" series. And as the name implies is a quick take on art in the Renaissance period. I found it quite informative.

The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy~~James Cross Giblin
This is a YA book. I found it very informative and well written. Good photographs, too. I gave it my top rating.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates~Wes Moore
Well done, but I wanted much more.

Zeitoun~Zeitoun
Read this for this months BNC group read.
As you can tell from my comments there I liked it a lot. I also nominated the book for my F2F book club.

We Were There~Robert Fox
Interesting look back over the 20th century as told through eyewitness accounts. This gives the events a personal touch. The books focused a lot on wars which was necessary, but I would have liked a bit more on other events.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks~~Rebecca Skloot
Fascinating story. I liked it so much I recommended it to my f2f group.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Alias, I so enjoyed Open. I felt it was the best autobiography that I had ever read. I loved Zeitoun and the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks bot of which were so riveting.They were such good reads.


message 4: by Jaleh Rose (new)

Jaleh Rose | 10 comments Sherry (sethurner) wrote: "I haven't written this up yet, but maybe some of the rest of you could get the ball rolling. Which nonfiction caught and held your interest?"

I love Kathy Griffin! She has an episode on her show where she goes to sign some of her books. It looks like it would be a great read.

I enjoyed:
1. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I thought the story of Chris was so interesting, and although Krakauer clearly thinks of Chris as some sort of icon, I thought I was still able to draw my own conclusions from the story while still finding it attention-grabbing.
2. Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters
I don't really watch/have strong feelings about Walters, but I thought the memior was a great read because she has led such an interesting life/ met so many people.
3. The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by G.J. Meyer
I've read so much about the Tudor era, and this is the only book I have found where you can read about the entire Tudor dynasty. While a good chunk of the book is devoted to Henry VIII, it makes a lot of sense why it spends so much time is spent on him. Also, the book has a lot of background info which adds some depth to the book.
I'm so picky about nonfiction books, so those are the only three I can come up with that I read this year. I did, however, just pick up The Vikings: A History by Robert Ferguson, which looks super interesting, especially if you are interested in Viking history.


message 5: by Sherry (sethurner) (last edited Jan 06, 2011 12:37PM) (new)

Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) My nonfiction reading tends to related to art, and that personal interest is reflected in my list.

Coop, by Michael Perry
Perry is a Wisconsin native, and writes with both humor and compassion about growing up, living and working in the Badger State. He has been a nurse, an EMT, farmer, musician and writer. He also is a very humorous speaker. This book chronicles some of his experiences in running a small farm, and trying to get a chicken coop built. It's not all humor, so beware.
Coop A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting by Michael Perry

Forbidden Fruit: The History of Women and Books in Art, by Christine Inman
I enjoyed this book on every level. There are four sections: First Steps: From the Cradle of Civilization to the Middle Ages; Piety and Luxury: Women Reading in the Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries; Connecting With Books: The Nineteenth Century; Reading Becomes Art: The Twentieth Century. Each begins with an essay about women's literacy in the time period covered, followed by rich illustrations of paintings featuring women reading. Each plate also is discussed in some detail. It's about reading and it's also about art history. For me, it was very satisfying and enjoyable indeed.
Forbidden Fruit The History of Women and Books in Art by Christiane Inmann

Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks
I am a person who cannot imagine life without music. I am not musically talented, although I whistle, hum, sing, bang away at my old piano. In the past I have also attempted to play a six string guitar and mountain dulcimer, with limited success. I can make noises on both the jaw harp and note flute, although I hesitate to call that music. In high school and college I sang in large choirs, where my thin soprano would be mostly lost, but I could be in the middle of people passionately making music, could feel it in my entire body. I no longer sing. These days I mostly listen to music that other people make. I recently splurged on a gift for myself in honor of my sixtieth birthday and bought a Bose sound dock for my studio, and now spend many happy hours there listening while I work. Music serves to at least partially turn off the analytical part of my brain, the part that is ultra-critical, the part that keeps me from taking artistic risks. I work better with music. Oddly, I also am more successful at video games when I have music playing. When I was younger I could read with music playing in the background, but in the past few years have lost my ability to concentrate on words when there is music playing. I'm sure neurologist and author Oliver Sacks could explain all this. Sacks is an author who I enjoy, although sometimes he goes into more scientific detail than I care to read. I've learned to selectively skip ahead when the science is too technical for my interest level. So far I have enjoyed several of his nonfiction books (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, Island of the Colorblind, An Anthropologist on Mars), all of which tell stories of people with neurological differences cause by strokes, disease, physical trauma, or genetic accident. In Musicolphilia Sacks covers a wide range of topics related to music and brain function. He discusses musical hallucinations, tunes that become stuck in your brain and why that happens, perfect pitch, the relationship between music and blindness, people who cannot enjoy or appreciate music, and therapeutic applications for music. I found reading about ways that music can accelerate physical healing and be helpful for aphasic patients and people suffering from various sorts of dementia, to be gripping and thought provoking.
Musicophilia Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

Picture This, by Lynda Barry
Barry is well known for her comic book creation, especially Marlys and Ernie Pook. She lives just a few miles away from my town, married to a man who re-establishes prairies. She also is very generous with her time, running writing and art-related workshops, giving talks. This book has a new character, the near-sighted monkey, and she uses the character to illustrate why she thinks drawing, even doodling, is good for a person creativity, sanity, and perhaps even soul. I've been drawing Zen monkeys for a month.
Picture This by Lynda Barry

The Art Spirit, by Robert Henri
On a more serious note, The Art Spirit is a collection of essays and lectures given by the famous painter. I took so many notes that I think I'll just find an old copy and buy it to reread whenever I go into a slump.
The Art Spirit Notes, Articles, Fragments of Letters and Talks to Students, Bearing on the Concept and Technique of Picture Making, the Study of Art Generally, and on Appreciation (Icon Editions) by Robert Henri

Undaunted Courage, by Stephen Ambrose
In general I don't have a compelling interest in history, but I wanted an audio book for a driving trip, and this was the only cassette tape set left at the library that interested me at all (my CD played died in the car). To my surprise, I was fascinated by the story Ambrose tells. It didn't hurt that much of it was set in places I have visited, especially Washington and Oregon. At any rate, I enjoyed his writing very much indeed.
Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose

The Undressed Art: Why We Draw, by Peter Steinhart
In an effort to improve my drawing from direct observation, I have been attending life drawing sessions at local colleges - at least when the roads are good. I'm a chicken on icy roads, but I digress. This book was being passed hand to hand last summer in one of the weekly sessions, and I finally ordered it inter-library loan. I didn't write a review at the time, but the book is far-ranging, covering topics such as how a child's approach to drawing evolves, how the brain perceives images, what life drawing groups are like, and the role of the model in life drawing classes. I enjoyed the writing and the topic.
Undressed Art Why We Draw by Peter Steinhart


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments I really enjoyed Into the Wild, but it wasn't a 2010 read for me. I didn't realize how much good nonfiction I've read in the past year until I looked back over my list. Some of these books are gems. Some are not "important" books or perhaps not as well written as they could have been but they especially touched me or interested me. And these books weren't necessarily published in 2010, just read by me. So, favorite nonfiction books for 2010 are...

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath

Rocket Boys

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

John Adams

A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River

Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home

You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse

A Dog Named Slugger

Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian

My Reading Life

Bad to the Bone: Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger

No wonder I didn't get much housework done!


message 7: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Marialyce wrote: "Alias, I so enjoyed Open. I felt it was the best autobiography that I had ever read. I loved Zeitoun and the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks bot of which were so riveting.They were such good reads."
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I think our reading tastes are very much alike. :)


message 8: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Jaleh wrote: I enjoyed:
1. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I thought the story of Chris was so interesting, and although Krakauer clearly thinks of Chris as some sort of icon, I thought I was still able to draw my own conclusions from the story while still finding it attention-grabbing.
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The book was heartbreaking. I really did feel for the family. And the fact that he was so close to help and didn't know it. It was beyond sad.

Krakauer sure does write well.


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments Into the Wild was truly heartbreakking. But at least Chris had the courage to try what he wanted to do. I didn't feel that Jon Krakauer considered him to be an icon but that he wanted to dispel the notion that he was just an idealistic simpleton.


message 10: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 06, 2011 09:25AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Sherry (sethurner) wrote:
Coop, by Michael Perry
Perry is a Wisconsin native, and writes with both humor and compassion about growing up, living and working in the Badger State. He has been a nurse, an EMT, farmer, musician and writer. He also is a very humorous speaker. This book chronicles some of his experiences in running a small farm, and trying to get a chicken coop built. It's not all humor, so beware.
-----------------------------------

One of my favorite genres is city people moving to the country. I've added this to my list. Thanks !

