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#51053 - 11/09/03 03:43 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Ching Shih

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Hear, hear for Guns Germs & Steel - a very thought-provoking book. After my first read of the book, I irritated co-workers by continually referencing it - it would be nice to discuss it here!

Also seconding anything by Carl Sagan. Cosmos, Pale Blue Dot, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, anything. It was a sad day when he passed away.

A couple of adds to the wishlist:

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden, detailing the manhunt for Pablo Escobar. Particularly relevant given a potentially similar situation with Osama/Saddam.

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild - an eye opening look of the true story behind Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness in the Belgian Congo. Gut-wrenching.

ETA Caleb Carr's Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians. Haven't read it yet, but really want to. I love Caleb Carr.

#51054 - 11/12/03 05:21 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Ching Shih

Registered: 07/01/02
Posts: 126
Loc: texas, usa

How about ...

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, which I'm reading now. All about an altruistic doctor in Haiti. Loving it.

The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup by Susan Orlean. A collection of her magazine peices.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississipi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America

The Man Who Ate Everything: And Other Gastronomic Feats, Disputes, and Pleasurable Pursuits

Small Wonder: Essays by Barbara Kingsolver

How to Read a French Fry

Brothel: Mustang Ranch and It's Women

I'm sure I have more, but I have to second the suggestions for Savage's Kid. That's been on my list for a while. Also have to second Persepolis, or any graphic novel (I think Joe Sacco did a graphic novel about Bosnia that I've been meaning to read.)

In general, I'd like to read books about female travellers, or at least women in other cultures.

#51055 - 11/13/03 11:20 AM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Anne Wentworth
Ching Shih

Registered: 10/03/03
Posts: 259
Loc: NY, NY

I had the same issue with GG&S: fascinating book, really important, liked it a lot, and then just stopped reading it.

A book of popular history I really enjoyed was Ambiguous Lives (the subtitle is something like Free African-American women in S Carolina, 17??-18??). It's about the author's (a historian) female relatives-- mixed race free women who lived in S Carolina. She writes about her family in particular and the free African-American people in a particular county during that time and sheds light on an aspect of history that's often unnoticed. She definitely raises more questions than are satisfactorily answered, but I like that in a book.

#51056 - 11/13/03 12:04 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Bear Moderator
Ching Shih

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 1954
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

And I would love to read more about women in Muslim countries
Then, whether it's chosen for the Club or not, you should definitely check out Persepolis - it's about growing up in revolution-era Iran, and it's just so, so, so good. And so sad!

#51057 - 11/13/03 05:45 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
PrimulaMary Moderator
Ching Shih

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

I'm not going to add any ideas, for I think there's a good volume of stuff here already

I'd like to put in a vote for Guns, Germs and Steel and another for Between Silk and Cyanide, which I think bonster proposed?

I think it'd be interesting to have a really good mix of books that reflect a variety of different cultures and countries. That said, I can't, off the top of my head, think of a transcendent Australian non-fiction work to do, although I read a decent amount of Australian non-fiction.

#51058 - 11/16/03 01:00 AM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

Will do so, Bear, thanks for the tip.

Another suggestion: Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki. My understanding is she is the one Arthur Golden based Memoirs of a Geisha on, but she was dissatisfied with his portrayal and decided to tell the story herself. Would love to read this one, more than Liza Dalby's book Geisha. Dalby is the only western woman to have formally trained as a geisha, and this is her autobiography.

#51059 - 11/17/03 02:06 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Ching Shih

Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

I'm essentially a new poster here, though I've been lurking for a few months. I'm quite interested in a nonfiction book club (like some others, I'm largely a fiction reader, but I'd love an excuse to "get around to" interesting nonfiction), and every other month seems like a realistic schedule to me. Of the books already mentioned, I'd be especially inclined to read:

The Kid
Stet: An Editor's Life
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Sixpence House
My Invented Country
Dear Genius
Geisha, A Life

#51060 - 11/24/03 12:51 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Sweet Potato
Ching Shih

Registered: 07/25/02
Posts: 117
Loc: Germany

Just bought GG&S actually... so I'm definitely interested.

I'd also be into reading Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds , since my father tried unsuccessfully for years to get me to read that book.

I'm a mostly-fiction reader, so I can't think of any particular book at the moment, but most things people have posted sound very interesting.

I would love to read a really cool autobiography, especially one that focuses a lot on how childhood affects adult behavior and beliefs. Sorry if I'm being vague but I am sure someone might have a good idea.

#51061 - 11/24/03 03:53 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Ching Shih

Registered: 10/01/03
Posts: 222
Loc: Houston, Texas

I do want to add my support for Reading Lolita in Tehran. I've been looking at that for a while now and it sounds really good.

I'm anxious for sweeps to end so Deborah can give us our reading assignment for next year. Oh, and maybe have some quiet time.

#51062 - 11/26/03 07:15 PM Re: The Nonfiction Book Club
Ching Shih

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 37
Loc: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

May I suggest Colour by Victoria Finlay. It's the result of the author's travels around the world to uncover how certain colours were 'discovered'. It looks to me a really good read,
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