NF (Non-Fiction) November

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

NF (Non-Fiction) November

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

oct. 16, 2015, 1:23pm

Welcome to NF November! Share with us your current NF reads. It's time to knock out those books that have been sitting on the TBR mountain.

oct. 16, 2015, 1:39pm

I should get to Between the World and Me and Primo Levi's Resistance in November.

oct. 16, 2015, 3:25pm

Added this thread to the group wiki...

oct. 16, 2015, 3:29pm

>2 laytonwoman3rd: I need to sort my books out but I have quite a few I would like to get to.

>3 drneutron: Thanks Jim.

oct. 16, 2015, 5:29pm

Excellent! I'm in fer sure. I just returned Between the World and Me to the library. Currently, my list of books to read before year's end, has three NF titles.

Benjamin Franklin by Edmund Morgan
Food in History by Reay Tannahill
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

And on Tuesday, I acquired a copy of Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Christin O'Keefe Aptowicz.

I think I can get 'em all read in November.

oct. 17, 2015, 8:42pm

So fun-I love non-fiction! I'm definitely in!

oct. 17, 2015, 9:01pm

>5 weird_O: & >6 seasonsoflove: Yeah! Welcome aboard Bill & Becca!

oct. 18, 2015, 12:54am

Excellent thread, Roberta! I have achieved my goal of reading at least six nonfiction works in 2025, including the thought-provoking Between the World and Me. I will read Sacred ground : pluralism, prejudice, and the promise of America by Eboo Patel in November.

oct. 18, 2015, 8:03am

I've got a few non-fiction going right now (and will likely still be reading them all come November):

Zachary Taylor
Moab Is My Washpot
The Dalai Lama at Harvard
As You Wish
The Spoonflower Handbook

oct. 18, 2015, 8:57am

Thanks, for setting this up, Ro. This one is long overdue. We love our NF & NNF, that is for sure. Love the topper!

Not sure, what I'll be reading but I am sure I have plenty to choose from.

Once again, some of the best books I have read this year have been NF.

oct. 18, 2015, 8:59am

I've got several candidates - thanks for setting this up.

oct. 18, 2015, 12:00pm

Planning to catch up with my own shelves in November, and this includes non-fiction:
Malcolm X : a life of reinvention
Vanishing for the vote
Young Stalin

oct. 18, 2015, 5:14pm

Welcome >8 EBT1002:, >9 scaifea:, >10 msf59:, >11 Helenoel: & >12 charl08:

I'll also be reading Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel. In addition I hope to get to

As She Lay Sleeping by Mark Pryor
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
How We Do Harm by Otis Webb Brawley
Slaughter at Goliad by Jay Stout
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

I'd like to finish up Homage to Catelonia by George Orwell. I've been dipping into this and I'm halfway through.

I'll start The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda on Thanksgiving and read this through the holidays and new year.

oct. 18, 2015, 6:29pm

>13 luvamystery65: I loved Fun Home. It was one of the books chosen for BBC Radio 4's A Good Read last week (I think). The episode is available for worldwide download if anyone's interested.
I've been meaning to read Bechdel's Are You My Mother? but not got around to it yet.

oct. 18, 2015, 7:28pm

Not sure what I will be getting to in November just yet but I shall be reading at least three non-fiction books during the month of Guy Fawkes and Thanksgiving.
Will update later.

oct. 18, 2015, 8:32pm

Hi Roberta, thanks again for letting me know about this thread. What a great idea! I keep thinking I'll include more non-fiction in my reading diet, and have plenty on the tbr, but somehow never really making room for it, so this theme reading will definitely give me a nudge. There's a very good chance I'll listen to the first two books you posted in >1 luvamystery65:, but I'll take some time to look over my vast collection to see what else I can put on the menu for November.

oct. 18, 2015, 8:51pm

Fun Home and As You Wish are great reads!

oct. 18, 2015, 10:39pm

I'm looking forward to this one, too.

I'm not sure what I'll be reading, but I have Voices from Chernobyl checked out now from the library. I also have Brene Brown's Rising Strong as an ER book that I really need to get done.

oct. 18, 2015, 11:31pm

What a great idea. I really need some incentive to read some more of the nonfiction on my shelves. (There are 8 bookcases of nonfiction surrounding me so I think I can scare up a book or two!)

oct. 19, 2015, 1:01am

I am definitely in for NF November. I am not much of a planner with what I read so I don't know what my choices will be yet.

oct. 19, 2015, 1:36am

Thanks for letting me know about Non-Fiction November, Roberta! I'm definitely in. If I don't get to it this month I'll read Between the World and Me, along with The Iceberg by Marion Coutts, the winner of this year's Wellcome Trust Book Prize. I'll figure out which other books I'll likely read toward the end of the month.

oct. 19, 2015, 2:07am

>13 luvamystery65: Being Mortal and Fun Home are two of my favorite works!

oct. 19, 2015, 7:57am

I've got a few NF books going now - Volume One of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War, The Fatal Shore, and The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt, but am going to concentrate on the last two as they are my October BAC book and an ER book, respectively. The other two are likely not going to be finished until the end of the year - if then.

oct. 19, 2015, 4:34pm

I must read some foodie books for my category challenge. I've been neglecting that category completely so far this year.
I'll probably still be plugging away at The Mantle of the Prophet: religion and politics in Iran by Roy Mottahedeh as it's my current kindle read which I tend only to read when I'm out and about.

oct. 20, 2015, 1:54am

Thanks for the heads up--I will have to peruse the pile and see what rises to the top!!

oct. 20, 2015, 5:11am

I'll probably will read The Orientalist by Tom Reiss. It's a biography about Essad Bey.

oct. 20, 2015, 9:21am

Hi. Glad I found this thread. I read a lot of non-fiction and have just started Being Mortal in audiobook format, read by Robert Petkoff, a very good narrator. So far, I am liking it a lot. I have read one other of his books, The Checklist Manifesto and am on a wait-list at the library for 2 other of his titles on audiobook.

oct. 20, 2015, 10:27pm

I have two non-fiction reads going now, and plenty more waiting on the shelves. They've been a bit neglected compared to my novels, so this will be good.

Editat: oct. 21, 2015, 9:01am

I just realized that, in addition to Being Mortal on audiobook, my carry-with-me book is also NF and also medical-related, totally unplanned, by the way! I'm also currently reading My Own Country by Abraham Verghese, the author of the wonderful Cutting For Stone which was fiction. I read another of his books that was non fiction, called The Tennis Partner, also excellent. He is a really gifted writer.

oct. 21, 2015, 10:57am

oct. 21, 2015, 11:28am

I am tentatively planning four non fiction reads next month:

Is God Still an Englishman? by Cole Moreton (obviously of interest to an Englishman like me)
Peeling the Onion by Gunter Grass
I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

oct. 21, 2015, 5:01pm

I took the impetus of this thread to look at the nonfiction lurking in my TBR piles. And these are them.

The University of Kansas: A History
The Case for God
On Deep History and the Brain
Proust and the Squid
Unfair: the new science of criminal injustice
The Barbarian Conversion
Blood Rites
The Dark Side: the inside story of how the war on terror turned into a war on American ideals
Everything is Miscellaneous

Four biographies:
Yours, Isaac Asimov
Terry Pratchett: the spirit of fantasy
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton
The Story of Charlotte's Web

And Bad Paper from the library.

Obviously I am not going to get through all this in November, but I will set some goals.

Unfair because it is an ER book that I need to review.
The Case for God because I stalled in the middle of it several years ago and want to get back to it
and one of the biographies, to be determined.

Anything more will be gravy!

oct. 21, 2015, 6:51pm

Unfair is a really good read-I took it out from the library and have almost finished it.

oct. 21, 2015, 7:40pm

>32 ronincats: These look really good. I added some to my wish list. Thanks for sharing!

Editat: oct. 21, 2015, 9:49pm

I am reading Crazy Horse: Strange Man of the Oglala's: A Biograhy by the Nebraska author Mari Sandoz. I plan on reading a travel book next but am not sure which one. This has been a strange biography. It was published in 1942 and was panned due to its unconventional style. It is not as strange in the modern world of narrative non-fiction but I can understand that back in 1942 this book would have been very strange.

oct. 22, 2015, 9:41am

>32 ronincats: Love the sound of The story of Charlotte's Web.

oct. 23, 2015, 11:38am

I finally have an excuse to read ONWARD AND UPWARD IN THE GARDEN by Charlotte's Web's stepmother, Katharine White.

oct. 23, 2015, 5:13pm

I have one or two.. I need and want to read The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Ages and this might get me going on that one.

I guess there isn't a touchstone? John Thavis

oct. 24, 2015, 10:02pm

I know it's not November yet, but I just finished reading Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas: A Biography by the Nebraska native and great author Mari Sandoz. It was well worth the time it took to read it. My review of it is below.

This biography of the Oglala Sioux known as Crazy Horse is a biography ahead of its time. It was published in 1942 from source material collected in the 1920's and 30's by the Nebraska Sand Hills native author Mari Sandoz and a friend of hers. It was panned when it was published by the critics, my guess is, because it was not done in the accepted writing style of the time. I think that if this book were published today it would find a wide audience, due to its depiction of the Indian side the story of the Sioux Wars.

It is clear that the author's sympathies are with Crazy Horse and the Native Americans, as a reading of the source material indicates a majority of the sources for the narrative are from Native American sources. The use of this type of material would have been unusual and probably suspect back in 1942, hence the poor reception of this work at that time. Subsequent reviews and interpretations of the source material has been much more sympathetic to the viewpoint of the Native Americas regarding the events that took place in the Sioux Wars. There has also been a greater acceptance of the role inter-tribal politics played in the affairs of the Sioux Wars over time. Back in the 1870's the Native Americans were seen as one hegemonious group with one hegemonious agenda. That viewpoint is severely contested today - with good reason - and inter-tribal politics has ben given a greater place in the history of the times. This later view probably gives us a better picture of what was going on at the time. Readers, amateur historians, and historians of today should be thankful for writers like Sandoz who took the time to gather this primary information and preserve it for people today.

This biography reads like a work of narrative oral history. That takes some work to become accustom to, but it is worth it. It is a very thorough and satisfying biography of a very important figure in America History.

oct. 24, 2015, 10:21pm

I was going to tell you that you are welcome to post your review here Benita. I saw it on Mark's thread. This gets us an early start. I'm currently reading The Anatomy Murders by Lisa Rosner. Very interesting so far!

oct. 25, 2015, 1:32am

I'm getting lots of great NF ideas from this thread. Not sure what I'll pick yet but I am keen!

I am hoping to finish my current NF book before November, but if anyone here liked Tom Holland's Rubicon, you might be interested in Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar. It's excellent so far. It starts off with a recap of the Roman civil war and how Julius Caesar came to power, and ends up with Nero.

oct. 25, 2015, 12:22pm

I just saw the Caesar family book on the shelves at my local Barnes & Nobel store. It did catch my eye and I stopped to read the dust jacket but I spent my book money on other titles.

oct. 25, 2015, 10:42pm

I must get Sacred Ground off the shelf and put it in view. I bought it at last year's rendition of the conference I just attended, so I need to get cracking!

oct. 26, 2015, 7:33pm

>39 benitastrnad: Hi Benita. I've read this review on several threads, and it sounds interesting. I'm drawn to the idea of an offbeat presentation. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :-)

oct. 27, 2015, 4:10pm

I just finished Game Change now I am on to One Man's Meat by E.B. White.

nov. 2, 2015, 6:51am

Finally finished The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, it took me well over a month to read this book as I puzzled out the science.

Looking at cancer from it's earliest documented instances to present day and the various treatments that have been attempted to come up with a cure.

nov. 2, 2015, 7:01am

I have just finished 2 in a row by Atul Gawande: Being Mortal and Better. Both excellent, extremely well-written. I am also currently reading My Own Country by Abraham Verghese which I am also enjoying but to be honest, I am going to take a break from medical NF for a bit. I think I've just reached my saturation point on this subject matter!

nov. 2, 2015, 7:28am

>46 Deedledee: This is one I've been meaning to read. Maybe next year...

