Posts Categorized: non-fiction

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Warrior of the People

November 11, 2016 Biography, History, non-fiction 4

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Warrior of the PeopleTitle: A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor
Author: Joe Starita
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: An incredible and engaging story, although written a bit simply.

Susan La Flesche was the first Native American to become a doctor, at a time when any female doctors were rare. She overcome many obstacles and made difficult personal sacrifices to serve her people. Her level of community involvement while in school and while serving as a doctor was almost unbelievable. She led a fascinating and inspiring life. Read more »

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Review: Brain on Fire

November 2, 2016 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 14

Review: Brain on FireTitle: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was an amazing mix of clear, informative journalism and moving, emotional memoir.
“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” (source) Read more »

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TLC Review: Earning It

October 25, 2016 non-fiction 6

TLC Review: Earning ItTitle: Earning It
Author: Joann S. Lublin
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed learning from the stories and fun facts in this book, but it was a bit too business focused for me.

“Among the first female reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Joann S. Lublin faced a number of uphill battles in her career. She became deputy bureau chief of the Journal’s important London bureau, its first run by women. Now, she and dozens of other women who successfully navigated the corporate battlefield share their valuable leadership lessons.” (source) Read more »

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TLC Review: Hidden Figures

September 7, 2016 History, non-fiction 13

TLC Review: Hidden FiguresTitle: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Wow, this was so good! Engaging, well written, clearly explained, inspiring.

I love discovering forgotten pieces of history and this is a great one, one that should be more well known. However, it will likely come as a surprise to most people to learn that the work of NACA (later NASA) during WWII and through the moon landing relied on the work of a large group of black, female mathematicians. These exceptional women made technical advances possible with their talent and drove social change with their optimism and determination. Focusing on four women who worked at NASA during this time period, Margot Lee Shetterly brings this story to life. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review: Love Wins

August 31, 2016 non-fiction 4

#FuturisticFriday Review: Love WinsTitle: Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality
Author: Debbie Cenziper, Jim Obergefell
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was both a beautiful, emotional love story and a fantastic personal look at a defining moment in American history.

As lawyer Al Gerhardstein said, every civil rights case begins with a story. The case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the Supreme Court declared same sex marriage bans unconstitutional, began when Jim Obergefell and John Arthur fell in love. After a decades-long, committed relationship the couple found out that John had ALS. One of John’s last wishes was to provide for his spouse, but Ohio did not recognize their Maryland marriage. Jim’s decision to fight to fulfill John’s last wish led to this landmark moment in the history of gay rights. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Playing Dead

August 12, 2016 non-fiction 6

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Playing DeadTitle: Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud
Author: Elizabeth Greenwood
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a fascinating story written in a very accessible way, perfect for fans of Mary Roach or Caitlin Doughty.

Inspired by a joking comment about faking her own death to avoid student loan debt, Elizabeth Greenwood stumbled into the world of death fraud. She meets people who find people; people who help others disappear; people who believe some famous dead people are just faking it; and people who have been caught after faking their own death. She also experiments with some of the steps necessary to fake her own death and considers what might inspire someone to take such a drastic step. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review: Face Value

June 21, 2016 non-fiction 10

#FuturisticFriday Review: Face ValueTitle: Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women's Lives
Author: Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: I really enjoyed this thoughtful, balanced look at both the empowering and enjoyable side of beauty and the negative ways it affects women’s lives.

“In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the relationship between appearance and science, social media, sex, friendship, language, and advertising to show how beauty actually affects us day to day. Through meticulous research and interviews with dozens of women across all walks of life, she reveals surprising findings, like that wearing makeup can actually relax you, that you can convince people you’re better looking just by tweaking your personality, and the ways beauty can be a powerful tool of connection among women.” (source) Read more »

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Review: The Nordic Theory of Everything

June 18, 2016 non-fiction 12

Review: The Nordic Theory of EverythingTitle: The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life
Author: Anu Partanen
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: A bit repetitive and a mix of uplifting and depressing, but I really enjoyed learning about the government and social structure of other countries.

When Finnish journalist Anu Partanen moved to the United States, she found herself overwhelmed by anxiety. The lack of a social support system, especially public healthcare, and the complexity of everything from taxes to securing a child’s education was shocking compared to the ease and security provided to citizens in Finland. By comparing and contrasting the social services provided in the US and the Nordic countries, she “debunks criticism that Nordic countries are socialist “nanny states,” revealing instead that it is we Americans who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realize. As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do.” (source) Read more »

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Review: Brilliance and Fire

June 14, 2016 non-fiction 4

Review: Brilliance and FireTitle: Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds
Author: Rachelle Bergstein
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This engaging story that used a single object to tell great personal stories, as well as talking about larger social issues and historic moments, was everything I want from a microhistory.

Diamonds have long fascinated people far beyond their value and the diamond industry has worked hard to keep it that way. Throughout history, they have been associated with everything from critical wartime manufacturing to genocides but still advertising and an artificially limited supply have fairly consistently maintained their association with luxury and love. Read more »

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TLC Review: The View From the Cheap Seats

June 8, 2016 non-fiction 30

TLC Review: The View From the Cheap SeatsTitle: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Author: Neil Gaiman
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Brilliant! I loved every piece in this collection.

I keep trying Neil Gaiman’s books in hopes of finding one that I can rave about as much as it seems like everyone else is and this book was it! This probably shouldn’t surprise me though, because the second reason I keep trying Neil Gaiman’s books is because when I got the chance to hear him give a talk, he was fantastic. As the description says, this book covers topics that include: “authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood” (source). I’m happy to say I had fun reading about every one of these topics and all but two of the dozens of essays were easily enjoyed, whether or not I was familiar with the author, movie, book, comic, musician, etc that the essay was about. Read more »

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