May/June 2019 ~ Which non-fiction books are you perusing?
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Yesterday afternoon, the Mueller Report was at the top of my
must-read-immediately list. I decided to download the 99 cent
Kindle offering (released report/no commentary). The obstruction
section was my starting point. The text-to-speech feature allows
me to go back and forth between the eBook and Alexa's narration.
General observations ~
The Mueller report is a two-part, historic government document describing in great detail the questionable actions of an unhinged leader and his enablers. Unfortunately, the report's findings do not appear to be alarming the public-at-large because many people believe Barr's summary, and Trumpism has become the drug-of-choice for at least 35 to 40% of Americans. The Trump administration has to be a dream come true for Putin and his ilk around the globe.
Mueller and McGahn are American heroes.
Lincoln must be shedding a waterfall of tears for the party he founded.
This is the interesting and absurdly true story about the famous painter Salavdor Dali who had written a screenplay and wanted the Marx Brothers to be in it. Josh Frank had been researching unmade film scripts when he found mention of Dali’s script originally titled The Surrealist Woman and from there he had his subject for this book. Through painstaking research he pieced together the story of Giraffes on Horseback Salad screenplay. Illustrated by Manuela Perte and adapted with Tim Heidecker, this book contains the graphic novel based on the screenplay and the written story of the strangest movie never made. One of my favorite trivia bits from the book was how did Harpo and Dali (who became friends) communicate. Neither spoke each other’s language but both wives spoke German so they could translate for their husbands. Graphic Novel/Non-Fiction
I've also finished Indefensible: One Lawyer's Journey into the Inferno of American Justice by David Feige. David Feige spent fifteen years as a public defender in the hellish court system of the South Bronx. He subsequently became a writer and a frequent guest on Court TV, whatever that it. At any rate, Indefensible is Feige's very well-written and often harrowing memoir/expose of his years as a severely over-worked advocate for those who had either fallen or jumped into the frequently entirely cold-hearted legal system.
...and finished. If you are a linguistics grad student, you are absolutely going to love this book. For me (strong back, weak mind) this was a heckuva lot of intellectual heavy-lifting. The only parts I really understood were the descriptions of English, French, Spanish...that's about it. Grammatical nuances of Bantu and Cheyenne? Not so much. My eyes glazed over. I'd give it 3 stars due to personal taste; it deserves four.
Currently reading The Rise and Fall of Alexandria. Excellent.
By David Sedaris
Sedaris (one of my favorite authors) writes about his life and his family in a no holds barred look using his oddball sense of dark humor to ease the pain of difficult times and to celebrate good times.
Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales by Marta McDowell *****
(her bio/her gardens in 4 seasons/tours of her various homes and gardens/a listing of all the plants/includes photos and many of BP's exquisite drawings)
Mallory O’Meara, the author of this book and also a horror screenwriter and film producer, through sheer tenacity was able to track down and put together the story of Milicent Patrick. Patrick came from an artistic family and grew up in the town near the Hearst Castle in California where her father worked as superintendent of construction on the Castle. Milicent, who was quite artistic, was involved in the designing of the monster from the movie The Lady From the Black Lagoon and also worked on the animation/drawings of A Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia but who eventually lost her job due to a jealous boss. What a wonderfully interesting book!
Also, I just finished an audio version of The Rise and Fall of Alexandria. Plenty of amazing stories of intellectual superheros - including Hero. They produced a giant lighthouse, geography, steam devices, braille, siege engines, maps of the world, a philosophical framework for world religions, and so much more before Christians beat down the pagan philosophers in the streets. No, the library was not wiped out by fires from Caesar's ships. The destruction of these records of science, mathematics, medicine, technology, and philosophy occurred much later. This could be my pick for best nonfiction of the year. **** 1/2
This book covers the life of Betty DeGeneres up to 1999 when it was first published. Betty and her kids had a tumultuous life. Betty was divorced, remarried and divorced again. She talks about her marriages and life after marriage, her children and their lives and struggles and especially the events surrounding her daughter Ellen and her coming out. Well written and very interesting.
This is the true story of the life of Hope Jahren and her career as a geobiologist. Her cohort and assistant Bill is by her side for most of the book and he is an quite a character! Alternating chapters discuss her life with her work. Sometime the science bogs down the flow of the narrative but overall I found it interesting and I learned a lot about the science of trees, flowers and soil.
by Therese Oneill
Oneill, in a humorously satirical style, details the awfulness of being a woman in the Victorian Age. You will be glad you live in today’s modern era after reading what women had to do to keep up appearances and take care of their family and home. Interesting and a fast read!
I finished Michael Wolff's Siege: Trump Under Fire, and It was interesting but not as good as Fire and Fury, IMHO.
I'm still reading Pigeons by Andrew D. Blechman, but going slowly because it's hard to read what we've done and continue to do to these "flying rats."
My other current books are fiction.
A graphic version of the Mueller Report is going to be published in April of next year ~ a picture is worth a thousand words!
Also, finished an Early Reviewer copy of Alchemy the dark art and curious science. I love campy, snarky books about behavioral economics, group psychology and marketing. I've read many (Gladwell, Levitt, Ariely, McRaney, Miller, Lindsburg et multi al) and this one also, did not disappoint. ****
And I just finished Accessory to War. A monster of a book. The early chapters, from ancient history to oh, about WW II, were particularly fascinating easy to understand, and heavy on early scientific history. As things got a bit more technical in later years, the book was just a bit of a slog. Still, the authors provide a great review of recent political and international history. Well worth reading. ****