I've cracked opened my copy of Malcolm X: A life of reinvention. After a look at his childhood, brush with crime and imprisonment, I've reached the point in his life history when Malcolm was an increasingly important player in the Nation of Islam, gaining fame outside the organisation. It's an incredibly detailed study of his life, a real tribute to the power of in depth research.

nov. 2, 2015, 9:59am

I just started reading Oliver Sacks's book Oaxaca Journal. This is one of the National Geographic Directions series. I have enjoyed reading books from this series in the past and this book has been a very pleasant surprise. I have never been tempted to read one of Sacks' psychiatric books, but have found this book wonderful. Turns out Sacks was an amateur expert on ferns and took a trip to Oaxaca to find ferns and see them in their natural habitat. He was an inveterate journal writer and this book, published in 2005, is a series of essays taken from those journals. It makes me think that I am traveling to Oaxaca.

nov. 2, 2015, 10:18am

I'm reading Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century, an ER collection of essays about his books. Not bad so far, if a bit academic.

nov. 2, 2015, 10:26am

I'm reading - in bits and pieces - Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a collection of essays.

I'm about to finish on audio The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne, which has been a good listen.

Editat: nov. 2, 2015, 10:43am

If you like travel books I would highly recommend the National Geographic Directions series. These books are short, usually not over 200 pages, and are written by famous authors about places and cities in which they live. I started out with reading Into a Paris Quartier by Diane Johnson. Johnson is most well known for her fiction books The Divorce and The Affair, both of which are set in Paris. Johnson lives in Paris part of each year, so National Geographic commissioned her to write a series of essays about the part of Paris in which she lives. I then read Barcelona, The Great Enchantress by Robert Hughes. He is from Australia and a well known non-fiction author who lives part of each year in Barcelona. I also read Southwestern Homelands by William Kittredge because my sister lived in Tucson and El Paso. By now, I am thoroughly hooked on this series of travel books and have plans to read each of the titles on this roster. I am also trying to find out if National Geographic has commissioned any more of these books. I hope that they have continued the series as I find them so enjoyable to read and there are so many interesting places to visit on this planet that deserve good authors to write about them.

nov. 2, 2015, 10:56am

I love all the comments so far. Currently, I am reading Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel and I am listening to Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Both are good but I am completely hooked by the Gawande book.

nov. 2, 2015, 11:05am

Being Mortal is a treasure. What a mensch.

Editat: nov. 30, 2015, 11:12pm

I started a bit ahead of time and read The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss at the end of October. I thought it was very good, even though it delves into various battles, which I'm not usually fond of.

I made a huge list of possibilities from my tbr on my thread, which is the following. Needles too say, there's no way I'll get to all of them, but I'm certainly not wanting for options!

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot - COMPLETED
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coatest - COMPLETED
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawsont - COMPLETED
The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell - COMPLETED
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Promise at Dawn / La promesse de l'aube by Romain Gary
Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison
Just Kids by Patti Smith - COMPLETED
M Train by Patti Smith
The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher
The Young Ardizzone by Edward Adizzone
A Cab at the Door by V. S. Pritchett
A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen by Harold Bloom
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee - Reading
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Migraine by Oliver Sacks

Also read:
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari - COMPLETED
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert - COMPLETED

nov. 2, 2015, 11:15am

>55 Smiler69: Great list! Suspect I will be catching some bb's from you whichever you go with.

nov. 2, 2015, 11:23am

I'm reading Primo Levi's Resistance, which is an ARC from the LT Early Reviewers' program. I'm finding it very interesting, as previously when I heard "Resistance", I always thought of France, and this is set in the Piedmont of Italy.

nov. 2, 2015, 12:23pm

I am close to half-way through Benjamin Franklin by Edmund S. Morgan.

Following on the card are:

Food in History by Reay Tannahill
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Doctor Mutter's Marvels by Christin O'Keefe Aptowicz

>55 Smiler69: What Charlotte said; great list! Lots of good reading.

nov. 2, 2015, 3:52pm

Finished The Fatal Shore yesterday and started The Woman Who Would Be King this AM. Seems awfully good so far.

nov. 2, 2015, 4:46pm

>51 katiekrug: I recently bought World's Strongest Librarian, Katie, though in Large Print format. Glad to see that you liked it.

>53 luvamystery65: >54 jnwelch: I really want to get to Being Mortal.

I'm still finishing up volume three of Shelby Foote's narrative Civil War history trilogy. I also need to finish Neurotribes for an overdue ER review.

Editat: nov. 3, 2015, 10:09am

I started The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town.

Here is a description: "On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set their house on fire. He miraculously survived, and yet living through those horrific hours was only the beginning of his ordeal. Broken and defeated, Bill was forced to confront a question of ultimate consequence: How does a person find the strength to start over and live again after confronting the darkest of nightmares?"

^Not easy reading, that is for sure but Petit's resilience is something to behold. This is an E.R. selection.

nov. 3, 2015, 8:33am

My 2 cents: Being Mortal should be required reading, Period!

nov. 3, 2015, 1:36pm

>62 msf59: - I said the same thing in my review of the book, as well.

nov. 3, 2015, 8:44pm

>56 charl08: >58 weird_O: I'm certainly spoiled for choice, and that's just a small portion of the NF available on my tbr obviously...

nov. 3, 2015, 10:47pm

>54 jnwelch: >62 msf59: & >63 jessibud2: Being Mortal is a game changer for sure. I'm 3/4 into the audio and I am floored. Taking my Aunt Dora to the doctor tomorrow and already my priorities have shifted. I wish this had been around when I took care of my mom. I don't think I would have changed much but there are a few things that I would have done differently.

nov. 4, 2015, 10:41am

>65 luvamystery65: My siblings and I all read Being Mortal, and it has strongly affected how we help our 92-year-old father. Among other things, he's in his home where he wants to be, rather than at a good assisted living facility we had lined up. He's happy, and that's the main thing. There may come a time when he needs to go into the facility, but not yet.

I probably mentioned this, but in helping him I've met with a lot of doctors he has to see, and from the respectful and questioning way some addressed him, I felt sure they also had read Being Mortal. I could hear Gawande in their approach.

nov. 4, 2015, 3:05pm

>66 jnwelch: - I wish more than anything that Being Mortal would become required reading for every medical student from this day forward. If any change to the system is going to happen across the board, that is where it must begin.

Editat: nov. 4, 2015, 3:48pm

I finished One Man's Meat and I loved it!

I read the second edition which has been updated to include columns from not only Harper's Magazine but the New Yorker too. The essays were rearranged to be in chronological order by the date White wrote them so that the whole collection of One Man's Meat spans 1938-1943.

Since these essays coincided with WWII, it was a topic that was very much on E.B. White's mind so many of these essays are about war vs. peace, freedom, democracy, diplomacy and foreign relations, uniting with other countries, patriotism, etc. But during this time in White's life, he, his wife Katherine, and their children, all packed up and moved to a small coastal town in Maine where he started keeping sheep, chickens, and some pigs and eventually a cow. White grows vegetables, does some boating and makes his own boat, and goes hunting. There are many essays about city life vs. country life since he mostly lives in Maine but his family still makes regular trips into New York City. The essays almost alternate being about something farm-related and then something political but many times the topics interweave.

I think White was very prescient and much smarter and more literary than he gave himself credit for in many of the interviews he did. It was obvious from One Man's Meat that he was a reader. White read very widely including newspapers, magazines, the children's books his wife got from publishers, farming manuals, dog training guides, Mein Kampf, some Charles Darwin and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, new books that were coming out at that time about WWII, poetry, etc. I have almost a full notebook page of the writers and books he referenced. And White made a few predictions about what would happen in the U.S. in the coming years some of which have came true and some of which haven't although some of it is debatable.

I honestly wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did but it's just a treasure trove of insights and great writing. I can't wait to read more E.B. White essays.

ETA: Now I am moving on to Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.

Editat: nov. 4, 2015, 3:56pm

>67 jessibud2: Me, too, jessibud2. It makes such good sense, and it makes such a positive difference for the patient.

>68 Tara1Reads: I thought Behind the Beautiful Forevers was terrific. What a feat of journalism.

nov. 4, 2015, 5:34pm

>68 Tara1Reads: I have a copy of One Man's Meat on hand, and I loved White's Here is New York, so I may try to read some of those essays in November.

nov. 4, 2015, 9:59pm

>68 Tara1Reads: Book bullet on the White book.

>67 jessibud2: & >69 jnwelch: I agree but also everyone. Patient's & their families are the best advocates!

nov. 5, 2015, 8:57am

I finished Feynman, a graphic non-fiction biography. The author, Jim Ottaviana is the one that Mark introduced at Booktopia. I was really intrigued by the idea of scientific biographies for the YA crowd. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of science in the first part of the book, but the last twenty pages finally had Feynman giving some of his intro physics lectures and there was a great bibliography. In hindsight. I can see it wasn't a bad scheme to get readers interested in the man before trying to explain what he actually did. :-) I'll probably try another of Ottaviana's books sometime later.

I'm now reading Voices From Chernobyl - wow - tough read. The voices are bleak and spare. Author Svetlana Alexievich really knew how to get out of the way and let the stories stand by themselves.

nov. 5, 2015, 11:46am


Finished this bio this morning. I ran across the book on a list, you know, some "authority" telling you what books you ought to read...RIGHT NOW! Stop whatever else you're reading. Just drop it! And read this...because you'll be ever so glad you did. Okay, okay, I'm calm now...

The terse comment about it: "A model biography: pithy, wise, and—despite its brevity—complete. Franklin emerges as a quintessential hero of his time, and ours." And so it is.

nov. 5, 2015, 12:08pm

"A model biography: pithy, wise, and—despite its brevity—complete. " I'd read a lot more biographies if they observed the brevity rule. So many biographers seem to think they need to include every last scrap of detail their research uncovered...

nov. 5, 2015, 12:10pm

I'm joining in, reading the memoir of my new prime minister... Justin Trudeau's Common Ground. There's something about gaining citizenship that has catapulted me into extreme interest in politics - I have a huge list of political history to read lined up for next year!

nov. 5, 2015, 2:47pm

>72 streamsong: Another fan of Voices from Chernobyl here. Talk about suffering for your art though - don't think I'd have risked so much going into such a poisoned area.

nov. 5, 2015, 3:17pm

>75 evilmoose: - Is it a good read? Did he write it or is it ghost-written? I've been thinking about picking it up, myself. I found yesterday's events more emotional than I imagined I would. I am actually feeling something I haven't felt in a very long time regarding politics in this country: hopeful!

nov. 5, 2015, 5:03pm

>77 jessibud2: I've just started, but so far the writing isn't jaw-dropping by any means, but it's very interesting for the stories, and getting a sense of background. And apparently (according to an interview response to that question) he dictated stories and such, they were then transcribed, and he re-wrote based on the transcription. So he definitely had editorial help, but the words are his.

nov. 5, 2015, 5:24pm

So many great reading ideas here! I have picked up The Good Soldiers by David Finkel at the library and will start my non-fiction November with that.

nov. 5, 2015, 5:33pm

I have started When London Was Capital of America. I also plan to read I Know Why the Caged Bird sings sometime this month.

nov. 5, 2015, 6:24pm

>78 evilmoose: - Thanks. I think I will get to it sooner rather than later, though not immediately as I have too many others in the queue at the moment

nov. 6, 2015, 12:22pm

I just started The Dorito Effect, quite good so far. It's addressing the role that fake food flavorings and the decrease in flavor of chicken, etc, have played in the rise in obesity.

nov. 6, 2015, 10:35pm

>69 jnwelch: Yes it definitely seems like Katherine Boo got the real inside story through the layers of corruption. I can't wait to get to the end to read the author's note where she will hopefully explain how she got all this information.

>70 laytonwoman3rd: I hope you like One Man's Meat. Here is New York looks good too.

>71 luvamystery65: Yay! I hope you like it.

