What non-fiction are you reading in July, 2010?
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The Battle for America, 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson - complements Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann well, though the latter is a bit "juicier" in details.
I am reading The Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron for a RL book group.
FicusFan, my book club read The Shadow of the Silk Road and didn't like it much. Hope you like it better!
That one's been languishing on my TBR pile (audiobook) for a while now - I seem to run across Chinese-themed books often, so have been pushing it back for a lull in that genre.
I'm reading To Do, Doing, Done, a book on project management. I'm also reading Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer.
I'm still reading Herodotus: The Histories and have added The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin.
> 5 Lynn,
I have heard rumbling from some members about not enjoying it. I am having an up and down experience. Some parts seem too wordy/flowery and yet it has some fascinating information.
I am reading Paper Shadows by Wayson Choy. It is his memoir about growing up in Vancouver's Chinatown and discovering a slew of family secrets.... I love his fiction and his non-fiction is equally good! This book combines immigrant history, personal experience and imagination.... All the ingredients of a good book, in my opinion.
Ex Lit Prof
Ooh - Paper Shadows looks good! I'm STILL on Aneurin Bevan (vol. 2) but I'm hoping to have it finished this month. It's good, but it's very detailed and I'm not always in the right mood to read it!
Also reading Stones into Schools by the Three Cups of Tea man - much better written this time thank goodness and fascinating stuff.
Oops, I should have put this in this thread not the June thread
Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon by Charles Slack
This is a biography about Hetty Green who the Guinness Book called the World Greatest Miser. Though she was extremely frugal I don't think she really quite deserved that title.
She was a fascinating and very unconventional woman.
I've been reading The Purpose Driven Life , one chapter each night . I'll let ya know if my life has been changed for the better when I'm done with it .
I am reading three non-fictions books. Yes, at the same time.
Anastasia: The Lost Princess by James Blair Lovell, which is my general reader.
The Mansions of Philosophy by Will Durant, which is my at night in bed book.
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol 1-6 by Edward Gibbon, which is my "throne room" reading.
The last two on the list I will be reading for some time.
I am currently reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Clandestine in Chile.
I'm currently reading Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley. I loved Little, Big and this one is proving just as fascinating. It's always interesting when authors use real, historical figures in their novels. In this case it's Lord Byron (of course) and his daughter, Ada, who has discovered a novel that no one knew existed. Good stuff...
After reading about it in the "What non-fiction are you reading in June, 2010" I bought a copy of Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife by Lisa Miller.
I have only read the first couple of chapters. It has been very interesting so far. I totally understand why she limited this huge topic to the views of Americans and to mainly only three religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam). I would appreciate it if anyone can recommend any book that looks at Heaven from the view of any other cultures.
She does include references to other points-of-view as well, including atheists/agnostics.
I've been neglecting this thread for awhile! I do have one book to rave about though and that's WAR by Sebastian Junger. It's excellent stuff and one of the best books I've read about the war experience. I'm also getting ready to start Crashing Through by Robert Kurson. He wrote the terrific Shadow Divers.
I'm reading The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which has been languishing on my TBR shelves for far too long!
I'm reading Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky. Doesn't the title sound as if this book would be dreadfully stuffy and boring? To the contrary. It's delightful reading!
I finished Thomas Jefferson by John T. Morse today.
Still reading the others that I listed above in message 15.
Message 11--Both of Mortenson's books struggle in flow at times, but I guess flipping through your calendar and describing so many people, places, events, etc., isn't always the easiest way to write. They are encouraging, however. I hope you enjoy Stones into Schools.
I bought the Story of Civilization set early this month and am reading The life of Greece right now. Although limited by it's very broad scope, very good, I like Mr. Durant's sprinkling of sometimes funny, sometimes insightful asides.
I finished Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron. It wasn't terrible, but there are problems. In some parts he goes overboard with description, and in others too spare.
It also seemed that much of the book was like a conversation with himself. He had been there 20-40 years before and his comments at times seemed like shorthand comparison between past and current. Then he would overdo the description of one aspect, but you had no context for the whole..
I've finally started The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. More info on the devil than I expected but I'm sure it will come in handy by the end.
#27 I am really enjoying Stones into schools, much better being written in the first person, I think.
#28 where did you get that? I have been trying to get a copy for a while as I loved his The Taqwacores (although it's a bit shocking)
I'm reading Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle and it's a very well moving read.
LyzzyBee: It's a library book - amazing that he converted to Islam while still a student at a Catholic high school. He mentions starting out in a rather fundamentalist sect; they would pressure him to pressure his mom to convert, too, so she wouldn't end up in hell. By the time of this book, he's quite politically liberal (hip, cool, etc.).
>15 I recently picked up the Decline & Fall and started reading it again. It was my intention to go straight through it this time (years ago, I got half-way the first volume in my three volume set). But, although I am currently reading a bunch of fiction, I still haven't abandoned it completely.
>29 I made it up to the The Story of Civilization: The Age of Reason Begins years ago, before getting distracted with something else. It has always been my intention to go back one day and finish the series. Best of luck to you on this!
