November 5

Nonfiction November 2017

It’s that time of year. As we begin to hunker down under the blankets as the cold weather becomes the norm, it’s time to pull out those nonfiction books that we always mean to get to but never do. Although I am on a strong and successful fiction run, here are a few titles that are on my radar for this month:

Books Already Started But Haven’t Finished:

When I am on a trip, I love to buy a book that represents something significant about the area I’m visiting. I’m not sure what it means that both of these books are “trip souvenirs”, and I haven’t finished them!

deep down dark cover1 dead in attic

Deep Down Dark: This is the book I brought home from Chile this last summer. Although it is an in depth and fascinating look at the Chilean mining disaster, a fiction book always seems to be diverting my attention.

1 Dead in Attic: I brought this book back from a New Orleans trip a few years ago. I was drawn in by the individual stories of Hurricane Katrina at the time, but again, I think fiction drew me away. I’d love to finish it up this month!

Books On My Shelves:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: I’ve heard so many great things about this book about an African American woman who is used in the name of science without her consent. I’ve been told that I will love it, but I still haven’t quite gotten to it!

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War: I have always been drawn to Karen Abbott’s writing. She always reads more like fiction than nonfiction to me. I think the size of this one keeps me from reading about how women acted as spies in the Civil War.

Books on My EReader:

I am such a sucker for the daily deals on Kindle. I have so many books that will take me years to get to, but here are some that may come up this month:

Men We Reaped: I just finished a Jesmyn Ward novel, and her writing is stunning. I am intrigued by this memoir in which she discusses losing 5 men in her life in a short period of time.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family: The story of a transgender girl and how her identical twin and the rest of her family cope with the changes the occur in Nicole.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House: I totally want to hear more about Barack Obama, his days before his presidency, what it was like in his White House. This book gets great reviews and is supposed to be quite entertaining!

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World: Who doesn’t want to gain some insight and wisdom from the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu? I know I’m open to the possibilities!

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House: I am so curious about what life is like in the White House behind closed doors. I love knowing details about the inner workings as well as the ins and outs of relationships that exist.

Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing: A collection of writing from both men and women behind bars and how they struggle to keep their humanity.

I could add even more books to this list, but this is a good sampling. I can’t possibly read all of these, but these are probably the most likely candidates. I will keep you all posted!

What are you going to read for Nonfiction November? Anything you think I’m missing out on that should be a must read for me?

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November 27

Nonfiction November: More Mini Reviews

November 27, 2015

nonfiction november2015I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed Nonfiction November more than I even expected. I do enjoy nonfiction on occasion, but I found myself exploring far more books in this genre than I would typically. Today, I’m going to share more mini reviews on a couple of shorter, easier reads that I took on.

Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay

My curiosity was piqued when my friend Meghan added this book to her Goodreads
TBR list. When it was on the “Popular Pick” shelf at the library, I knew I had to pick it up. Jason Gay has lived through significant ordeals, and he shares his experiences with humor and wit. You will be inspired by his down-to-earth, no nonsense approach to life, and you will laugh quite a bit a long the way. At times, I felt that the humor was a bit forced, but overall this is an enjoyable and very quick read.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may have caught my review last spring on Humans of New York. I follow the page daily on Facebook, and I am a huge fan of the style, stories, and pictures that Stanton shares. When I heard another collection was being released, I put it on hold at the library right away (and I still had to wait because others beat me to the punch). As much as I enjoyed that last compilation, I loved this one even more. The stories shared were usually brief, and they often made impactful statements that stuck with me. If you are not familiar with HONY, then you MUST check it out in some form, whether it’s a book, Facebook, or the blog. I just love the snapshots into the lives of a huge variety of people. It makes you realize that we never really know what someone we pass on the street is going through. Check this one out soon!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

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November 19

Nonfiction November: Mini Reviews of Books of Quotes

November 19, 2015

I’ve never had a focus on nonfiction like I have this month. It’s been a change of pace, and I’m enjoying it more than I would have expected. Today I’m going to feature a couple of short reviews on quote books that I have recently finished (I decided it was a little too hard to write an individual full review on a short book of quotes).

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed:

From Goodreads:

From the best-selling author of Wild, a collection of quotes–drawn from the wide range of her writings–that capture her wisdom, courage, and outspoken humor, presented in a gift-sized package that’s as irresistible to give as it is to receive.

Around the world, thousands of people have found inspiration in the words of Cheryl Strayed, who in her three prior books and in her Dear Sugar columns has shared the twists and trials of her remarkable life. Her honesty, spirit, and ample supply of tough love have enabled many of us, even in the darkest hours, to somehow put one foot in front of the other–and be brave enough.

This book gathers, each on a single page, more than 100 of Strayed’s indelible quotes and thoughts–“mini instruction manuals for the soul” that urge us toward the incredible capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness, and endurance that is within us all.

In a nutshell – get this book now! I cannot put into words how much I loved it, and how much it made me think, and how much it moved me. I have always loved the writing of Strayed, but this amazing collection of quotes has guaranteed my life long fandom. I bought one book as a gift right away, and I just ordered 3 more for gifts that I need in the next few weeks. I checked this book out from the library, but trust me when I say, you need to own this one yourself. I found myself copying so many quotes into my quote notebook that I realized I needed to own this gem, because I don’t doubt that I will come back to it again and again in the future!

Slaughterhouse 90210: Where Great Books Meet Pop Culture by Maris Kreizman

From Goodreads:

Slaughterhouse 90210 pairs literature’s greatest lines with pop culture’s best moments.

In 2009, Maris Kreizman wanted to combine her fierce love for pop culture with a lifelong passion for reading, and so the blog Slaughterhouse 90210 was born. By matching poignant passages from literature with popular moments from television, film, and real life, Maris’ work instantly caught the attention (and adoration) of thousands. And it’s easy to see why.

Slaughterhouse 90210 is subversively brilliant, finding the depth in the shallows of reality television, and the levity in Lahiri. A picture of Taylor Swift is paired with Joan Didion’s quote, “Above all, she is the girl who ‘feels things’. The girl ever wounded, ever young.” Tony Soprano tenderly hugs his teenage son, accompanied by a line from Middlemarch about, “The patches of hardness and tenderness [that] lie side by side in men’s dispositions.” The images and quotes complement and deepen one another in surprising, profound, and tender ways.

With over 150 color photographs from some of popular culture’s most iconic moments, Kreizman shows why comparing Walter White to Faust makes sense in our celebrity obsessed, tv crazed society.

In one word, this book is FUN! I loved looking at a wide variety of snapshots from pop culture (celebrities, movies, TV, etc,) in and of itself, but then to pair those snapshots with quotes from books you know and love – pure heaven. Although I may not have been moved as much as I was with Brave Enough, this was a fun and entertaining read. I give lots of credit to Kreizman, because I don’t think I would have her gift of creating pairings such as she did. You will polish this book off in no time – a perfect read for the crazy holiday season when you don’t have much time for thinking or reading!

What book of quotes would you recommend?

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November 12

Nonfiction November: Fiction/Nonfiction Pairings

November 12, 2015

nonfiction november2015It’s week 2 of Nonfiction November. I haven’t done a ton of nonfiction reading yet, but I should finish up a book in a day or two that will free up lots of nonfiction time for me. In the meantime, let’s chat about fiction/nonfiction pairings. Whether you are a fan of fiction that is looking to read a bit more nonfiction, or a fan of nonfiction that is looking to read a bit more fiction, below are some recommendations to help you out. I’ve included quite a wide range, so you should be able to find a little something that appeals to you!


NFF pairing 1

Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – Both books feature a strong female embarking on an enormous physical challenge in an attempt to regroup and move forward in life in a more positive way. I was inspired by both books, and I could totally see myself doing something like this someday!

