Nonfiction in Mini-Reviews

November 7, 2017 Uncategorized 9

I’ve actually been making it to the library and picking up books in new-to-me Dewey Decimal numbers lately and it’s lead me to some great reads. I’m excited to share them with you during Nonfiction November!

Nonfiction in Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically
Author: Peter Singer

I was intrigued by the idea of effective altruism discussed in this book. It involves making choices in your life, especially in your charitable giving, such that you can make the greatest difference in the world. The stories of different ways people do this were fascinating and inspiring. However, the basic idea was pretty straightforward, so the discussion got repetitive fast. Parts veered too much into abstract philosophy for my taste as well. It was a quick read though, full of great suggestions, so if you’re intrigued by the idea, I think it’s worth checking out.

Nonfiction in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter
Author: Nina MacLaughlin

This memoir from a journalist turned carpenter was a lot of fun. Her writing was engaging and descriptive. She really knew how to bring a scene to life! My favorite parts were about her own experiences. I liked when she got more personal better than when she vaguely referenced events in her own life. She mixed these bits of memoir with the history of the tools she worked with and sometimes got a bit philosophical too. These parts were more hit or miss for me. Some of the tool histories were fascinating, while others digressed too much. When she mused about death in relation to house repair it felt overdone, but I enjoyed her thoughts on synthetic vs real materials and her perspective on gender. Overall though, this was a fun, light read I flew through.

Nonfiction in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing
Author: Daniel Tammet

I thought it was offensive that some critics thought this author’s earlier memoir might be a one-off ‘disability memoir’. However, I have to admit that part of what made me think he  would have something interesting to say is the belief that someone with autism might have a different perspective on the world. To an extent, this was true. The way the author associates concepts with numbers (in part due to his synesthesia) was fascinating and his descriptions were beautiful, poetic in a way delightfully rooted in math. However, I also felt like his passion for words tapped into a common feeling, something I’ve felt from many authors. The way he analyzes words may or may not be unique (he’s certainly more thoughtful and more knowledgeable in his appreciation for language than I am!), but the passion driving his analysis is something I think any reader or writer will enjoy relating to. Lovely read, highly recommended.

9 Responses to “Nonfiction in Mini-Reviews”

  1. Heather

    I have Peter Singer’s book sitting on my digital shelf. I’ve heard good things. I enjoy his philosophy of ethics and how we can do more good in the world.

    • DoingDewey

      You know, even though I only gave it three stars, I’m a little tempted to get a copy. It had a lot of inspiring stories and resources for finding the best ways to give that I could see wanting to reference again.

    • DoingDewey

      I’m typically really bad at picking up books people recommend, but I’ve started doing more putting books on hold at the library as soon as I decide I want to read them. I still definitely have more books on my to-read list than I’ll ever get to, but it did get me to pick this book up, anyway!

  2. Elley

    Wow! Nonfiction is not a genre I typically read, so what a great idea to have a Non-fiction November. I’m definitely going to check out Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing. Thanks so much for the mini reviews!!

    • DoingDewey

      It’s a lot of fun to hear from both people who mostly read nonfiction and people who mostly don’t during the month. I love the genre and so I enjoy connecting with people who love it too and people who are just trying it out 🙂

  3. Heather

    I really liked Hammer Head when I read it several years ago. It was inspiring to read about someone doing something so completely out of their element but succeeding at it anyway.

    • DoingDewey

      I agree! I can’t imagine quitting my job without something else lined up and then choosing to jump into something so different. I admired her for taking the chance 🙂

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