Tag Archives: nonfiction

READING NON-FICTION

For this reader, non-fiction usually seems to go slower than much fiction, although this past week I’ve been trying to read a best seller many of you loved. I find it very easy to put aside to read my current non-fiction books. After 150 pages of the fiction, I think I’ll put it aside for good.

Today’s post focuses on Non-fiction.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

Yes, I finished this classic. It is not an easy read.

It seemed like I was with Matthiessen and his sherpas on most days, climbing, climbing, climbing over the iced trails, clinging to a narrow ledge, the weather so cold that climbing was preferable to being burrowed in a sleeping bag in a thin tent. All this while subsisting on lentil soup and dry bread or some food that was totally unclear to me. Climbing, one observes scarce wild-life dominated by blue sheep and hopes to sight a Snow Leopard. I never want to be that cold and hungry again.

Sabbath As Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann

Walter Bruegggemann is a Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary and the author of dozens of books. But thanks to another Brueggemann fan, I have just discovered him. I am totally enthralled and expect to read another of his books straightaway. He is a famous theologian I had never heard of, but then I’m not always up on such matters. I hope to hear him speak here in the Detroit area in a few weeks.

The book is a fresh look at the restfulness of the Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath, resting, rather than multi-tasking. Reading this book I am convinced I am listening to God’s word as given to us from earliest times, yet completely relevant to my life today.

As with Pharaoh of the time of the Israelites in Egypt, I am so busy multi-tasking, focused on production that my anxiety grows even as I wish to escape it. The book also focuses on the commandment to love our neighbors. This is something we are having difficulty doing these days.

Keeping the Sabbath is freedom from the coercive expectations of our lives, freedom from the fear that makes us want to fence our world to keep others out rather than embracing our neighbors as God expects us to do. Our restlessness, our lack of rest, our constant drive to acquire things cuts us off from our neighbors, from compassion and justice. Brueggemann makes the way to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control seem clear.

Which of his books will I choose next? Many of his books are available from Amazon.

Egg Shop: The Cookbook by Nick Korbee

This book is filled with interesting reading about eggs and a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. Many of the recipes seem unusual and even strange. Let me search for some examples.

What I need to do is spend more time reading this book, because so far, not much is clear or understandable to this home cook. Mostly, my recent reading has focused on searching for a great, easy to prepare egg recipes. But, back to unusual examples instead of easy to prepare, “I want to eat it right away” egg preparations. It would be easier to do this with a better table of contents or listings of recipes in a section. The mass of info and lack of organization doesn’t support easy browsing.

Notice how I still haven’t given you examples. Are you up for Hollandaise, Microhuevos, Spicy Tea and Tamari Cured Soft-Boiled Egg, Tamagoyaki or Dashi. Yes, these dishes are explained, but the book is thick, hard to hold open, and the explanations complicated, needing ingredients not in my pantry, and I wouldn’t know where to obtain them. One more. Manchego and Jamon Eggs with Fried Guava Jelly. Does that sound better tasting than your usual scrambled eggs? The book is thick, 300 plus pages and unwieldy. Spanish and California dishes are prominent.

But if you are going to Brooklyn, or you’ve just moved to an apartment there, do search for the egg shop. The book? You decide.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME NEW NONFICTION?

Do any of these call to you? I’d like to read them all: watercolors, prayer, biography, memoir, cookbook, father-son love and behind-the-scenes at Broadway’s hottest show!

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“Baby Birds” by Julie Zickefoose.
Hundreds of watercolors grace the pages of this observational study of 17 species as they nest and hatch.

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“The Book of Common Prayer” by Brian Doyle
In the words of reviewer Marilyn McCentre, “Laughter is one of God’s more remarkable gifts.” There is joy just reading the titles of some of the prayers contained in this book. They also lead to reflection and compassion.

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“Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939” by Adam Hochschild
This is collective biography of Americans who fought for and wrote about Republican Spain.

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“Love, Loss and What We Ate: a Memoir” by Padma Lakshmi.
The host of TV’s “Top Chef “shares her life journey which began in South India.

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“Love That Boy” by Ron Fournier
Published this week, the author chronicles road trips with his son, who as a 12 year old was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

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“Home Cooked” by Anya Fernald with Jessica Battilana
It is claimed, and I believe it is truth that everyone loves Italian food. Entertainment Magazine tells us this cookbook, inspired by Italian farm cooking, is one that delivers inexpensive, utterly unfussy meals.

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“Hamilton: The Revolution” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.
A behind the scenes look at the show from its creator with cast photos, annotated lyrics and more, published this month. This may be as close as you can come to a front row seat.

READING DEAD WAKE WITH MORE NONFICTION ON THE HORIZON

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Author: Erik Larson
Publisher: Crown, 2015
Hardcover Edition: 353 pages plus sources, notes, bibliography and index
Genre: History
Source: Personal copy

Dead Wake currently occupies spot #10 on the New York Times Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers List. This is an eminently readable book. The reader slides through its pages like the Lusitania slid through calm waters. That is its delight. The strong narrative line carries the reader on this interesting last voyage. The tale is a certain battle of the boats: we follow the Lusitania and the German U-boat responsible for the Lusitania’s quick death. The story is both thrilling and surprising.

Erik Larson has done it again. Remember Devil In the White City? I highly recommend this new book by Larson. The bonus of learning more about President Woodrow Wilson’s personal life added to the book’s charm. One of my best reading experiences this year, maybe at the top of the list!

Dead Wake is so readable, so interesting. My enthusiasm for non-fiction continues to rise. I’m excited to share some new non-fiction you and I may be interested in reading.

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So Many Roads by David Browne. This is a history of the Grateful Dead’s trip to a 50th anniversary. My son is a fan. Perhaps this is an appropriate Father’s Day gift.

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander. People Magazine describes this as wrenching, lovely memoir about the lose of her husband.

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300 Sandwiches by Stephanie Smith. Another memoir, this one with recipes. Her boyfriend told her 300 sandwiches would get her an engagement ring. I’d do just about anything to read sandwich recipes.

Circling the Sun by Paula McClain. This is a fictionalized life (so not non-fiction) of Beryl Markham, a fascinating female aviator. Ms. McClain last wrote about Hadly the first wife of Hemingway.

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The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. In general I think this author can do not wrong. His new book is at number 1 on the Bestsellers List and everyone is talking about it.

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In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides. Many reviewers picked this as a best book of the year and it is now out in paperback. Adventure narrative and polar history at its best.

A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw. This memoir offers the opportunity to hear Brokaw’s voice, an experience to be cherished.

Do comment and let us know if you have read any of these or if you are likely to pick one up. Which one calls to you the loudest?