Tag Archive: non-fiction




A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War IIA Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Juliet Stevenson (Narrator) kept this story alive. I felt I was right in the moment with Virginia Hall as she attempted to end the war on her own, seeing that few men could do what this poor, disabled woman could.

This book was written very well. I often find nonfiction biographies boring and stilted. The author was able to write this with the urgency of a fictional spy thriller.

In this day of women losing rights, this will strengthen your determination to keep everyone free. This was a true American who happened to be a woman. Please read it if you have the chance.

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Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still CouldMidnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam Schiff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Midnight in Washington was not a good book to read before going to sleep. It was a Libby (library) audio in the author’s voice, so I wanted to neither keep myself awake on reliving the horror of January 6th or miss parts of the story by falling asleep as the recording continued. So I settled on listening while busy with my hobbies, keeping my hands busy but my mind engaged in the reading.

I saw the author, Adam Schiff, on several talk shows and knew I wanted to hear his account of what had happened. I was surprised and pleased to see he included an autobiography. Meaning you were seeing what happened from his point of view.

I felt the book was honest and fair to others as it occurred to the author.

It is interesting having read this before the hearings we are listening to today. I feel more engaged and understand more. I highly recommend this book, especially in Adam Schiff’s calming voice.

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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal FreedomThe Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our church is using this book for discussion. I was happy it was a quick, easy read. I picked up the Audible version. I liked it very much, and I am sure after listening to the discussions, I will have learned so much more than my quick read. I will be listening to it a few more times and maybe have a notebook ready as I think I glossed over some parts. If I do pick up a lot more, I will come back and revise my review.

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PersistPersist by Elizabeth Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this audiobook up on Libby. For a non-fiction memoir, it was a quick ‘read.” I think it was a couple of sessions. Elizabeth Warren read her book, which made it even better. She is so enthusiastic and thorough. I love her take on the world. I wish I felt as optimistic as she is that all this could work. But I’m all for trying.

Ms. Warren brought up every issue facing women. She also gave ideas on how to handle the bigotry in the world. Her voice and energy are contagious. I enjoyed the stories of her life. I highly recommend this book.

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The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

by Nikole Hannah-Jones (Narrator)

I can’t remember who recommended this book to me first. It might have been my church. Or one of my best friends. In either case, thank you! You see, I have always hated history classes. You had to remember men’s names dates and the wars they started or ended with men’s bigger guns. I did have a fantastic History teacher in college. He included music and arts in his lectures. Even still the history was just that HIStory. And only with this book did I see that it was white men’s HIStory.

 

This audiobook from Libby was all-inclusive. I think I need to add the book blurb.

 

  Duration: 18 hours and 57 minutes <– Just in case you have limited time.

 

“A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, ‘The 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY’ offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

 

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

 

‘THE 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY’ builds on one of the most consequential journalistic events of recent years: The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project,” which reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on the original 1619 Project, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This legacy can be seen in the way we tell stories, the way we teach our children, and the way we remember. Together, the elements of the book reveal a new origin story for the United States, one that helps explain not only the persistence of anti-Black racism and inequality in American life today but also the roots of what makes the country unique.

 

The book also features a significant elaboration of the original project’s Pulitzer Prize-winning lead essay, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, on how the struggles of Black Americans have expanded democracy for all Americans, as well as two original pieces from Hannah-Jones, one of which makes a profound case for reparative solutions to this legacy of injustice.

 

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction – and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.”

 

There are so many contributors and voices throughout. It is poetry and prose of beauty included in the ugliest of actions against people.

 

I found I couldn’t read it as a bedtime book. I would either aim to keep reading or have nightmares/ So I used this as the background as I worked on my Diamond Painting. My hands were busy so my mind could engage.

 

I highly recommend this book. I would love it to be used in schools as inclusive his/herstory.


Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest TrailThru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will stay with me for a while. Erin Spencer (Narrator) made me feel like I was right there, on the trail, soaking wet or extremely tired. Sometimes a narrator is so good that you think it has to be the author as they seem to maintain the cadence of the written speech as if it were their own. It was fantastically done.