In fact, I just read and enjoyed very much--
At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life
And
I picked up from the library just the other day--
Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl

As to Undaunted Courage
I've had that on my TBR shelve for quite sometime. I think the size deters me. I'm glad to hear that a person who isn't into history liked it a lot.


message 11: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Susan wrote: "I really enjoyed Into the Wild, but it wasn't a 2010 read for me. I didn't realize how much good nonfiction I've read in the past year until I looked back over my list. Some of these ..."
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I absolutely, loved your list, Susan. There looks like a lot of books I would love on it.

I am on my library's request list for --
Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) Alias Reader wrote: "Sherry (sethurner) wrote:
Coop, by Michael Perry
Perry is a Wisconsin native, and writes with both humor and compassion about growing up, living and working in the Badger State. He has been a nurs..."


Alias, Perry has always been a country boy. I think he gets great pleasure from being considered exotic because he both writes and raises pigs.


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) Susan, I also enjoyed Rocket Boys (and the others Homer Hickam wrote), and also Waiting For Snow in Havana. Both give a sense of the times, but are best at portraying characters who are interesting.


message 14: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments My favorite nonfiction for '10 was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is the book about what happened to the cancer cells of Ms. Lacks, who died in '51.

Not only was her story and that of her family detailed but Skloot also addressed debates about the future and what is/will be legal use of our "discarded" body bits are used by science. Good writing about scientific ideas, moral issues and how ordinary citizens view the changes in medicine seen daily.

I also fully enjoyed (and managed to persuade two others to read) was Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease by Sharon Moalem. This was a well-told story about our bodies, evolution and how cells and illnesses we consider "bad" have a history of purpose. Amazing.

Another favorite, quite different from the above, was Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell. The amount of information i retained, particularly about discount buying, was worth the reading. I've often referenced this book when talking with others this year. Not only did Shell share the history of purchasing in the US but also the way it has developed here. Also instructive were chapters about specific products &/or companies and the way their business impacts the environment. Good one.

Other good ones include the following:
The Battle of Salamis by Barry Strauss I felt he wrote an excellent history of this ancient Greek battle, the times and the changes these events made in history.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann was enjoyable for the history of South America, as well as the final days of exploration. There was a certain sadness to it but in the process i learned much about the way explorations were funded & promoted, something about which i've long wondered.

The Painter's Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art by Hugh Howard was another winner. While the focus was the fact that people wanted to "capture" GW on the canvas, a history of painting portraits was part of the book. I liked learning about early American art and found myself remembering bits as i toured museums and tourist sites, just ask Alias. As we walked the galleries of the Brooklyn Museum, i'm sure i bored her stiff with my "newfound" learnin'.

Finally, i was surprised to find myself liking American Realism by Edward Lucie-Smith As mentioned elsewhere, i intended to just look at the photos of art but found myself intrigued by many new, unfamiliar and previously unappreciated works mentioned. Now i'm a fan of many of them. And even if i don't like the art, i can appreciate the artist's intent and/or the way they fit into U.S. art history.

While there were many others, these stood well above the rest.

deborah


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) Deborah, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is on my list for this year. I'm looking forward to it very much.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) My non fiction reads this year included:

Open: An Autobiography

Columbine
No one tells this story any better.

Mom Still Likes You Best
Because i have children who were not getting along

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
This was a very inspiring story of a young man, William Kamkwamba, who rose from abject poverty in Malawi to better his life and education. He exemplified a determination under horrible circumstances to be educated and learn originally through self teaching the ways of science and electricity. He certainly is an inspiration to all.

Beyond my Control: One Man's Struggle with Epilepsy, Seizure Surgery & Beyond
I learned much about the disease of epilepsy. It was interesting following Mr McCallum as he and his family dealt with this devastating illness. I was quite surprised how very nonchalant the people seemed who witnessed his seizures.

The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers
I recommend this book to all those who love a beautifully told story of youth and a determination of a family to survive hard times.

Seabiscuit: An American Legend
This was a great story of indomitable courage on all sides. Who couldn't feel for man and horse as they struggled to be the best and be remembered in the annals of racing? The story is inspirational and the people flocked to this story while it was in the making.

Zeitoun
This book made one think that the freedoms we so take for granted can easily be lost especially if one is not the right skin color or nationality. It was frightening beyond belief in a country where we pride ourselves on our libertarian rights. If you think this could never happen to you, I think the author wants us to guess again. We could all find ourselves in a situation through circumstance that could possibly have this outcome.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
A must read imo.


