Thursday, July 19, 2007

The 2007 List: New (or Newish) Non-Fiction

An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. "I read it through a book club, the author and book club member both attended Hollins. Charming recount of growing up."

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingslover. "This is about a year spent eating food grown by the author's family or within 100 miles of their home -- but written by a fiction writer, who I like - and its supposed to be great. I have not read it yet, but one the customer reviews on amazon says 'This is a must-read for anyone who eats' -- so I guess that includes most of us?"

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (NB: I think this one might be more for the men in your life -- it was recommended by Drew, the one male contributor to this list.) "Football version of Lewis’ “Moneyball” (baseball). The quarterback is the highest played player on all NFL teams. What position usually garners the second highest paycheck? Read The Blind Side to find out.

Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee. One of you recommended this biography of an iconic American writer.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Issacson. I love his style of writing. This book starts off dense with Scientific stuff then becomes very readable and interesting
Fiasco by Tom Ricks. "Lots of policy makers changed from optimism to pessimism after reading this book. Great overview of how things went wrong in different parts of the government, and intelligible to non-military folks."

Free Gift with Purchase: My Improbable Career in Magazines and Makeup – by Jean Godfry-June, editor of Lucky Magazine. The daughter of Intellectuals finds career in the cosmetic industry. This looks dishy and fun.

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. "Enchanting, and not much like a 'diet' book."

I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron. I really enjoyed this entertaining little book. The bonus for book lovers is her chapter devoted to reading wherein she lists some of her favorite books of all time. It inspired me to buy The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I've not read it yet. Next year I will let you know if I liked it as much as Nora Ephron did.

If These Walls Could Talk: Thoughts of Home (House Beautiful) This is a collection of 33 essays published in House Beautiful’s “Thoughts of Home” column.

It's Hard to Make a Difference when you Can't Find your Keys: The 7-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized by Marilyn Paul. One of you recommended this. I read a similar book this year – I think it was called Eliminate Chaos – about getting organized. However, we're under construction and I can't find the book. (So you can see how well that's going).

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. I spend enough time in Starbucks (where this has long been on display), I ought to have picked it up by now. But while I have not, one of you had read and recommended it.

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy – (NB: This one, like Blind Side, also recommended by Drew and perhaps more interesting for your husbands/fathers/etc.) "Great read for anyone who has played competitive basketball. True story of Pat Conroy’s senior season at the Citidel with life lessons he learned from basketball. Great themes for younger readers, but some rough language."

The Parents Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin. "Quick snippets when you feel you need a little parenting boost."

Porn for Women by the Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative. "Hilarious book with photographs things like hot men doing household chores." (click on the link and check out the cover… steamy!)

Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss. "My husband just read it and liked it."
The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids (Hardcover) "One of the best parenting books I've read for our set." (This review is from a school guidance counselor!)
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Laura Schlessinger. I bought this book for my husband and we both thoroughly enjoyed it!

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. This is one of those books in the Malcolm Gladwell tradition. (He wrote Blink and the Tipping Point, both of which I think were recommended in years past). I enjoyed this book, but like others in this category, I tend to put them down once I get the gist. "Stumbling…" is about what bad predictors we are of what will make us happy. It's not a self-help book, more of an interesting discussion of memory and the brain, and how that affects our perspective. He explains complicated ideas well.

The Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln -- "I'm about to read this NYT bestseller about Abraham Lincoln."

Tender Bar – Memoir of NY Times/LA Tribune reporter who grew up fatherless on Long Island raised by his uncle bartenders. Graduated from Yale in 1986. Sort of an American Angela’s Ashes.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. "An incredibly inspiring book about a man who is building schools all over Pakistan and Afghanistan. His story makes you understand that we can each make a difference. Everyone who has read it has bought it for three more people."
Through the Children's Gate by Adam Gopnik. A collection recent essays by the humorous New Yorker writer.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen – "Larsen writes about parallel historical events, such as in Devil in the White City about the architects of the Chicago’s World Fair in 1893 and a serial killer who stalked women at the World’s Fair. In Thunderstruck he follows the first international dragnet involving wireless communication when a London murder is captured at sea through wireless technology invented by Marconi. He parallels this manhunt with Marconi’s rise from an inventor to a shrewd businessman."

West with the Night: autobiography of aviator Beryl Markham. One reviewer said she enjoyed this book. The Amazon reader reviews are rhapsodic.

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