NFF pairing 2

Columbine by Dave Cullen and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – I haven’t actually had the chance to read Columbine yet, but I’ve heard great things. It’s near the top of my TBR, but I am a bit overwhelmed by the size. We Need to Talk About Kevin gives a very interesting perspective into the life of a family of a school shooter.

NFF pairing 3

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen and Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail – Both books provide a different twist on typical books set during the Holocaust. Each of these features a relationship involving a Nazi officer in the context of its story.

NFF pairing 7

You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen and The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus – Although these books aren’t on my list of all time favorite reads, they both give you a glimpse into the less-than-glamorous side of the life of nannying for a wealthy family.

NFF pairing 8

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall – I’ve always been intrigued by polygamy and the fundamental Mormon faith. These are very different books, but give you a peek into what that lifestyle might look like.

NFF pairing 6

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – True Notebooks had a strong impact on me and the way I view juvenile offenders. Saint Anything is a fictional account of one family’s difficulty coming to terms with a teen that has to go to prison. Both make you take a deeper look at the circumstances that surround tragedies such as these.

NFF pairing 5

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott and What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen – I was fascinated by Sin in the Second City and the lives of enormous wealth that madams could build for themselves. One of the infamous Chicago frequents to the brothel featured in the book was Marshall Field Jr, and his habit is mentioned in What the Lady Wants. I love how both books featured Chicago history and famous Chicagoans.

NFF pairing 4

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Hurry Down Sunshine features a father’s struggle as he goes through the diagnosis and acceptance of his daughter’s mental health issues. All the Bright Places is my favorite read of 2015 so far and also features the struggle of a teen that’s dealing with his own mental health issues. Both books bring so much awareness to mental health issues and the struggles that those suffering face.

What fiction/nonfiction pairing would you recommend? Have you read any of the above pairings? What did you think if you did?

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November 1

Nonfiction November

November 1, 2015

I’m so excited to be participating in Nonfiction November this year. This event is cohosted by 4 different blogs, but the blog that is cohosting that I follow is Doing Dewey. I’m going to attempt to read more nonfiction this month, as well as post on the weekly topics that coincide with this year’s event. Last year, I made a very feeble attempt to participate, completing only 1 nonfiction read the entire month. This year, I’m hoping to get four under my belt in between my other reading.

Here are the books that are on my radar that I’m planning to choose from (since I’m such a mood reader, I like to have options):

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – It’s hard to believe, but I don’t think I’ve ever read this one. I bought a paperback copy at a Scholastic sale, and I’m looking forward to reading this classic.

The Cruel Country by Judith Ortiz Cofer – I won a copy of this memoir from the author, and I’m definitely intrigued. It has been getting some solid reviews, and I’m anticipating good things.

Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton – I follow Humans of New York on Facebook and love the variety of stories that are shared. When I read Humans of New York this last spring, my only complaint was that it didn’t include the stories that I’ve come to love on Facebook, and now here it is! I’m on the hold list at the library for this one, so I’m pretty confident that I’ll get to this particular read.

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed – I love all things Cheryl Strayed, and I LOVE quotes – this book could not be more perfect for me! I also have this gem on hold at the library.

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin – I’ve heard that this book is a highly entertaining look at a life that very few of us will ever glimpse (but I’ve also heard reports that some of the stories included are greatly exaggerated).

On Writing by Charles Bukowski – I’m trying to get back into a writing groove, and I thought that I might find some inspiration here.

Gorge: My Journey Up Mount Kilimanjaro At 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely – I am definitely intrigued with this one, and Cheryl Strayed gives it rave reviews. I like books that can inspire me in some way that I need to be inspired in.

Two Awesome Hours by Josh Davis – I like reading the occasional book on how to be more organized and/or efficient. This looks like a quick read, and I might give it a try.

Any recommendations on where to start? What are you planning on reading for Nonfiction November?

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