I just finished Anastasia: The Lost Princess by James Blair Lovell.
This was a weird book. Liked it at first, dragged in the middle, and got a bit better in the end. Well written, just got tired of reading about her being so mental. I keep yelling at the book, "Get her a shrink!". Good lord she needed one.
All in all, probably a 3.5 out of 5.
Started Utopia by Sir Tomas More to take it's place. Yeah, it's a short read, but part of The Harvard Classics, and I am plowing my way through them.
I don't know if I am going to go straight through them or not. About 25% of the way through Vol 1, so will see. I wouldn't want it to be the ONLY book I am reading, that is for sure, but 10 -15 pages at a time seems about right.
I recently finished Zoo Story by Thomas French for review -- it's being published this month, and it's an excellent read even if you're not an animal fanatic. He spent four years reporting on Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa and it gives a real behind the scenes look at how a relatively small but growing zoo operates.
And for something completely different, I'm a bit more than halfway through Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard, which is great. Looking forward to the BBC miniseries after I'm done with the book.
I've recently started Mrs. Woolf and the Servants: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury by Alison Light, which is proving interesting so far, although it's mostly Woolf, and not so much the servants yet.
I have just started four non-fictions..
Freedom Under Seige by Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Why I am an Atheist byMadalyn Murray O'Hair
Ungodly: The Passions, Torments and Murder of Athist Madalyn Murray O'Hair by Ted Dracos
Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends From Cleopatra to Princess Di by Kris Waldherr
I don't usually have 2 nonfiction books going at a time, but I started The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman a few days ago. It's really well-written and interesting.
34 and why didn't I check the library I WORK in??? A copy nestles in the stacks, I have a big TBR at the moment but I'm trusting it'll be there still in a few weeks...
Wayson Choy's Paper Shadows - his memoir about growing up in Vancouver's Chinatown - is great so far. It's full of evocative details of tenement houses, fragments of stories from China and the historical context of WWII.... All the key ingredients of a good memoir!
Ex Lit Prof
I'm reading The Treasure of Auchinleck;: The Story of the Boswell Papers by David Buchanan. Last month I read Pride and Negligence: The History of the Boswell Papers by Frederick A. Pottle. When I'm finished reading Buchanan's book, I will write a review comparing both editions.
I'm reading Vexed and troubled Englishmen by Carl Bridenbaugh, about social change in England from 1590 until the Civil War. It's a good counterpoint to Charles I by Christopher Hibbert, which I just finished; it covers much of the same time period, but is more of a top-down, political history.
Vexed and Troubled Englishmen is more than I really need to know about the life of the common person 400 years ago, but Bridenbaugh is a good enough writer to make it interesting.
I used to do a lot of English history when I was a kid, but it's been a long time.
- Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq by Dahr Jamail
An important (albeit one-sided) read, offering a decidedly different picture to accounts provided by embedded reporters and the mainstream press, of Iraq from 2003-2005, focusing on the First and Second Battles of Fallujah, civilian deaths, and medical care. His second book, The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, is on the wish list.
- No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah by Bing West
A must for lovers of frontline battlefield accounts. From the Whitehouse to soldiers fighting house to house, this is a solid account of the First and Second Battles of Fallujah from the American POV. See also We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah by Patrick K. O'Donnell. Recommended.
- The Highway War: A Marine Company Commander in Iraq by Seth W. B. Folsom
- The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley
Just started Deer Hunting with Jesus. Examines why the America underclass vote against their best interests. Sad but funny.
I just finished my ER book, An Edible History of Humanity which looks at the impact of food on the history of mankind starting with the impact of agriculture, and continuing with how the search for spices changed the medieval world, how new world foods and improved yields fueled the industrial revolution, the role of food in war, and the impact of the green revolution. While some of this history may be common knowledge, there were many intriguing insights and I was particularly surprised that its prognosis for the future was much more positive than most sociological, anthropological books. I heartily recommend the book.
#49 , I'm glad to hear such a good review ! definitely going to get that book .
#51 - Yes, There is an unabridged audio version of The Wilderness Warrior. I actually downloaded it last night from my library, so I can alternate between the book at home (too heavy to carry) and my iPod version while on the commute to and from work each day. It's beautifully narrated by Dennis Holland, and is about 40 hours in length.
I have Joker One, but have yet to read it. I have however read Sebastian Junger's WAR, and I agree - it was excellent! Not everyone agrees however. You might want to read this: Sebastian Junger, War Tourist.
So far, my Iraq War reading has included these volumes in no particular order (and I have a lot more to come!)...
The Highway War: A Marine Company Commander in Iraq by Seth W. B. Folsom
No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah by Bing West
Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq by Dahr Jamail
From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Jay Kopelman
The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army by David Cloud and Greg Jaffe
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq by John Crawford
The Gift of Valor: A War Story by Michael M. Phillips
WAR by Sebastian Junger
In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002 by Bill Murphy Jr.
