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Just for fun > favorite short non-fiction books

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message 1: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - this particular book, and the film (and even the audio book) I count among my "precious things" - I just adore it.


message 2: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 126 comments Absolutely, Ivan. One of the better things I found as I was getting into adult books (as opposed to YA) sometime in my twenties. The movie was also just low-key, not dramatic, just about real people living and connecting -- and just indescribably awesome. And the whole story just proves that neighbors can actually live 1,000's of miles away from each other, know what I mean? So good.


message 3: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
I do indeed.


message 4: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett - a poignant and very funny story of the homeless woman who lived for YEARS at the end of Bennett's drive.


message 5: by Edel (new)

Edel (edellittlebookfairy) | 71 comments 84 Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I just love this book.I first bought this book many years ago in a second hand bookshop but I have bought about a dozen copies since then.. I just loved the idea of their friendship and how it developed and how they maintained it through the years and even though they were an ocean apart they were so close. When someone asks me my favourite book this is the one that always comes to mind.


message 6: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Edel wrote: "84 Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I just love this book.I first bought this book many years ago in a second hand bookshop but I have bought about a dozen copies since then.. I just loved the ..."

Me too Edel. I always have one or two extra copies to give to people. If I'm in a used book store and see a copy in good shape and not too much $ - I just place it in my basket.


message 7: by Edel (new)

Edel (edellittlebookfairy) | 71 comments I do that too.I do it with all my favourites.


message 8: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel - What she did is wrong and criminal - but this book is a treat.


message 9: by Hayes (last edited Mar 23, 2011 09:43AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Jeff wrote: "The Drowned and the Saved ... "

I always recommend The Periodic Table to first time Levi readers. It's a series of short essays that are loosely connected and speak about small bits of Levi's life. I re-read it every 5 years or so.

That Lee Israel books looks right up my alley...


message 10: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps is a fabulous memor, and it is less than 200 pages. I promise all of you, you will love it!!!

I also love the cover....... Fabulous book!


message 11: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory by Kenny Fries The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory
by Kenny Fries is a gem and among my very favorite books - it's inspirational (in a good way - never preachy). It's over the 200 page benchmark (but not by much - and please don't let that stop you from reading it). I posted a review.


message 12: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Oh, I never describe one author as being like another! People and authors are simply so different. The respective writing styles refect this.


message 13: by Ivan (last edited May 21, 2013 04:18AM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
"Proust's Overcoat" was another fascinating little book - precious really. It gave a history of one man trying to salvage personal belongings of the great writer.


message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 85 comments http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23... Tony Hiss - the Experience of Place is about 250 pages so is perhaps a bit long but is great

Normal Mailer - The Fight is superb - an account of Ali's rumble in the jungle

In the sea there are crocodiles by Fabio Geda is a fictionalised account (but essentially non fiction) of an Afghan refugee child and their journey over 5 years to Italy. Although this edition is over the 200 page mark it is in very large print and is novella length. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10...

Machiavelli The Prince - is a great read at just over 100 pages

Heaven is a Playground - is also a great sports book http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18... and if you put aside the intros and the afterwards it is less than 200 pages about street basketball



Been meaning to check out charring cross road - just have not got round to yet.


message 15: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments One that just popped into my head that I read not long ago.

Man's Search for Meaning An insightful look at concentration camps by a trained psychologist who survived them.


message 16: by Julia (last edited Jun 13, 2013 01:02PM) (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death

Truly amazing imho. And Mmars, the Victor Frankl book is another one by a "survivor". The courage of these people is humbling and inspiring.


message 17: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments I also loved "Diving Bell..." An amazing little gem.


message 18: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
An amazing book (and a very good film too).


message 19: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Ivan wrote: "An amazing book (and a very good film too)."

Yes. And yes.


message 20: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 85 comments enjoyed 84 charing cross road, great little book and whilst i didnt quite fall in love with it i can see why many others have done so.

eve esslers books are also very short and well worth checking out. I just read the body which is only 80 pages or so


message 21: by Ivan (last edited Jul 11, 2013 04:58PM) (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel

Before turning to the criminal life, running a onewoman forgery scam out of an Upper West Side studio shared with her tortoiseshell cat, and dodging the FBI, Lee Israel enjoyed a celebrated reputation as an author. When her writing career suddenly took a turn for the worse, she conceived of the astonishing literary scheme that fooled even many of the experts. Forging hundreds of letters from such collectible luminaries as Dorothy Parker, Noël Coward, and Lillian Hellman -- and recreating their autographs with a flourish -- Israel sold her "memorabilia" to dealers across the country, producing a collection of pitch-perfect imitations virtually indistinguishable from the voices of their real-life counterparts. Exquisitely written, with reproductions of her marvelous forgeries, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is Israel's delightful, hilarious memoir of a brilliant and audacious literary crime caper.

I loved this book, very witty.


message 22: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

http://www.elisabethtovabailey.net/

"Like Seabiscuit's Laura Hillenbrand, this author is at the house-bound, often bed-bound extreme of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (brain stem inflammation), a condition similar to Lyme mockingly labeled "Chronic Fatigue Syndome" which U.S. Health Officials likewise continue to stall progress in. While her living restrictions set the stage for what transpires, 95% of this book isn't about illness, but an easily read, witty account of all-things snail. Starting from the almost-silent but neighborly presence of one, it gently focuses in on how snails eat, move, defend themselves, and mate. It draws on the expertise of current biologists, and on the prose of authors past, likewise fascinated by these presumptively simple creatures. The artful weaving between her growing personal interaction and amazement with a mysterious pet and the light science is so well done that one feels like a gastropod expert without having read a textbook, as well as entertained and indeed privileged to see a world invisibly slow to most of us."


message 23: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Julia, Highly agree on Wild Snail!


message 24: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) And since it's Wendell Berry's birthday today, I'll add What Are People For?.

"In the twenty-two essays collected here, Wendell Berry, whom "The Christian Science Monitor called the "prophetic American voice of our day," conveys a deep concern for the American economic system and the gluttonous American consumer. Berry talks to the reader as one would talk to a next-door neighbor: never preachy, he comes across as someone offering sound advice. He speaks with sadness of the greedy consumption of this country's natural resources and the grim consequences Americans must face if current economic practices do not change drastically. In the end, these essays offer rays of hope in an otherwise bleak forecast of America's future. Berry's program presents convincing steps for America's agricultural and cultural survival."


message 25: by Mmars (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Has anyone here read any biographies from the Penguin Lives series? I've only read "Elvis Presley" and thought it quite good. They run about 200 pages each. The series thoughtfully pairs the author/biographer with their subjects in interesting ways - for example, Bobbie Ann Mason grew up in Kentucky listening to Elvis' music. Her writing captured the character of Tennessee and Tenneseeans very well.


message 26: by Mmars (last edited Aug 26, 2013 07:26PM) (new)

Mmars | 588 comments Julia, Wendell Berry has been on my back burner for way too long. Going to add "What Are People For" to my list.


message 27: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Mmars, Berry is exceptional, and I also love his poetry as well as his essays. Enjoy! :-)


message 28: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 2166 comments Mod
A Boy at the Hogarth Press by Richard Kennedy

How do I describe this little book? It's like a diary - but doesn't consist of daily entries. The author worked at the Hogarth Press for two years. The book is exactly 100 pages. The entries run from a paragraph to two pages. It's a rather frivolous little book with amusing anecdotes and humorous asides, and not a full bodied memoir of life at the Hogarth. Still, I didn't want it to end. It transported me to another place and time - and I wanted to stay there.


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