Category: non-fiction

The End of Your Life Book Club

November 26, 2014 Biography, Memoir, non-fiction, Review 23 ★★★★★

The End of Your Life Book ClubTitle: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This was a beautiful story which I found both inspirational and moving.

Will Schwalbe and his mother Mary Anne have always shared a love of reading, but rarely ended up reading the same books until Mary Anne was diagnosed with cancer. Mother and son then started a small, informal book club of two, discussing books while waiting in hospital lobbies. Their conversations were “both wide-ranging and deeply personal” (source) and showed how books can both help us forget ourselves and help us make sense of our own experiences.
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Nonfiction November: Cleopatra Read-a-Long

November 19, 2014 Biography, non-fiction 8

nonfiction november readalongs

Welcome to the Nonfiction November Read-a-Long Discussion for Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff!  Last night I had a great discussion with my fabulous co-host, Becca from I’m Lost in Books. We had a lot of fun talking about the book and are excited to share our discussion with you. We’ve also got a link-up at the end of the post where you can share your thoughts as well as some optional discussion questions to get you started. If you also want to chat about The Restless Sleep, be sure to check out the great discussion hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie at Regular Ruminations. Read more »

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Non-Fiction Friday

November 15, 2014 non-fiction 16

cork w booksIt has been far too long since we’ve had a Non-Fiction Friday and this week was so filled with jetlag and catching up, I couldn’t get to it yesterday. Instead, today, I’m just going to pretend that it’s Friday and start getting caught up! Today and the remaining Fridays in November, instead of having the traditional Non-Fiction Friday, I’ll be answering the weekly discussion questions for Nonfiction November and directing you to that link-up to share your reviews. This week’s host was Leslie at Regular Rumination and next week’s host will be Becca at I’m Lost In Books.

This week’s topic is Be/Become/Ask the Expert: Share a list of titles that you have read on a particular topic, create a wish list of titles that you’d like to read about a particular topic, or ask your fellow Nonfiction November participants for suggestions on a particular topic. Last year, I wrote about science nonfiction I’d recommend. This year, I’ve noticed that I particularly love narrative nonfiction about adventures, so I’m going to share a list of my favorites today. Read more »

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The Secret History of Wonder Woman

November 9, 2014 History, non-fiction, Review 18 ★★★

The Secret History of Wonder WomanTitle: The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Author: Jill Lepore
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: This book covered a number of interesting topics, but it tried to do too much and ended up feeling very disjointed.

Now that I’m back from my travels, I’m excited to really dive into Nonfiction November starting with my first nonfiction review of the month. I wish I could tell you I was equally enthusiastic about the book, especially since it covered a lot of interesting topics.  The Secret History of Wonder Woman doesn’t only cover the origins of the comic. It also includes a history of feminism, a biography of the comic’s creator, and biographies of the many women in his unorthodox love life. Unfortunately, the mish-mash of topics didn’t entirely work for me. Read more »

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Dataclysm

October 28, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 19 ★★★★

DataclysmTitle: Dataclysm
Author: Christian Rudder
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This was a very light, accessible look at data analysis which answers some interesting, but often obvious, questions about how we date and how we describe ourselves online.

As one of the creators of the dating site OkCupid, author Christian Rudder has a fascinating dataset to play with. In combination with data acquired from other data-collecting websites (Facebook, Google, etc), he’s able to ask and answer some very interesting questions. For instance, who do people want to date? And, more interestingly, how does this compare to who they say they want to date? Does the way people describe themselves and the way that people respond to them vary by ethnicity? By age? Even questions that people might not answer accurately can begin to be answered here.

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The Woman Who Would Be King

October 20, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 18 ★★★★★

The Woman Who Would Be KingTitle: The Woman Who Would Be King
Author: Kara Cooney
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: The subject of this book was fascinating, even though the writing was sometimes a bit dry, and I loved how transparent the author was about her sources.

In ancient Egypt, royal women were expected to defend their family’s bloodline, marrying their brothers and producing royal heirs. Women might act as reagents for their young sons, but it was almost unheard of for them to rule in their own right. This biography tells the story of Hatshepsut, “the longest reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt” (source) and her rise to power. The author uses what little archaeological evidence remains to speculate about Hatshepsut’s feelings and to analyze the political maneuvering required for Hatshepsut to retain power in a traditionally male leadership role.
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Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital Age

October 8, 2014 History, non-fiction, Psychology, Review 17 ★★

Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital AgeTitle: Wikipedia U
Author: Thomas Leitch
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: This book wasn’t a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.

Despite discouragement from many teachers, I feel like student use of Wikipedia is on the rise, so I was excited to read about the phenomenon from an educator’s perspective. However, as I perhaps should have gathered from the description and subtitle, the main focus of this book is on the nature of authority. Wikipedia is primarily used as an example of a situation where authorities are in conflict and the source of authority is up for debate. Read more »

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Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine

October 7, 2014 Humor, non-fiction, Review, Science 12 ★★★

Generic: The Unbranding of Modern MedicineTitle: Generic
Author: Jeremy A. Greene
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: Generic was written in a fairly dry way, but the material was interesting enough to make it an enjoyable read.

Generic drugs are a generally accepted part of medicine, but this wasn’t always the case. Throughout the history of generics, both scientists and politicians have struggled to decide what makes two drugs substitutable, while both generic and name-brand drug companies have tried to influence their decisions. This book describes the rise of the generic and all of the fascinating political, social, and scientific debates that led to their general acceptance. Read more »

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