We had the annual winter sale for our local FoL and as usual, there was an abundance of goodies for all… (I know. It’s not that I *needed* some new titles, but who am I to turn down unfettered access to tons of good new-to-me titles?)
So, let’s go through which titles made it through my marketing filter (with rather big holes!). At the top pic, from L-R (vertical titles):
The Pottery Barn: Bathrooms (NF)
The Pottery Barn: Living Rooms (NF)
Workspace (another interior design book)
Moving to the horizontal pile, from the bottom up:
When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy (NF)
On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays – John Stone and Richard Reynolds (eds.)
Essays of E.B. White – E.B. White (love me some E.B.) (NF)
The Rosie Effect – Grahame Simpson (F) – continuation from The Rosie Project
The Barrytown Trilogy – Roddy Doyle (F)
Old New York – Edith Wharton (F)
All Things Bright and Beautiful – James Herriot (NF? F?)
And then this pile as well above (<smh>) bottom to top:
“Dress Your Best” – Clinton Kelly and Stacy London (NF). ETA: Read. Meh.
“What Not to Wear” – Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine (NF). ETA: Read. Meh.
“If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home” – Lucy Worsley (NF – social history)
“Lost Country Life” – Dorothy Harley (NF)
“Days of Grace” – Arthur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad (autobio)
“Great Tales of English History 2” – Robert Lacey (really interesting historian about UK history)
“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African” – Allison, ed. (NF/bio) 1798
“The Free People of Color of New Orleans” – Martha Gehman (NF/history)
And then this with the most gorgeous cover pic: “Living Earth” by DK Eye Witness (just love this series of books):
<rubs hands together with glee at glorious reading ahead>
NF November Week 5: It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it to your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book. (Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?)
I have had a very fun time toodling around and visiting lots of people’s blogs, which (thanks to NF November) I was happy to find out there in the vast prairie of Blogland.
This week, we’re asked which NF titles had made it on your own TBR list. So many from which to choose, but here are a small selection that I’ll be looking for in the future. (Each title is also linked with the name of the person on whose blog I saw it. Except for that one when I can’t really remember whose it was. Just let me know though!)
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Memoir – Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele (from Bryan at Still an Unfinished Person.)
Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots and Elephants in Recovery Help us Understand Ourselves – Laurel Braitmann (from Deb Nance at Readerbuzz).
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – Marie Kondo. (From numerous bloggers, but for an example, Unruly Reader mentions it very nicely.)
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (from Allison at Mindjoggle.)
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – Bryan Stevenson. (As with the Kondo book, several bloggers mentioned this, but for an example, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction? handles it well.)
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud – Elizabeth Greenwood. (Sorry – I just can’t track down who this rec came from, but let me know, and I am happy to get you that credit. Thanks.)
The Five: The Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Women – Hallie Rubenhold (from Doing Dewey).
And Brona’s (at Brona’s Books) has done a good job promoting Aussie lit (both F and NF)…
Naturally, there were absolutely loads of other good titles, but these were the ones who came to mind today. Plus – I haven’t been through all the other NF Nov entries just yet, so more delights to come, I’m sure.
For the other nonfiction November posts, check out these:
As is my tendency, I walked around Vancouver during my recent visit looking at the city through a bookish lens: always fun to do, and found some fascinating (and impressive) literary hangouts.
I’m always up for a visit to a local independent bookstore, and a quick search online yielded the nugget that the Indigo bookstore was quite close by, and although it’s not that well sign-posted externally (so easy to miss), it’s a treasure trove of literary loveliness inside the actual store.
It’s a well-lit haven of all things to do with the written word, including books (with a special focus on Canadian authors/lit which I found very helpful), but also a pretty well-stocked supply of other authors, big and small, and the usual selection of book-shop extras such as blank journals and other stationary accessories. (These were lovely though, so I’m not knocking it at all.)