>73 weird_O: Benjamin Franklin looks good. Thanks for posting this!

nov. 7, 2015, 4:01pm

I've added to my reading/listening this month the audio of, The Faith Club :A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner. It is narrated by Priscilla Ward. This book is mentioned and discussed in Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel.

nov. 7, 2015, 6:49pm

I finally finished the third volume of Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy, The Civil War: A Narrative: Red River to Appomattox.

nov. 7, 2015, 9:41pm

>86 tymfos: Sounds like a long read, Teri. How was The Civil War: A Narrative: Red River to Appomattox? It is the only Shelby Foote book that I have (probably #2 or #3 in the trilogy - I never seem to read things in order). I mainly got the book because it covers the events at Kennesaw Mountain which coincides with the research I am doing on my civil war ancestor who was wounded there. Luckily for him it was late enough in the war that he wasn't sent to a Confederate prisoner-of-war-camp as I believe this area was close to Andersonville.

nov. 8, 2015, 10:43am

>86 tymfos: A great, engrossing series. Got a boxed set of the books for Christmas and plowed through the three of them in about 6 weeks. I think they total about 2,700 pages.

nov. 8, 2015, 8:46pm

It's absolutely amazing how Foote wove all that wide and varied historical information, covering the different theaters of military action from both sides, into such a compelling narrative history account. By the end, though, I was ready to be finished. It's just amazing what the combatants went through. It really changed the course of our country. Foote was a genius to write it all the way he did.

nov. 9, 2015, 2:35pm

I finished Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It was a fast-paced piece of narrative non-fiction. Boo did not make me feel bogged down or too depressed over the awful subject matter because I was interested in what happened next in the story so the book definitely felt more novel-like. There were a few things that I thought needed more explanation that were not mentioned in the author's note or not elaborated on enough for me, but even so it was certainly worth reading.

Now I am going to read Eat, Pray, Love to see what all the fuss has been about over the years. I expect a different side of India to be portrayed in this book.

Editat: nov. 9, 2015, 2:58pm

I thought Behind the Beautiful Forevers was terrific. Great investigative reporting, great writing.

I just finished Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century, an ER book. While some of the essays about his work were off-puttingly academic, others were insightful and even fun to read. I learned a lot. Who knew he was such a big Lou Reed fan, or that The Graveyard Book was inspired by Kipling's Jungle Book?

Editat: nov. 9, 2015, 3:11pm

I listened to Between the World and Me and found it a very tough read and very divisive. Especially as I may be among those Coates calls "those who consider themselves white" and am Canadian, where race is nowhere near as big an issue as it has been historically and still is in the USA.

I've now moved on to Jame Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, which I figure will probably be a comfort read for the big animal lover that I am.

nov. 9, 2015, 3:21pm

>91 jnwelch: I agree! It has to be great writing to propel so many readers through such terrible subject matter.

>92 Smiler69: I enjoy James Herriot's simple country vet stories but I remember they got kind of boring.

nov. 9, 2015, 3:49pm

I've just attempted to put down my thoughts on Between the World and Me on my thread. The book has made me think a lot, but perhaps not in the direction the author intended. This review needs to be revisited and edited somewhat as I do tend to write faster than I can think sometimes.

nov. 9, 2015, 4:35pm

>92 Smiler69: Agree with your comments on Coates in this post, though I haven't read your review/thread comments. It was a discomfitting book, but then that, perhaps, is the author's intent -- and having black Americans amongst my friends, they would argue that it's about time the tables were turned.

Finishing Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone, and it's excellent. A relief, since I didn't really love her last bio, of a medieval queen of Sicily.

I have a massive stack of non-fiction to read...

nov. 9, 2015, 10:34pm

^hi Suz! Long time no see.

Just found this thread, and am thinking that a George Orwell would see me right for a NF. I must see if the library has Down and out in Paris and London. And I was just there today too....

nov. 10, 2015, 6:45am

I finished listening to Gumption this weekend and I definitely recommend it. Funny and informative. I loved Offerman's first book (Paddle Your Own Canoe), too.

nov. 11, 2015, 9:10pm

I just finished The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice de Janze and The Mysterious Death of Lord Erroll by Paul Spicer.

Alice is fascinating to read about, a woman who lived in Africa almost her whole life, who tried to kill one lover who later married her (briefly), and who may have killed another lover and gotten away with it. Suffering from depression essentially her whole life, Alice tried her best to find her own happiness, most particularly through men, and through her home in Kenya, but committed suicide at the age of forty two.

Spicer has the advantage of a mother who was friends with Alice in Africa, and he takes her reminiscences and writings, as well as conducting new interviews and doing extensive research, to bring Alice's story to vibrant life.

nov. 12, 2015, 12:49am

I finally finished a nonfiction book for November! I have many nonfiction books on the go at the same time but today I made a concerted push to finish Old Enough to Fight: Canada's Boy Soldiers in the First World War. It seemed an appropriate book to read on Remembrance Day.

Editat: nov. 12, 2015, 1:30am

>96 LovingLit: Yup, haven't been around much. Reading, but not posting.

I've got a copy of Tom Holland's new book about the Caesar dynasty that I should read, entitled (surprise) Dynasty. Another ARC, The Porcelain Thief. And Stacy Schiff's new book about the Salem witch trials is waiting for me at the library. So, lots of options.

Finished Rival Queens, and it was, indeed, excellent.

Editat: nov. 12, 2015, 2:18am

>100 Chatterbox: Suzanne, I've just finished Dynasty this week and thought it was really well written, which is not the same as saying I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was so much detail about Nero's and Caligula's horrible behaviour that I couldn't read much at a time. But I learnt heaps about the emperors he wrote about, and gave it a solid 4 stars. I hope you like it.

Now I'm reading Mary Beard's just-published SPQR for a different perspective on the Roman Empire - she goes from Romulus and Remus until around 200 AD. So far it is a faster read than Dynasty, and assumes very little prior knowledge of the classical world. I'm really enjoying it.

nov. 12, 2015, 3:02am

I (finally) finished finished Malcolm X: a life of reinvention. If you've ever wondered what lies behind the myth, this is the book for you. Well written despite the exhaustive level of detail, the many changes and contradictions in his short life are explained. Marable pieces together the history of his life before conversion to show how Malcolm's 'life of crime' was exaggerated in the Autobiography to stress the importance of his conversion. The messy break with the Nation of Islam, is put in the context of his demanding speaking schedule, the jealousy of the children of the NOI leader, and his conflicting comments on the Civil Rights movement. Towards the end of the book, it was as gripping as a thriller as NOI anger against Malcolm increased, and available NYPD and FBI records make clear that the threats against his life were seen by the authorities as part of 'black hate group' violence and not taken seriously.

I particularly was interested in the section on his international travel. Hosted by high ranking politicians across Africa and in Muslim countries, his popularity and impact surprised me. I was also shocked to read how much FBI material remained (book published in 2010) under lock and key. The significance of this seems important, given that Marable establishes that there were several government agents working in both the nation of Islam and Malcolm's own organisations, present at the shooting.

Highly recommended.

nov. 12, 2015, 10:51am

I have absorbed (not an awful lot of reading involved) Dickey Chapelle Under Fire, which is mostly photographs, and two local history books about the rural schools in my home county. There will be more detail on my own thread soon.

nov. 12, 2015, 11:11am

I've been reading Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. For the most part, loving it. Since it's basically a bunch of vignettes, it makes it easy to read just a little bit at a time.

nov. 12, 2015, 12:18pm

Decided to move on to Our Man in Charleston by Christopher Dickey, and it's very good so far.

Editat: nov. 12, 2015, 10:46pm

I finished reading Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks. This was a book of travel essays about Sacks trip to Oaxaca back in 2000. Sacks was commissioned by National Geographic to write this travel book for their National Geographic Directions series. This series features well known authors (mostly well known) writing about places that they visit or where they are expatriates. Sacks went to Oaxaca as part of a pteridological expedition. Turns out Sacks was an active member of the American Fern Society and Oaxaca is a habitat that provides a favorable environment for a huge number of ferns, both rare and common species. This provides the background for an uncommon travel book that I enjoyed reading. I will keep looking for more of the titles in this series as each of them has provided me with insights and pleasurable reading.

I then started reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.

nov. 12, 2015, 11:08pm

So much good NF!

Editat: nov. 13, 2015, 8:10am

>106 benitastrnad: Now that I have had a few days to think about Behind the Beautiful Forevers I have a few complaints about it. I will wait until you are done reading it and then maybe we can discuss.

Edited to correct touchstone.

nov. 13, 2015, 2:22pm

I've just finished Mary Roach's Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal which I found very entertaining.

nov. 13, 2015, 2:31pm

Not quite finished yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small. Not for nothing has it become such a beloved classic. He had a great talent for retelling anecdotes, and I can see I'll probably want to read his following books as well.

nov. 13, 2015, 3:10pm

>106 benitastrnad: Love Sacks, so really tempted by this.

I bought Self Made Man having read about it online, along with her sequel memoir about living in psychiatric hospitals for a year. So No!vember has helped me get to this rather than being distracted by the Shiny New Books from the library.

Vincent decides that she can best make an appraisal of ordinary men (and by extension their perspective on gender) by impersonating a man. She bulks up at the gym, researches fake stubble, and gets some clothes and (rather like Superman) glasses. It works. She joins a men's bowling team, spends a long visit at a Monastery, and even dates as a man. Along the way she starts to feel so guilty about what she's doing that her impersonation starts to have severe consequences for her mental health. Her insights are fascinating, although grim reading in places (the lap dancing bars). Sometimes touching too - a group of men's inability to communicate their emotions apart from anger or the bowling team's affection for their partners. The surprising part of the story was her willingness to tell most of the groups that she was a woman at the end of the experience, and their willingness to accept her nonetheless, despite the deception. In the monastery she describes her bullying by the monks when she expresses opinions that appear to show him/her as transgressive.

"Experiencing this strange and foreign treatment firsthand, I developed new sympathy for boys and young men, and I felt saddened for the damage done to them in those rites of passage we all condone and inflict to make them into men. I remembered my brothers' plights with this same process, seeing them as young boys weeping at home with my mother, telling her of the petty cruelties perpetuated against them by other boys and men at school and summer camp. In those days they were every bit as vulnerable as I was, and still able to show it. What's more they could still ask for and find comfort and sympathy for their pain. But now, like so many other men, if my brothers show emotion at all, they show only anger, because that's all they've been allowed."

I'm not sure I agree with all her conclusions, with questions about how representative one person's experience of gender can be, in a relatively small set of contexts (and as she acknowledges, limited to white male masculinity). But nonetheless a very interesting, well written read, that was strikingly honest in expressing the challenges and difficulties of the project.

nov. 13, 2015, 9:00pm

Jumping onto Dr. Mutter's Marvels.

nov. 14, 2015, 6:09am

I managed to finish my first Non-Fiction book of the month and it will leave an impression for a while:


Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

"Being mortal is about the struggle to cope with the constraints of our biology, with the limits set by genes and cells and flesh and bone. Medical science has given us remarkable power to push against these limits, and the potential value of this power was a central reason I became a doctor. But again and again, I have seen the damage we in medicine do when we fail to acknowledge that such power is finite and always will be" pp 259

This book deserves a little quiet reflection before rushing off another of my glib and pithy reviews. In fact it deserves a more considered effort all together.

One of the questions the experience of reading this made me broach to myself was, "why did parts of this move you so, Cranswick, you big softie?"

Well I guess it is because the writer brings experience, knowledge and most of all empathy to a subject that each of us in our own way will face ere long. At the dawning of our lives the sunset of old age, illness and our demise is beyond the horizons of our understanding. As we grow closer to its actuality must we ponder the manner of our ending, our dignity, our life and death choices? I am firmly of the view that one needs to be of a certain age to appreciate and be moved by a book of this scope and nature and suffice to say I am of sufficient years to be sufficiently moved!

Gawande's precis here is on the finite nature of all things. The limit to life, the limit of advances in medical science to prolong life and how, in striving to do so, it can impinge upon the quality of the life it is seeking to lengthen. His examples, both professional and private used to examine his beliefs are handled with a candour and a sensitivity which does him great credit as a human being as well as a medical practitioner. Not many of us know how we will react if faced with the reality of terminal illness and to each the ways to cope will be profoundly different I am sure. There is no cure-all, he makes that clear - palliative care works for some, others want to tough it out and fight to the bitter end. I don't know what I would do but there is courage and dignity in both ways.

