Tag Archives: narrative non-fiction

Five Days At Memorial

17704902Title: Five Days At Memorial
Author: Sheri Fink
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The author did a great job sharing enough information about each person to convey that these are real people, a talent that increased the tension of this harrowing story.

Five Days At Memorial is a reconstruction of the time following Hurricane Katrina that survivors spent at the hospital, largely without electricity and with decreasing supplies of food and water. Horrific mismanagement led to a situation so desperate and chaotic that later some doctors and nurses were accused of having euthanized some of their patients. The second half of the book deals with the investigation and trials following that accusation. Continue reading

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Monday Musing on Discovering New Genres

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

This week I’m thinking about the fact that I’m still discovering new genres and genres I’m surprised I like, despite having always been an avid reader. Here are a few genres that I’ve recently fallen in love with… Continue reading

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The Black Count

Title: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Tom Reiss
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: Sugar was once considered a rare substance and prescribed as a cure for nearly everything.
Review Summary: An incredible true adventure told by seamlessly combining personal anecdotes and broader social issues in a fascinating story.

Although many of you have probably read or watched The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, few people know that many of the adventures in these classics were inspired by the author’s father, also named Alex Dumas. From exciting sword fights to wrongful imprisonment, this true story has it all. Why did Alex Dumas have so many exciting adventures? In the name of “liberty, fraternity, and equality” of course! That’s right… Alex Dumas was a hero of the French Revolution, one who embodied the best qualities of that revolution. Not only did he take advantage of the unparalleled racial equality it caused, his stunning rise through the military never lead him to stop treating all others with the respect and human dignity he believed they deserved.

Continue reading

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Wings in the 629′s

Title: Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age
Author: Tom Crouch
Source: library
Fun Fact: Early planes were catapulted into the air because they couldn’t achieve the speed necessary to leave the ground under their own power.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Lots of fun facts and interesting material, but the presentation was rarely fun or interesting. Not really narrative non-fiction, although advertised as such.

If you ever had a question about the history of flight, this book has the answer. Spanning the entire twentieth century and then some, Wings also crosses the globe, covering major advancements made by all nations without being too US-centric. Black and white pictures and quotes by early observers capture the awe inspiring first years of flight. When I finished, I had an excessive list of fun facts I wanted to share with you. I picked the one I did because I simply can’t imagine being launched into the air in the flimsy, uncontrollable, open-cock pits of the first planes! Continue reading

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A Group Read – The Virtues of War

Title: The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great
Author: Steven Pressfield
Read for: Ancient and Medieval Historical Fiction
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Immersive story which will draw you into Alexander’s era and into some very cool speculation on his personality, based on historical accounts.

The Virtues of War is the perfect mix of fact and fiction to make a good book. The author clearly did his research and uses accurate details to form a fascinating picture of life around 320BC.  However, as he states in the introduction, he’s also able to take liberties with the facts and put battles and speeches in the order which makes the best narrative. Best of all, the book is told as though Alexander is speaking to a nephew, leading to what I think are some of the major strengths of this book. Continue reading

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Lost in Shangri-La

Title: Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of WWII
Author: Mitchell Zuckoff
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Fun Fact:  By 1945, New Guinea was home to more missing air planes than any other country on earth.
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: An incredibly engaging story with a great human element supported by well-integrated primary sources.

Lost in Shangri-La was my first experience with narrative non-fiction and I think I may be in love. For those of you like me who haven’t read narrative non-fiction before, I would describe it as a novel in which personal lives are as well researched as the bigger picture and the whole thing is presented as a story.  In this particular story, we learn about a plane crash in New Guinea stranding three service men and women in the jungle with potentially unfriendly natives.  Due to their isolated location, finding them in the jungle was only the first challenge.  A daring and dangerous rescue mission was then required to get them out. Continue reading

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