I had entered with the intention of buying a title by a Canadian First Nation/aboriginal author, but when I asked an associate, she pointed me to the tiniest display of Canada-related books. I was confused as to the small choice since this place is one of the premier bookshops in Vancouver, so I looked at the selection and then looked up and there, before me stood a whole WALL of Canadian authors/books which had a much larger selection.
After pondering why I hadn’t been pointed to this huge display of possible reads, I mooched over to see what they had – such riches by authors new-to-me and old, but since luggage space was at a premium on this trip, I ended up buying just one book. (They did however have a sale on Moleskin notebooks – sales are rare! – so I ended up buying one of them for 20 percent off. (Seriously – there are never sales for Moleskin journals and notebooks. Never (at least in my experience).)
(Since Canada uses dollars (except they’re Canadian dollars – of course), I kept forgetting to translate prices to U.S. dollars so at first, everything seems sooo expensive, but when I finally remembered to do the exchange rate, things were actually pretty good prices. Sigh. I was such a tourist.)
Another free afternoon later in the week yielded a happy visit to the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) which is, to put it mildly, a FANTASTIC space for readers. Seriously. It’s one of the most modern and biggest libraries that I have ever visited. Floor after floor of literature and numerous other community services (even a musical instrument lending collection (should you need a banjo or a flute, for example).)
The VPL was amazing on each floor (and there were nine floors!). They had writers-in-residence positions (along with a focused Indigenous Writer position), they had so much light and space for its patrons, and get this magical option: they had a roof-top garden available for everyone. This wasn’t just an afterthought as well: it was landscaped with trees and plants, provided shade and tables and chairs (along with benches) and the view was stupendous: you were almost sky-high with all the notable surrounding architecture, some of which buildings also had roof-top spaces for their tenants. I’d never seen anything like it. Even better, it was free and available for anyone in the community.
(Curiously, Vancouver is a very clean city. I didn’t see that many trashcans so I’m not sure where Vancouverites put their rubbish, but perhaps this is sorted out by the commonly available and comprehensive recycling cans? Not sure.)
In case you’re still wondering, I really enjoyed Vancouver!
March passed by in a flash and that speed-of-light passing was reflected in my reading totals for the month. At first, I thought this low number was quite strange, but when I look back at other past March reading totals since I started teaching, I can see it’s historically this way. I think I forget just how busy and occupying teaching can be sometimes. Plus – there were Spring Break travels!
Still, no worries.
The reads for March 2019 included:
Essentials of College and University Teaching – Eleanor Boyle and Harley Rothstein (NF) – no blog post (since work-related)
Similar to others in the book blogosphere, I rather enjoy being quite nerdy and reviewing how my reading patterns went over the past year, although I had thought I had read more than this. However, no worries. It’s not a race so all is fine. Just interesting.
So, to the numbers:
TOTAL books read in 2018 – 78. (Average: 6.5 books/mo.) Biggest monthly totals in the summer months (when school is out). Smallest total was in March (which coincided with Spring Break travel and prep for said trip.)
This was composed of almost 50/50 with regard to F and NF. (Actual numbers were 40 F and 38 NF. Of the NF, the majority were bio/autobio.)
Authors: Another category that’s almost 50/50: 41 M and 37 F
Authors of color (AOC)/Topics related to POC: 30 (38%, just over one in every three).
Where were these books from?
I’m pleased with this one: 50 percent were from my own TBR. (Progress of sorts.)
I read an average of one e-book (Kindle) for each month. Library was the other source.
Year range of publication date: 1899 (The Vampyre/Polidori) to 2018 (various). 1993 average.
Shortest book length: 32 pp (The Vampyre/Polidori). Longest: 912 pp (Roots/Hailey). 295 pp. average.
Overall, this was a fun year. Additionally, I had two solid reads of the AP Style Book (for professional development), so it was a good mix of work/play. I had an enjoyable year.
