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April 2011 Books

Non-Fiction Readers

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1Seajack
Apr 1, 2011, 4:50pm Top

Earlier today, I finished Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster (Traveling Through Scotland with Boswell and Johnson) -- I didn't appreciate the historical footsteps much, but fans of B & J likely would - the author's modern day experiences worked well as a travel narrative.

One that definitely recommended would be the one I finished last night: Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked - formatted in tiny essays of roughly a page each on average, and a bit scattered in terms of structure, but even though I've never been to South Africa, the authenticity of the unique viewpoint struck me at once.

2snash
Apr 2, 2011, 6:17pm Top

Finished my Early Review book, Red Heat: Conspiracy Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean by Alex Von Tunzelmann. I highly recommend it but it's a disturbing read.

3Samantha_kathy
Apr 3, 2011, 11:08am Top

I'm currently reading The Atlas of the Prehistoric World by Douglas Palmer. Or maybe browsing is the more accurate term. It's quite good, with a more geographical slant than most dinosaur books.

4PokPok
Apr 3, 2011, 12:17pm Top

I am starting Barbary Plague next-- which won't be until tomorrow. Company is coming, and need to get offline and get ready.

I tend to like public health books, more and more. I work in biotech, so the public health aspects appeal to me. If anyone has any recommendations, I'm open. I have read the brilliant Randy Shilts, as well as a number of others.

PokPok

5mstrust
Apr 4, 2011, 11:48am Top

I finished Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon, which was excellent and dispels many myths about her, though she did take thrift to a repulsive level.
Started on Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.

6rockinrhombus
Apr 4, 2011, 3:52pm Top

I read Who Are You People? this weekend and really enjoyed it. I love books that take a look at different slices of life. The author takes 3 years to research fandom, collectors, and offbeat sports.

7Rhyla
Apr 4, 2011, 4:14pm Top

I'm reading Prisoner of Tehran right now. So far it has been very good. I'll let you know more on my thoughts once I've finished it.

8burgett7
Apr 5, 2011, 11:24am Top

Reading Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, depressing so far but a great story.

9rocketjk
Apr 5, 2011, 8:15pm Top

I've just started The Hanging of Lucky Bill about a notorious Gold Rush era event in Alpine County, California.

10Bill_Masom
Apr 7, 2011, 2:08pm Top

Just finished;

Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman by Merle Miller

Not sure what I am going to read next.

Bil Masom

11Xaviers_Dog
Apr 7, 2011, 2:47pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

12Xaviers_Dog
Apr 7, 2011, 2:48pm Top

I am about halfway through The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Really well written, very compelling, very eye-opening.

13LynnB
Apr 8, 2011, 6:57am Top

I'm reading Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein.

14Lcanon
Apr 11, 2011, 6:57pm Top

I just finished Molotov's Magic Lantern. Really a beautiful book -- I could almost see the landscape as she describes it. You don't even have to know that much about Russian writers or Russian history (I only know the major stuff) to be drawn in.

15snash
Apr 11, 2011, 7:02pm Top

I finished Art and Madness by Anne Roiphe She describes a world of writers, artists, and actors emulating Hemingway in their alcohol, women and living full tilt. The people, famous and not, were intriguing but I most appreciated her close observation and ability to portray the scene. I was particularly impressed with her thoughts as she pulled herself out of the spell and chose to be a writer herself. My only complaint was that I found it hard to become emotionally attached to the author.

16jfetting
Apr 11, 2011, 7:19pm Top

I'm starting Battle Cry of Freedom - my local PBS station has been playing Ken Burns's "The Civil War" almost nonstop this past week, so I'm on a bit of a Civil War kick. I'm looking forward to this one since I've heard nothing but good things about it.

17Sandydog1
Edited: Apr 11, 2011, 9:18pm Top

I caught some of those PBS episodes and, as for myself, I've started Landscape Turned Red. That George McClellan was a real piece of work.

18LyzzyBee
Apr 12, 2011, 4:02am Top

I'm still reading Anthony Eden quite slowly - because it's very good and I do love Eden, even if he wasn't of my political persuasion (I'm the same about Ted Heath!)

19mallinje
Apr 12, 2011, 9:58pm Top

I just started Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. I just finished The 4 o'clock Murders by Scott Anderson.

20rockinrhombus
Apr 13, 2011, 2:46pm Top

Picked up The Sisters of Sinai on a whim at one of our branch libraries, and it is wonderful so far!! What a unique upbringing these ladies enjoyed! Great education, even if they were girls, and the chance to travel widely.

21PokPok
Apr 13, 2011, 2:51pm Top

I have an "Unsuggestion". Barbary Plague was terrible. I barely made it past the prologue, and gave up about 5 pages into the text. The writing is just atrocious. I officially put it down at the sentence "Angel Island was his castle and the San Francisco Bay was his moat". Bleggh.

I picked up Amusing Ourselves to Death instead. Already loving it, and that was reading the prologue!!

PokPok

22whymaggiemay
Edited: Apr 13, 2011, 7:47pm Top

PokPok said: I have an "Unsuggestion". Barbary Plague was terrible. I barely made it past the prologue, and gave up about 5 pages into the text. The writing is just atrocious. I officially put it down at the sentence "Angel Island was his castle and the San Francisco Bay was his moat". Bleggh. OMG! Maybe it will make a nice coaster.

Started My Life in France last night, Carlsbad's Read for 2011, because I couldn't sleep and didn't think any of my other books would help me sleep. It's not boring, but it's much less intense than the others. Reading it is a bit strange, because I keep hearing her voice speaking in my ear. Don't think that's happened with anyone else whose voice I've known well. Maybe it's because I always found her voice grating.

