Have any FUN non-fiction recs? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 01-05-2011, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The subject matter is not as important as that it is a fun and interesting read. Ok, maybe the topic matters a bit. Memoirs, history, women's history, world religions, travel, medicine, science, art. . .

I just discovered Mary Roach. I also like Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs.

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#2 of 23 Old 01-06-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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Boy with Loaded Gun by Lewis Nordan is a memoir that is lol funny.

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#3 of 23 Old 01-07-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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I love nonfiction, in fact it's 99% of what I mainly read. I'm currently reading 127 hours. It's interesting; about a man that embarks on a small biking/hiking journey in Utah. It's even been made into a motion picture.


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#4 of 23 Old 01-08-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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Try The Glass Castle . . . great, heartbreaking memoir. Another great one is Jesus Land.

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Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#5 of 23 Old 01-08-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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if you're even remotely into food, try anything by Ruth Reichl. she's funny. another one is The Maneaters of Tsavo by Peter Capstick. It's hard to find (my libe has it, yay!) but if you've seem the movie Ghost and the Darkness, you'll go to any lengths to read that one. thrilling!

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#6 of 23 Old 01-08-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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This is right up my alley, I read mostly non-fiction, all different subjects.

 

Bill Bryson is very entertaining - A Walk In the Woods, Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here Nor There, etc.

 

I can't remember the author's name but he wrote Sex Lives of Cannibals, which is not about sex or cannibals (just a little bit maybe).  His girlfriend (later wife) gets a job with an aid organization and they move to a little island in the South Pacific.  I truly laughed out loud multiple times throughout the book.  The follow up Getting Stone with Savages is also very entertaining.  They eventually have a baby and the parts about pregnancy, birth and raising a baby in a foreign country would appeal to a lot of MDCers.

 

Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight is about the author's life in Africa.  Her parents were British and they lived in Rowanda.  There are very sad parts but overall it is fascinating.

 

The Glass Castle is good but it made me so incredibly angry at the parents, who were knuckleheads.

 

I don't think I got this title right but it is something like Growing Up in MacBeth's Castle by Lady such-n-such Campbell.  Her father was the xth Thane of Caldor and the book is about growing up in the castle and life as a royal in Scotland.  Not exactly a happy story but very interesting.

 

Katharine Grahm's Personal History is one of my all time favorite books.

 

The Big House by (Someone) Colt is about his family's Cape Cod summer home and how through the generations, the family money runs out and by the time he is an adult, the heirs are forced to sell the house.  The book covers the construction in 1903 until present day.

 

No One Would Listen is about the Bernie Madoff scandal and how one guy kept reporting him over and over again and the SEC refused to look into it.   The author started contacting the SEC something like 15 years prior to Madoff's arrest.

 

 

 


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#7 of 23 Old 01-08-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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A Renegade History of the United States is a fun, if a bit heavy handed rewriting of the standard American Narrative.

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#8 of 23 Old 01-11-2011, 10:42 PM
 
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I liked The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. Also, although I'm not really a writer, I do like to read about writing, so I'm enjoying a book called Write Your Heart Out, by Rebecca McClanahan.


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#9 of 23 Old 01-11-2011, 11:05 PM
 
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The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson is super-interesting - Maine lobster fishing culture, lobster fishery politics, all about lobster themselves. Corson write for The Atlantic, too.


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#10 of 23 Old 01-11-2011, 11:46 PM
 
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Oooh, looks like  a good thread to follow. There are some good suggestions so far and here's my two cents.


Humorous essayists: Sloane Crosley, Augusten Burroughs, Simon Rich. I really want to like Sloane Crosley more than I do because she's a woman but IMO, hers and the other two pale in comparision to David Sedaris but they all three write entertaining stuff.


"Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue" by John McWhorter-surprisingly interesting and accessible history of the English language


"The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life through the Pages of a Lost Journal" by Lily Koppel-this is a really neat book by a woman who found a Depression era journal in a garbage pile from her apartment building's basement. The author tracked down the diary's owner.

"Leaving Mother Lake" by Yang Erche Namu-an awesome memoir by a member of a Chinese ethnic minority. Her culture is very pro-woman and although I have very little interest in East Asia, this was a fascinating read.

"Confederates in the Attic"; "A Voyage Long and Strange"-Tony Horowitz. I think he has a bunch of books but these are the only two I've read-in both of them he takes humorous roadtrips through American history.

"In Small Things Forgotten" by James Deetz-If you're at all interested in history, this is a great read by one of the fathers of historic archaeology. Really makes you think about material culture and what we leave behind.

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#11 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 01:56 AM
 
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I second the Bill Bryson recommendation. My favourite is A Walk in the Woods but they're all good.

 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver about her family's year of eating local is very entertaining.

 

I also enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert but 'I haven't read the sequal, Committed, yet.

 

Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin is an interesting book about a fistula hospital in Ethiopia written by the founding doctor. Some of the stories are terribly sad but the overall tone is one of positivity and hope.

 

Thanks for the Mammaries edited by Sarah Darmody is a collection of short stories written by a variety of women about their breasts - size, shape, disease, breastfeeding etc.

 

Ack, I have heaps more but all my books are packed away irked.gif


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#12 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 04:08 AM
 
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I also recommend Animal Vegetable Miracle, if you haven't read it yet--I loved that book! Inspiring. 

 

I also recently enjoyed With These Hands: The Hidden World of Migrant Farmworkers Today by Daniel Rothenberg. It's not a "fun" story per se (abuse is rampant), but so informative and (for me) life-view-changing. 

