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Topic: Genre of the month for March is nonfiction ...

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Subject: Genre of the month for March is nonfiction ...
Date Posted: 3/11/2012 3:15 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Sorry I'm so late with this guys, I just got over having flu and now I have a respiratory infection. I've not felt up to do much, not even online.

Anyway the genre this month is Nonfiction. I've read tons of NF in the years. So far my favorite nonfiction book has been Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil which I didn't believe was true for a long time, I call it nonfiction for fiction fans.

Date Posted: 3/11/2012 9:41 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was an interesting book. 

Non-fiction books I enjoy most are by restaurant chefs, cooking school accounts, and food critics.  My next one on the TBR pile is Comfort Me with Apples by food critic Ruth Reichl, but I want to get her first book Tender At the Bone to read first.   Also on the TBR pile is The Emporers of Chocolate by Joel Stenn Brenner about the chocolate war between Hersheys and Mars.   I have a book list of foodie books if you want to find some good ones.  Most I have already read, but about a half dozen are on my TBR pile.

I have a bunch of biography books that I have enjoyed.  I have enjoyed reading about the life story of several 1940s movie actors and actresses (a couple of these are now on my bookshelf).  I also like autobiographies, as are several of those on my best read list below.  Here are a few of the best non-fiction books I have read, well written with insights into different areas.  I particularly recommend the Tony Dungy one, as he has an unusually high level of integrity to be admired –

Off Camera by Ted Koppel (the things he couldn't say on Nightline)

Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

Flying the Hump, Memories of an Air War by Otha Spencer (about flying cargo over the Himalaya mountains during WWII)

Still Me by Christopher Reeve (written after his accident)

A Reporter’s Life by Walter Cronkite

City of Nets (about film industry in the 1940s) by Otto Friedrich

It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast (the history of coffee production and distribution and its impact on the world)

I have this non-fiction on my want list.

That Used to Be Us How America Fell Behind in the World We Invented--and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum



Last Edited on: 3/11/12 10:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/14/2012 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I can't say I've read a lot of foodie nonfiction but I have read Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits which I enjoyed. Once I'm done with Love Nun I'm going to read either Sin in the Second City or The Devil in the White City. Both are about Chicago in different time periods.

Some other NF's that I enjoyed are:

The Accidental Mind by David J Linden, it is about brain function and evolution, quite and interesting read.

The Devils Teeth by Susan Casey, it is about a woman who spends time with shark researchers, I'm a shark nerd so I really enjoyed the descriptions of the shark encounters but the human relations were lacking.

One Foot In the Grave by Chad Daybell, this is a book written by a cemetery sexton and it opened my mind to a lot of info I didn't know about the funeral process.

Starvation Heights by Gregg Olsen, this one is a true crime but the author almost sounds as if he is writing a novel rather than a nonfiction account of the crime.

Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer, this is probably the first non fiction book that I read and enjoyed.

Undying Love by Ben Harrison, I have a wierd soft spot for this book but it is kinda about necrophelia so some might not really enjoy it.

 



Last Edited on: 3/14/12 9:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/15/2012 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
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I've been trying to think of some NF that I've read. I know I read some in HS, but that was ages ago. I guess I really can't comment on anything. Hopefully I'll have something to add next month.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 3/15/2012 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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I am a memoir nut. I have quite a few unread to choose from but I grabbed one by Chris Evans, who you won't know. He's a British dj/businessman. It's his second book, about going from nothing to uber-rich and back to rich but not uber. I just got to the part where he hires a helicopter to look at four - 25million+ pound properties knowing he had to choose one. One of them is Brian May from Queen's house. One of them has a working moat. 

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 3/23/2012 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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Finished my book. I don't know why I love memoirs so much but I do, and sometimes they change the way I feel about people. One British comedian, Frank Skinner, I liked before reading his book and not so much afterwards. He turned out to be a scarily devout Catholic who is also a misogynist and obsessed with anal sex. Go figure. This book was the opposite, I wasn't really a Chris Evans fan. He's not exactly attractive and he ended up married to a much younger, very hot pop star and popular actress, I really wanted to know how the heck that happened. It actually makes sense now. I see him differently than I did before, I like him much better. I still wouldn't be attracted to him but I can see why some others would be, he's terribly damaged. We're suckers for the damaged ones aren't we? And he seems like a genuinely decent guy who knows very well he has been one lucky s.o.b. in life. He's no longer married to the pop star but has an equally hot, younger golf star wife now. He can't believe they married him either, lol, but hopefully this one stays, they've had a child and are trying for another. 

Date Posted: 3/23/2012 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I know who he is but I'm a bit of an anglophile as well as a whovian. The pop star was Billie Piper right? And they got married when she was ridiculously young, like 18 or 19?

I've not felt like reading much this month, what with being sick and then the meds the doc gave me making me dang near incapacitated, so I just finished Love Nun today but I'm gonna start on Devil In the White City in a bit. I just watched a documentary about H.H. Holmes so I figured I'd go with this one to expand my knowledge of America's first serial killer just a bit more.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 3/24/2012 12:43 PM ET
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Yeah, Billie Piper. I knew she was involved with David Tennant too right around the same time and never could figure out the time line. Turns out the marriage broke up right before Doctor Who and it was he who called it off. That surprised me until later he was talking about trying to get over the 'mess something good up yourself before the other person has a chance to hurt you' mentality.

Billie is married to someone else now and had a baby last year, David too. These celebrities sure like to shuffle the mates around. 

I'm sneaking in a short y.a. novel about a troubled teenager translated from German before the Love Nun, I forget too quickly so I'm saving it until the last minute. I hope you feel better soon, this thing has gone on too long! 