I am mortal. You are mortal. This book will not be so.

nov. 14, 2015, 7:18am

>113 PaulCranswick: - I very recently read this, as well. I have yet to learn of a single person who has read it who has not been extremely moved by this book. I fervently wish it would be read by every person in the field of medicine, as well as anyone with a family member who is facing aging, in other words: everyone! There are thoughts, facts, options, knowledge in this book that are important to consider BEFORE needing to have to deal with them.

nov. 14, 2015, 7:26am

>113 PaulCranswick: I enjoyed your thoughts on Being Mortal, Paul. Yes: Required reading.

nov. 14, 2015, 7:28am

>114 jessibud2: Shelley, after reading the book, I went to look at the work page and the reviews put up there. I am always interested to see what those of our number in the 75ers thought of it. There were, I think, about 8 reviews from our group members and all bar one gained in excess of four stars. I was mightily impressed by it.

nov. 14, 2015, 9:58am

>116 PaulCranswick: - Thanks for that reminder. I see that I have sometimes forgotten to actually add a book I've read and reviewed in my own thread, to my *catalogue* and rate it. I tend to add books that I actually own, and to forget those I've borrowed from the library (such as audiobooks). I've just gone back and done that now. In fact, this is one book I think I will actually purchase. I was just talking to my mum on the phone the other day and told her about this book. She is a very active, relatively healthy and vibrant 82 year old and we were discussing this very topic because a close friend of hers is going through some very difficult times, health-wise, in the United States. This is precisely why this book is so important - so that we don't get to that crisis point without having considered options while we still can make important decisions.

nov. 14, 2015, 10:19am

>113 PaulCranswick: Paul: Oh, that *is* a good one.

I finished Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice yesterday. A wonderful - and timely - read about the teenage African American girl who refused to give up her seat on the Montgomery bus 9 months before Rosa Parks, but wasn't chosen as the poster girl for the movement because she was considered too sassy (and she soon afterward became pregnant). A fascinating and troubling story - the more troubling because as I listened I realized that not much has changed since then in this country (or possibly it got a bit better but now has reverted again). Unacceptable. Consequently, I really believe this one should be required reading at the middle school level - it could do a great deal toward starting good conversations at that age.

nov. 14, 2015, 1:55pm

>113 PaulCranswick: Paul, wonderful reflection on Being Mortal. I just came up on the hold list at the library for this one, and I'll be reading it this week, when my annual physical is scheduled. I plan to show it to my doctor and ask if she has read it.

Editat: nov. 14, 2015, 2:26pm

>119 tymfos: Thank you Terri.

I have just finished another humdinger:

Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

It's April in Chernobyl, haven't you heard?
There isn't a flower, there isn't a bird.
It started with a fire under a mushroom cloud
Extending tumorous fingers, the people were bowed.
A hard rain descended, puddles yellow and green
It'll take a millenium to make the place clean.

So that collective memory cannot be erased
It is so she recorded the voices that were raised.

In April 1986 the name Chernobyl was writ large in the public consciousness but years later those affected by it, directly and indirectly are still struggling to come to terms with it. Alexievich won the Nobel prize for literature recently and the work she is most renowned for is this one recording those who played a part large or small.

This is unremitting and fairly grim stuff and the overall effect, with the odd clanging difference, is that the voices of the many meld into one voice. It is a voice of despair, of disbelief and of misunderstanding. It is an angry voice and one that speaks to be remembered. For me the most affecting was the monolgue of the family escaping civil war in Kyrgyzstan, I think it was, who believed that after the horrors they had faced (and which were recounted poignantly), living amid the poisoned air of Chernobyl would provide blessed relief.

Did she deserve the Nobel Prize, well possibly not, this award was as much about politics as it was about penmanship, but that is not to take away from what is an exceptionally effective piece and journalism.

nov. 14, 2015, 5:24pm

I have finished The Good Soldiers by Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel. The author followed the 2-16 Infantry Battalion for eight months while it was deployed in Iraq during 2007-08. Well written and absorbing, The Good Soldiers really shows the human cost of war.

nov. 15, 2015, 10:58pm

My non-fiction binge continues with Paul Wells' Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper's New Conservatism - more great background on Canadian politics.

nov. 15, 2015, 11:11pm

Half-way through the month and i've only finished one nonfiction so far, Bad Paper by Jake Halpern.

nov. 16, 2015, 9:32am

I finished My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel on Saturday, which I'll review later this week.

nov. 16, 2015, 1:04pm

I had started Abraham Verghese's My Own Country last month but because I also read back to back books by Atul Gawande (Being Mortal and Better), I put this one aside, needing a break from the medical genre overload. Truth is, I really like reading about this and am now back into Verghese. He has written fiction, as well (Cutting For Stone) but his NF is equally well-written and engaging. This is his memoir.

Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 10:54pm

I have finished The Faith Club by Ranya Idilyb, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warren. What a fantastic journey of inter-faith understanding these three ladies took. It was a perfect companion to Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel.

I also finished The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert. It is an incredible graphic novel that combines the photographs of Didier Lefevre on his first mission with MSF in 1986 Afghanistan.

I am almost finished with Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.

Tomorrow I will start The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot on audio.

nov. 17, 2015, 7:21am

>126 luvamystery65: - The Rebecca Skloot book is fascinating, heartbreaking and an excellent read. I listened to it on audiobook a few years ago while on a road trip with a friend. We didn't want to get out of the car!

nov. 17, 2015, 9:28am

My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel


Shortlisted for the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize

My rating:

Scott Stossel has had a rewarding and successful life on a superficial glance. He graduated from Harvard, wrote a well regarded biography of the politician and JFK aide Sargent Shriver, previously served as the executive editor of The American Prospect, is currently the editor of The Atlantic magazine, and is happily married with two young children. However, this brief summary does not reveal his all encompassing struggle with anxiety disorder, which has been a constantly disturbing and occasionally crippling problem for most of his life. In his search to tame his inner doubts and fears by disclosing them openly, and in an effort to learn more about this malady and how it has affected him and his relatives, he has written a comprehensive history of anxiety disorders, from ancient times to the modern era.

In the opening chapter of My Age of Anxiety Stossel provides the reader with some basic facts about the disorder in the US, and the Western world. It is the most common form of mental illness, which affects nearly one in seven Americans (40 million) at any time and has a lifetime prevalence of nearly 25%. It is an affliction of affluent societies, particularly those in which freedom of choice and the potential of upward—or downward—mobility can be liberating to some, but disabling to others. Anxiety disorder and related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic abdominal pain or headaches, palpitations, shortness of breath and fatigue, are common causes of visits to primary care providers (physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners) and mental health professionals, and trillions of dollars are spent annually on medications to chemically alleviate these symptoms, often with only modest benefit. Anxiety is not limited to humans; numerous studies have demonstrated that higher animals also experience these symptoms, whether they roam independently or are members of hierarchical societies led by alpha males or females.

The book provides a detailed history of anxiety as it was understood by Hippocrates and Aristotle, who viewed it as a medical illness; Plato and Spinoza, who believed that it was a philosophical problem with no organic basis; Kierkegaard and Freud, who viewed anxiety as a result of existential uncertainty; and researchers in the middle of the 20th century, who discovered that imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, glutamate and GABA and their receptors on neurons played a major role in mood disorders and discovered effective medications that allowed millions of the afflicted to lead normal or vastly improved lives. Stossel also discusses the controversies throughout history, including the difficulties in accurately defining anxiety and other mood disorders, the differences of the psychoanalytic, the cognitive-behavioral and the biomedical approaches to the disorders, the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to widen the use of these medications for their own benefit and the associated overuse of these medications by clinicians, and the harms that they have caused, including the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix and countless others from barbiturate overdoses.

Stossel's book is at its best when he describes his own struggles with anxiety, and how it has affected him and his family, as he traces the roots of the disorder in his family tree. His great grandfather Chester Hanford was the popular Dean of Harvard College for 20 years and a professor at the university for four decades, but his worsening anxiety led to his premature retirement, hospitalizations at the famed McLean Psychiatric Hospital, multiple medication trials and several rounds of electroshock treatments throughout his later years. Sadly, his daughter is demonstrating some of the same anxious behaviors that he had as a child, which correlates with the body of evidence that mood disorders can be inherited.

My Age of Anxiety is a valuable contribution to the field of psychiatric disorders, similar to books such as The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression by Andrew Solomon and An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison, which were also written by authors who suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, respectively. Readers with little interest in the development of pharmaceutical agents for mood disorders or the different treatment models can skip over those sections without missing much, and focus on the far more compelling personal accounts and struggles of the author, who deserves praise and credit for discussing his illness so openly in this book. It is written for a general audience, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

nov. 17, 2015, 9:30am

>125 jessibud2: I loved each of those four books (Being Mortal, Better, Cutting for Stone and My Own Country)!

nov. 17, 2015, 9:48am

>128 kidzdoc: Great review, Darryl. We know a number of people affected by mood disorders. I'm going to pass this on. Thumb it, too.

nov. 17, 2015, 11:42am

I'm reading Dr. Mütter's Marvels for NF November (but also for enjoyment). Mütter was a pathfinding plastic surgeon practicing in Philadelphia in the mid-1800s. A book publisher enlisted him to annotate and contribute to a text produced by British surgeon Robert Liston, known as the fastest knife in the West End. (This was before anesthetics, when very strong men held the victim patient firmly on the surgical table while the surgeon cut and sawed, working ASAP. Hence the "fastest knife" sobriquet.)

Liston…was a colorful figure in surgery. He was tall, ambi¬tious, and charismatic, often yelling, "Time me, gentlemen, time me!" to his students before beginning his amputations…
One leg amputation performed in less than three minutes had the unfortunate result of killing three people: the pa-tient (who survived the surgery but died of gangrene several days later); his young assistant (whose fingers he accidentally sawed off during surgery and who would also later succumb to gangrene); and "a distinguished surgical spectator" whose coattails Liston also slashed. The man, who found himself surrounded by geysers of blood, was so convinced that the knife had pierced his vitals that he immediately "dropped dead from fright." It was later de¬scribed as "the only operation in history with a 300 percent mortality rate."

You can't make this stuff up.

Editat: nov. 17, 2015, 2:32pm

>129 kidzdoc: - Verghese also wrote another non-fiction, called The Tennis Partner. I no longer have it in my possession, having passed it along to a friend, but I don't remember if it predates this current one I'm reading or follows it. I love that his NF reads like fiction: detailed, insightful, intelligent with surprising flashes of wry humour when you least expect it.

By the way, have you read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, mentioned above by>126 luvamystery65:>. That was quite a story!! Truly heartbreaking and a part of history we (I) knew very little about

nov. 17, 2015, 8:15pm

>128 kidzdoc: My Age of Anxiety sounds fascinating. I read An Unquiet Mind earlier this year, so your saying that this book's contribution to the subject literature is similar to that one adds to my interest.

>131 weird_O: I loved Dr. Mutter's Marvels.
You can't make this stuff up.
Truth truly can be stranger than fiction.

>126 luvamystery65: >127 jessibud2: I listened to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, too. I thought it was fascinating, and very sad.

I'm currently reading Being Mortal. So far, I agree with everything everyone has said. I really need to finish my other NF read, Neurotribes, which is an ER book for me. It's good, but somehow has failed to hold my interest in the face of all the other books vying for my attention.

nov. 17, 2015, 9:50pm

>128 kidzdoc: & >131 weird_O: book bullets for sure!

>127 jessibud2: & >133 tymfos: I was hesitant to listen to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in case I missed something it is not as easy to go back, but so far it has been an excellent audio.

Being Mortal is easily one of my top reads this year.

nov. 18, 2015, 9:46am

>131 weird_O: I loved Dr. Mütter's Marvels, and I definitely remember that excerpt! I assume that you've been to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, Bill.

>132 jessibud2: I own a copy of The Tennis Partner, but I haven't read it yet. I should put it much higher on my TBR list, since I loved Verghese's other two books.

I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite its flaws. I used the HeLa cell line as an undergraduate student and when I was in graduate school, and I was taught that the cells came from a woman named Helen Lane. When I learned about the real origin of that immortalized cell line and that it came from Henrietta Lacks I bought that book and started reading it almost immediately.

>133 tymfos: Being Mortal is the only book that I think that everyone should read, as the issues discussed in that book will almost certainly affect all of us, as individuals, care givers and relatives to terminally ill and dying adults.

One other book of medical nonfiction that I absolutely love is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, which is about a Hmong girl with intractable epilepsy whose family has migrated to central California. It's required reading for the physician assistant students at Emory University, where I used to give lectures, and many medical schools also encourage their students to read it as well. I've read it at least twice, and it's one of my all time favorite nonfiction books in any category.

I started reading The Iceberg by Marion Coutts yesterday, the winner of this year's Wellcome Book Prize (a British literary award for the best book about medicine, health or illness, whether fiction or nonfiction), and so far it's outstanding. It's written by an artist and art professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, and it's an account of her late husband Tom Lubbock, a respected art critic and columnist for The Independent, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. It's beautifully written and very touching, and if the rest of the book is in keeping with its promising beginning it will end up being one of my favorite books of the year.

