Jan/Feb 2019 ~ Which non-fiction books are you exploring?

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Jan/Feb 2019 ~ Which non-fiction books are you exploring?

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1Molly3028
Editado: Jan 21, 2019, 8:51am

A new year = new non-fiction adventures!

ALSO: the Audiobooks group would welcome your input!
http://www.librarything.com/groups/audiobooks

2Molly3028
Editado: Jan 17, 2019, 3:51pm

Enjoying this iBook ~
Becoming by Michelle Obama

3Meredy
Jan 6, 2019, 2:22pm

I'm reading Michelle Obama's book, too, only in hardcover. I always love to get a book for Christmas, and my husband sees to it.

I'm also reading A Brief History of Japan: Samurai, Shogun and Zen: The Extraordinary Story of the Land of the Rising Sun (2017), by Jonathan Clements, this one in soft copy. Given the twelve centuries it covers, I suppose you'd have to call it brief, but it doesn't feel brief. I'm interested in the cultural background I'm gaining from it, even though I couldn't pass a quiz on any of it.

4PokPok
Jan 7, 2019, 12:35am

Tonight I finished Text Me When You Get Home, an anecdotal discussion of women's friendships. Next, I picked up to read A Spy Among Friends by Ben MacIntyre

5LyzzyBee
Jan 7, 2019, 7:43am

I had a load of books for Christmas but seem stuck in fiction at the moment. I did read more non-fiction than fiction in 2018 and my best-of list was heavily weighted towards non-fiction. If you'd like to see all this, it's here: https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/christmas-acquisitions-state-of-t...

6LyzzyBee
Jan 7, 2019, 7:50am

I've just put Text Me on my wishlist - looks great. Did you enjoy it?

7Meredy
Jan 7, 2019, 12:26pm

>4 PokPok: I thought A Spy Among Friends was fascinating, not least because I would not have thought anybody who was perpetually intoxicated could possibly function like that without betraying himself.

8TooBusyReading
Jan 7, 2019, 3:14pm

Inspired by the movie I haven't seen, I finished the memoir, Boy Erased by Gerrard Conley, and appreciated it but didn't love it. Now I've started listening to Dead Wake, about the Lusitania, by Erik Larson. It has been on my TBR for much too long.

9JulieLill
Jan 7, 2019, 6:27pm

10PokPok
Jan 7, 2019, 7:55pm

>6 LyzzyBee:

Indeed I did enjoy it! I am going to give it a 4 stars (Very good) and likely gift it to many. (Truthfully, I gifted it to my friend, I thought it might be a bit light for me... she gave it to me back to read and I'm so glad that she did!! It is ultimately all anecdotes, and do wander a bit, but they are very good. Over and over I found it very relate able (including the dismantling of the "mean girl" trope) ... either in my past or current situations.

11PokPok
Jan 7, 2019, 7:56pm

>7 Meredy:

Great to hear... I've read a few others of MacIntyre's (names escape me at the moment) and its always a decent ride. I know nothing of the Philby case so I'm interested to dive in.

12Meredy
Jan 7, 2019, 11:09pm

>11 PokPok: I gave it 4 1/2 stars. (Review)

13JulieLill
Editado: Jan 9, 2019, 5:30pm

Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War
By Mark Harris
5/5 stars
This is the amazing true life story of some of the greatest Hollywood film directors who were asked to film events during WWII and produce training films for the soldiers while putting aside their careers. John Ford, George Steven, John Huston, William Wyler and Frank Capra were the ones asked to give up their Hollywood jobs to work with the government. A few stayed to make instructional films to train soldiers; others accompanied troops to war torn regions putting their lives in danger while filming. This was a page turner for me from the beginning to the end!

14TooBusyReading
Jan 9, 2019, 9:42pm

>9 JulieLill: I realized a little bit into Dead Wake that I already read it a few years ago, but finished it anyway. Between my poor memory and an interesting book, I enjoyed the second reading (listening) as I had the first.

15ABVR
Editado: Jan 12, 2019, 11:28pm

>13 JulieLill: Thanks for the recommendation . . . I've had my eye on it!

His earlier Pictures at a Revolution -- a look at the dying days of the old studio system, and the birth of the "New Hollywood," through the prism of the 5 "Best Picture" nominees at the 1968 Academy Awards -- was also excellent . . .

16JulieLill
Jan 13, 2019, 4:13pm

>15 ABVR: Will add that book to my reading list-thanks for the recommendation!

17JulieLill
Jan 16, 2019, 3:59pm

Jell-O Girls: A Family History
Allie Rowbottom
4/5 stars
Jell-O was invented prior to 1899 and Rowbottom’s great-great-great uncle bought the patent and manufactured it. The book details her family’s lives living in privilege and how the so called “Jell-O” curse affected their lives. The book also details the history of Jell-O over the years and touches on the story of a group of girls from LeRoy, New York, who came down with a Tourette-like syndrome which was blamed on the manufacture of the product in the area. Interesting!

