nonfiction

NonFiction November Week 5: New to My TBR

I have finally arrived at week 5! I have loved every minute of my chaotic NonFiction November and I cannot wait to participate next year. It is hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful event but I am walking away with so many new books added to my TBR. This week is hosted by Katie at DoingDewey and the prompt is:

It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

EatingAnimalsEating Animals I found on Rita’s site and she assures me that this book will give me the environmental and scientific principals behind and vegetarian / vegan diet without the scare tactics. As a former vegetarian I try to follow a quasi kind diet but perhaps this book will bring me back completely into the fold.

 

 

 

diaryofabooksellerAmy-Louise gave me two of my new-to-my-TBR books. The first one, The Diary of a Bookseller is a sure fire win for me because, obviously, it has a bookstore on the cover. Any book featuring maps or bookstores goes automatically on my TBR list.

 

 

the secret barristerThe second one from Amy-Louise is The Secret Barrister. The cover of this book looks like  a Sherlock Holmes novel and reads “stories of the law and how it’s broken.” I have to read it.

 

 

 

 

searchingforamazonsI’m always in the mood for strong women and so Searching for the Amazons really caught my eye when I saw it on Luna’s blog. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!

 

 

 

 

 

conandoyleFinally, the book I am most excited to have found this month is Conan Doyle for the Defense which I spotted on the wonderful site, WordsandPeace.


Tell me, please!

If you have been participating in NonFiction November or following along, what have you added to your TBR?

nonfiction

Nonfiction November Week 4: Should Nonfiction Read like Fiction?

I am running behind but determined to continue with NonFiction November! This week’s assignment is:

Week 4: (Nov. 19 to 23) – Reads Like Fiction (Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction): Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it that fiction-like feeling? Does it depend on the topic, the writing, the use of certain literary elements and techniques? What are your favorite nonfiction recommendations that read like fiction? And if your nonfiction picks could never be mistaken for novels, what do you love about the differences?

The short answer: YES. But, not necessarily. Allow me to elaborate.


The Short Answer

First, what does “reads like a novel” mean to me? For me to enjoy a novel I like the story to build before me. I need character development, growth, change, internal or external conflict (preferably both) and momentum. And, for nonfiction I don’t think my criteria is all that different except I put a lot more emphasis on momentum in nonfiction than I do when I read a novel. Some of my favorite nonfiction books read like novels to me because they capture my imagination and send me on a journey. In my opinion, this is the escapism quality of fiction.


My favorite Nonfiction that reads like Fiction.

poisonhandbookThe Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum has separate chapters for each of the poisons. But, in each she introduces you to a problem, a murder, or a group of individuals that grab your attention. She gives you characters. And, as the science identifies the poisons we are off on a journey, a race against time, to stop the people from being exposed to the newly identified substance. I always say that this book reads like a procedural crime drama. Which is why I recommend it every single time.

Meanwhile, there are a number of other fine books about poisons that I have read and not one of the them pulled me in or stuck with me the way The Poisoner’s Handbook has for all of these years. I try at all costs to avoid negative reviews here at SilverButtonBooks so I won’t mention them but just know, you have seen them in bookstores and non of them read as well as this gem.


messyMessy by Tim Harford is another fantastic book that uses character driven or news worthy anecdotes to draw you into a problem. Then, the solution is delivered via information, statistics and science in a way that solves said problem. Messy was a fast paced read that used jumping off points like, plane crashes, man made eradication of nature and terrible situations to show how disorder can positively transform our lives.

Messy reads less like a novel and more like a podcast. But each chapter blends seamlessly into the next and the sum total of the book ends up feeling like a fantastic television show.


askanastronautAsk an Astronaut by Tim Peake reads like an epistolary novel. Much like Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments or Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, Tim responds to written questions. But it is how he answers the questions that takes this NonFiction book from Dear Abby format to a back and forth between the famous astronaut and the general public. He organized the book like a memoire but gives you the action, adventure, terrifying facts and love of space in his answers. I will NEVER go to space but Tim convinced me why he did.

