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bethben

Non-fiction book recommendations

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I'm looking for non-fiction books to read for myself.  I've read some biographies (not many), books on good food choices, and some historical stuff (non-political).  I guess I'm looking for just interesting topics.  I'm not looking for Christian topic books right now.  I'm plowing through all the C.S. Lewis books for that genre at the moment.  Fiction books are just fluffy to me right now and I can seem to concentrate on the classics as much since I read fiction at night.  

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A good list that I shared the other day...
https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/11/50-best-nonfiction-books.html

I've been reading history for the high school humanities curriculum I've been writing. Some things I read or reread that I thought were really enjoyable recently included Tulipomania (the tulip market bubble in the Netherlands), The Ghost Map (disease and city planning in Victorian London), and Blood Work (the invention of blood transfusions).

 

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I loved Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight:  An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller.  And along the same lines, Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott is also excellent.

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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - Wikerson

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln  - Goodwin 

Rising Tide - John M. Barry - also about the Great Migration 

Bad Land - Jonathan Raban

White Fragility 

Hillbilly Elegy

Appalachian Reckoning 

Ramp Hollow 

Reading Behind Bars

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

How Much is a Girl Worth is very good, hard read though, that details the exposure of the Larry Nassar scandal.  Author is a Christian though.

 

 

 

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Teacher, by Sylvia Ashton-Warner is one of my absolute favorites, as well as Spearpoint by the same author. 

She was a teacher of Maori kids and saw they were not thriving in the British system of education in NZ, so she taught reading in an unorthodox way. She tried something similar in America (Spearpoint is her American experience in a Summerhill-like school) but there were marked differences. 

Highly influential and thought-provoking to me as a young teacher 30 years ago. 

 

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I have several non-fiction I like to recommend

As a sponsor enthusiast who loves to write, we start with:

_I will always write back: How one letter changed two lives_ by Martin Ganda

 

The history of the state of Ohio:

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West  by David McCullough

 

Then some medical books

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

History of antibiotics:

The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug

  by Thomas Hager

 

Information about how the flu virus works and why its so dangerous:

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History  By John Barry

 

Space History

The Man Who KNew the way to the moon by Todd Zwillich

One Astronaut's story:

The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed by Scott Parazynski

 

 

 

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Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan. It makes me laugh out loud - even on a public bus. His first book, Dad is Fat, is really funny, too. The people on the bus must have thought I was a little nuts with all my chuckling.

When you are on a bus at 6:30 am and laughing because of a book you're reading, I personally define that as a great day!

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I just finished and highly recommend The Woman Who Smashed Codes about a woman who broke Axis codes during World War II.  I've read a number of books about British code breakers (Bletchley Park, Alan Trurig, etc.), but this is the first I've read about American code breaking.  

I am working from home today and sitting in my "library," where my shelves are, and some random favorites I spy are Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven (not at all what it sounds like--an amazing memoir); Perfect Predator (woman epidemiologist finds the treatment for her husband's crazy-resistant infection); and The Glass Castle (memoir made into a movie; the book was better).  

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Such a cool variety so far!  I KNEW I would get some great ideas here.  Keep them coming.  I have to make it through winter.  I have a book on hold at the library.  Home Work by Julie Andrews.  That sounds interesting although I hate to smash my view of Maria from the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.  

 

Edited by bethben

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24 minutes ago, bethben said:

Such a cool variety so far!  I KNEW I would get some great ideas here.  Keep them coming.  I have to make it through winter.  I have a book on hold at the library.  Home Work by Julie Andrews.  That sounds interesting although I hate to smash my view of Maria from the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.  

 

 

Oh Sound of Music is not at ALL accurate

You need to read the books by Maria herself though.  "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria A Trapp and "Maria, my own story" are the two I have read (multiple times)

 

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The Upward Spiral...brain chemistry and depression with small, positive, evidence-based changes you can make

Wild Swans: Three Women of China...late 19th century-the Cultural Revolution history of China following one family of women

Color: a Natural History of the Palette...history of engineering color for art/craft, focuses more outside of Europe than in

The Little Book of Talent...great grad book with short chapters focusing on productive habits for life

Forest Forensics: a Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape...very short but interesting look at how to read the ground and trees in a forest to estimate human habitation/farming/clear cutting/fires in the area. Really succinct with most of the book as a guide. And if you think that's interesting, you may enjoy Botany in a Day (great book to break down plant categorization) or Nature's Garden (in-depth plant foraging). 