182wonderY
Editado: Jan 17, 2019, 12:10pm

>17 JulieLill: Dang, another hit.

I'm in the middle of The Boy Who Played with Fusion. It's fascinating. Taylor was trying to build a particle accelerator at age 11. The author adds a lot of material, some of it padding. I'd say half of the extra stuff is interesting. He dips into the hard physics and chemistry; as well as the psychology of giftedness.

The most interesting aside, thus far, is the observation that more than IQ, working memory capacity defines capability and attainments in child prodigies. And then, also, availability and utilization of practice time.

"High achievers are born, then made."

19JulieLill
Jan 17, 2019, 12:24pm

>18 2wonderY: That books sounds interesting!

20vpfluke
Jan 17, 2019, 5:56pm

I am reading Every Word is bird we teach to Sing: Encounters with the Mysteries and Meaning of Language, by Daniel Tammet, 1917; and When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping our Future by Abby Smith Rumsey, 2016. These both deal in a way with language. Tammett's books are essays; but Rumsey are connected thoughts on writing over the years.

21PokPok
Jan 17, 2019, 9:29pm

>7 Meredy:

I am now 2/3rds of the way through Spy Among Friends and finding it quite engaging.

22rocketjk
Editado: Jan 18, 2019, 4:29pm

Today I've started The Life of Andrew Jackson by Marquis James, winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for History. I'll be a while, as the book, really two volumes republished together, checks in at almost 800 pages.

23Sandydog1
Jan 19, 2019, 11:43am

Finishing Taliban. Dense as all hell. A good, very comprehensive history.

25cmbohn
Jan 21, 2019, 12:56am

I'm listening to Grant by Ron Chernow. It's very good, but the reader's soothing voice tends to make me sleepy.

26Sandydog1
Editado: Jan 25, 2019, 9:02pm

>25 cmbohn: An outstanding work about a much misunderstood President and Civil Rights leader. One of my all time favorite biographies.

27Sandydog1
Editado: Jan 26, 2019, 9:23am

I just finished The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt. A quick read and a fun story about an American paleontology team returning to an important almost forgotten historical site in Western Egypt. Currently enjoying The Northern Forest. It's a bit dated, I'm sure.

28Molly3028
Editado: Fev 3, 2019, 7:40pm

Examining this OverDrive eBook ~

Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House
by Cliff Sims

(Trump fears obscurity above all else!)

29JulieLill
Jan 29, 2019, 3:44pm

Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future
Elizabeth Esther
4/5 stars
This is the true story of Elizabeth Esther who grew up in a very physically and mentally punishing religious cult and the efforts she took to try and remove herself from their influence. Very compelling!

30TooBusyReading
Jan 30, 2019, 2:25pm

I'm listening to The Soul of America by Jon Meacham, and am enjoying it. We've had other dark times in our history, and it is enlightening to learn how other leaders coped with them.

31JulieLill
Editado: Fev 2, 2019, 1:13pm

Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas
Mark Kurlansky
4/5 stars
Kurlansky noted for his non-fiction writing doesn’t disappoint in this book on the history and science of milk. Never boring, he makes the topic of milk extremely interesting from its very beginnings up until today. The studies they did on homogenized milk before allowing the public to drink it were interesting and I learned that the yogurt I thought I was eating is actually a cheese product. There are recipes scattered throughout the book and the older ones are quite shocking, making me feel happy I was not born several centuries ago. Highly recommended!

32LynnB
Fev 2, 2019, 2:12pm

I always enjoy Mark Kurlansky's books. Have you read any others, JulieLill? I've read Cod: The Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, Salt: A World History, The Basque History of the World and have Paper: Paging Through History on my TBR shelves.

33snash
Fev 2, 2019, 3:50pm

I finished Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Some parts of this book were very enlightening, thought provoking, and awe inspiring. Other times when writing about something I knew about, the treatment was simplistic. The author also displays some prejudice on topics of nurture and psychotherapy.

34JulieLill
Editado: Fev 3, 2019, 3:38pm

>32 LynnB: I first read Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man
by Mark Kurlansky and loved it. I want to read more of his books-the two I have read have been so interesting.

35vpfluke
Fev 3, 2019, 6:16pm

In February, I am reading An Altar in the World: a geography of faith by Barbara Brown Taylor. (church read). Also, Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich. And thinking about God: A Human History by Reza Aslan.

37Sandydog1
Fev 6, 2019, 9:53pm

38wester
Fev 7, 2019, 2:30am

>31 JulieLill:, >32 LynnB:
I really liked Cod as well, and I got about halfway through Nonviolence before other interesting books started to beckon. I do want to finish it still, and I like the fact that it's a very nonfood subject.