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 10:05am

I also finished Voices from Chernobyl which I found both saddening and very enlightening. My review is on the book page.

I've also finished my audiobook H is for Hawk read by the author, Helen Macdonald. Outstanding book and outstanding narration. When the author's father dies suddenly, the author turns to her love of falconry to begin training a goshawk. The book is an amazing mixture of grief, falconry, and a biography of the complicated and somewhat sad life of T.H. White who wrote The Goshawk. I don't have a review done yet, but it will be one of my favorite NF reads of the year.

I've started The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee for the RL book club. So far it's a quick read, but nothing too startling.

nov. 18, 2015, 10:32am

I read Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks several years ago and thought it a rather flawed book. I found it to be not very scientific and not good as social history. What I did think was it as science light as well as history light, and heavy handed on the social commentary part. What the book does tell us is that many many women died of cervical and uterine cancer before it was discovered how to screen for it early and what caused the majority of these cases. The real story in that book is the discovery of the correct medium in which to grow the cells.

The book also discusses the fact that the HeLa cells were contaminated early on and by the 1980''s were so contaminated with other cells that they are no longer used. I did find it to be an interesting historical overview of a small part of medical history and a partial explanation of how we got to now in terms of disclosure rules and protections.

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 11:31am

>137 benitastrnad: I definitely agree with your first paragraph.

But HeLa cells are still used. It's easy enough to un-contaminate them from other cell lines. It's a matter of diluting them out so that single individual cells can be seeded into 96 well tissue culture plates (one cell per well). Daughter cells from the individual cells are then a pure line. Cells are then expanded and identified as HeLa's using various markers. As a chlamydial researcher in an NIH lab, we have over a hundred flasks of Hela growing in our incubators right now.

My gripe with the book is that most people come away with the opinion that something shady happened. The court got it right. There is no way of knowing what Henrietta Lacks agreed to with her surgical specimens since records were destroyed (can't remember but seems like a fire?? or a flood??). She didn't inform her family that she had cancer until she was dying. Naturally they wouldn't have any idea what she may or may not have signed.

Edited for a bit of clarity. :-)

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 11:15am

>135 kidzdoc: I agree with you about everyone should read Being Mortal, Darryl, but we're thinking about holding off on recommending it to our in-their-20s kids. Are they too young? Our instincts are to wait a bit - we're young enough that they probably don't need to start thinking about us that way yet, and they may not be at the right stage for it. Opinions welcome.

That's very encouraging about The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. I have it, and like Fadiman a lot, but this one seemed a bit daunting to read for some reason.

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 4:12pm

>135 kidzdoc: - Oh, I agree 100% about The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down! I wrote a long review of it and gave it 5 stars. A really well-researched, well-written book.

nov. 18, 2015, 4:40pm

Finished up The Witch of Lime Street earlier this month. Decent story of Harry Houdini's participation in a prize program by Scientific American to find an authentic Spiritualist medium in the 1920s.

nov. 18, 2015, 4:46pm

>141 drneutron: I saw The Witch of Lime Street at the bookstore Jim and almost bought it, but decided to wait and get it next year for a late October/early November read.

nov. 18, 2015, 6:36pm

The College of Education had a book discussion group for student's in the Masters Degree program and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down! was one of the books they read and discussed. When students first saw the title they often dismissed it, and thought it would be boring and were surprised when it turned out to be such a good book to read. It always prompted discussion from both sides of the aisle. It was one of those books that made people stop and think about some of their basic beliefs and principles.

I also agree that the court got it correct. Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I found it to be a partial explanation of how we got to now in terms of disclosure rules and protections for patients, but it really didn't answer some of my most basic questions about the science. It was a good book, but I don't think it is the best example of narrative non-fiction or even of science writing that I have read. I do find it interesting that most people who read the book never talk about the woman who figured out the correct medium in which to grow the cells. That was a real accomplishment and led to so many breakthroughs.

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 7:08pm

I am crazy about NF but I am not doing that well, this month, due to other biblio-commitments. I still hope to get to The Witches: Salem, 1692, although it might go into December. So what, right?

I also have The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down! in the stacks. I have heard such good things.

nov. 18, 2015, 7:27pm

>138 streamsong: >143 benitastrnad: Great discussion. I'll keep this all in mind as I listen to the book.

>144 msf59: Mark there is no competition or commitment here. I know how much you love NF. I also know about biblio commitments. I have The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down in the stacks. Perhaps a shared read sometime next year?

I am so happy with all the participation. What a great opportunity to pick up so many NF book bullets.

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 8:35pm

Finished Doc Mutter 11/17/15. My book Report is here:

Good book, and not terribly long (the paging scheme and visuals pad it out).

Though the Mutter Museum is only 75 minutes from where I live, I've never been there.

ETA: That's my second NF read for this November. Still have two others I hope to get through before December.

nov. 18, 2015, 9:50pm

I'm listening to the audio book of Voices in the Ocean, which is telling me a lot of things I'd rather not know about how humans' "love" and fascination for dolphins has resulted in exploitation and abuse of these amazing creatures, often in the name of science. A bit grim so far.

Editat: nov. 18, 2015, 11:00pm

>147 laytonwoman3rd: I also have Voices in the Ocean saved on audio, Linda. I loved her last book, The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues.

nov. 18, 2015, 11:20pm

I finished Eat, Pray, Love this morning. I went into it not knowing much about it like I try to do with everything I read so I was able to maintain an open mind and suspend judgment. I can see many reasons why people would dislike the book and even dislike Elizabeth Gilbert based on things she said and did in Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert gets an advance on Eat, Pray, Love from her publisher before she has ever written a word and uses the money to fund her trips. I personally would not have wanted to spend any money on this book that actually supported Gilbert, but I think reading a used copy or a library copy like I did is just fine.

Gilbert goes through a terrible divorce from her husband who refuses to come to any agreement and drags out the court case for a year. Throughout this terrible time in Gilbert's life, 9/11 happens (Gilbert is a New Yorker) and goes through a tumultuous, on-and-off relationship with a new guy. Gilbert's lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety are at their worst at this point. So she decides to set out on a year long journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia spending four months in each country. She explains why she wants to go to these specific places and why she wants to go on this journey at all.

I enjoyed her descriptions of the places she went, the people she met, and what she learned about the cultures and societies of these places. The book is divided into three sections one for each country. The Italy section was the one of least consequence (for me anyway). The India section had me sometimes rolling my eyes at the spiritual bits because I am not a religious or spiritual person, but the India section was still the one filled with the most insights and the most meaningful section of the book for me. I enjoyed the book and really connected with parts of it. I have 10 page flags marking quotes throughout the last 2/3 of the book (the India and Indonesia sections).

Reading this book before and after the Paris terrorist attacks, I sort of just wanted to escape and have something to take my mind off the terrible world news. But there is mention of 9/11 and then in the Bali section of the book part of the Balinese history is that there were terrorist bombing attacks in 2002 and 2005. Even in Indonesia where the majority of religious believers are Muslim, the Balinese are susceptible to these attacks being the largest group of Hindus in the country. Also, in the case of each terrorist attack in Bali, Elizabeth Gilbert had just left the country not long prior to the attacks. It all just sort of defies belief!

My favorite quote from the book is:
"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing by odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-- whether I will see them as curses or opportunities (and on the occasions when I can't rise to the most optimistic viewpoint, because I'm feeling too damn sorry for myself, I can choose to keep trying to change my outlook). I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."

I do recommend the book. I think readers who have a tendency to not like memoirs (think they're too self-absorbed etc. etc.) anyway would already know they probably wouldn't like this book.

nov. 19, 2015, 12:11am

I am enjoying this thread immensely and adding to my ever-growing wish list. So I am reading everyone's book reviews and comments even if I am being a bit quiet.

My next non-fiction read is Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson. It is a bit outdated but should still serve as a good starting place for learning.

nov. 19, 2015, 12:24pm

>149 Tara1Reads: I did a lot of eye rolling during my read of Eat, Pray, Love as well. At the end though, I have to say I liked it. The people she surrounded herself with on her journey called her on her BS and she ended up a more thoughtful, less self centered person in the end.

Editat: nov. 19, 2015, 2:05pm

This is such a fabulous thread, a very good place to get book ideas. Thank you for starting it Roberta!

I have read the following and thought they were outstanding!
Being Mortal
The Dorito Effect
Between the World and Me
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
H is for Hawk
the Alison Bechdel books.

There was a recent article Pond Scum by Kathryn Schulz that I thought was fabulous about Thoreau and it made me want to read more of her work so I am about to start Being Wrong, Adventures in the Margin of Error. The "other half" has read it and said it was very good. Then after that I've put a reserve in for the new Soda Politics by Marion Nestle whose books amaze me and the new Brene Brown book.

nov. 19, 2015, 1:06pm

I finished the collection of essays on Neil Gaiman's books, called Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century. It was very good. My review is here:

nov. 19, 2015, 3:51pm

>151 luvamystery65: I totally agree. Richard from Texas was the best at calling her out on her BS. "You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be, Groceries!" The parts that had me rolling my eyes the most were when Gilbert wanted to have a certain experience and then it happened! It all seemed a little too convenient for me. But perhaps there is something to all the wishing, hoping, praying, and thinking about the things that she wanted that actually works, and I just don't understand or miss out on it being a non-spiritual person.

nov. 21, 2015, 12:57pm

So far, have read:
Between the World and Me
All Creatures Great and Small
Modern Romance
Currently reading: The Sixth Extinction.

Doesn't seem like that many nf books, but considering I only tend to read a handful a year, it's not a bad track record. That being said, I do feel I want to read a lot more nf from now on.

Modern Romance reminded of years of unsuccessful internet dating and made me very grateful my current partner and I met in an old fashioned way and have an old fashioned simple kind of relationship where texting is kept to a minimum and phone calls are a regular daily occurence!

>128 kidzdoc: I've taken note of your recommendation of My Age of Anxiety Darryl.

>131 weird_O: I don't think I could stomach reading that book Bill, but that anecdote certainly leaves a strong impression. Whew!

nov. 21, 2015, 1:02pm

I also managed to complete H is for Hawk and, in the main, thought it well-written and moody

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

The world is full of signs and wonders that come, and go, and if you're lucky you might be alive to see them. I had thought that the world was ending, but my hawk had saved me again, and all the terror was gone." 278 pp

Elegant and elegiac, Macdonald brushes the pages with a poet's touch here in recreating her struggle to come to terms with the loss of her father, whom she clearly adored, which she salves her being by coming to terms with another - a goshawk.

We follow her trials and trails over the eastern English countryside of wind-swept hedgerows, rabbit and pheasant filled, as she attempts to train 'Mabel' in the arts of falconry. I am not quite sure who tames who here bird or lady or vice-versa and, if the exercise was therapeutic, it was one which had a lengthy gestation.

As an aside to her grief and her training was the parallel telling of TH White's own struggles with his "Gos" and the germination of "The Once and Future King". In some parts she appeared to see her father in White and in others, herself. As she trained her hawk, decidedly better than White did his, she eventually found both.

One false note was her interrelation with other humans. Some of the scenes she paints of these can be excruciating - especially one in which she seems to want to brow-beat a friend's husband for a seemingly sexist comment. The coffee visits of her friends are barely tolerated. She appeared more comfortable with her bird. There is also plenty in the telling which is bereft in her writing. She refers nothing about her work which she seems to abandon and makes a one line reference to a love/lust fling in the aftermath of her father's death that came to naught. At times it seemed that she was either wishing the Goshawk to be a metaphor of some kind or a substitute for dealing with other issues in her life; I would have liked to hear about those things too.

nov. 21, 2015, 1:33pm

Yesterday I finished Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson which is the first book in a series about the life of a princess in the Al Sa'ud royal family in Saudi Arabia.

There are many readers who doubt the veracity of this book. The author, Jean Sasson, has also had to battle an Austrian woman who claims the story of the Saudi Arabian princess is her unpublished manuscript that Sasson somehow stole it through the publisher. This Austrian woman has stalked Sasson and harassed her online while also doing the same to British author Deborah Moggach who she also thinks stole an unpublished manuscript from her. I don't believe that the 'Princess' story was stolen from anyone especially not this Austrian woman married to a Kuwaiti. Sasson won the court case and laid everything out on her website and included the court documents.