That means the writing was natural and felt genuine. This was a journal of sort of the hiker, Carrot Quinn. She was honest and told the good and the bad of her travels. There were times that I laughed out loud at what happened. And there were tears of seeing the incredible scenery and tears of hurt along the way.

I have to admit I want to do this. But it seems so far away from possible when just getting the dog and I out for our mile walk is tough. A windy day will keep us in. Rain is my dog’s least favorite. She won’t go out, yet I have the raincoat and boots and plenty of umbrellas. Snow is my favorite, but my dog can’t handle it very long, even with coat and pad coverings, so we walk around the yard. So much for my trek.

So it is fun to live vicariously through those who do the long hikes or marathons. Inspiration helps with daily life and gives hope for more.

I want to read this again soon.

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The narrator, Shelly Frasier, made this book so exciting and fun. Well, despite this book being about cadavers and all.

The book was nonfiction, but the author’s stories keep a heavy and sad topic intriguing. Mary Roach includes a history of how humans have handled the dead. She also shows the research of what is working and what is actually causing harm to us and the planet.

I feel the blurb says it best, and with it, you may know if this is for you or not. I might have said no, but a friend told me about it, and she’s usually a bit more squeamish, but she loved it.

“A contagiously cheerful exploration of the cruel diligences executed on some of our bodies when, after death, we abandon them on the threshold of their graves, this book shows us cadavers turned into carcasses, and scientific experiments, the deceased who contribute to the progress of medicine with perforated genitals and extracted eyes, flesh flung from airplanes or shot with bullets to verify the efficiency of new weapons, and discards crucified like Jesus or devoured by maggots. Mary Roach has written a book that explores the great beyond in order to show us the more visible and deplorable side of the next life.”

Try it, you might like it, and possibly learn something. By the way, I got my audio copy from Libby. For those that don’t know it is a library lending service for Kindle or Audiobooks.

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Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of LifeWhy Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a lot more fun than the last book I read. I really enjoyed hearing Lulu Miller tell her story and someone else’s while showing what had influenced her life.

I wanted to be a marine biologist in my way younger days. So this book was up my alley in many ways. Of course, that only lasted for ninth grade, and I learned that math was required for that and being an astronaut. Still, the love of the non-existent fish (and space travel) lingers in my life.

My friend recommended this, and I was able to find it on Libby. I didn’t want to do anything but listen to this story, so I got it done far quicker than most books. Lulu Miller did a great job weaving her life with one she admired. I felt like I was with her experiencing everything with her.

If you get the chance to read/listen to this book, I highly recommend it!

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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great MigrationThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book and the narrator, Robin Miles, were excellent. It is a biography of a few people told like a novel and captivating from the beginning. Ms. Miles was able to act out all the characters so one could identify who was who.

I have two hours left in the book, but I took a break to write this. I spent today with Pandora playing ‘classical study music’ quietly in the background so I could use the whole day to listen to this book without distractions. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it if it were boring. ADD would have sent me away from the book and into other ventures. That gives you a clue of how good this book is.

The other reason I spent the day reading (listening) to this book is that it is a Libby library copy that is due soon, and I have a lineup of books to read that I have already checked out. You know how that is. With some books, I would let it go. Return the book unfinished. But I want to know how it ends. Besides, I have never heard so many facts and insights before, and I feel I am somewhat ‘woke.’ This is a history not told in history classes when I was a student. I hope this book is used in the classroom now.

I highly recommend this and Isabel Wilkerson’s other book, Caste.

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The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionThe Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know who recommended this book for me. Whoever, thank you! This was so interesting!

Having borrowed the Libby audio narrated by the author, I now hope to buy the book someday.

The thing is, this is more than a book about depression, or even one person’s account of his own journey. This book includes a bit of history of the diagnosis and treatment for centuries. It also includes how the disorder affects different socioeconomic sets of people.

I highly recommend this for anyone who has gone through depression or know of others who might be suffering. It leads to not only a deeper understanding, but medical issues and ways to find health.

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