39snash
Fev 7, 2019, 7:39am

I finished Eventide. I truly love the author Kent Haruf and this one did not disappoint. It's so well written that one feels a part of the scene. It's the story of a cast of characters in a small town, many just barely making it, but often helping each other out.

40TooBusyReading
Fev 7, 2019, 10:59am

>37 Sandydog1: I'm curious about what you'll think of it when you are done. I thought it very good. The Soul of America

41TooBusyReading
Fev 7, 2019, 11:53am

I started listening to The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington this morning. It promises to be informative but sad, and so far, it is quite interesting.

42cmbohn
Fev 7, 2019, 9:40pm

26 - I admit I had never heard about what a champion he was for Black voting rights. Some of the post-war stuff has been sickening though. I'd never heard of the New Orleans race riots and it was super grim to read.

44Bookmarque
Fev 10, 2019, 9:37am

Oh LynnB - you got me with the book about corvids. I LOVE them and so have ordered a fairly spendy used book since it's sadly out of print.

On a similar note, the nf I have going now is What the Robin Knows by Jon Young - a book about how bird calls can clue you into what's happening around you in nature.

46JulieLill
Editado: Fev 12, 2019, 3:44pm

They Shall Not Grow Old Documentary
We went to see They Shall Not Grow Old this weekend. WWI film footage from Britain’s Imperial War Museum was not stored correctly and Peter Jackson of Lord of The Rings was asked to restore the film and make it into a movie before it was completely destroyed. There is also a 30 minute separate film after the movie which showed how the film was restored. Very interesting! https://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/they-shall-not-grow-old-review-peter-jacks...

47rocketjk
Fev 12, 2019, 4:29pm

>46 JulieLill: My wife and I saw this a couple of weeks ago. Not only did Jackson and his crew restore the film, they adapted the footage to more or less modern standards. They slowed the film down to real-life speed and colorized it. Then they hired "forensic lip readers" to recreate the speech on evidence in the silent footage, and added background sound, as well. The result of all this is that you feel you are in the trench with these men, 100 years ago, and it is hard to remember as you watch that this is documentary footage, not actors in a modern movie. It's heart-breaking and harrowing. Jackson begins with footage of men in training and keeps that in black and white. That moment where the film gradually morphs to color, with the background sound coming up as well, is astounding. Also, they skillfully weaved in narration from oral histories taken with WWI veterans from, I believe, the 1980s, when many were still alive. One of the most amazing experiences I've ever had in a movie theater. I highly recommend, by the way, seeing this on a big screen rather than waiting to stream it somehow.

48hsauvage
Fev 12, 2019, 7:54pm

I am reading Nikto ne zabyt, nichto ne zabyto/ Nobody Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Forgotten by Olga Berggolts - a selection from her secret diaries, letters and other previously unpublished writings. Imo, it's indispensable reading for all Russians who endeavour to come to terms with their own recent history.

49JulieLill
Editado: Fev 13, 2019, 12:01pm

>47 rocketjk: Well said!

50JulieLill
Fev 13, 2019, 12:00pm

October Sky
Homer Hickam
5/5 stars
This was a wonderful book on the early life of Homer Hickman, living in a coal town along with the stress of that, while he and his friends were being inspired by the space race and wanting to be a part of it. He did eventually become a NASA engineer but not without the help of his friends and the town that supported him.

512wonderY
Fev 13, 2019, 1:11pm

>50 JulieLill: And Hickam is so literate and genial. His excellence in science and literature are surely a tribute to the tiny local schools, beyond his own brilliance.

52snash
Fev 14, 2019, 6:27am

I finished the memoir, The Hue and Cry at Our House. The author is present reminiscing about his 11th and 12 years, with forays earlier and later. The events and emotions are presented both as they were then and as viewed from adulthood.

53rocketjk
Fev 15, 2019, 12:36pm

Yesterday, I finished Canaries in the Mineshaft: Essays on Politics and Media by Renata Adler, a collection of fascinating pieces dating from 1976 through 1980 (with one addition from 2000) about Watergate, the Starr Report, and many other issues that are contemporary to those times but also resonate strongly to the present day.

54Sandydog1
Editado: Fev 18, 2019, 6:40pm

>40 TooBusyReading:

OMG 'Busy, what a downer of a great book! Regarding The Soul of America I'm almost done, so here are some of my ramblings. Initially, subjective, flowery essay style takes some getting used to, but it turns out this is actually a fascinating history of the USA in a long string of very organized, readable quotations of all the key players. Initial thesis appears to be that we go through crazy times and always come out of it. It seems though that we Americans are weak and quick to go to unpatriotic racism and proto-Fascism, in the name of patriotism. It's happened again and again. I get the vibe that other countries suffer a heck of a lot more, before they choose extremism, fear and hate. There sure is a long string of ass-hats: Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace. Be Patriots, uphold the Constitution, follow reasonable leaders, be nice people, act like Americans.

