Nonfiction November Week 4: Reads Like Fiction

Welcome to Nonfiction November week 4! I’m hosting, so don’t forget to add your posts to the link-up at the very end. Our theme: Week 4: (Nov. 19 to 23) – Reads Like Fiction (Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction): Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it … Continue reading Nonfiction November Week 4: Reads Like Fiction

A Narrative Nonfiction Classic on Cultural Clashes in Medicine

Book review: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman (Amazon / Book Depository) Published twenty years ago this year, this book consistently tops lists of the best (narrative) nonfiction. I was late reading it, but so glad I finally got around to it. This’ll be my last review this year – next week I’ll post my year end best-of lists – … Continue reading A Narrative Nonfiction Classic on Cultural Clashes in Medicine

Ted Bundy’s Coworker: The Biggest Break of a Crime Writer’s Life

Image of Highway 101 cutting through the old growth forests of Washington State by Sam Beebe (Slow – Hwy 101 old growth Uploaded by admrboltz) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Book review: The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule If In Cold Blood is the granddaddy of true crime, and a standout of quality narrative nonfiction regardless of genre, then The Stranger Beside Me must be next … Continue reading Ted Bundy’s Coworker: The Biggest Break of a Crime Writer’s Life

Midyear Recap (…A Little Late)

I wasn’t planning to do a midyear best-of list, and July is already half gone, so…well past the halfway mark. But realizing how many truly excellent nonfiction titles have come out already this year, I thought a year-end recap would be way too long if I didn’t collect some standouts from the year’s beginning! And I promise these are worth every minute of your precious … Continue reading Midyear Recap (…A Little Late)

Virginia Burning

Book review: American Fire, by Monica Hesse In the American countryside, during five months from 2012 to 2013, a terrified county nearly went up in flames. The place was Accomack County, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, within the East Coast’s picturesque Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) region. “The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a hangnail, a hinky peninsula separated from the rest of the state by the Chesapeake Bay … Continue reading Virginia Burning

Murders in Indian Country and the FBI’s Beginnings

Book review: Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann (Amazon / Book Depository) It’s a deeply unfortunate, painful characteristic of American history that crimes against Native Americans are often lost to history. If you read a book like Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, you’re hit with wave after wave of frustration with each successive incident of their treatment at the hands and laws of … Continue reading Murders in Indian Country and the FBI’s Beginnings

Rest in peace. You are not forgotten.

Book review: History of a Disappearance, by Filip Springer “‘Our memories of the town keep getting more beautiful as the years go by,’ they laugh, because that’s how human memory is – it sifts out the bad and only holds on to beautiful images.” It’s a strange but true facet of history that for several periods of many years, Poland didn’t exist. Situated between Germany and Russia, … Continue reading Rest in peace. You are not forgotten.

Simpler Times: When Bill Met Monica

Book review: A Vast Conspiracy, by Jeffrey Toobin I was too young to understand much about, or grasp the gravity of what an impeachment was when it happened. What I remember most vividly of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky saga was the edition of the newspaper where the lurid details appeared (maybe it was excerpts of the Starr report, I’m not sure). It carried a parental advisory warning … Continue reading Simpler Times: When Bill Met Monica

An Australian in the Dark Heart of Mississippi

Book review: God’ll Cut You Down, by John Safran In this tornado of a book, Australian TV and radio personality John Safran chronicles his obsession with a Southern American murder case involving the death of a white supremacist at the hands of a young black man in Mississippi. That’s the basic premise, but the paths that the story takes from there are pretty extraordinary. Safran had a comedy … Continue reading An Australian in the Dark Heart of Mississippi

Do You Ever Just Want to Be Left Alone?

Book review: The Stranger in the Woods, by Michael Finkel (Amazon / Book Depository) “How long,” she asks, “have you been living in the woods?” “Decades,” he says. Vance would prefer something more specific. “Since what year?” she presses. Once more with the years. He has made the decision to talk, and it’s important to him to speak strictly the truth. Anything else would be wasting words. … Continue reading Do You Ever Just Want to Be Left Alone?

Trekking the Urals for a Soviet Mystery

Book review: Dead Mountain, by Donnie Eichar Book Depository In February 1959, nine experienced hikers died under mysterious circumstances on a cross-country ski trip in the Ural Mountains. They were university students, longtime friends, and accustomed to the harsh conditions and remote, exerting atmosphere of hiking and skiing during winter at the border of Siberia. When search parties were dispatched to the region, some distance from … Continue reading Trekking the Urals for a Soviet Mystery

How it Feels When a Cold Case Warms Up

Book review: Jane Doe January, by Emily Winslow Some years ago, I made the decision to stop reading a book if I wasn’t enjoying it. Life is short and my reading list is never-ending. 40-odd pages into Jane Doe January, I put it aside with no desire to continue, and I’m not sure why I eventually did. I think because I’d looked forward to it for so long, I couldn’t accept … Continue reading How it Feels When a Cold Case Warms Up