There were multiple scenes in the book that didn't quite add up or were not fully explained to my satisfaction though. I did watch this video Jean Sasson posted online that shows many of her TV interviews discussing the book and it made me feel somewhat better. Perhaps the parts I am wary of are those that had to be rearranged and changed in a way to make the people of the book less identifiable. I also appreciated that the video included more explanation of how Sasson got to know the Saudi Arabian princess and came to write the book; more of this back story should have been included in the book to begin with!

There is no doubt that at least some parts of the book are true as there are many other sources to go to for information about the history and lack of progress in women's rights in Saudi Arabia. So I don't regret reading the book because it has led me to look up some things about this topic and has given me a lot to think about.

Still, Jean Sasson kind of rubbed me the wrong way. On GoodReads, she posted a review of 'Princess' mentioning that a fourth book in the series is coming out (although that was supposed to happen in 2014) and said a couple lines about how conditions are improving in Saudi Arabia for women without giving any examples probably because she wants everyone to find out this information when they buy her next book. And, of course, she gave her own book five stars. Also, in the above YouTube video I linked to, there is a clip of what appears to be a television ad for the Princess series with women and young girls endorsing the book by saying it really changed them and made them make different decisions in their own lives. Even if those claims are true, all the advertising and self-promotion by the author is really off-putting to say the least.

The writing was mediocre and there were a couple of typos. I appreciated the extra information included at the front and back of the book. There was a map and demographic information of Saudi Arabia and information about other countries in the Middle East. There was also a glossary of terms, some explanation of laws in Saudi Arabia, some interpretation of the Koran as it relates to women, etc. Of course, who knows how accurate these things are and some of it is outdated by now since the book was published in 1992. Probably the most useful part was the timeline which included the history of the foundations of Islam and the beginnings of the Al Sa'ud royal family and the change in their kings and crown princes up until the book was published.

Sasson was in Saudi Arabia from 1978 until 1990 and made at least one other trip there in 1991. So I think reading 'Princess' is good for getting a historical perspective on Saudi Arabia and the treatment of women there, but it should all be taken with a smidgen of salt.

nov. 21, 2015, 3:03pm

I finished When London Was Capital of America last night. It covers roughly the last decade before the American Revolution, a time period when many American colonists lived in London for extended periods of time. I thought it was good but not great.

nov. 22, 2015, 1:31pm

nov. 22, 2015, 1:40pm

>160 jnwelch: I nearly picked that one up last night... maybe I will when I'm finished with my latest Maigret!

nov. 22, 2015, 5:51pm

This weekend I read The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan. I thought it was appropriate for the Thanksgiving season. I already believed in the importance of gratitude, but there's always room for improvement. While Kaplan reflects on her personal experience, she also presents the results of her research and interviews with a wide range of experts on the benefits of gratitude.

Editat: nov. 23, 2015, 12:17am

I finished The Dorito Effect. Here's my review:
You've probably read about America's obesity epidemic and its causes--decreased activity, more carbs, high fructose corn syrup or sugar being added to lots of foods, etc, etc. This book adds in two more points to the debate. First, our brains have been programmed by evolution to crave foods and seek or reject foods based on flavor. The food industry now adds in tons of artificial flavorings that screw with our brains and wreak havoc with food cravings. Second, in the focus on increasing yields and disease resistance, plants and animals such as tomatoes and chickens are much less flavorful than they used to be, so that we get less flavor satisfaction from many foods than our forebears did. This was an entertaining read, and I liked that it brought some evolutionary biology into the obesity discussion.

nov. 23, 2015, 7:19am

>160 jnwelch: & >161 Smiler69: I would jump in and remind that Lee is up next year from BAC but that would be depriving you of the imminent pleasure of Lee's words.

nov. 23, 2015, 7:24am

I finished American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus. It was a really interesting read about the past of the author's family, including a woman who is said to haunt the former family home.

nov. 23, 2015, 9:34am

>161 Smiler69:, >164 PaulCranswick: It's very good so far - making his way busking with his violin.

nov. 23, 2015, 1:24pm

>164 PaulCranswick: No worries Paul—I got Cider with Rosie this week, an anniversary edition with a nice hardcover, which I'll keep especially for the BAC!

nov. 24, 2015, 10:02pm

>162 cbl_tn: I am very interested in that book. Thanks for mentioning it. I did a 365 day gratitude project on Instagram and Facebook a few years ago. It was life changing. I went through a great deal towards the end of my journey and I don't think I would have managed without the focus on the positive that the counting of blessings brings.

>163 karspeak: That book is on my radar.

nov. 25, 2015, 8:40am

I finished Headstrong , A library thing advance reader copy yesterday and my review is posted. My nonfiction reading has been slower than I'd hoped for this month but one down and a couple more in progress.

nov. 28, 2015, 9:27am

I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was an interesting read and I would like to learn more about HeLa from a clinical point of view. I listened to a brief interview at the end of the audio and Skloot was very upfront about being obsessed with this story and Deborah after meeting her. I would say this book is about a family more than the cell line but it did bring about awareness of one family's experience.

I am wrapping up The Anatomy Murders by Lisa Rosner which I started last month but keep putting aside to read other things. It's a bit dry in parts but the whole resurrectionist, body snatcher culture is fascinating.

I started The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and will continue to read a few daily through to the end of the year.

nov. 28, 2015, 1:01pm

I finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which I found both ridiculous and very funny. I say this as someone who understands mental illness rather well. I'm not much good as a blog follower, but if I were I would definitely read hers regularly for a dose of funnily painful nonsense.

I'm now on a completely different register with As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, which is deeply poetic and quite gorgeous. Thanks to Joe for giving me an extra incentive to pick it up now rather than later, simply by picking it up himself and telling us about it.

Thanks to you Roberta for the NF month, during which I've read more NF than I ever do in a given year, and which has inspired me to add at least one or two NF book to my monthly planning from now on.

nov. 28, 2015, 2:32pm

Just adding my thanks too - this has been a great incentive to get on with the Malcolm X and Stalin bios, both of which could easily claim to be 'stranger than fiction'. I too am hoping to add more NF to my planning next year.

nov. 28, 2015, 3:09pm

I was hoping to read the last two NF books for the year in November, but I won't make it. Food in History I've started, but my journey through it is progressing with little enthusiasm. Thinking Fast and Slow I hasn't started yet. Oh my. The six fiction books still on my list for 2015 are issuing their Siren calls, I'm afraid.

Editat: nov. 28, 2015, 7:47pm

I'm not doing well with NF either. Having been sick all month, I'm leaning toward comfort reads, and my NF books aren't appealing to me. But I'm glad you did this thread, as it has at least kept me nibbling at my NF books, though I doubt I'll finish another one.

nov. 28, 2015, 8:02pm

I read NF more slowly than fiction. It is easy to start them but oh so hard to get to the finish. I did manage to finish another couple of NF books. The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction was very short but took most of the month to finish. I also completed Speak a Word for Freedom: Women Against Slavery an ER book. Now to write that review.

nov. 28, 2015, 9:11pm

^On audio, I started Stacey Schiff's The Witches: Salem, 1692. Good, solid, NNF.

Due, to poor timing, I haven't had a chance to read much NF for November but at least I am trying to close it out with a bang.

I did not read Schiff's Cleopatra: A Life but I still intend to. I know several of my LT pals were fans.

nov. 28, 2015, 9:33pm

>173 weird_O: I just realized two things!

1.} It's the 28th, not the 29th, so I still have two (2) reading days left in the month!

2.} My brother lent me a copy of The Chocolate Trust: Deception, Indenture, and Secrets at the $12 Billion Milton Hershey School by Bob Fernandez. It's only 210 pages. It's a subject that interests me. The author is a business writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

So I may get one more NF book read for November.

Editat: nov. 28, 2015, 10:49pm

I have finally gotten a good start on Behind the Beautiful Forevers. My real life book discussion group read this and discussed it back in June and I just couldn't get into it, so it sat on my bedside reading table until about a week ago. I am now about half way through it and might finish it by Monday night. It is good Narrative Non-fiction but not the best one I read this year. That honor goes to Hellhound on His Trail. That book was outstanding - in my opinion.

nov. 29, 2015, 2:22am

Haven't done as well with the non-fiction reads this month as I had hoped, although I'm still reading two books and may finish one or both before the month is over.

Our Man in Charleston by Christopher Dickey and Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone were both excellent; Blackballed, an e-galley of an upcoming book about racial conflict on campuses, was problematic for a few reasons. Firstly, it focused so much on fraternities and sororities that I found it difficult to relate to (in large part because I wasn't educated at a US university and have no experience with the "Greek" system). Secondly, large chunks of the book end up reading as lists of heinous events affecting African-American students on majority-white campuses. These are dreadful -- but a book needs to be a narrative, not a list. Finally, when the author does make his case, he simply states that the only recourse is pretty much what students at Amherst etc. have been demanding at the most extreme -- not so much the correction of injustices (which no one in their right mind could or should oppose) or finding ways to be proactive (although he doesn't seem to be able to suggest what proactive might mean, which I found frustrating) but by denial of first amendment rights. I'm not talking about what elsewhere might amount to "hate speech", but what have been described as micro-aggressions -- an offhand comment that isn't intended to create a hostile environment or be prejudiced, but that the listener interprets in that manner -- eg, asking an African American student whether they are an athlete. To them, the implication is that they weren't smart enough to attend college on their own merits as students; the questioner, however, may simply be curious (or, for that matter, have seen the student shooting hoops and admired his or her skills). Is it appropriate for the person questioned to react with anger, fury, etc? and to insist that the question is always inappropriate and should never be uttered and to deem it a microaggression? The author would argue yes, just as maintaining the moniker of the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs at Princeton is a micro aggression that creates a hostile environment. When I read some parts of this (and stuff such as the comments at Amherst, where students insisted that no journalist could cover their protests unless they included statements in their stories indicating solidarity and support for their cause -- farewell to an unbiased press; imagine how we'd protest if even Bernie Sanders insisted the press do this, or Occupy Wall Street demanded this? As a journalist I'm kinda horrified by the readiness to toss aside the first amendment protections that we've all benefitted from) I found myself unnerved. NOT because I disagree with the author's diagnosis of the problem, or its severity, but because I fear that his proposed solutions would create even more division in a dangerously fractured country. So I suppose the book worked in being thought provoking, at least, even if it didn't introduce me to new material (just, sadly, to more of the same stuff I'd been reading about). And like a lot of these books, the people who most need to read it, won't.

The two I'm still reading are Stacy Schiff's The Witches, and Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn, drawn to my attention by AnneDC, who is reading it and posted it for a TIOLI challenge this month. Fascinating story about a bunch of rubber duckies washed overboard in a storm (28,000 of 'em) and what their travels reveals about the oceans and the environment. I did read One Pair of Hands by Monica Dickens, which is a slim memoir by the author of her (brief) time as a cook in interwar London, and may start reading a memoir by Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior, though I doubt I'll get it finished.

nov. 29, 2015, 8:27am

I finished Moab Is My Washpot this week and it was wonderful. Fry has led an interesting life and of course he tells the story of his early years (up to about 20 in this volume) beautifully. His handiwork with language is amazing.

nov. 29, 2015, 1:42pm

>179 Chatterbox: I read Moby Duck a couple of years ago. Trying to figure out the route of the rubber ducks lead into all sorts of realms and topics. I was especially intrigued by the rather secretive international shipping business, and the researchers who re-enact shipping disasters in scale, as well as the swirling acres of trash in the middle of the ocean. I thought it a wonderful book that more of us world citizens should read.

nov. 29, 2015, 2:11pm

>171 Smiler69: My pleasure, Ilana. I'm enjoying it, too. What lovely books Laurie Lee writes.

nov. 29, 2015, 9:21pm

I just finished The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley, and loved it. I highly recommend it for any true crime and/or British mystery fans.

nov. 29, 2015, 9:32pm

>181 weird_O: Glad to hear that, as I'm about to put The Witches: Salem, 1692 aside to read more slowly, and instead forge ahead with Moby Duck as my final non-fiction read of this month. Have a bunch more lined up for December, however... (at least in theory, although since December includes a week visiting my bf in Atlanta, possibly not so much in actuality.)

Editat: nov. 30, 2015, 5:25am

nov. 30, 2015, 9:16am

Wow everyone what a great month it has been for NF!

I'm glad for everyone that stopped by and participated. I was able to read quite a few on my challenge list but I still have two more to finish up. I got a lot of ideas for NF read on this thread so extra thank you to everyone for adding to my TBR mountain.

I completed:
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel
The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert

My favorite was Being Mortal but I have to say that Sacred Ground and The Faith Club were very timely and peaked my interest in Interfaith work. The Photographer is an incredible graphic novel. Even if you are not a fan of GNs it is a combination of the photographs that Didier Lefèvre took on the mission along with graphics of Guibert. The photos are incredible. I highly recommend this one.

I have started on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and will continue reading sutras daily until the end of the year. I'm also wrapping up The Anatomy Murders.

Thank you again everyone who participated or dropped by to visit! I hope to see you again next year.

nov. 30, 2015, 9:18am

>171 Smiler69: This thread has also inspired me to read at least 1-2 NF books a month as well. I did read a lot of NF last year and I loved it. I don't know what got into me this year, but I'm glad this thread has rekindled my interest again.

nov. 30, 2015, 9:30am

>186 luvamystery65: You've inspired me to give The Photographer a try, Roberta. Onto the WL it goes.

nov. 30, 2015, 9:52am

I'm reading the graphic memoir The Story of My Tits, which is very good (see Ellen's review). But I probably won't finish it in NF month.

nov. 30, 2015, 10:43am

I tried to boost non-fiction to 1/3 of my reading last year and failed miserably. I'd like to keep it somewhere around 25%, though. Doubt I'll even manage that, given that it's just much faster to grab and read a mystery, whereas reading a non-fiction work thoughtfully can take me a week. It's not going to be all I read during that week, but...

nov. 30, 2015, 1:10pm

I am more than half done with Behind the Beautiful Forevers and when that book is finished I will start a biography of Louisa May Alcott, Woman Behind Little Women. I try to keep one non-fiction book going at all times but I do admit that they are not the first books I pick up - unless I find them captivating in some way. I do try to make myself read a few pages in a non-fiction book each day.

nov. 30, 2015, 9:51pm

I just finished My Own Country by Abraham Verghese. What a heartbreaking story. Verghese chronicles the story of his early years as a young internist in the United States as he begins to find a place for himself in his field of specialty, infectious diseases. As he settles himself and his young family in a small rural town in Tennessee, he finds himself treating some of the earliest patients with HIV AIDS. As the numbers grow, he is learning that he is not simply treating one disease; he is becoming the primary care physician for these patients at a time when very little was known about the disease, and very little could be done. Blood tests to test for it were only beginning to be done, and the stigma was enormous. Verghese was not only the doctor who cared for them, but he also began to trace how and where the virus was contracted and travelled, within the States in those early years. As he became more involved in the lives of some of his patients, he also chronicled the effect and the toll it took on them and their families, as well as on his own personal and family life.

More than once, Verghese reflects that he wants to learn how to help his patients have a good death; that their suffering with this disease is difficult enough throughout its duration. The physician, no matter how good, how competent, and how compassionate, still feels helpless at the end. It is vital that the patients themselves be a part of the decision-making regarding how they want to die, what measures they want or don't want, to be taken when that time comes. In this, I found an interesting overlap with *Being Mortal* by Atul Gawande.

It's been 25 years since this book ended. I now want to google and read more on Verghese and where his path has led him in those years. He is a gifted writer and observer of the human condition. This was not an easy book to read but it was one I could not put down.

nov. 30, 2015, 11:04pm

I completed four non-fiction books in November :

The Art of Captaincy
Voices from Chernobyl
Being Mortal
H is for Hawk

Thanks for putting up this challenge, Roberta. xx

nov. 30, 2015, 11:15pm

As of tonight, I've read 7 non-fiction works this month:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coatest
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawsont
The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell
Just Kids by Patti Smith

I should also be finishing As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning within a day or so.

Thanks again Roberta, your challenge definitely got me going!

des. 1, 2015, 8:12am

>193 jessibud2: I was very moved by that book, too. I read it after reading Cutting for Stone, which is, I think, even better. Verghese is a very special doctor, and the people whose lives he has touched are extremely lucky.

Editat: des. 2, 2015, 3:13pm

I had hoped to finish Neurotribes: the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity, an ER copy overdue for a review. It is excellent so far, but there is so much that is painful to read in the history of how autism was viewed and handled, it is slow going for me. The Nazi eugenics stuff was chilling. There seems to be controversy over Asperger's role -- Silberman sees him as trying to shelter the kids from the Nazis, while I understand that another new book claims he collaborated with them.

The "refrigerator mother" hypothesis accepted by Kanner and aggressively pushed by Bettelheim (the fraud -- he didn't even have a psychology degree) caused so much pain for so many people, and set back research for decades. And I didn't even realize the once-wide acceptance of an earlier theory that these kids had childhood schizophrenia.

I'm looking forward to later sections of the book, where I think Silberman is going to share a vision of a world more accepting of the unique traits and gifts of people on the spectrum.

Editat: des. 4, 2015, 7:28pm

>196 laytonwoman3rd: - I read Cutting For Stone first. Actually, listened to it on audiobook and I have to say, the narrator was so incredible; his talent for accents and voices was astonishing. I could recognize every individual character by *voice* even before they were identified in the narrative. Wonderful.

I read The Tennis partner next, and only got to this one, My Own Country now. In fact, The Tennis Partner comes after My Own Country but knowing that did not spoil this one for me at all. I spent some time last night googling Verghese. He has a few TED talks and a website, as well. Although he is the doctor we all dream of having as our own, I honestly understand the burn-out factor from becoming so involved in his patients' lives and I believe he has far more influence and reach doing what he does now: teaching others how to be better *human* doctors, teaching them, at the very least, how to balance technology and medical *advancements* with humane care and bedside doctoring. Hopefully, by doing this, more new doctors will turn out like him. And wouldn't that be something!

And here is a coincidence for you: today is World AIDS Day! I only learned that this morning. What timing, finishing that book yesterday!

Editat: des. 1, 2015, 3:24pm

I just finished Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, and enjoyed it. His Cider with Rosie remains my favorite of his so far, but I plan to read his third memoir A Moment of War.

des. 1, 2015, 3:14pm

>198 jessibud2: I still need to read The Tennis Partner. I think it's on my wishlist. *wanders off to check*

des. 1, 2015, 7:12pm

There is a fourth memoir by Laurie Lee. It is titled Rose For Winter. It covers the time after A Moment of War.

des. 2, 2015, 9:17am

>201 benitastrnad: Thanks, Benita. Did you like it?

des. 2, 2015, 1:14pm

Ahhh. A day late and about 50 pages short. On Nov. 30 I was reading The Chocolate Trust: Deception, Indenture, and Secrets at the $12 Billion Milton Hershey School by Bob Fernandez, when the toothpicks shoring up my eyelids bulged and bulged a little more...then POPPED off onto the bed covers. So I read the last 30 or 35 pages in the morning. December 1, in other words.

Almost made it...

Editat: des. 4, 2015, 7:30pm

Just a question here. I seem to have found this thread only in October, so really knew nothing of a *monthly* challenge. Is there a new thread (challenge) for December? Rather late to the game, clearly, but maybe someone could enlighten me.... Thanks

des. 2, 2015, 5:20pm

>204 jessibud2: Not every month has a theme but the list is on the Group Wiki here:

Scroll down for the monthly themes.

There is a Christmas Murder Mystery/Gifts read over in the 2015 Category Challenge group. We do quite a few shared reads with them so feel free to stop on by. It started out as a murder mystery read a couple of years ago but now all Christmas themed reads are welcomed along with books we received as Christmas gifts past.

The link for that thread is:

Editat: des. 4, 2015, 7:32pm

>205 luvamystery65: - OH! Thanks for that. I stumbled on this thread from another (can't even remember where) because it was about non-fiction, a favourite genre of mine. I hadn't realized that this was only a November themed thread. Thanks for those links, though. In those lists, I noticed a NF thread and one for audiobooks, but both seemed rather unused (last posts there from several months ago).

I guess I am still finding my way here in LT and admittedly, haven't been exploring as much as I could be. I follow the threads of a few people, but would love if there was an active, ongoing NF thread (and also, if that audiobook thread was more active, too). I am not a mystery or murder mystery fan at all so I guess I won't be participating in that one. Anyhow, thanks for the links and for responding. I guess I need to *get out more* on LT and look around! I'm hardly a newbie but just lazy to step out of my comfort zone!

Editat: des. 2, 2015, 7:22pm

>205 luvamystery65: Thanks for the link to the holiday reads thread on the 2015 Category group. I had missed that.

des. 2, 2015, 7:23pm

>206 jessibud2: It started out as murder mystery but you can participate with any Christmas themed book and/or any book you have received as a Christmas gift in recent years past and not read yet. ;-)

I think several of us plan on reading more NF. I sure do miss it and this thread really helped me realize that. I plan on posting on the what are we reading threads more. I listen to a LOT of audios and should comment on that thread too.

I plan to host this again next year but I will start posting my NF on the What are we reading threads in the meantime.

Thanks for joining us!

des. 2, 2015, 7:24pm

>207 tymfos: I look so forward to the holiday thread. I love to get my short story Christmas mystery anthologies from the library!

des. 2, 2015, 8:41pm

>208 luvamystery65: - Thanks. I love threads like this sort of thread where the discussion is open and many join in. It's different from just following specific people's threads. I am a NF and an audiobook junkie, I think! I am not the fastest reader so listening to audios helps me get through the piles faster! I try to find audiobooks at the library that I have on my physical shelves so I can let those go more easily but inevitably, I come out of the library with way more that I went in looking for!

Thanks again

Editat: des. 3, 2015, 11:38am

You are a perfect fit for the 75'ers.

That monthly challenge list is a big help, and there is lots of those topics that don't appear to be Non-fiction - on the surface. For instance, I participate in the September Series and Sequels group read and one of the series I am working on is the Hinges of History series by Thomas Cahill. These are non-fiction. But they are a series.

Another challenge that isn't always all fiction are the ones hosted by Mark and Paul. Mark does the American Authors Challenge (AAC) and one of the authors on that list was Wallace Stegner. Stegner wrote fiction but he also wrote non-fiction like Beyond the Hundredth Meridian. Paul hosts a British Author Challenge (BAC) and the same thing is true of that list. In fact I would bet that the recent talk on here about Laurie Lee was prompted by Paul's inclusion of that author on his BAC for 2016. Don't be shy about posting just because you are reading something that others in the group aren't - at the moment. With readers we are always curious about what others are reading.

I have not read A Moment of War but all the talk up-thread about Laurie Lee prompted me to do some research and find out what our library system has that was written by him because I got interested in the books as well. Now I have added three more titles to my every growing To-Be-Read (TBR) list. While reading a little about him I discovered that he has this whole series of memoirs and listed in chronological order they go like this - 1. Cider With Rosie published in the U.S. as Edge of Day. 2. As I Walked Out 3. Moment of War. A Rose For Winter was written about a trip he took back to the area of Andalusia in which he fought in Moment of War. Technically it is a travel book, but the critics think it clearly is his attempt at resolving his war experiences. He also published several other memoirs - in order of his life (not publication order) they are Two Women (1983), a story of Lee's courtship and marriage with Kathy, daughter of Helen Garman; The Firstborn (1964), about the birth and childhood of their daughter Jessie; and I Can't Stay Long (1975), a collection of occasional writing.

Editat: des. 3, 2015, 6:49pm

>211 benitastrnad: - Thanks! I am already into my 2nd year of trying to do the 75 challenge (and won't complete it again this year!). Funny you should mention Wallace Stegner. His name was not on my radar at all until I read The End of Your Life Book Club and one of Stegner's book was mentioned there. I have since acquired a couple of his books (currently on Mt. TBR!).