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Marialyce wrote:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
This was a very inspiring story of a young man, William Kamkwamba, who rose from abject poverty in Malawi to better his life and education. He exemplified a determination under horrible circumstances to be educated and learn originally through self teaching the ways of science and electricity. He certainly is an inspiration to all.
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I like to read inspiring stories. I'm adding it to my way to long TBR list. :)


message 18: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I seem to have read quite a bit of non-fiction this year -- so as I go over my list these stand out.

1959: The Year Everything Changed Fred Kaplan An incredibly interesting book which covers a range of topics from art, music, politics & science all of which had interesting intersections or discoveries in 1959. I remember them but didn't realize how much came together in that year.

What to Listen for in Music Aaron Copland I have been attending lectures on music topics for a couple of years and I found this book quite enlightening.

When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present Gail Collins Besides an interest in the topic I happen to be a fan of Gail Collins so this just made me happy.

Rough Justice Peter Elkind A book for political junkies. Guilty here. And how could I not like this book? I was interviewed for it and I am mentioned at the beginning of the book.

Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician Barry Seldes Two of my interests combined. The musicianship of Leonard Bernstein and the political life. If you are interested in these things it is a great read.

Here If You Need Me: A True Story Kate Braestrup An inspirational book that I really enjoyed.


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments Lots of good selections! From the last three lists, I've read only 3. I thought Columbine was fabulous, despite the terribly sad and dark subject matter. I found The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon to be fascinating. It and my mother's recommendation caused me to put The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey on my TBR list. And I read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. It was interesting, and a good story, but something about the story or the writing itself just didn't engage me quite as much as I had anticipated.


message 20: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "I seem to have read quite a bit of non-fiction this year -- so as I go over my list these stand out.

1959: The Year Everything Changed Fred Kaplan An incredibly int..."

---------------

I recently purchased 1959. I thought it would be a great book to help set up the turbulent 60's.


message 21: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Susan wrote: It and my mother's recommendation caused me to put The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey on my TBR list.
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I have this on my TBR, too. Though I want to read a basic bio of TR first. I have read some small bios but none that I liked very much.


message 22: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Langer | 119 comments Undaunted Courage was a grat read, it was my favorite ambrose book. I read it several years ago, but now I think it would be neat to pick up again.

A few the stand out for me from last year:
My Life by Golda Meir: the first female Israeli Prime Minister. This was a great history about the formation of modern Israel, and the idealistic society they hoped to create. very interesting and I learned an awful lot as I really did not know much about the formation of Israel.

Come to Think of It was a good read. nice to find out a little more of Daniel Schorrs career especially since he passed away this spring.

These were the two big ones for me last year.


message 23: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Thanks for sharing, Elaine !

Come to Think of It sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks. :)


message 24: by Julie (last edited Jan 08, 2011 11:14AM) (new)


message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahreader) | 68 comments I read some very interesting non-fiction this year, and I see that some of you also also enjoyed some of these titles.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This was a thoughtful, intelligent and graceful analysis of a very complicated issue (ownership of human tissue, economics of medical experimentation and development of drugs, and pure science - tissue culture). The technical information and the ethical analysis was greatly enhanced by the fascinating personal stories of Mrs. Lacks and her family, and the relationship between the writer and these people. I found this book endlessly fascinating and a compelling "story" in addition to the info.

Last Call: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent. I didn't know much about the Prohibtion era, so I learned a LOT of lively history here. Okrent fills this book with great anecdotal material about the larger-than-life personalities who were for or against prohibition. I also liked his analysis of the economics of the alcohol industry and how it colored the "moral" arguments on each side of the issue. (I never thought to consider the different interests of the beer brewers compared to the spirit distillers, for example - amazing!). It's a terrific topic, and led me to lots of reflection on how laws are made and un-made. Cheers!

Like Susan, I read several books about adventures and misadventures in the Amazon basin: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon was great, but I really preferred The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey. I also read The Mapmaker's Wife, which is as much about the scientific expedition to measure the earth accurately by surveying distance at the equator near Quito. However, the journey down the Amazon reflected the other "explorer" books.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick. We begin to learn more and more about what's happening in North Korea, and I found Demick's interviews with people who have fled N. Korea to be enlightening about how loyal citizens have lost faith in a failing economy and political "leadership."