Last Edited on: 3/24/12 12:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/24/2012 10:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I write my answers down when I read the book. From now on I'll post the list of questions in the announcment of the book we will be reading each month. That way you all can do the same.

Date Posted: 3/24/2012 10:27 PM ET
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I don't think she was ever involved with Tennant. I'm pretty sure they always said they were just friends and both were in seperate relationships during their Doctor years.

Date Posted: 3/24/2012 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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If you like memoirs, read the one by Gordon Ramsay called Roasting In Hell's Kitchen.  The life he had to overcome to become a powerhouse chef is truly amazing.

I watch a lot of British television but I don't think I have seen Frank Skinner.

Glad you are back among the living, Chris!

Date Posted: 3/24/2012 10:36 PM ET
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Oh I can't stand Ramsey, he's so unnecessarily mean all of the time. I've watched his show a lot because my friends like him and he always says he's being a dbag to help these people but really how is being mean helping them any more than being nice to them would?

Date Posted: 3/24/2012 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Any objection to making the genre discussion stagger with the book discussion? What I mean is we start the book discussion on the 1st and then do the Genre on the 15th. That way we can stretch out and always have a discussion going as well as give non fiction a whole month since I posted it late.

Date Posted: 3/25/2012 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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Staggering the genre discussion is a good idea!  We get a little bored at the end of the month.

Reading about Gordon Ramsay's life was helpful to understand why he is the way he is today.  I could do without some of the foul language.  Did you see the Christmas specials he did with his family?  It was a two part special about cooking the holiday meal and sharing that with your family.  It was wonderful, and not a single foul word.  Sometimes I think some of that is put on for the television audience.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 3/25/2012 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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Oh yeah, David and Billie had a thing. They didn't hide it. She's the one who gave him the nickname 'David Ten-inch'. It wasn't a terribly long thing (the affair that is, not sure about anything else ;) ). 

 

I've read a quick book bio by Gordon Ramsay, it was a little while ago though and not very detailed. Mostly about the development of his restaurants. I had never heard of a quick book before I ordered it, it's kind of like the Reader's Digest version. I wouldn't get one again. 



Last Edited on: 3/25/12 2:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/26/2012 10:19 PM ET
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Anyone ever read biographies?  I have a bunch on my shelf mostly of movie stars from the 1940s.  I listed a couple, but I have a lot  more.  Doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that PBSers want, so will probably end up donating them to the FOL sale.

Date Posted: 3/26/2012 10:36 PM ET
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I've got a few biographies on my shelf right now. I'm hoping to read Einstein sometime this year. I read a lot of biographies in High School for some reason. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Santon. I think before reading that book I was unaware of Stanton's role in the suffrage movement.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 3/26/2012 11:31 PM ET
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What do you have Carole? I know some stars from the 40's, I like that old stuff. 

Date Posted: 3/27/2012 5:23 PM ET
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I just checked, and it seems all I have left is what I am offering on my bookshelf for 1940s movie stars - Lana Turner, Helen Hayes, and Lauren Bacall.  I must have traded the others.  Books listed in my other post are mostly biographies too.  I also have biographies of Nichelle Nichols and Leonard Nimoy - yep I'm a Trekkie too.

Date Posted: 3/27/2012 9:19 PM ET
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Carole if I had a stash of credits I'd totally order from you I love Lana Turner and Lauren Bacall.

Date Posted: 3/28/2012 9:33 AM ET
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I can hold those for you, would rather have them go to friends anyway.

Date Posted: 3/28/2012 9:04 PM ET
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Don't go out of your way for me. I'm technically on an ordering freeze right now anyway, I do it every year from Jan 1st to July 1st, technically I'm only supposed to be ordering wl books. I only have a couple credits and my shelf doesn't move that fast but my wish list goes at lightning speed. If they get ordered while you are doing your deal then go ahead and send them out. If not I'll save up a few credits to order them from you later.

Date Posted: 3/30/2012 12:18 AM ET
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I'm finding some interesting connections between the people in this book and the current government. There is a central person Burnham, the most successful architect in Chicago at the time, who was kinda like the president in that he ran things in an executive capacity but had no real power over money or time wasted. There were also tons and tons of committees that basically filibustered decisions to drag out things to make them go just the way they wanted them to. In the meantime there was a recession and unions causing all kinds of unemployment issues, for example a group of union workers shut down the site of the fair on its second day of construction and beat up a couple of the workers because they hadn't hired union workers and hadn't structured their work according to union standards. If horse feed were up to almost $4.00 a gallon I might decide to write a letter to the author and ask if he took some liberties lol.

(Guess I should mention the title of the book eh, it's Devil in the White City by Erik Larsson.)



Last Edited on: 3/30/12 12:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/31/2012 9:17 AM ET
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Just ordered a non-fiction book that looks really interesting!  It is called The Necklace:  Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed Their Lives.  It is about a group of women that pool their money to buy a diamond necklace to share, the impact it has on their lives and the charity work they do with it.  It looks like a good book and has some good reviews.  One review said it was a great book for book clubs to discuss.  I'll let you know.    

Date Posted: 4/5/2012 6:24 PM ET
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I finished The Devil in the White City and learned that there is a movie in the works with Leonardo Dicaprio staring as H. H. Holmes. As odd at that might seem he'll probably do well, Holmes was really attractive but a little effeminate and that sounds like Dicaprio plus D's a pretty good actor.

Anyway I liked the book well enough but it fell into the non fiction text book trap a little bit, meaning at first it read like a text book and was quite sluggish and boring. After a few chapters it livened up though and sparked an interest in the Pinkerton detectives that led me to put several books on my reminder and wish lists. I'd recomend it to fans of nonfiction but probably not to people who don't read much of the genre.

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