Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Monday! And I'm Making Nonfiction Plans!

This post is another addition to my new series, Chronicles of a Delinquent Blogger. I spent so much time working on my disguise for my Amazon Bookstore field trip last week that I didn’t get around to posting the reviews of the two books I read: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge and Beyond Measure: Rescuing An Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation by Vicki Abeles. The good news is that I have a day off work this week (Hip Hip Hooray!), so hopefully I’ll get those posted soon.

I’ve had a couple of requests for the Big Reveal of the Blogoversary Book (i.e. My favorite book from October 2014 to October 2015). It was The Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob! I will be doing a “Best of 2015” list in December, so the question will be whether any book can unseat that champion in the next couple of months.

I had grand intentions to participate this year in Nonfiction November. I already know that I will not be able to manage doing the special weekly posts involved in this event. However, I do have a stack of nonfiction that is sitting here waiting for me. I hope to get to all of these this month – or at least soon!

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is the book that everyone’s talking about this year, and Coates won a MacArthur Genius Award following its publication.

From Goodreads: In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Ghettoside by Jill Leovy

This book could be an interesting pairing with the Coates book. It could provide entry into a conversation about authorship and race, given that it’s written by a white author and focuses on a white detective  -- and tackles the issue of crime in an African American neighborhood.

From Goodreads: On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man was shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of hundreds of young men slain in LA every year. His assailant ran down the street, jumped into an SUV, and vanished, hoping to join the vast majority of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes. But as soon as the case was assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shifted. Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential American murder--one young black man slaying another--and a determined crew of detectives whose creed was to pursue justice at all costs for its forgotten victims. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of murder in America--why it happens and how the plague of killings might yet be stopped.

I have a (eat, pray) love/hate relationship with Gilbert’s writing. However, I went to her talk about this book when she was in town, and it was pretty inspirational. (As a side note, I never knew how many middle aged women carrying pretty journals and wearing knee-high leather boots from Nordstrom could fit in a single auditorium!) I will definitely need to tackle this one when I’m in the right mood.

From Goodreads: Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.


I love Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess, but I have to admit that I have rarely loved books that come from blogs.  I wasn’t that crazy about her first one, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. But still, I’m going to give this one a whirl, since her 2011 post, “And That’s Why You Should Learn To Pick Your Battles,” was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

From Goodreads: In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, Furiously Happy, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

Happy reading week, everyone! Please let me know if you're reading any good nonfiction these days.

(It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is sponsored by Book Date)


Kathryn T said...

Often when you hear an author talk it changes your expectation and attitude to a book and you come to it with more understanding. Smiled at your description of the women attending the talk!

jennifer said...

Thanks, Kathryn! You're right about many author talks.

Elizabeth said...

I was the lucky winner of the book.

THANKS again, Jennifer.

ENJOY your week.

Silver's Reviews
My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

Stefanie said...

I added Coates' book earlier in the afternoon. It will be eye-opening to walk a mile in his shoes.

Lisa said...

I got the Coates book from the library but had to return it & request it again. On the one hand, I'm glad so many people are waiting to read it, but it will be a while before I get it again.

I'll be interested to see what you think of Jenny Lawson's book. It was too painful for me in some sections .

jennifer said...

Stefanie, I bought the Coates book a few weeks ago and am working my way toward it. I want to be truly present when I tackle it.

Lisa, thanks for the warning about the Lawson book. I'll let you know what I think.

Congrats again to you, Elizabeth!