 


Speaking of Celebrity Memoirs…

Most of the celebrity memoirs that I have enjoyed through the years also read like well written fiction. They certainly have a character-driven feel, they often show us personal growth despite internal and external conflict and they are (if well written) fast paced. I think that is why they are easily accessible to the novel loving readers out there. Some of my favorites include:

Homey Don’t Play That, The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution by David Peisner. Peisner sets the stage for the enormous success of In Living Color with the history of Black Comedy but keeps the momentum up through the interweaving stories of the cast members and all those involved with the rise and fall of this hilarious show.

Bossypants by Tina Fey might be the celebrity memoire that everyone has read but there is a reason for this. Fey’s ability to tell her childhood stories (including how she got that scar) and weave her personal and professional stories together is just simply fun to read. But, at a closer look, it is a fantastic look at the rise of female driven comedies.

So…That Happened by Jon Cryer is my new favorite celebrity memoire. I just listened to it as an audiobook and it was like driving around with a friend for nine hours. He hits all of the gossipy checkmarks without becoming mean or spiteful and I loved him for it. It was also a great story about how a broadway kid experienced movie making and television for the last three decades.

Canada by Mike Myers is another favorite of mine. My giant crush on all things Canadian lead me to this book which is part celebrity memoire and part history of Canada. I would not only recommend the book but also the audiobook for the wonderful accents and explanations by Mr. Myers himself.

The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell will always be highly recommended by me. The comedian (who was unknown to me before this book) delivers his own celebrity memoirs but with the added relevance of the ongoing issues for Black people in America.


To further elaborate…

Does good nonfiction need to read like a novel? No. But, it makes it more fun, easier to consume and far easier to recommend. I have read many other NonFiction books that are so far from a novel they may as well be a textbook but loved them all the same. So, while I will still read a nonfiction book that is clearly not novel-like authors who write nonfiction as though it is to be enjoyed will always be appreciated for their efforts.


Tell me, please!

Do you think good Nonfiction reads like a novel?

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday November 28, 2018

WWW

It has been a long start to the week but now it is Wednesday!! Time to start looking forward to the weekend and planning what I will be reading. Thanks (as always) to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this!


What Did I Just Finish Reading?

I have been deep (DEEP) into NonFiction November and it has made me ever so slightly crazy because I cannot seem to get organized or stick to any one book. But, I know that I recently finished these three fantastic audiobooks while I was driving around town. I highly recommend them all and I will be reviewing them soon.

Jon Cryer’s book, So that Happened has become my celebrity memoir to beat. With his frank conversational style and the sheer amount of weird experiences he has had during his life / acting career his book felt far too short even at 9 hours.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple was another five start audiobook. If you loved Where’d You Go Bernadette I feel confident that you will want to go on the adventure that is this book. Maria Semple just has a way of capturing how complex women’s lives can become. The narrator delivered the story so beautifully I just need someone to listen to it so they can agree with me already.

The Princess Diarist by the late great Carrie Fisher covers some things about Carrie Fischer’s experiences filming Star Wars that were new to me. I have always been a devoted fan of Carrie and the book is worth a look just to languish in how beautifully her journal entries from her youth were written. If there was ever a doubt of her talent, this book extinguishes it. This audiobook is read by Carrie and her daughter and made me miss the Princess a little more.


What am I currently Reading?

I’m a bit of a mess right now. I think I have 40 NonFiction Books going but I am planning to focus on these three books this week. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn became a forgotten book (one you drop, can’t find, find later, dust off and start again). I am approximately half way through this novel and I love the shifting perspective.

The Two Towers will not defeat me!!! I refuse to welcome the New Year until the damn Ring is destroyed. I have a cunning plan to get it done but my friends have started taking bets.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson came highly recommended and I grabbed the audiobook version. It vacillates between making me laugh so hard its not safe to drive and desperately sad for those struggling with mental illness. I am also half way through this book but with my new extended commute I am ready to go!!


What Will I Read Next?

These are the five books that the library wants back from me in the next two weeks. I feel strongly that two of them will go back on the shelf unread. But, if anyone has a suggestion on where I should start, please let me know!


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?


nonfiction

Nonfiction November: Week 3. Be The Expert

I am still running behind on my Non Fiction November postings but I refuse to give up! This week is hosted by Julz at JulzReads. The directions are as follows:

Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

I am fairly new to reading non fiction but the majority of my choices are lead by sheer interest at the moment. I enjoy medical, social, personal improvement, and celebrity memoirs equally. The one section of non fiction I can never resist is those books which help me become a more enthusiastic or well rounded reader. So, for my expert non fiction books I give you the following selection of books about books!