Deployed: How Reservists Bear the Burden of Iraq by Michael Craig Musheno and Susan M. Ross
Generation Kill by Evan Wright
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick
Shooter by Jack Coughlin
Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier's Perspective by Paul Rieckhoff
We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah by Patrick K. O'Donnell
The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart
The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education by Craig M. Mullaney
My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell
I'd be happy to give you my impressions on any of these if you are interested :)
Peter- Wow! Thanks for the list! What were your 2 or 3 favorite reads? I'm not familiar with many of these titles. I saw the HBO series on Generation Kill, which was terrific! Have you read The Good Soldiers? I've heard good things about that one too!
Boy, that's a scathing piece about Junger! All I can say, is the book worked for me! It felt authentic!
I did not realize The Wilderness Warrior was such a monster! Yikes! I think I might still try the audio though, even if it takes me awhile. Thanks again for sharing.
#53 Mark - I think it would be easier to tell you my 2 or 3 least favourite reads. These are...
Deployed: How Reservists Bear the Burden of Iraq by Michael Craig Musheno and Susan M. Ross
- Reads like the university sociology project it was, complete with all the inevitable sociological categorizations - verbatim dialogues with all the "Ummms" and "Ahhhs" - ultimately boring.
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick
- Purple prose feels forced and ingenuous - sanitized - glosses over issues raised in "Generation Kill" - written like a politician
Shooter: The Autobiography Of The Top-ranked Marine Sniper by Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis
- Writing awkward and repetitive - braggadocio style - lacks introspection - cursory back story borders on the frustrating - perhaps written with one eye to a future movie deal, and the other to building a fan base for the author's subsequent sniper novels.
I have The Good Soldiers on the wish list!
I also saw the HBO adaptation of Generation Kill, and I must say I much preferred the book. As you know, the author, Evan Wright, was a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, which just recently caused a sensation with it's story on Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The story, The Runaway General is well worth reading. It resulted in McChrystal being relieved of his command by President Obama; replaced by General Petraeus.
I just finished Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, from Cleopatra to Princess Di by Kris Waldherr. very interesting read. It is amazing how many of these ladies were put to death in one form or another. Beheading, poison, burned alive, death in childbirth. So many.
I've starte to read The Genius of the Roman Rite: On the Reception and Implementation of the New Missal by Keith Pecklers. Not that I'm all that into liturgy - but with the changes in the translation of the Mass coming to Catholic parishes in the near future, I thought I'd get some background on the subject.
just finished Hot Stuff.
by Alice Echols. fascinating info on disco music & how it all started.
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee: by way of delving into the mystery of who invented the fortune cookie, Ms. Lee gets into Chinese restaurants, Chinese food, and the Chinese experience in America. Many interesting tidbits you never knew about your local Chinese eatery!
I'm reading The Verneys by Adrian Tinniswood. What with one thing and another, I haven't read much about 17th-century England. This is fascinating. I'm completely enthralled by the people. (Oh, no, Mun is dead! Never mind that Mun has been dead since 1649.)
Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos by Natacha Du Pont De Bie - so far, so good. I stumbled across it on the library shelves.
I just finished The Afghan Wars 1839-1842 and 1878-1880 by Archibald Forbes. Although written over a hundred years ago, so many of the passages, battles and descriptions could be taken from any current newspaper. It is true that those who don't study history will be forced to repeat it.
Just started So Many Miracles by Saul Rubinek, the story of his parents survival during World War II.
I finished Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life which I found to be a fascinating book. It provides an overview of everyday life (housing, transportation, working, playing, etc) across America over 40 years. With that broad a picture, the focus on any one time or subject can not be tight. For me, who has spent the past year reading a local weekly newspaper from 1860 to 1890, it provided the perfect overview in which to place the particulars of my findings.
I have just finsihed reading The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer, an entertaining and educational look at how people lived in 14th century England. It covers many aspects of life, and looks at all social classes.
I just finished Robert Klitzman's In a House of Dreams and Glass: Becoming a Psychiatrist - a memoir of a psychiatrist's time in residency. It was quite good, though also disturbing at times. My early reviewer book is another memoir, My Formerly Hot Life, and thus far it's not very promising- not quite funny enough to be pure humor, but too light to be much of a memoir.
#71 Zozette..I purchased that book a couple of months ago but I have yet to pick it up. Thanks for the info on it.
I've started The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin, as an unabridged audio. As a couple of of the justices have left since the book went to press, it seems a bit dated already, but I'm looking foreward to hearing the "inside story" anyway.
Finally got to start Family Britain 1951-1957 which is as wonderful as I expected, and also reading From New Jerusalem to New Labour which is a set of studies of the postwar British prime ministers (so an overlap between the two books right now!)
Great stuff, but I'm going to bed with a light novel...
I finished Everyday Life in Early Imperial China by Michael Loewe which took me longer to read than it should have. It wasn't a difficult book, and it was interesting, but I think his occasional Anglo-bias put me off a little. Still, well worth reading and I picked up a few tidbits of background for an upcoming novel I'm planning.
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