Columbine, by Dave Cullen. This is a very comprehensive look at this tragedy. Cullen tried hard to get accurate and balanced information about these boys. He helped me to look more thoughtfully into how and why they could have reached their conclusions and taken these actions. I think my biggest take-away from it was how to read news coverage of tragic events very cautiously, because of the pressures of deadlines and pack journalism. With yesterday's tragic assassination attempt in Tucson, I think it's very timely.

Patti Smith's new book, Just Kids. Wow! I guess I read this over the holiday, so I'm not sure if it counts for this year or last year. I highly recommend this short book. Punk rock and Robert Mapplethorpe's S&M photographs aren't my favorite genres (!!) (although I do love the song "Because the Night..." that Patti Smith wrote with Bruce Springsteen). But I truly loved Smith's recollections of her young days with Mapplethorpe as they tried to live the artist's life in NYC. As Smith describes their partnership and their struggles to make a living and to make art (poetry, drawing, graphics, "performance art"), it becomes clear that their lives themselves were their art. I LOVED the section about living in the Chelsea Hotel.

I also read a number of intriguing memoirs from recent immigrants to the USA. I know there were others, but my record-keeping is very erratic.
Thanks for sharing some of your own recommendations. Sarah


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments I'm going to have to put Just Kids on my TBR. Thanks for telling us about some great books, Sarah.


message 27: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Sarah, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition and Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea are both on my to-read list. I am glad to hear you thought they were good.


message 28: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Sarah wrote: Columbine, by Dave Cullen. This is a very comprehensive look at this tragedy. Cullen tried hard to get accurate and balanced information about these boys. He helped me to look more thoughtfully into how and why they could have reached their conclusions and taken these actions. I think my biggest take-away from it was how to read news coverage of tragic events very cautiously, because of the pressures of deadlines and pack journalism. With yesterday's tragic assassination attempt in Tucson, I think it's very timely.
-----------------

Very well said, Sarah. Cullen's excellent book came to my mind yesterday, too.

I very much enjoyed reading your well thought out review. Thanks !


message 29: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Sarah wrote: "I read some very interesting non-fiction this year, and I see that some of you also also enjoyed some of these titles...."

Sarah, thanks for sharing. I'm particularly interested in your take on Just Kids by Patti Smith. I wondered if i'd like it or if it would just be a sort of who i knew sort of book. Your post helped me decide it's closer to what i'd hope it would be. Thanks.

deb


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Sarah, Thanks for these reviews. I did get Just Kids for Christmas so I am anxious about reading that one. I also read Columbine and the Henrietta Lacks book and thought they were excellent.


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahreader) | 68 comments . . . your take on Just Kids by Patti Smith. I wondered if i'd like it or if it would just be a sort of who i knew sort of book. . .

Deb, there are definitely parts of the book where she does a lot of name-dropping. That did get tedious, although if Allen Ginsberg had bought me a cheese sandwich at the Horn and Hardart automat (thinking I was a beautiful boy), I might tell that story too. Smith alternates between poetic imagery and choppy "this happened; that happened" segments, but I thought the overall book was very moving. These are such odd and intense people. I was amazed and a little envious of the ways they lived their extreme visions and dreams. I'll be interested to see how the rest of you react.


message 32: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Sarah wrote: "These are such odd and intense people. I was amazed and a little envious of the ways they lived their extreme visions and dreams. ..."

This may be the make or break part of the book for me, to be honest. Sometimes it's a fine line.

deb


message 33: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I didn't know anything about Just Kids but now that I have looked it up I realize that I don't have to like the characters -- because it appears that NYC in the 70s is inself a character and that works for me. And so it goes on the list.


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) Just Kids sounds like something I might find interesting. Thanks for the nudge.


message 35: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 14 comments I'm going to try to read more non-fiction this year. Last year was a down year for me in that area. One book that I especially favored in the non-fiction genre is Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding.


message 36: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19912 comments Non-fiction is my favorite, Kathy.


message 37: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 14 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Non-fiction is my favorite, Kathy."

I love non-fiction, but it takes me so long to read because I want to remember every little detail. My favorite reading pattern is to read an historical-fiction book and then read non-fiction related material.


message 38: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Kathy, i'm that way with historical fiction, which is why i stopped reading it. (Well, one reason.) I ended up with more questions than answers when i'd read such a novel. Then, the nonfic rarely answered those questions (although i learned new stuff--always a bonus). So i decided to delete his-fic.

Good luck with your nonfiction reading this year. I intend to read more history, as i find the subjects endless and learning new material excites me.

deborah


message 39: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 14 comments I agree, Deb, love learning new material!


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