1000booksThis book, 1000 Books to Read Before You Die, A Life-Changing List by James Mustich is reminiscent of a grown up Rory Gilmore’s to-be-read list. Paging through this book I never fail to be impressed by the number of wonderful books that are there to be read. I keep this one handy for when I want to feel challenged and I’m looking for a book that I “should” read.

 

 

 

booklust

Book Lust, by Nancy Pearl is one that I have just recently picked up. Who could resist having a book on hand with recommendations “for every mood, moment, and reason?”

 

 

 

 

1001books

And speaking of books for every mood, this one is a veritable bible for me. 1001 Books for every Mood, by Hallie Ephron, Ph.D. was out of print when I stumbled across it at the library. I felt so lucky to find my own copy and I use it constantly to find books for when I am sad, happy, or in the mood to be scared. I cannot recommend this book enough and my only wish is that they put out a new version every year.

 

 

 

myidealbookshelfMy Ideal Bookshelf is one that many of my book loving friends has oogled over. This book takes individuals perfect bookshelves and turns them into art. I have spend many an hour trying to figure out my Ideal Bookshelf in the off chance I ever become famous enough to have someone want to paint it. This book does make you re-think certain celebrities as well when you realize that someone you admire reads books you hate and vice versa.

 

thebookofbooks

And finally we have the newest of the new books on books – The Book of Books. This is supposed to be America’s 100 best-loved novels but I will tell you honestly, the way in which they gathered the data for this publication gives me great pause. Some of these books are, quite simply, just very popular books (you all know these books, the one book your friend read on vacation and talks about constantly because it is the only book they read last year! Sorry for the mini rant.)

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday November 14, 2018

WWW

Between taking down the Halloween decorations and pondering when precisely was too early to put up the Christmas decorations I have made an absolute mess of my book piles. I spent the last week trying to re-organize everything using the Libib.com app and I found three (THREE) books I didn’t even realize I was still in the middle of reading.

Now it’s WWW Wednesday to the rescue. Thank goodness for Sam at Taking on the World of Words for this post and its ability to get me back on track!


What did I just finish reading?

insicknessandinhealthThe only book I can say I have finished is In Sickness and in Health by Ben Mattlin. It is a frank discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of a interability relationships. Ben Mattlin himself is in an interabled marriage. His insight into what issues arise and face couples in a similar situation made for an extremely interesting read. I highly recommend it and you can read (slightly) more on my post here.  I know I read more but this is how unorganized I have been.


What am I currently reading?

It is more like, “what aren’t I currently reading?” Here are my books.

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart was found abandoned with only 20 pages remaining. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn I left only half completed. And, I think everyone knows I stopped helping the Hobbits get to Morder when Galdalf the White returned. Meanwhile, I started reading The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd because I lack self control.


What do I plan to read next?

I have Paperback Crush, the Totally Radical History of 80’s and 90’s Teen Fiction by Gabrielle Moss and The Radium Girls by Kate Moss. I have been trying to prioritize nonfiction for Nonfiction November and I have really been enjoying the wonder that is nonfiction publishing lately. I cannot wait to finish some of my current reading and get started on these two books.


Tell me, please!

What books made your list this week?


nonfiction

Nonfiction November: Fiction and Nonfiction Book Pairs

The second post for nonfiction November gives you a choice. I have selected to pair a fiction book with a nonfiction book as in, “If you liked that, you might like this.” You can see many other pairings on this weeks hosting site Sarah’s Book Shelves.


My pairing takes the fiction story Me Before you by Jojo Moyes and pairs it with the nonfiction collection of stories In Sickness and in Health, Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance by Ben Mattlin.

In the off chance you haven’t read Me Before You, watched the movie or read the sequel, the story features Louisa and Will. Louisa takes a job caring for Will who has been in an accident. Prior to his accident, Will was an adventurous individual and full of life.  Since his injury has made him a quadriplegic he is questioning whether he can continue to live when he feels so limited. Louisa learns that he has some drastic plans and sets to change his mind.

Initially, I didn’t want to read about the story of an able-bodied, typically developed individual “rescuing” a person with disabilities. Still, people praised the book and, in the end, I did enjoy it. You can read my full review here.

