Discussion Forums - Biographies & Memoirs

Topic: 2013 - TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION - NF Reading Challenge - DISCUSSION

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Subject: True Crime
Date Posted: 7/30/2013 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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For the True Crime category, I just finished The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larsen. Fortunately for me, it's only half of a true crime tale, while the other half is an amazingly detailed account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. Almost the entire first half of the book takes place before the fair even opened, giving particulars about each and every architect's step along the way. Also fortunately, there is not much detailed violence considering how horrific the murders were. This is an interesting juxtaposition of abhorrent psychopathy and brilliant technology, between the Holmes' murders and the advancements leading up to the fair.



Last Edited on: 8/11/13 8:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/4/2013 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 4:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/13/2013 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 4:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/14/2013 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Congrats Tess!

Date Posted: 9/9/2013 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I finished "Reading Lolita in Tehran", an excellent memoir by a literature professor who recounts her years in Iran before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution.  She resigns from her teaching position because of the restrictions placed on women and teachers by the Islamic regime.  She begins a secret class in her home, made up of former students (all women), who discuss literature as an avenue into trying to understand the sadness and oppression that they encounter in their daily lives.  An excellent book that reminded me once again to never take our freedoms for granted.

Date Posted: 9/17/2013 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Congratulations to Tess for completing the challenge!

I just finished reading a memoir for the Entertainment category: Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Interesting insight into the mind of a teen heartthrob, this book should be required reading for parents of child actors. I found it interesting on a couple different levels: first, because Rob and the rest of the brat pack are my compatriots, and I feel as though we grew up together (metaphorically, since I never met any of them).  Secondly,  as a newish resident to Los Angeles, I enjoyed reading about the what it was like here in the 80s and 90s.  Plus it's always fun to know the exact spots that the author has written about.

What was very refreshing was his realization as his career dwindled briefly, that that was the time he built his personal life. Because he was thrust into fame very young without much adult guidance, he never had the regular growing pains the rest of us suffered through and learned from. Fascinating. He's also much brighter than his image would have us believe.

 

Date Posted: 10/5/2013 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I recently finished another book about the Middle East - "The Looming Tower:  Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11".  This book had won a Pulitzer and had been on my shelf for awhile.  I'm really glad I finally picked it up.  It was an excellent background to the rise of the Islamic militant groups throughout the Middle East and a chilling account of how our own FBI and CIA might have been able to prevent the 9/11 attack.



Last Edited on: 10/5/13 6:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/5/2013 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I just completed Bright Not Broken:  Gifted Kids, ADHA, and Autism by Diane M. Kennedy and Rebecca S. Banks.  The authors give an in depth analysis of the DSM - the system by which exceptional children receive diagnoses, such as Autism, ADHD, etc. They lay out an argument as to why this system is fundamentally flawed, resulting in inaccurate labels that can be damaging to children and keep them from receiving the treatments they need. The book address specifically the 2e (twice exceptional) child who is gifted and also autistic. It is an excellent starting point for parents and teachers of 2e children. Additional resources are listed at the end.

Date Posted: 11/7/2013 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 210
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Cotton Tenants: Three Families by James Agee  was written in the 1930s but not published until the last couple years.  It is the story of three cotton tenant families in the South in the 30s.  It's an interesting depiction of a lifestyle that no longer exists.  Photography is by Walker Evans and adds greatly to the story.



Last Edited on: 11/7/13 1:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/7/2013 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Completed Susun Weed's New Menopause guide. It was incredibly thorough, uplifting and encouraging to read her take on a very natural, normal phase of life. Rather than treat menopause (which, according to her is a very long process) like an illness to be treated, she teaches how to ease the discomfort while embracing the new changes.

 

And I'm done for 2013's NF challenge, cause I still need to finish my fiction challenge and get ready for 2014!

Date Posted: 11/7/2013 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Want to add that I loved this challenge! The wide variety of categories and mulitple levels of participation worked great for me this year. Is anyone planning on launching a similar challenge for 2014?

 

Date Posted: 11/19/2013 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Is anyone planning on launching a similar challenge for 2014?

If there's anyone who would like to make the challenge this year and do something a little different with it, that would be fine with me!  Nonfiction covers such a huge range of subjects that I didn't want to make the categories too specific--I didn't want to discourage anyone from reading a particular category (if it's not one of your interests) by narrowing it.  But, if anyone has any great ideas about how to make it more interesting I would be happy to hand it over.  It also would be nice if someone posted the challenge and then spent more time on this discussion thread (I keep getting sidetracked by life and rarely get back here to post.  I read some great books this year though, and I WILL post about them so others can maybe want to read them too!)

Any thoughts, anyone?  Or volunteers?

Diane

 

 

 

Date Posted: 11/20/2013 11:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Lynne's review inspired me to read Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. I liked the book, especially the sections on the physics of running and the analysis of shoes. The big run at the end had some memorable characters! I do admire athletes who can run long distances. McDougall is a decent writer and likes to build up to "wow" moments.

Date Posted: 11/21/2013 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Okay, if no ideas on how to do it differently, should we do the same one over again?

Diane

 

Date Posted: 11/21/2013 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I loved the 2013 challenge, so keeping it the same is o.k. by me Diane.

Date Posted: 11/22/2013 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 3:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/25/2013 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Okay, if not one else posts with any different ideas  by next week I'll repeat the challenge with the same categories.  In the meantime, if anyone loves a particular category and would like to do a mini-challenge that gets more specific, go for it!  I see that there's a biography/memoir challenge, that isn't a great favorite subject of mine or I would be joining that one too.  There was a history challenge posted for the last part of this year (in the History Forum) so I hope there will be another beginning in 2014.

Diane

 

 

Date Posted: 12/6/2013 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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The 2013 challenge categories were excellent. I enjoyed the vastness and the huge number of options and would love to do a similar one in 2014. Thanks for spearheading, Diane K!

Date Posted: 12/11/2013 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I loved the challenge - looking forward to 2014!

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