Category: non-fiction

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France On the Brink

August 8, 2014 History, non-fiction 7

France on the BrinkTitle: France on the Brink
Author: Jonathan Fenby
Source: from publisher for France Book Tours
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The author did a fantastic job showing how history has shaped the French and encapsulating the difficulties their country faces with fascinating anecdotes and just enough optimism.

France is currently facing many challenges, including high unemployment rates and disillusionment with their government in the face of scandals. Even more worryingly, many are turning to violence and bigotry as a way to combat their fear. France is still strong in many areas though, including tourism, with it’s varied local culture and cuisine. Read more »

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Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

August 4, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 14

18775443Title: Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered
Author: Dianne Hales
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This wasn’t the most organized nonfiction I’ve read, but the author did an amazing job bringing the people and time period to life.

Although the Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world, little is known about the real woman represented in the painting. There is even some speculation about which woman was Da Vinci’s model. Lisa Gherardini is the most likely candidate and in this book, Dianne Hales brings together what is known about Lisa’s life. She also uses this “quintessential woman of her times” to explore what life was like for women in Florence during the Renaissance.
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Toms River

July 30, 2014 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Science, Uncategorized 13

15798109Title: Toms River
Author: Judith Frank
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book was engaging and easy to follow, a perfect mix of science, history, and human interest stories.

Toms River had been a dumping ground for chemical pollutants for years before anyone suspected anything might be wrong. However, watchful parents soon noticed a disturbing increase in local cancer cases. It took years of unceasing efforts by residents for an investigation of chemical dumping in Toms River to begin. Even then, it was difficult to impossible to determine the different chemicals dumped in Toms River over the past half century and even more difficult to determine whether that dumping influence cancer incidence. Although families were convinced pollutants were the problem and a settlement was reached, the exact nature of the pollutants dumped at Toms River and their relationship to cancer there may never be known.
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Reading Lolita in Tehran

July 15, 2014 History, Memoir, non-fiction 16

7603Title: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Author: Azar Nafisi
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I found this a bit hard to get into, a little too academic and a little too literary, but once I adjusted to the writing style I was very moved by the author’s and her students’ experiences.

When it became required that female professors in Iran wear the veil, Azar Nafisi resigned and began to teach a small, secret class from her home instead. Every week a group of very different women came together to discuss banned classics. The women also shared in each others struggles to find themselves and express their personalities despite the fear inspired by an oppressive regime. Read more »

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Shooting Stars

July 5, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction 2

18509676Title: Shooting Stars
Author: Jennifer Buhl
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I thought the bits about Jennifer’s career were fascinating (except the gross bits), but I found the parts about her personal life unrelatable.

Jennifer Buhl was struggling to make it in LA until she decided to try her hand at being a paparazzi. That’s not to say that being a paparazzi was easy. Paparazzi often tip each other off and it took Jennifer some time to make connections. She faced bullying and discrimination, both for being one of the few women in the business and for being successful. Despite the challenges, she really was successful, getting some fantastic shots with celebrities, as well as many fascinating stories to tell. Read more »

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Jennifer, Gwyneth, And Me

July 3, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction 5

18465836Title: Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me
Author: Rachel Bertsche
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Even though I’m not the biggest fan of non-author celebrities, I enjoyed following Rachel on another self-help adventure with lots of fun stories and great advice.

Since starting working at home, Rachel hasn’t felt very pulled together. In order to motivate herself to exercise more, eat right, and dress better, she decides to emulate her favorite celebrities in hopes of achieving their air of having it all together. Trying the meals, exercises, and other lifestyle changes the stars swears by, she finds that the ones which truly improve her life often surprise her. Read more »

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