In Sickness and in Health is written by Ben Mattlin. Ben is a self described crip who has experienced life from a wheelchair since the age of 4. He is married to ML who does not have a disability. He wrote about their marriage in his first book Miracle Boy Grows Up and the overwhelming response resulted in his second book. Ben interviews many different interabled couples in order to gain insight into how and why their relationships work.  Throughout, he interjects his thoughts, feelings and reflections about his relationship to ML.

If you enjoyed Me Before You I encourage you to pick up In Sickness and in Health. Ben Mattlin writes not just from experience but with the lens of understanding that is key to gaining insight into interabled marriages. And, he is funny.


Tell me, please!

Do either of these books interest you? Would you rather read a fictional or nonfictional account of an interabled relationship?

nonfiction

Nonfiction November: My Year in NonFiction

I am woefully behind in participating in nonfiction November but today I turn it all around! Actually, I have been reading non-fiction all month, I have just been terrible about sharing my books and blogging my thoughts.

The first assignment is hosted by Sophisticated Dorkiness and is to look back over your year in nonfiction. I made nonfiction a priority for the first time this year and featured a number of wonderful books on my Non-Fiction Fridays. Below, you can see the covers of nearly all the books I read.


What was your favorite non-fiction read this year?

I would have to say Canada by Mike Myers was my favorite. I listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author, and was fascinated. If you follow me you will know that I have an enormous crush on Canada. I read this when I returned from my first trip through Canada and it both fed my crush and deepened my interest.


Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more than others this year?

This year has absolutely been full of autobiographical memoirs and humorous books. I think everyone needed more things to laugh about in 2018.  I have also, as you can see above, been deep into some weird science books.


What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

poisonhandbook

Above all others I recommend The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum. It reads like a procedural crime novel and is the gateway drug to nonfiction.

 

 

 


What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Truthfully, I want the opportunity to prioritize nonfiction in my book selection and read about other people’s love of nonfiction!


Tell me, please!

How do you feel about nonfiction?

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Middle Grade · YA

The Last of the Frighteningly Good Reads

Happy Halloween!

My favorite of all holidays is today! Dressing up (Edna Mode, thank you very much) and festive candy eating is the only thing that will distract me from the end of Frighteningly Good Reads 2018. I have had a wonderful month reading spooky, scary and suspenseful stories and I hope you all have found one or two that have tickled your terror needs.

I do have two more I finished just yesterday that I would like to highlight. The first is a middle grade book Small Spaces and the second is The Bone Witch. Both were excellent reads and were a perfect way to wrap up FGR!

smallspacesSmall Spaces is a middle grade story by Katherine Arden. In it, a girl names Olivia (Ollie) meets a distraught woman tearfully attempting to toss a book into the water. Like any good and dedicated reader she bravely saves the book. When her class goes on a field trip to a local farm she is surprised to see the woman from the edge of the water there – and she is the farm’s owner! Soon terrifying things begin to happen. Is it the book? Or the woman?

Small Spaces may be for middle grade readers but I thoroughly enjoyed every page. Ollie was a complicated character and watching her befriend two classmates, Coco and Brian, while running for her life was great scary fun. The author kept the tension going long enough for it to be delightfully spooky and never boring or repetitive, a difficult feat! I loved it.

The Bone Witch by Rain Chupeco is the first in a YA trilogy. In this story, Tea (pronounced Tee-ah) accidentally raises her brother from the dead. After doing so she is labelled a bone witch and is carried off to meet the King and be placed in school that will train her to become an Asha – more specifically – a Dark Asha. Since Tea and only one other Dark Asha exist, it is their sole responsibility to raise and order back to the dead eternal creatures of the enemy.

This book, as is true with many YA series, is set in a complicated world. The first third of the book is full of wonderful other-world explanations and adventures and while the middle third of the book lags, it more than makes up for it in the ending. Now, as is also true of most YA series, I feel the strong need to read the next two books. I foresee a complicated romance for young Tea as well as an adventure fraught with peril!

And so completes Frightening Good Reads 2018! Next Month is Non-Fiction November and I am thrilled to be participating. You can look forward to seeing a number of new non-fiction books here.


Tell me, please!

What do you prefer, spooky or non-fiction?