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Old 10-09-2010, 08:01 PM   #1
SeaBookGuy
Can one read too much?
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Your top non-fiction of the past year

A couple of years is fine, and I'd say 5 - 10 entries. I didn't want to clog up (hijack!) the other non-fiction thread.

Some of mine:

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea -- stories of six escapees' experiences as told to the author in interviews, great narrative format.

Bayshore Summer: Finding Eden in a Most Unlikely Place -- I'm not particularly interested in science and nature and was hooked!

Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year -- honest portrayal of one woman's experience.

Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England -- excellent reference, focusing on the burden of women.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food -- well-written combination of both the food, and Chinese immigrant experience.

Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible -- interesting, often funny, look at the entire Old Testament.
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:39 PM   #2
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. A really interesting story about a woman whose cells became the first 'immortal' cells in medical research.

Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant. A woman resolves to live for one year doing absolutely everything Oprah says. A bit silly in parts, but she makes some really good observations.

Columbine by Dave Cullen. A really interesting look into the people and events surrounding the Columbine shooting.

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman. A fascinating book that scientifically examines how children learn. The chapter on learning race was a standout.

No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. Another book based on a blog, this one about a man who tries to love for an entire year making no impact on the environment. The parts where he gets all philosophical can be a bit tiresome, but the parts where he describes his learning process and lets us just watch him are very interesting.
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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I read Living Oprah - not sure I thought it was recommend-able, but the author's point about Oprah's contradictory messages seemed like a good one.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:35 PM   #4
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I've read a number of Distributist books since the first of the year - works by GK Chesterton, Hillaire Belloc and AJ Penty.

No one stands out. I don't think they completely got their act together, but I found it all to be very interesting.

Thanks to Patricia, these were available from the MR Library.

And I should add the treatise that started it all, Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII, which Patricia also placed in the library.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:48 AM   #5
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These are the non-fiction I've enjoyed most in 2010:

Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed.

The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield.

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier.

A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.

Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and his Revolutionary Comic Strip by Nevin Martell.

-David
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:38 AM   #6
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A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.
Thanks for the reminder -- my library has it as an Epub!
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Old 10-10-2010, 02:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Thanks for the reminder -- my library has it as an Epub!
Libraries with epubs? Hmm...I'll have to check if my local library has those.

-David
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:26 PM   #8
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Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:04 AM   #9
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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson

Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French

Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England by Steve Jones
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:37 PM   #10
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Well - I just read Ann Rule's The Stranger Beside Me this year. I guess I'm a little behind the times! (But this was a good book!)
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:55 PM   #11
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I highly recommend:

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:27 PM   #12
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Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
I loved this one too! And I'm going to say the very closely related:

Half the Sky by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Amazing, eye-opening book about the trials women face in developing countries.

Also,

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. This book showed me the world I'm living in. Completely amazing.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:45 PM   #13
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Hi all,

My favorite non-fiction book - and one I just bought a fresh copy of because I lost contact with the person who borrowed my other copy - is Roland Huntsford's The Last Place on Earth.

This details the race to the South Pole between Amundsen and Scott.

An extraordinary work, thoroughly entertaining, and a real eye-opener for someone like me who thought of Scott as a hero, due to my initial upbringing in England.

Cheers,
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:29 PM   #14
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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea -- stories of six escapees' experiences as told to the author in interviews, great narrative format.
I read this a few weeks ago. It was just heartbreaking.
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:28 PM   #15
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I highly recommend:

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
My library just obtained that one as an Epub as well!
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