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1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

I enjoyed 'Gut' - it has a lighthearted tone, like Horrible Science for adults: https://www.waterstones.com/book/gut/giulia-enders/david-shaw/9781911344773

 

 

1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

 

I second Both of those. 

(Haven’t read the others on Laura’s list, maybe should do so if we have similar tastes in books.)

Also have gotten a lot! Out of

Atomic Habits by James Clear

and positive about, but not as huge in my life:

Nudge  by Thaler and Sunstein

Stonewalled by Sharyl Attkisson (yes, unusual name spelling) about journalism / propaganda etc

Inner Life of Trees by Wholleben 

several related to health, nutrition  and brain function 

 

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33 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

 

Oh Sound of Music is not at ALL accurate

You need to read the books by Maria herself though.  "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria A Trapp and "Maria, my own story" are the two I have read (multiple times)

 

I guess I meant my view of Julie Andrews as seen in the Sound of Music and in Mary Poppins.  I have a friend who actually became a Christian due to the influence of the Von Trapp family.  She actually knew some of the children very well.  

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Farm City - The Education of an Urban Farmer: this was enjoyable and not too difficult 

Small Is Beautiful - older but I keep returning to it

On Immunity: An Inoculation - interesting insight into why people feel so strongly about vaccinations (among other things)

Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump - a bit intense but short

Ideas on the Nature of Science - a series of interviews from radio series Ideas

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I like Andrea Wulf's books; my favorite is Brother Gardeners, about 18th century plant collecting.  She's a great writer.  

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Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn

(This and To Kill a Mockingbird are my two favorite books!)

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32 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

Farm City - The Education of an Urban Farmer: this was enjoyable and not too difficult 

 

Along these lines, I watched "The Biggest Little Farm" on Hulu.  It made me want to garden or at least near a farm like this.  It also made me a little bummed that I live in a high desert where not much grows well.  

Super interesting.

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Are you on Instagram? Search hashtags for #nonfiction or #nonfictionbooks or similar things & you can find many, many recommendations. I love the Instagram book community 💙📚

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World of yesterday, Stefan Zweig. 

I’m listening to Fraser’s Marie Antoinette but that’s because I’m in that frame of mind right now. Recommend. 

I need to finish The Queen Must Die because I need to complete my bee education before I build some hives. 

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·       The Day The World Came to Town https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+day+the+world+came+to+town&crid=3L0OF447D7GB0&sprefix=the+day+the+%2Caps%2C177&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_12

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Moreland Indiana
https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Named-Zippy-Haven-Kimmel/dp/0767915054/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Zippy&qid=1574467742&sr=8-2

Essentialism
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=essentialism+by+greg+mckeown&crid=LLEMCYB3KYQ1&sprefix=Essnetialis%2Caps%2C172&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_4_11

Hillbilly Elegy
https://www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Elegy-Memoir-Family-Culture/dp/0062300555/ref=sr_1_3?crid=IGOOC0RRGGN1&keywords=hillbilly+elegy&qid=1574467960&sprefix=Hillbilly%2Caps%2C170&sr=8-3

 American Nations
https://www.amazon.com/American-Nations-History-Regional-Cultures/dp/0143122029/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1RIPNIB6RBDFE&keywords=american+nations+a+history+of+the+eleven+rival+regional+cultures&qid=1574468353&sprefix=american+nation%2Caps%2C171&sr=8-1

Dreamland
https://www.amazon.com/Dreamland-True-Americas-Opiate-Epidemic/dp/1620402521/ref=sr_1_1?crid=RFTQTEP9M74S&keywords=dreamland+the+true+tale+of+america+opiate+epidemic&qid=1574467919&sprefix=dreamland%2Caps%2C152&sr=8-1

Deep Work
https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Work-Focused-Success-Distracted/dp/1455586692/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2IQZVOMECBSCM&keywords=deep+work+cal+newport&qid=1574468011&sprefix=Deep+Work%2Caps%2C287&sr=8-1

Being Mortal
https://www.amazon.com/Being-Mortal-Medicine-What-Matters/dp/1250076226/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2VHI47ZOKO4TA&keywords=being+mortal+atul+gawande&qid=1574468043&sprefix=Being+Mortal%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-1

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ

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