Goals for 2019? None really (apart from the yearly read of the AP Style Book :-] ). Just more of the same, so long as it’s fun. 🙂
A random find at the library on the New Books shelf, this beautifully produced book was a joy to behold in terms of how it felt, looked, and the photos. It’s a book based on the PBS series, “The Great American Read,” which lists the top 100 fiction titles chosen through a “rigorous national survey” of 7,200 people who were “demographically and statistically representative” of the U.S. who were asked to name their most-loved novel.
This is actually the tie-in book for the eight-part TV series that “explores and celebrates the power of reading” and seems to be part of a “multi-platform digital, educational and community outreach campaign designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books”. (Sounds like a noble goal to me!) (Haven’t seen this just yet though.)
So, this book does just as it says on the tin: lists 100 book titles, along with some background about the author, the plot, and the historical times, so it’s a very readable eye-friendly collection. I’m not sure if it’s listed in a numerical order of some kind (like a Top Forty would be on the radio), but regardless, it’s a pretty good mix of titles, some that were of no surprise (Pride and Prejudice and Catcher in the Rye) along with some that are not in the usual suspects list: Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight etc…
(Plus – it’s always nice to read a list of must-read titles and find out how many you’ve already read. Or is that just me? 🙂 )
What was really well done with this title was that it was printed in a great font put on to some heavy glossy paper, along with some great photographs of earlier book covers. It was a heavy book (due to thigh quality production) so more of a coffee table book, but it was a joy to read.
(The only thing to mar the experience was an occasional typo or error in the text. Would have been easy enough to fix with a sharp-eyed editor, but for some reason that didn’t happen. And these weren’t even huge errors. Just ones that someone somewhere should have probably caught.)
So, what were some of the titles? As mentioned, you have the obvious ones (such as P&P and Catcher), but then you’d turn the page and there’d be one that surprised you, not because of the title not belonging on the list (although I’d argue that about a couple), but more because the list strays off the High School Reading List which made a nice change.
Other little treats included in the book are many of the included books’ first lines, occasional lists of themed items such as “Admirable Female Characters” and also the inclusion of some of the “non-traditional” titles (for example, Sister Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code) so it was a good reminder of some of the other titles that are out there.
So, rather an enjoyable romp through some book titles along with some super-great production values.
Diversity: 5 POC. 4 books by women (+ 1 DNF by a woman).
Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): 6 library books, 6 owned books and 1 e-book. (Not too shabby.)
Plans for July: Read lots. Read widely.
The latest jigsaw puzzle… The blue sky is driving me nuts. It remains to be seen if these final pieces make it into the whole pic or whether it is put away as is. Whenever it stops being fun, I think. 🙂
The FoL summer book sale was held the other day, and although I tried to not go, I did end up spending some time there. (Well, to not go would have been so rude, don’t you think?)
And so this is what I ended up with in my shopping bag, all ready for a future summer’s day. Uncertain which summer it will be, but I’m ready! 🙂
Top to bottom:
Snow Angels – Stewart O’Nan (usually good fiction writer)
The Last Picture Show – Larry McMurtry (fiction set in Texas. I first read this in my first semester at American university and hadn’t been in Texas long enough to get the references. I think now that I’ve been here a while, I will appreciate it more.)
The Best American Short Stories (1999) – edited by Amy Tan (F) (current slight craze on short stories)
Tinkerbelle – Robert Manry (NF travel – guy has never sailed before, but buys a boat and sails across the Atlantic with many adventures…)
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison (F and African-American classic which I haven’t read but with the new focus on reading more POC will do so soon)
Bailey’s Cafe – Gloria Naylor (F) (see above about the focus on reading more POC authors)
Advertising in America – (NF) big coffee book with some lovely color plates of old advertising from across the USA
And going against my usual grain of not-reading-things-I’ve-just-bought, I’ve just finished a good read of the Naylor fiction. Loved it so expect more to come about that.