Tag Archives: nonfiction

Unforgettable

unforgettable

Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime
By Scott Simon

Genre: Memoir
Rating: * * * * (4 of 5)
Copyright 3/31/2015 by Flatiron Books

This book sounds in print just the way Scott Simon sounds on air.

Simon projects a thoughtfulness and poignancy on air which comes through exactly the same way in this memoir and tribute to his mother, her life, and the incredible bond they shared.

It is little wonder that Simon’s reporting balances facts with whimsy and humor, given the example his mother set for him:
“Write thank-you notes. Tip well. Sing. Drink responsibly. Remember that good manners cost nothing, and open doors. Reach out to someone who is lonely. Make them laugh. Help people smile.”

P.S. What a terrific photo on the cover of the book!

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I Hear a Red Crayon

RedCrayon

I Hear a Red Crayon: a Child’s Perspective of Her Brother’s Autism
by Bonnie Feuer
(c) October 2015
The Connecticut Press and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Genre:  Children’s Nonfiction

Rating:  * * * *

A combination of the title and the cover image drew me to this book about a girl growing up with an autistic brother.

The illustrations really make this book work:  I felt an instant connection with the confusion and disorder as well as the breakthrough moments of joy and understanding through the black-and-white images.

While the text may appeal mostly to older kids and young adults, the illustrations make the book equally – or perhaps even more – accessible for younger children.

Thank you to NetGalley, The Connecticut Press, and IBPA for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

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The World’s Strongest Librarian

Librarian

The World’s Strongest Librarian
A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
by Josh Hanagarne
audiobook read by Stephen R. Thorne

Rating: * * * *

Not a wasted moment drawing the listener into this audiobook!

What did he do with all the arms?  Gotta love this kid, I was thinking through helpless laughter as the author relayed his quite logical childhood reaction to the story of a warrior smiting his enemies by lopping off their arms, this kind of pragmatism has got to bode well.

By the time the author bestowed upon his symptoms a name of their own: Misty (after all, they took on a personality all their own) I was totally hooked, and I remained that way through his long journey of learning to cope with Tourette’s.

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy
Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals

by Dinty W. Moore
Ten Speed Press (c) 2015
Nonfiction (Adult)

Rating: * * * *

What a riot! The questions sent to Mister Essay Writer Guy are giggle-worthy, the responses are snort-worthy, and the essays that follow leave me laughing long after I’ve finished (re-)reading them.

In the vein of Ben Franklin’s infamous letter to his (former) friend Mr. Strahan which was signed,
You are now my enemy, –
And I am, –
Yours.
B. Franklin
.

This is the kind of book to pick up in a durable format, the better to stand up to frequent use.

Thank you to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

Going Commando

Going Commando by Mark Time

Going Commando

Going Commando

February 2014, Troubador Publishing

Rating: * * * *

Hilarious, absurd, and impossible to put down!

Thank you, author Mark Time, for recommending this selection.

Ely Echoes

Ely Echoes by Bob Cary
(c) 2000
Published by Pfeifer-Hamilton

Rating: * * * * *

“Jackpine Bob” Cary, journalist and long-time editor of the Ely Echo, has collected a series of observations, escapades, and spoofs spanning his Depression-era youth through his golden years into an anthology of several-page stories infused with his trademark humor and energy.

My absolute favorite of these – and let me assure you it was not easy to select just one favorite to write about – is Second Time Around, a hilarious chronicle of Cary’s less-than-smooth wedding and honeymoon trip at age 76 with 64-year-old longtime friend and new bride Edith.

A Dog Named Slugger

Slugger

A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill

(c) 2010

Bell Bridge Books

Rating:  * * *

It is amazing to me the things a dog can be trained to do, and how much that dog and its skills can enhance a person’s quality of life.  In this non-fiction book, the author, a woman with Cerebral Palsy, describes how her life changed when she was matched with service dog Slugger.  I really enjoyed reading about Slugger and other dogs like him.

Among Friends

Among Friends:  Stories from the Journey by Father Jim Sichko

Published 2014 by Premier Digital Publishing

Rating:  * * * *

You’ve gotta love a book written by a priest with help from a horror-fiction writer and an art thief turned life coach.  Which is its own endorsement of the book:  it just goes to show that inspiration is available from the most unlikely sources if we just take care to recognize it.

Among Friends is a collection of tidbits and humorous stories demonstrating the practical application of aphorisms like Little things matter.  Bloom where you are planted.  Notice someone.  The trickle down effect.  Sometimes it’s a winding road.  Aha! moments strike when least expected.  Which leads us back to the author and his friends, who recognized aha! when they saw it.

Thank you to Premier Digital Publishing and NetGalley for the copy I received in exchange for a review.

The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide

The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide

(c) 2013 by Creek Stewart.  Published by Living Ready Books

Rating:  * * * *

With frequent references to the materials Katniss and the other characters in The Hunger Games use to survive, this book provides the reader with an overview of survival techniques using the resources at hand to build shelters, find and purify water, forage for food, navigate, perform first aid, etc.

I really like this book because I expect it will grab the attention of readers who would not otherwise pick up an outdoors book. Each section is quick to read, full of references to the trilogy of books with which the author is clearly familiar, and contains photos for illustration.  While not exhaustive, the book goes into enough detail to spur interest in exploring the survival techniques further.

The author stresses that while The Hunger Games aren’t real, occurrences like getting lost while hiking or car breakdowns on rural roads – outside cell phone coverage areas – are.  A little knowledge can go a long way in preventing hypothermia and other adverse outcomes.

Death on the Barrens

Barrens

Death on the Barrens:  A True Story of Courage and Tragedy in the Canadian Arctic

by George James Grinnell

First published January 1, 2009 by North Atlantic Books

Rating:  * * *

The author, one of six young men on an ill-advised, poorly planned Arctic trip in the 1950s resulting in the death of the trip leader, recounts the experience from the distance of 50 years.

This is a memoir, not an autobiography.  Rather than focusing on the events of the trip, the book is about the participants:  their hubris, expectations, hopes, fears, anxieties, and reactions to the changing conditions throughout the journey.  As should be expected, the author’s experience is front and center, with descriptions of the other participants adding context.  Grinnell strays into rants from time to time, but since the chapters are all quite short it’s easy to move on.

This is a quick read that will leave you shaking your head.  I recommend reading it.

If you like this book, you may also like Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

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