Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 2008 List: Non-Fiction (New and Old)

The 10-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer…..a light read about stay at home mom but written with very erudite voice – I seem to remember it had favorable NYTimes review couple wks ago. Highly recommend!

"90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. “This is the story of a man who has a car accident and reports his vision of Heaven, and his long recovery following the accident.”

Are you Somebody? By Nuala O'Faolain. [From Googlebooks]: “The author attracted a huge amount of critical praise and a wide audience with the literary debut of Are You Somebody? Her midlife exploration of life's love, pain, loneliness, and self- discovery won her fans worldwide who write and tell her how her story has changed their lives. There are thousands who have yet to discover this extraordinary memoir of an Irish woman who has stepped away from the traditional roles to define herself and find contentment. They will make this paperback a long-selling classic.” A novel by O’Faolain, My Dream of You, is reviewed above.

Audition by Barbara Walters. “I know you’ll puke, Virginia, but I’m really enjoying the Barbara Walters autobiography!! Not at all the book I was expecting – a LOT about her pre-fame days, dealing with very unusual childhood experiences. “ [for the record, I did not puke.]

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science (James H. Silberman Books) by Norman Doidge. “For anyone who has a child who learns differently, or for anyone who learns differently, or anyone who is interested in how the brain functions. Doidge makes detailed scientific information accessible and fascinating.”

Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos. “It's about making something new out of that which is or has been broken -- people, place and things. Works on a number of different levels and is really, really compelling.”

But How'd I Get in There in the First Place? Talking to Your Child About Sex - by Deborah Roffman. “If it's time for "that" conversation - this is the book you need to read first!”

Change the Way you See Yourself through Asset Based Thinking by Kathryn Cramer. A book about connecting with your true leadership potential. A book that is 50 percent pictures and sure to make you think.

Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusion of Energy Independence by Robert Bryce. “This book is a counterweight to other energy books and articles that have been in the news recently. Unlike authors who tout renewable energy as the answer to all America’s energy problems, Robert Bryce sets out to debunk a series of what he describes as myths that Americans believe about energy.” [For the record, the provocative title notwithstanding, Bryce, an energy journalist, is not an ideologue.]

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. “A book by the carnegie mellon professor with terminal pancreatic cancer who put his thoughts on life together into a lecture and then this book to leave to his young children.”

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell. I know a lot of people who were amazed by this book. I gather they are making a movie out of it.

The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family by Martha Raddatz. Written by the chief White House correspondent for ABC News chronicles the story of a platoon of 1st Cavalry Division soldiers who were pinned down by al-Sadr's Shiite militia in Iraq.

Lose Weight, Find Love, Declutter and Save Money by Michele Woodward. This is a first… a book by one of this book list’s annual contributors. This book is fun and insightful. It’s a collection of essays, so it lends itself to beach reading. Once you read and enjoy it, I’m sure Michelle would appreciate your adding a review to the Amazon site.

Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism by Jenny McCarthy. “If you have a special needs child--with or without autism---this book will inspire you to be an even stronger advocate for your child. If you don't have a special needs child, you will still appreciate her tenacity and strength as a woman and a mother. I could not put this book down. I was dumbfounded about how her child's diagnosis was botched for some time, and my heart broke and rejoiced throughout the journey to the end of this book.”

Loving What Is by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell. “Oprah's next project, with an online class, etc. Katie's approach, called The Work, is an excellent way to examine your limiting beliefs and get rid of the ideas that hold you back from happiness and success. Great.”

Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold. From Library Journal: “Sebold was raped as a college freshman, but the police said she was "lucky." At least she wasn't murdered and dismembered like the girl before her. Now a journalist, Sebold here details the aftermath. A posttraumatic stress syndrome, heroin addiction, and, finally, some measure of understanding.”

The Man in the Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World, by Lucette Lagnado “is the story told through a current contributor to the Wall Street Journal, of her parents transition from Egypt to the United States after the rise of Nasser and creation of Israel. Many people forget that 1,000,000 Jews in the Middle East were displaced when Israel was created, the story tells the tale of her family going from a comfortable wealthy existence in Cairo to struggling in America.”

The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. “I love everything he writes.”

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl endured four different Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz during WWII. From Amazon: “Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (‘meaning’)—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.”

The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays by Caroline Knapp. A posthumous collection of Knapp’s essays. “I didn’t see her on your list….she’s up there with Anne Lamott for me.”

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. “Awesome book, quick read and she’s very funny. Could be any one of us.”

Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado. “an UNBELIEVABLE book.”

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. One reader says she hates to admit that she loves this book by Tolle, one of Oprah’s pals, but “then you can download for free their weekly discussion which I listen to on my Ipod while walking.”

Plow, Plagues and Petroleum by William F. Ruddiman. “Did human involvement with climate change really begin with the Industrial Revolution? This book traces the full history of human interaction with the climate of Earth. He critiques the global warming debate (from both sides) in his conclusion.”

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School - by Kathleen Flinn. “This is a fun account of the author's years at Cordon Bleu, which she attended almost on a whim after getting fired from an executive position. I laughed throughout, and it cured me of any desire to ever attend cooking school.”

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder. “A true story of recovering a ship that reads like a thriller (honestly, I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t seen my sister in its grips on the beach!)”

Steering By Starlight “My friend Martha Beck's new book. It's the follow-on to her bestseller Finding Your Own North Star and is great for people who are willing to think about spirituality, intuition and stripping away the layers of thoughts, beliefs and ideas that limit us from our potential. Funny, well-written and moving. Martha also wrote a lovely book about her Down Syndrome son, called Expecting Adam.”

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker. [This one is for dads.] “My husband has been raving about this book so thought I'd pass the title along. He says it is the best book he has read about parenting girls.”

Sweet and Low by Rich Cohen. “Hilarious! A true story about a Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm-type family, who actually created the ‘Sweet & Low’ pink sugar brand, and all the antics of their relatives in Brooklyn. (Husband couldn’t stop laughing out loud when he read it).”

UltraPrevention by Drs. Hyman and Liponis. “Their mantra is health is not just being disease free.’ How to de-tox and be healthy for the long-term. Making your health span the same as your life span.”

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Goodwin, a white Zimbabwean who tells the tale of the failure of the country though his dying father and mother who will not leave. There is also a personal twist as to why his father left Britain for Zimbabwe in the first place and the family history. The author never knew that his father escaped the Holocaust by coming to Zimbabwe, making the whole thing even more granular and showing the vulnerability of not only a white person in Zimbabwe but the secrets his father kept. Really good story of how Zimbabwe went from promise to desperation.

When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. “It is his first real autobiography and I’m sure will be hilarious (I’ve read all his other books & if you like his twisted but honest sense of humor, you’ll be addicted to him!)”

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. “One of my all-time favorites. A non-fiction book about 3 generations of women in China.”

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. “I've read this three times. For anyone who ever lost a loved one, it’s comforting. I was scared to read it because I thought I'd be immersed in her grief and it would heighten mine. To the contrary, the mind set (a month ago, I was doing _____w my mom. Two months ago, she was _______) is like an old friend. It is incredibly educational in terms of the physical and psychological components of grief but it reads like you are having a latte w a friend.”

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman. “Beautifully written prose, and an amazing story of courage, heroism and life in the face of death. No matter how many accounts of WWII and the Holocaust you've read, it will blow you away with the lengths some people went to to save others, and the absolute brutality of the Nazi regime. If you read only one book, this should be it; I could not put it down.”

No comments: