NF (Non-Fiction) November
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Will update later.
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.
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
The Dark Side: the inside story of how the war on terror turned into a war on American ideals
Everything is Miscellaneous
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!
I guess there isn't a touchstone? John Thavis
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari - COMPLETED
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert - COMPLETED
>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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
>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!
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.
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?
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.
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...
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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
I then started reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shortlisted for the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize
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.
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.
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
>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.
>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.
>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.
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.
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.
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. :-)
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.
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.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
I have read the following and thought they were outstanding!
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.
Between the World and Me
All Creatures Great and Small
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!
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.
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.
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.
>163 karspeak: That book is on my radar.
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.
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.
^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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boy: Tales of Childhood, Roald Dahl (memoir)
I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls and Wars in Hungary, Marianne Szegedy-Maszák (biography)
In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect, Ronald Kessler (history of the secret service)
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book, Wendy Welch (memoir)
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.
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!
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.
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!
Almost made it...
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: https://www.librarything.com/topic/206112
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
More of my thoughts on it here
>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!
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.
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.
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!
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... ;-)
Oh - and become a member of the 75 group and then look at the group postings.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Here's a planning/discussion thread; feel free to weigh in: