Nonfiction Boot Camp discussion

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message 1: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (lauriea) | 73 comments Mod
Feb: global financial crisis
March:
April:
May:
June:
July:
August:
Sept:
Oct:
Nov:
Dec:

Suggestions from other thread: the environment, cosmology/physics, philosophy, the U.S. Supreme Court

Other ideas: Islam (I got "Heavy Metal Islam" for Christmas--can't wait to read it, but also am interested in more historical/political texts), China, basic economics


message 2: by Ellesee (last edited Jan 05, 2009 02:52PM) (new)

Ellesee | 33 comments Mod
Laurie,

I agree with your other topics.

1. Islam because I know so little about it.

2. China - country of my ancestors - Simon Winchester had a recent book out. I've read Winchester's "The Professor and the Madmen" a few years ago - entertaining and informative.

Also, I'm planning on re-reading "Wild Swans" - read more than a decade ago - a family memoir about the last century (20th) in China.

For historical context, Jonathan Spence's "Search for Modern China" was what I read in university Chinese history class. Too long (700 odd pages) for a selection though.

"Oracle Bones" sounds interesting. Nat Book Award Finalist.

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I'd also suggest something by Mark Kurlansky - haven't read anything by him but he writes about culture, history, economics through the lens of food - "Salt" "Cod", etc.

And perhaps something about the natural world? Something biological? A well-read non-biologist friend suggests Olivia Judson. I like some Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond - also haven't read E.O. Wilson. Gerald Durrell.




message 3: by Ellesee (new)

Ellesee | 33 comments Mod
An idea......for finding a good intro book about Islamic thought/ culture, other than within the group, there's an Islam group on the board with several books on their shelves we can peruse as well as asking the members of that group directly for any suggestions.

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/9...


message 4: by Fran (new)

Fran | 20 comments I loved "Krakatoa" and "The Professor and the Madman" both by Simon Winchester. So if he does have a new one out about China, I am all for that!


message 5: by Laurie (last edited Jan 11, 2009 08:55PM) (new)

Laurie (lauriea) | 73 comments Mod
OK, let's fill this in a little more:

Feb: global financial crisis
March: Islam
April: the environment
May: China
June: cosmology/physics
July: the natural world/biology
August:
Sept: basic economics
Oct: U.S. Supreme Court
Nov:
Dec:

I left August blank for now--it'd be nice to find something light for August and December, as so many people seem to take holidays during those months.


message 6: by Fran (new)

Fran | 20 comments "Krakatoa" by Simon Winchester is a wonderful book, with history, geology, biology, economics etc all intertwined. At the time I read it I thought what a wonderful book it would be for a college "Scientific Thought" or some other sort of interdisciplinary science course. I would love to suggest IT for your July, "natural world/ biology" topic. It is less on Biology than on Earth Science/ Volcanism but it is SO GOOD.


message 7: by Ellesee (new)

Ellesee | 33 comments Mod
Thanks for making out the topic list, Laurie.

Fran, any of the Winchester books are fine by me to fill one of the months.(turns out he has 2 on China)

Lighter topics? Cooking/food/travel writing always good. Humor also but sometimes hard to find sense of humor fitting everyone - aside from Bill Bryson, I also like David Sedaris.

Other idea I had was something art-related (Sister Wendy book on European art, "The Design of Everyday Things" on industrial design, or "The Rest is Noise" (Pulitzer finalist about 20th century classical music).

Also, something Amal might enjoy is stuff by Alain De Botton, famous for "How Proust Can Change Your Life" and "The Consolations of Philosophy" among others I have not read. Philosophy/ thought written with humor.



message 8: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (lauriea) | 73 comments Mod
great ideas...

Feb: global financial crisis
March: Islam
April: the environment
May: China
June: cosmology/physics
July: the natural world/biology
August: food/cooking
Sept: basic economics
Oct: U.S. Supreme Court
Nov: art/art history
Dec: humor/humour (haha?)



message 9: by Ellesee (new)

Ellesee | 33 comments Mod
Hey, everyone,

Can we split up the months of June/ July with Sept/Oct? That is take one June/July topic and switch with one of Sept/Oct. That way, we don't get two months of science in a row.

Also, please feel free to suggest other topics or books.




message 10: by Ellesee (new)

Ellesee | 33 comments Mod
Ok, I took a look at a couple books for the topic "Islam." The "Heavy Metal Islam" book sounds interesting but would prob. go over my head since I don't know much about heavy metal.

(Interestingly, in the movie "Persepolis", an autobiographical film/ book, the main female character is a fan of Iron Maiden in 1970s Iran.)

As expected, different books emphasize different aspects -- Muslim beliefs/ practices vs. history vs. current politics vs. Muslim Americans,etc. Amazon reviews polarized with posters accusing authors of being "right wing", "apologists," etc.

John L. Esposito, Georgetown University professor who is involved in a Christian-Muslim crosscultural center, seems to have two good books out. Both are about 300 pages.

1. Islam: The Straight Path - from posts, this is a often used in university courses but quite readable. 3rd edition 2005. Covers history, politics as well as general intro to Islam beliefs/ practices.

2. What Everyone Needs To Know About Islam - in a Q and A format, not as in depth as #1 history/politics wise but straightforward. Not as biased per reviews one way or the other.

Check out the table of contents and readability through Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sea...




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