Nonfiction Books I Never Reviewed: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday

No, I didn’t link to the wrong post. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is actually “Questions I Would Ask My Favorite Authors” but that wasn’t doing much for me. Since I just joined this meme last week, I missed out on the “Books I Read but Never Reviewed” topic. That spoke to me a lot so that’s what I’m doing! There are so many that I broke out the nonfiction books into their own post this week.

Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland by Jeremy B. Jones–Bearwallow is a mountain back home in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina and this memoir/collection of essays felt a lot like home. The author and I must be about the same age so we’ve shared a lot of the same experiences. I don’t know how wide the appeal is, but themes of rural communities in flux and clinging to the past feel pretty universal.

We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich–I like to think that this author and I would have been fast friends if we’d ever met. She details her family’s life and all of their daily mishaps living in the Maine woods in the 1940s. Her writing style is much like my in-person storytelling style, with plenty of dry, self-deprecating humor that kept me laughing out loud and reading endless passages to my husband.

Adventures in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Lucy Bird–I’ve been thinking about this book a lot lately as I’ve been hiking in the Cascades. Miss Bird embarked on something of a world tour all on her own in the late 1800s and wrote regular letters back home to her sister in Great Britain. This particular volume details her time hiking and mountain climbing in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado–in her proper British-lady skirts. I don’t know how she did it!

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande–I don’t know what possessed me to check this out but I’m glad I did. It’s a book that everyone should read, especially those who are getting older and their family members. I worked healthcare for a really long time. I was mostly on the fringes of the action but I saw enough to know that death, at least in the States, is complicated and there are a lot of decisions and discussions that should take place while family members are still healthy(ish). Dr. Gawande discusses quality of life vs quantity of life, elder care, and alternatives to our current depressing nursing home model. It’s a good starting point for difficult, absolutely necessary conversations.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams–In these troubled times, who couldn’t use words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, men who have face immense challenges, about embracing happiness where you find it? I read this several years ago but I’ve recommended it to many people since then.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, read by Sunil Malhotra and Cassandra Campbell–Oh my goodness. I’m not a crier but when I finished listening to this, I was almost ugly-crying sitting in rush hour traffic. My need to see the road was the only thing that prevented it. Dr. Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36. He penned this reflection on mortality and defining what’s important and the doctor/patient relationship as seen from both sides of the equation during his struggle.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann–I suspect that I speak for the majority of people when I write that my image of Native American culture prior to Columbus’s landing is of tiny, disparate villages and a fairly small total population on two large continents. I somehow even imagine most travel as being fairly localized. Mann details evidence of large cities that would rival those of Europe! There’s also evidence of vast trading networks. There was a lot of fascinating detail in this look at the populations of both North and South America prior to 1492.

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean–I was a biology major in college so I took my share of chemistry classes but it was never really my thing. Hence the biology degree instead of a chemistry degree, right? Someone on GoodReads (I can’t remember who) raved about this book and I decided to give it a try. It was fascinating! Keane explained the discovery of each element and the political intrigue and any interesting facts surrounding it. I know that sounds boring but this is very much a human story.

Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West by Timothy Egan–This collection of history-based essays is set all over the American West and details some lesser-known (to me) policies and incidents that have huge repercussions even today. Egan thoughtfully explores water issues, tribal land issues, ranch land issues, and much more.

The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean–This book details the world of rare plant collectors and the lengths they and their suppliers will go to in order to feed their need. It was a crazy ride! I shook my head and laughed in turns. These people are larger than life. My in-laws have lived in Naples, Florida near the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge, as long as I have known them. I was familiar with many of the locations mentioned in the book, which always adds to a reading experience for me.

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them as much as I did?What books would you have chosen? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.

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    1. There were some really crazy stories in The Disappearing Spoon! If you’re interested in the periodic table, you will definitely love this book!

    1. These were all so good! I primarily think of myself as a fiction reader. I’ve purposefully incorporated more nonfiction in my reading over the past ten years. I didn’t realize how much I had started enjoying nonfiction until I started this list and it was so heavy on the nonfiction! I scrapped the two or three fiction titles I had chosen and went this direction. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Glad to hear you liked When Breath Becomes Air. I’d love to read that one at some point! I really need to try some more non-fiction.

    1. I’ve surprised myself by intentionally adding more nonfiction (usually before bed) and coming to love it. Fiction will always be first in my heart but these nonfiction titles really are amazing.

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