23digifish_books
Apr 14, 2011, 6:28am Top

Still reading The Victorian Home by Judith Flanders. I am up to the chapter dealing with the Scullery.

24burgett7
Apr 14, 2011, 11:20am Top

rockinrhombus - looks like a neat book thanks for tip. I recently read How We Got the Bible
which contains similar material.

25whymaggiemay
Apr 17, 2011, 10:34am Top

Started Making the Rounds With Oscar yesterday.

26snash
Apr 19, 2011, 2:39pm Top

Finished the memoir, A Mountain of Crumbs today. While it is a memoir of a girl's emotional growth dealing with family and coming of age, it's most unique in portraying a picture of Russian life, culture, and mind set. For that I found it fascinating.

27Seajack
Apr 19, 2011, 3:51pm Top

I've started Turning the Tables - author went from attorney to blogger and restaurant reviewer, giving "inside" information. So far, nothing particularly new, and what there is doesn't seem like information I'd find particularly useful. Still, it's a reasonably short book, and decent enough to continue reading.

28LyzzyBee
Apr 20, 2011, 8:04am Top

Owen Hatherley - A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain - excellent architecture book
Dan Kieran - Three Men in a Float - more than just an amusing travel tale

are the two non-fics I've read and reviewed recently - both very enjoyable in hugely different ways!

29Zozette
Edited: Apr 22, 2011, 6:25pm Top

I am currently reading Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Culture by Claudia Zaslavsky.

This books looks at the various why the people of Africa count, the weights and measures they use, mathematical games they play, taboos against counting etc. It is an interesting book though a bit dated. The author first published it in 1973 but the author did do some updating before she released the 1999 edition (which I am reading).

#5 I loved Hetty: The genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon. She was certainly an interesting character and quite different from the woman I envisaged her to be before I read the book.

30Seajack
Apr 22, 2011, 7:55pm Top

I always knew of Hetty Green as her daughter was married in the Episcopal (Anglican) church in my hometown (Morristown, NJ), where Hetty and the kids lived for a while - the daughter left a significant endowment for it in her will.

31Sandydog1
Apr 23, 2011, 2:19pm Top

I just finished 1066 The Year of Conquest. Concise, well-written, outstanding.

32Zozette
Edited: Apr 24, 2011, 4:35am Top

Today I put down 'Africa Counts" so that I could read After Port Arthur by Carol Altmann. I wanted to read this book before the 15th anniversary of the massacre (which is four days away).

I cried and cried as I read the book but I am glad I got though it. I have done a review of it, the very first review I have done on any book for LibraryThing.

33Seajack
Edited: Apr 26, 2011, 12:33am Top

Having read Anneli Rufus's book Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On recently, I decided to try her book on saints' relics Magnificent Corpses ... which turned out to be a good choice.
It's part travel narrative - in the sense that the author gives an overview of the town (or immediate neighborhood) where each saint is located, as well as a description of the church/shrine/chapel itself, to give a complete picture of her experience. Entries also contain a brief biography of the saint's life. They are sometimes humorous, in the sense that Rufus mentions some of the more self-consciously pious ones were disliked by their peers as "goody goodies", etc. She does, however, successfully focus on giving historical context.
Sometimes in reviews I'll mention I'm not the target audience, but here I pretty much am - a non-Catholic interested in the appeal of relics (Rufus is Jewish, by the way), but not wanting to get mired down in a book of theology.
Recommended for fans of Theroux, Bryson, etc. for the travel aspect, and although the writing is solid, I didn't really gain insight into why it's important to actually visit, or be in proximity to, the relics themselves? Perhaps Rufus could've covered that better (in the introduction) as I came away with the same impression I had at the outset: chopping up corpses and distributing the pieces seems a gruesomely superstitious practice.

34whymaggiemay
Apr 26, 2011, 3:48pm Top

Started Saturday Is for Funerals this morning. It's about the AIDS crises in Botswana, and so far is neither depressing nor preachy. It should only take a few days to finish it.

35karspeak
Apr 26, 2011, 8:32pm Top

About 100 pages into The Great Reset, which I'm finding interesting but not fascinating. He looks at how the current economic downturn/crisis is affecting the US, and how it fits into the broader historical context.

36loraineo
Edited: Apr 27, 2011, 11:56am Top

I just finished Wicked Intentions which was very good and have started Torso:The Story of Eliot Ness.

37rocketjk
Apr 27, 2011, 7:50pm Top

I've started The Pope and Me at Yankee Stadium: My Life as the Beer Man & Stand-Up Comic by Steve Lazarus. Lazarus was a vendor at Yankee Stadium for many years and also became a stand up comic. This is his self-published memoir. A gift from a friend. Seems a little goofy, but entertaining.

38Bill_Masom
Apr 28, 2011, 12:55pm Top

Read these two this month.

Arctic passage: The turbulent history of the land and people of the Bering Sea, 1697-1975 by William R. Hunt

The Snow People by Marie Herbert. Interesting look at the Inuit people of Greenland.

Liked The Snow People better than Arctic Passage.

Bill Masom

39Sandydog1
Apr 28, 2011, 8:53pm Top

I'm currently reading The View from Lazy Point. 'Depressing as all get-out, but very good.

40clif_hiker
Apr 29, 2011, 7:45am Top

finished (listening to) Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester; it was very good in parts, and dragged somewhat in others... overall a very good history.

started The Big Burn by Timothy Egan

41Samantha_kathy
May 2, 2011, 10:58am Top

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