Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meritorious Non-fiction

Right now Susan Cain’s book Quiet is just $2.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon.  So is Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood.  Amazon is not paying me to say this. 

I wish brick and mortar bookstores were doing better, but as someone who has been banned by my husband from buying and keeping any more books in the house, the library is next best and the Kindle is third best.

Here are some non-fiction books I read this year and enjoyed.

Category: History
In the Garden of Beasts : love, terror, and an American family in Hitler's Berlin
by Erik Larson. This is about the American ambassador who was posted to Berlin at the time of Hitler’s rise to power. It’s about real people being ambivalent or daring or foolish in the face of historical events.  I really read it at the end of last year, so I don’t remember the details, but it was a gripping read.

Category: Memoirs
My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
Hooray for the women overachievers of the world!  Sonia tells how she made it to the Supreme Court.

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Another story of someone who has come pretty far.

The Book of My Lives by Aleksandar Hemon
Filled with the irony that comes from living in Eastern Europe, and then inescapable sadness.  Good writing.

Torn : rescuing the Gospel from the gays-vs.-Christians debate, by Justin Lee.  It’s kind of a memoir, but really was written to make a larger point about that debate.

The Mighty Queens of Freeville : a mother, a daughter, and the town that raised them
by Amy Dickinson.  The subtitle is exactly what this book is about.  Enjoyable reading.

Spellbound : Growing Up in God's Country, by David W. McKain.
A memoir of growing up in Central Pennsylvania.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, by Frederick Douglass.  A powerful tale.  Just how he taught himself to read is amazing and ingenious.

Category: Bibley stuff
A year of Biblical Womanhood, by Rachel Held Evans
What happens when a woman tries to follow to the letter what it says in the Bible about how women should live.  It is by turns amusing, tongue-in-cheek, poignant and always perceptive.

How to read the Bible for all its worth, by Gordon D. Fee.
It was helpful to read this in preparation for leading a Bible study.

Exodus, by the writer(s) of the Torah. 
We covered the first 14 chapters in our study.  Almost everything else in the Bible refers to this epic event.  Try to get that movie, and the image of Charlton Heston, out of your head before reading it.

Category: Other stuff
Quiet : the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking, by Susan Cain. 
It’s a relief to have a book that explains how people like me live in and interpret the world.

Blindspot : hidden biases of good people, by Mahzarin R. Banaji.
Why it is practically impossible to fully eliminate prejudice.

* * * * * *

Do you have anything good (non-fiction or fiction) waiting on your nightstand? 

Happy reading in 2014!


Jan Falcona said...

This was my year to get back to reading for fun.

Fiction: "Plan B" by Jonathan Tropper--a group of college friends turning 30 and hitting their early-life-crisis stage an intervention on their friend who has become a famous actor, by kidnapping him to detox him from drug addiction. SO funny and engaging. Tropper is quite a refreshing voice.

"The Family Man" by Elinor Lipman--a middle-aged gay man who was married to a woman early on, meets his stepdaughter after losing contact with her. Hilarity ensues. i love this author!

"Back When We Were Grownups" by Ann Tyler--she is a master of character depiction. Very poignant and funny.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I am JUST STARTING that Larson book! Destiny of the REpublic by Millard was excellent and I'm anxious to get my hands on the new book by Doris Kearns Goodwin--The Bully Pulpit, I think is the name. And I'm reading lots of fiction, of course.

The Crislers said...

I'm reading "Eat Move Sleep," and I by turns hate it and love it. I love your "Other Stuff" category, I'm going to have to add both of those to my list.