My real problem with book clubs in general (in real life, that is, and by extension, to some degree, challenges) is that I am very much a reader-by-whim. Though I wish I had better discipline, I tend to read what catches my fancy and can't always seem to *force* myself to read what others are reading at the time they are reading it! That said, I do get so many ideas and so much enlightenment in these threads and, like you and like many others, I suspect, I am constantly adding titles and authors to my tbr lists!

des. 3, 2015, 6:30pm

I don't always get things read on time either. I just completed a David Mitchell novel for Paul's October BAC and just started another novel that is for that same October BAC (for a different author Helen Dunmore). I skipped November completely and doubt I will get to the December BAC authors until January. I wouldn't let time lines interfere with my reading either. Nobody minds if you just lurk. Keep monitoring the threads and you will eventually contribute. I say that because it is awfully hard to keep silent on these threads.

des. 3, 2015, 6:40pm

>213 benitastrnad: No problem about the time thing Benita. I live in Asia where the notion of time is considered at best "approximate", xx

des. 4, 2015, 12:57am

>206 jessibud2: I'd love to do a rolling non-fiction discussion thread next year... Shall we try that -- in addition to the themed read -- and see if we get enough interest to keep it moving? Like you, I'm always reading non-fiction, and with non-fiction in particular, I'll have a stack of 'em around that suddenly I'll pick up when something piques my curiosity. They just feel much more like "projects" than do novels, and so get bumped from one month to the next.

des. 4, 2015, 1:14am

Great idea to do a rolling non fiction discussion thread for next year.

des. 4, 2015, 2:09am

Yes, I'd like this too. Great idea.

des. 4, 2015, 7:02am

>215 Chatterbox: - Yes! That's a great idea I'd love to be part of that one. Thanks for suggesting it.

des. 4, 2015, 8:33am

There's already a standing thread for what we're reading in non- fiction in this group. (It's mostly unused.) How would this proposed rolling discussion differ?

des. 4, 2015, 9:26am

>219 tymfos: Correct there is a current rolling thread. Every year Jim creates several What are we reading threads that can be found on the Group Wiki. NF is one. This year it can be found here:

I started this theme because I had several NF that I needed to complete before the end of the year for my personal challenges. It was fun giving myself an end of the year push and finding so many NF readers in the group. I hope I can push myself to read NF more consistently next year.

des. 4, 2015, 10:33am

>219 tymfos:, >220 luvamystery65: Thanks for pointing this out. I had completely forgotten about the "What are we reading" threads. I'm going over to post on the NF one now, and maybe we can get more participation in the 2016 version now that we're all stirred up.

des. 4, 2015, 10:49am

>221 laytonwoman3rd: I plan on posting there in 2016. I really want to get back to more NF. I'll do this themed read again next November. It was fun and we had lots of visitors and of course lots of blue book bullets.

des. 4, 2015, 12:30pm

I've just finished listening to Voices in the Ocean on audio. It is subtitled "A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins", but I think that's misleading. It is more a journey into the harrowing and horrifying world of dolphin exploitation and abuse. It was extremely difficult to listen to, but the writing is very fine, and the reading performance by Cassandra Campbell was outstanding. Thankfully, Casey concluded her book with visits to ancient Minoan sites on the Isle of Crete, where back in the Bronze Age they apparently appreciated and lived in harmony with nature and its other creatures, particularly those dwelling in the sea around them.This is important stuff, and if you can stand it, I recommend it.

More of my thoughts on it here

des. 4, 2015, 3:07pm

Let me note that I really liked having this concentrated one-month theme for November Non-Fiction! I hope we do it again in 2016, and maybe I'll do a better job reading more books next November.

des. 4, 2015, 5:29pm

A good question as to how it might differ... I suspect that with all the "what are we reading..." threads, they tend to blur together a bit, especially at the beginning of the year. I think several of us agree that non-fiction is qualitatively different and yet draws us together in spite of our varied tastes in fiction, so it's distinct from some of those other threads. Maybe it's about taking ownership of that thread, and making it more of an active discussion and sharing, rather than just informing people of what they are reading. I've seen more discussion about specific books here than on most of those "what are we reading" threads, which is why I ended up posting here at all; most of the time I won't bother just to say I'm on page whatever of this book.

des. 4, 2015, 5:55pm

>220 luvamystery65:, Thank you! I didn't know about that thread so I have "starred" it.
>223 laytonwoman3rd: I just investigated The Voices in the Ocean book and have reserved it at my local library. We were watching a huge pod (at least 100) of spinning dophins this morning on the Big Island Hawaii, Kahului Bay north of where the author first was smitten. This morning many people were watching this huge pod then the boats descended and the swimmers jumped in to observe ( interfere???? ) with the dophins. I am now fascinated to see what Susan Casey finds in her research. Thank you for your timely entry!

des. 4, 2015, 7:23pm

>226 mdoris: That's what's known as a BB (book bullet) in these circles, Mary! Glad I got you interested in the book. And I'm glad there are still dolphins out there.

des. 4, 2015, 11:25pm

It is OK to lurk on a thread but there also has to be those readers who are wiling to write about what they read. That is what gets people talking and keeps a thread active.

des. 4, 2015, 11:49pm

A few years ago there was a group of us who read biographies. It was a quarterly read. Reading 4 books a year was very doable. I don't know who put the list together but I read three biographies that I would never ave picked up on m own. We also had some lively discussion in that group.

des. 5, 2015, 2:15am

>228 benitastrnad: Yes, I think that having a month devoted to NF galvanized more of us to discuss it rather than simply posting data re I am on page x of this book. I know when I check those pages and that's what I see there, I don't see any reason to bother to break the pattern... If I know that there are more people who are interested or engaged -- or perhaps if we found an alternate way to approach it, like 4 bios a year, or a quarter devoted to different kinds of non-fiction, that might galvanize us a bit more than something that is so wide open as just "what are you reading?" That's a question that has always flummoxed me a bit in real life, I confess, as being incredibly general in nature, so I may be overly biased...

des. 5, 2015, 9:22am

Here's the link to the general non-fiction thread.

I find it useful because non-fiction is such a broad category that it becomes almost meaningless; it's like having a thread for fiction and expecting much conversation to ensue. However, if someone is posting about non-fiction that I would enjoy, then I seek out their thread and their reviews. And it's fun to get a broad look at titles in areas that I don't read. BB for me for The Dorito Effect from this thread - thanks to those who mentioned it.

I think the quarterly biography reads are over in the Category Challenge group, and the 75'ers are invited to participate if they like. There is a Dewey Decimal challenge over there for 2016 which I'm planning to participate in to get some of the long-neglected titles off my shelves.

des. 5, 2015, 11:36pm

I'm really glad the What We Are Reading thread is coming into play again. They usually start pretty well, then peter out. I'd like to see 'me get more popular!

des. 6, 2015, 11:49am

>232 drneutron: Me too Jim!

des. 6, 2015, 12:30pm

Maybe those who are leading groups and those of us who participate in groups should do a better job of posting to other groups the links to groups to which they belong or are hosting. My main way to find out what is going here on LT is through that kind of posting publicity.

des. 6, 2015, 12:54pm

>234 benitastrnad: I wholeheartedly agree Benita.

I was also thinking along those lines and was about to post a suggestion so I'm glad you spoke up Benita. What brought attention to this thread was that I posted about it on a few threads with lots of traffic and I PM some folks that I knew liked to read NF. Once we were all here the conversation took on a life of its own. That's what I did with the Navajo Police/Longmire thread and the Lovecraft thread. Sometimes it works, like here and sometimes it doesn't. The Lovecraft thread wasn't very active but I didn't put much effort into it.

>232 drneutron: What if you had some volunteer hosts for each of those What are we reading threads? This way you have help in promoting them? It doesn't have to be one person for each thread. It could certainly be more than one and even more than one at a time. We can tie in with Monthly themes and even group reads or some of the challenges going around.

I would happily volunteer in one or more topics if this was a direction you were interested in taking.

Let's get these rolling discussions going again folks!

des. 6, 2015, 2:44pm

>234 benitastrnad:, >235 luvamystery65: - I have been on LT for about 2 years or so, I guess. I think one of the things that I still find so confusing is navigating threads, finding threads (and people) that I want to follow. I am on bookcrossing and it is so straightforward over there. When I first came here, squeakychu walked me through everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, answering my inane questions over and over. I doubt I would have figured any of this out without her constant help. I am beginning to explore a bit on my own but still find the site somewhat overwhelming for my non-techy brain. I meander, follow links, but sometimes forget how to find my way back!

I found my way to this thread via someone else's thread that must have had a link to it. If there is any way to simplify things, I for one, would be thrilled. But now that I know about this thread, I will know where and what to look for. I hope... ;-)

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 11:33am

This thread ended at the end of November. There is a group of people here who set up thread like "Atwood April," "Muder & Mayhem May," "Series and Sequels September," and now "Non-Fiction November." Sometimes I manage to participate in them and sometimes I don't. I star things and keep watch, but oftentimes I don't participate simply because, like you, I don't have all that much time to cruise the threads since I don't have a computer at home. I just do the best I can. I would star Mark's thread and just watch it as most often that is where people post threads that they are starting.

Oh - and become a member of the 75 group and then look at the group postings.

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 11:37am

Here is the link to the Biography wiki in case anybody is interested.

I just checked the link to their current discussion which is on the book I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and it looks like there hasn't been much participation in that discussion. However, discussion about previous biographies was a little more lively.

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 1:31pm

>236 jessibud2: Are you using the "TALK" feature to follow threads? You can star individual threads, and you can choose to view all your starred threads (which will show you new posts), or all the threads you've posted to (again, you can click to go directly to the unread posts on any given thread.) If I'm telling you stuff you already know, I apologize, but I've been at this so long it's hard to remember when I didn't know how to navigate.

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 4:30pm

>239 laytonwoman3rd: - Yes, I do have a number of threads starred and follow those. I know how to find the most recent posts in those threads via the TALK tab but unless one of those thread posts mentions something I don't know about (such as this thread, originally) and provides a link, I probably wouldn't find my way there on my own. Once in awhile, I do *roam* around by clicking on people's profiles, libraries, etc, and do find goodies scattered all around this place but sometimes it's all I can do to just keep up with what I've already starred.
And then, as the calendar turns, we'll do it all over again, lol! I am somewhat amazed that I even managed to create my own profile and add photos and the tickers. When it comes to technology, I can learn, but it's not always intuitive for me.
Thanks for the advice, though. Always appreciated!

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 5:31pm

I ended up not following this thread during Nov after posting what I thought I'd be reading. I ended up finishing The mantle of the prophet: religion and politics in Iran by Roy Mottahedeh before the end of Oct and recommend it as a good backgrounder on Iran.
I finished:
The flavor of Jerusalem - anecdotes & recipes from the 1970s
Trotsky: a graphic biography by Rick Geary
How to be happy: a memoir of love, sex and teenage confusion by David Burton
displaced visions:: Emigre Photographers of the 20th Century by Nissan N. Perez - photography
Israel: 50 years as seen by Magnum photographers - photography
The Palestinians: photographs of a land, its people from 1839 to the present day by Elias Sanbar - photography
New Zealand Cafe Cookbook by Anna King Shahab
Can't we talk about something pleasant? by Roz Chast - graphic memoir
The Arab of the Future by Riaf Sattouf - graphic memoir

and I just finished
The storyteller of Jerusalem: The Life and Times of Wasif Jawhariyyeh, 1904-1948 by Wasif Jawhariyyeh which I'd been reading all through November on my kindle.

des. 7, 2015, 5:33pm

>241 avatiakh: I definitely want to check out the photography books.

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 7:06pm

153) The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff 3.5 stars (audio)

“The Diseases of Astonishment”

“In 1692 The Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September, a stark, stunned silence followed.”

--And so the narrative begins. There are very few records remaining of the trials themselves, but Schiff manages to piece together as many facts as possible and reconstructs and unfortunately, overloads the first couple hundred pages with a non-stop stream of participants and incidents, that my attention and interest began to flag. She does pull it together, in the final third and begins to lay out the reasons, that this bizarre, perfect-storm of witchcraft and it's subsequent condemnation and prosecution, happened, which is quite chilling and fascinating.

I do admire, Schiff's writing craft and I still want to read her book about Cleopatra but her latest was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

**I know I am posting this late but since I couldn't squeeze much NF in for November, I had to share it.

des. 7, 2015, 7:10pm

>242 luvamystery65: You can read my reviews on my thread, I added several links and images. & post #207

des. 20, 2015, 4:27pm

I am Reeeeaaaaalllllyyyy late posting here.

I managed one non-fiction read in November. Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant is a memoir with a bit of comic flare similar to Maarten J. Troost but not quite as good. Great examination of the racial issues of the region and the big heart that is the American South.

des. 20, 2015, 7:43pm

I've launched a non-fiction challenge for 2016 -- themed reads by month, which might, in conjunction with the "what are you reading?" thread, keep us chattering a bit more.

Here's a planning/discussion thread; feel free to weigh in: