What We're Reading in November, 2016:

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What We're Reading in November, 2016:

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nov 7, 2016, 7:26 am

I'm reading a cross between history and biography: History's People: Personalities and the Past by Margaret MacMillan.

Redigerat: nov 7, 2016, 8:56 pm

Just finished Last Voyage of the Hornet, by Kristin Krause. Its for teenagers, but I read it with my son and it was a great give-mom-and-teenaged-son-something-to-talk-about book. Teens like dystopian, vampire fantasy these days, so it is rare and to find new nonfiction for teens.

nov 8, 2016, 3:20 am

I've just finished Grayson Perry's The Descent of Man about modern masculinity - interesting, passionate and very funny.

nov 8, 2016, 3:34 pm

I started Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table by Ellen Wayland-Smith.

nov 8, 2016, 4:35 pm

I just finished An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. I very much enjoyed this collection of essays by Sacks about people living, with various degrees of success, with (relatively) unusual defects, injuries and abnormalities of brain function and cognitive abilities. We read about the man who through an injury becomes severely color blind, a man who gains use of his eyes for the first time as an adult, a man who has constant, overwhelming visions of the small town in Italy he grew up in but also possesses both the ability to point those visions and the obsession to do so. Plus, in the book's final essay, an introduction to Temple Grandin, the autistic woman who did so much to help the general public understand autism and also contributed so much to the science of compassionate animal husbandry. Sacks wrote with clearly and effectively, and with an empathy and enthusiasm that soon becomes infectious for the reader.

nov 10, 2016, 11:39 am

I'm reading a pair of jump-start-your-career books by Cal Newport, So Good They Can't Ignore You and Deep Work.

nov 12, 2016, 8:26 pm

>8 Rayaowen: I read that a couple of months ago, and loved it. It might be one of my favourite books for this year.

Redigerat: nov 13, 2016, 7:54 pm

Norman Rockwell Illustrator
by Arthur L. Guptill
3/5 stars

Originally written in 1946 and re-released several times, Arthur L. Guptill had been given permission and cooperation from Norman Rockwell to write this book on Rockwell's life as an illustrator. The book contains some of Rockwell's most famous paintings and provides details of his art process. Rockwell goes over how he decides on what to paint, facts about some of his most famous paintings and his use of his neighbors and family as models. While not a true biography, we get a look at his life as an artist. Very interesting!

nov 13, 2016, 9:34 pm

I've just finished it. So amazing, I'm sure I'll read it again.

nov 14, 2016, 3:03 am

I'm reading Bob Stanley's history of pop music, Yeah Yeah Yeah

nov 14, 2016, 12:18 pm

>8 Rayaowen: Sounds like something I would like. Thanks for the recommendation.

nov 15, 2016, 7:46 pm

Just finished Dead Wake a highly recommended account of the sinking of the Lusitania and the reasons the Brits and Germans are to blame. The "Ahmurhacans" seem to get off scott-free.

'Currently thoroughly enjoying Double Cross The True Story of the D-Day Spies. Fascinating!

nov 16, 2016, 12:34 pm

>14 Sandydog1: Erik Larsen is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. Dead Wake is on my reading list.

nov 18, 2016, 10:58 pm

Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table
Ellen Wayland-Smith
3.5/5 stars
In the mid 1800's a young religious man called John Humphrey Noyes feels a calling to start a new faith community in rural New York called the Oneida Community. This community based on free love, equality of the sexes and eugenics takes off. Ellen Wayland-Smith, an ancestor of Noyes writes a compelling story of the history of her ancestor, the community he developed and the silver wear the community made to support themselves.

nov 19, 2016, 9:13 am

Taking the suggestion from >11 Rayaowen: Rayaowen, I read Adventures in Human Being. I agree it was quite enjoyable and interesting.

nov 20, 2016, 5:33 am

I am reading Awaiting The Golden Age - very thoughtful and beautifully written and presented.

Redigerat: nov 20, 2016, 7:26 am

Reading Without You, There Is No Us, a memoir about the writer's time in North Korea teaching English.

nov 20, 2016, 8:46 am

19: framboise, that was a very interesting book. After I read it, I read a novel by the same author, The Interpreter, which explored similar themes of not knowing if what you believe is true.

nov 20, 2016, 9:22 am

>20 LynnB:: Thanks. I will check out that novel. I've read a couple of other nonfiction books about North Korea in the past year, the most memorable being Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick.

nov 20, 2016, 8:58 pm

I'm on the downhill slope of God and the Goddesses, which has been an excellent read: summary views of medieval Christian thealogy, of Dame Kind, Caritas, Sophia, and Mary.

nov 24, 2016, 8:45 am

I finished the LTER Get Well Soon. This is a well researched and informative non-fiction book whose author's inserts herself throughout. At first this very much irritated me but as I proceeded I acclimated to her humor and personal comments. The descriptions of the plagues, their spread, and the efforts, effective and not, to combat them was illuminating.

nov 24, 2016, 9:54 am

Just finished Hagseed I enjoyed it, interesting take on The Tempest. Found some of it rather unrealistic - I really don't think that the prisoners putting on the play would have come up with the ideas they did in the end, nor would the whole thing have gone as smoothly as it did. The end esp seemed like the voice of the author. But it was still well worth the read just for the ideas that were generated about the play.

nov 24, 2016, 4:10 pm

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West
Dorothy Wickenden
3.5/5 stars
In 1916, two young, upper class women graduates of Smith College decide to travel to a rural mountain community in Colorado to teach children for a year.
Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamund Underwood had spent time on the continent and were home wondering what they were going to do. Neither was engaged to be married at the time and were at loose ends. In the meantime, Ferry Carpenter, lawyer and businessman from Colorado was looking for women to come and teach in his community and maybe even marry and stay in the community. The two women eagerly take on this commitment in a far different environment and cultural setting than they were used to in their lives and came away with an appreciation for their experience. This book is based on the women's letters and readers will experience their lives in a unfamiliar setting and feel their enthusiasm in taking on a new adventure.

I really enjoyed this book which was written by Dorothy's granddaughter who is an executive director and writer at The New Yorker.

nov 25, 2016, 9:50 am

Oh I read that last year and enjoyed it - love stories from that time period. Fascinated by the history, although I thought it was a bit of an info dump for part of it. But all in all would recommend it for people interested in the time and place.

nov 27, 2016, 6:22 pm

>27 LynnB: Will be interested in your review of Hammer's book.

nov 27, 2016, 9:16 pm

>27 LynnB: I read two different articles about that - one in the NYer I think and one in the Smithsonian. Meant to get the book and then forgot - thanks for the reminder, I definitely want to read that!

nov 29, 2016, 1:08 pm

I finished a book, Life Breaks In which is a series of essays that are memoir, philosophy, psychology, and so much more, focused on trying to answer what is "mood": A thorough musing on the topic. I totally enjoyed the book, following its convoluted, brilliant train of thought.

dec 1, 2016, 2:44 pm

I'm currently about halfway through House of Rain by Craig Childs. So far it's been an intriguing mix of travelogue, natural history, personal reflection, and archaeology. First time with this author. I have a feeling I'll be checking his other books in the future.

dec 1, 2016, 4:55 pm

>32 ThomasWatson:

I actually thought Childs' Secret Knowledge of Water was better than House of Rain, largely thanks to having lived for six years in Tucson; I see you're there now, and would definitely recommend you check that one out.

dec 2, 2016, 12:57 pm

I can recommend My Holiday in North Korea for those interested in more on the DPRK, although it's a bit more superficial than the other books mentioned.

dec 5, 2016, 12:28 pm

>33 lorax: I will.