(And as a result of this book, I've been listening to Murrow and Eisenhower speeches as inspiration.)

55TooBusyReading
Fev 17, 2019, 1:43pm

>54 Sandydog1: Very well said, and about a book (The Soul of America) I think is more than worth the time spent reading or listening to it. And I'm glad that the underbellies of some of our "patriotic heroes" isn't glossed over. No one is all good or all bad...but sometimes I question that.

56Sandydog1
Fev 18, 2019, 6:39pm

>55 TooBusyReading: Good points. And credit is given to the often-good guys: Jefferson, Grant (other books really show what a civil rights proponent he truly was, more than Lincoln, I'd say), TR and FDR, Truman (clearly a racist in his younger days), Ike, Lyndon Johnson (more than JFK), MLK...

57haydninvienna
Fev 19, 2019, 12:48am

>54 Sandydog1: >55 TooBusyReading: >56 Sandydog1: Against my better instincts, I've just wishlisted The Soul of America. "Against my better instincts" because in the present times I find reading the news so terrifying that I've stopped doing it. I'm hoping that the book will give me not just hope for the future but hope that there is a future.

58cindydavid4
Fev 19, 2019, 4:46am

Let me know what you find out, I need that answer as well!

59Molly3028
Editado: Fev 19, 2019, 9:27am

>57 haydninvienna:

Watching interviews of people who write books featuring the long view of our history ~ Jon Meacham and Michael Beschloss ~ brings me hope in this crazy era.

60JulieLill
Fev 20, 2019, 12:04pm

The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark
Meryl Gordon
4/5 stars
This is a very interesting look at the reclusive Huguette Clark, a wealthy heiress, introvert and hoarder who secluded herself in a hospital room for over 20 years relying on some people who did not always have her best interests in mind and cut off from her relatives whom she did not want to see or contact. On her death, she left a huge estate and a huge problem for the lawyers and the courts to sort out pitting her family against the friends and staff she had given money to.

61TooBusyReading
Fev 20, 2019, 12:45pm

>57 haydninvienna: The Soul of America doesn't look through rose-colored glasses and the author is no Pollyanna. but it does show that we have been through rough times before, and come back better for it. It also shows that sometimes we slide backwards, but for the most part, we are improving. In that, there is hope. There isn't much about the present administration. I like and need to know what is going on, but it can be so overwhelming and discouraging.

62haydninvienna
Fev 20, 2019, 1:11pm

>59 Molly3028: >61 TooBusyReading: I'm not looking for answers about you-know-who. I'm well aware that many countries seem to throw up such people from time to time. What I am looking for is reassurance that there is a way back, since there seems to be a school of thought around that holds that liberal democracy has failed. I don't think it has, but I'd like to find some more people who think so.

63PokPok
Fev 24, 2019, 9:33pm

Tonight I'll be finishing The Man Who Loved Books Too Much . It's an easy, engaging read, which switches between a book thief/collector (ie. he stole to own, not stole to sell) and the book store owner who tracked him down (self proclaimed 'bibliodick'). I won't keep it, but it was a fun read, easy to get through in 8-10 hours. Good for book lovers, lots of quotes about book fans, collectors, bookstores, etc.

64paradoxosalpha
Fev 25, 2019, 11:19am

I've finally dug for a full read of the vaunted Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas. So far (200 pp or so), it's been very entertaining, but practically a stream of anecdotes from late medieval and early modern England. I'm looking forward to some historical narrative to tie it together.

65dypaloh
Fev 25, 2019, 11:23am

I’ve been reading the 1950 edition of Mary Austin’s The Land of Little Rain, an edition made even better by inclusion of 48 photographs taken by Ansel Adams.

662wonderY
Fev 25, 2019, 1:36pm

I'm listening to Neil Gaiman read a collection of his essays, The View from the Cheap Seats.

67rocketjk
Fev 25, 2019, 7:49pm

I've started Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation by Laura Silber and Allan Little. The history was recommended to me in a bookstore in Dubrovnik.

68cindydavid4
Fev 25, 2019, 8:13pm

Really loved that Gaiman collection; a wide range of essays and ideas, some moving, some hilarious and all of them touched on that love of reading we all have

69mnleona
Fev 26, 2019, 8:49am

The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World by Jenny Linford. This book is " A History of Honey, Salt, Chile, Pork, Rice, Cacao and Tomato". It has recipes and well as history of the items.

70LynnB
Fev 28, 2019, 9:31am

I'm reading The Art of War by Sun Tzu