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#13 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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I also recommend The Glass Castle and Eat, Pray, Love.

 

If you want something in on the parenting topic, then I recommend Nuture Shock. It's not a parenting book, but discusses interesting studies that are all related to parenting.

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#14 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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I think Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights by Burt Ward is hilarious and racy (though not all that graphic).  I also really like Lauren Bacall's biography.  She had a really fascinating life.


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#15 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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I recently read Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldmann and really enjoyed it.  

 

If you are into traditional food, you might like Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck.  

 

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule is a good book about creativity and family life.

 

The Body Project by Joan Jacob Brumberg is a fascinating book about recent women's history.

 

The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen is the inspiring story of a family who decides to downsize by half.

 

I loved Gluten-free Girl by Shauna James Ahern, and I'm not even gluten-free.  It is so empowering to anyone interested in eating healthier in general.  She is a great writer.


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#16 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wookie View Post

if you're even remotely into food, try anything by Ruth Reichl. she's funny. another one is The Maneaters of Tsavo by Peter Capstick. It's hard to find (my libe has it, yay!) but if you've seem the movie Ghost and the Darkness, you'll go to any lengths to read that one. thrilling!



I second Ruth Reichl, specifically Garlic and Sapphires (I haven't read any of her others).  It had me laughing out loud several times, but was serious in places, too.  Her experiences as a New York City food critic were absolutely fascinating.  

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#17 of 23 Old 01-12-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott is a great read. It's her diary from the first year of her son's life. A funny, sometimes heartbreaking, honest look at what it's like to become a new mom.


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#18 of 23 Old 01-15-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Great thread!!!

I LOVED Gluten Free Girl, I am actually reading it for a second time right now..  Toxic Childhood was a good one as well..  


"If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing."
~Agnes Sallet Von Tannenberg
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#19 of 23 Old 01-20-2011, 10:42 PM
 
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Unlikely Disciple

The Know It All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

My Lobotomy

The Little Prisoner

Autobiography of a Face

Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Oogy The Dog Only a Family Could Love

The Invention of Air

Black Wave: A Family's Adventure at Sea and the Disaster That Saved Them

Born on a Blue Day

Conversations With Myself

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season

Embracing the Wide Sky

Fly Boys: A True Story of Courage

However Tall The Mountain

Outcasts United

I am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced

Inside of a Dog

Is It Just Me?

It Sucked and Then I Cried

Kitchen Confidential

Late, Late at Night

Life

Little Pink House

Mennonite in a Little Black dress

Mistaken Identity

Mop Men

No Shortcuts to the Top

Open

Poseidon's Steed

Stones Into Schools

The Kennedy Detail

The Scalpel and the Soul

Turtle Feet

Voluntary Madness

Waiter Rant

We Bought a Zoo

You Don't Look Like Anyone I kKnow

Zoo Story

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#20 of 23 Old 01-21-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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Just Kids, by Patti Smith. It's her memoir of her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe and is mostly set in NYC in the late 60's and early 70's.  I loved it.

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#21 of 23 Old 01-21-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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I just finished The Tender Bar and loved it.

 

http://www.amazon.com/TENDER-BAR-J-R-Moehringer/dp/1401300642

 

 

Quote:
"Long before it legally served me, the bar saved me," asserts J.R. Moehringer, and his compelling memoir The Tender Bar is the story of how and why. A Pulitzer-Prize winning writer for the Los Angeles Times, Moehringer grew up fatherless in pub-heavy Manhasset, New York, in a ramshackle house crammed with cousins and ruled by an eccentric, unkind grandfather. Desperate for a paternal figure, he turns first to his father, a DJ whom he can only access via the radio (Moehringer calls him The Voice and pictures him as "talking smoke"). When The Voice suddenly disappears from the airwaves, Moehringer turns to his hairless Uncle Charlie, and subsequently, Uncle Charlie's place of employment--a bar called Dickens that soon takes center stage. While Moehringer may occasionally resort to an overwrought metaphor (the footsteps of his family sound like "storm troopers on stilts"), his writing moves at a quick clip and his tale of a dysfunctional but tightly knit community is warmly told. "While I fear that we're drawn to what abandons us, and to what seems most likely to abandon us, in the end I believe we're defined by what embraces us," Moehringer says, and his story makes us believe it. --Brangien Davis
 

 

I have read all of Augusten Burroughs books if if you like the genre they are great. 


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#22 of 23 Old 01-21-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post

The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson is super-interesting - Maine lobster fishing culture, lobster fishery politics, all about lobster themselves. Corson write for The Atlantic, too.



Loved that one! He also did one about sushi.

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#23 of 23 Old 01-21-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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The Legacy of Luna (written by Julia "Butterfly" Hill). It's about her time spent living in a redwood tree, attempting to prevent loggers from cutting it down.

 

No Law Against Mercy (by Barbara Lyn Lapp and Rachel Lapp).

 

 

Quote:
 
In 1993, 15-year-old Billy Stefan was in state custody, isolated from his family, drugged, and beaten. His father helped him escape from the boy's home--his place of torment--and the authors, Barbara Lyn Lapp and Rachel Lapp, offered him refuge in their home. As authorities searched for the missing boy, the Lapp sisters helped him with secret media interviews that spilled across the nation his terrifying accounts of abuse at the hands of America's child protective system.

 

I know it's not "fun", but it is an interesting read. 

 

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything your American History textbook got wrong by James Loewen. Self explanatory.

 

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