Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on The Girls of Atomic City – by Denise Kiernan

The Girls of Atomic City – by Denise Kiernan

The history classes you took in school undoubtedly covered at least some portion of World War II. It is unlikely that your history textbooks included information about the incredibly important work that women were doing. The full title of this book is The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of The Women Who Helped Win World War II.  It was written by Denise Kiernan.

Obviously, this book is non-fiction.  It includes a narrative that was based on the interviews that Denise Kiernan did with several women who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – a town that officially did not exist – at the Clinton Engineer Works – which also did not officially exist.  Secrecy was vitally important because those who were hired were actually working on the atomic bomb.  None of them knew this was what they were doing until after the bomb had been dropped.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood – by Koren Zailckas

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood – by Koren Zailckas

Smashed is a brutally honest memoir about what it is like to have a drinking problem that begins years before you become the legal drinking age. What makes this book different from many other books about drinking is that the author, Koren Zalickas, was not actually addicted to alcohol in a physical way.

Instead, she was using it as an emotional crutch. I think most people are aware of the physical consequences that can happen after years of binge drinking. What isn’t talked about are the social and emotional aspects. Smashed shines a light on what happens to a girl who starts drinking at a young age and who continues through young adulthood.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on An American Demon – by Jack Grisham

An American Demon – by Jack Grisham

To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book when I first picked it up. It came to me through a book club that I completely failed to keep up with. I wasn’t entirely certain whether this book was supposed to be fiction or non-fiction, and I had not heard of the author.

This is a really good example of why it can be awesome to jump into a book that you know nothing about. I found the book compelling from start to finish. What would a demon write in his memoir? It was time for me to find out!

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on American Gothic – by Steven Biel

American Gothic – by Steven Biel

American Gothic is a book that is about the painting titled “American Gothic” that was painted by Grant Wood. The painting is famous for several reasons, and has generated more controversy over the years than I’d realized.

Those of you without a background in art history probably recognize the painting from the multitude of parodies that have been based on it. Those with a background in art history will enjoy the vast amount of details in this book that put the painting into context artistically, historically, and socially.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on 501 Minutes to Christ – by Poe Ballantine

501 Minutes to Christ – by Poe Ballantine

501 Minutes to Christ is a collection of personal essays written by Poe Ballentine.  They are in the first person viewpoint, as one would expect with stories that are taken from the author’s real life experiences.  This book is not one of those Christian inspiration books that include short stories that attempt to restore a person’s faith and make them feel uplifted.  It is not a book of prayer.

The title of the book comes from a small piece of one of the personal essays.  In it, a man is standing in the doorway of a church holding a sign that says “501 Minutes to Christ”.  No further explanation is given by the man holding the sign, or the author writing about it.  You are left to come to your own conclusions about what exactly that was supposed to mean.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Outliers: The Story of Success – by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success – by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point and Blink, two books that, in my estimation, became popular shortly after they were released. Outliers: The Story of Success is the first book of Malcolm Gladwell’s that I’ve read. I am left with the feeling that there is some wisdom in what this author has written. I would be interested in reading more of his work.

That being said, I also found Outliers to be somewhat distressing. It is the type of book that takes what everyone thinks they know about the world, and turns it on it’s head. The new idea, of course, is backed up with facts, data, and explanations that do make sense.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Wishful Drinking – by Carrie Fisher

Wishful Drinking – by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher might be best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars movies. Her mother is actress Debbie Reynolds, and her father is “crooner” Eddie Fisher. Each was independently famous and became more so after they got married. I suspect Carrie Fisher was a name people recognized from the moment she was born. In this book, she describes herself as “a product of Hollywood inbreeding”.

Wishful Drinking the book is based on Carrie Fisher’s show of the same name. Reading it feels like she is talking to you (and the audience you are sitting in.) It is an informal discussion about some of the bizarre things she has experienced in her life. Some of the stories could be seen as tragic, but they are presented in a humorous way.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Waiting – by Debra Ginsberg

Waiting – by Debra Ginsberg

The full title of this book is: Waiting: the true confessions of a waitress.  It is the memoir of Debra Ginsberg as she looks back upon the years she spent working as a waitress.  If you are like me, and have never worked as a “server”, the book will give you an interesting glimpse into what that experience is really like.  She gives the reader an insider’s view of the job, of how various restaurants function (or dysfunction) and a lot of interesting social observations about both the waitresses and their customers.

Those of you who have worked as a waitress, waiter, or server, might find that some of her stories resemble something you have lived through.  Anyone who is interested in sociology will find the stories she shared about the people she worked with, or waited on, to be very insightful.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Scent of the Missing – by Susannah Charleson

Scent of the Missing – by Susannah Charleson

The full title of this book is: Scent of the Missing: Love & Partnership with a Search-And-Rescue Dog. It is a non-fiction book that gives readers a detailed look into what it is like to be a person who works with a dog for the purpose of Search and Rescue. I’ve read this book twice now, and highly recommend it.

One glance at the cover will attract any dog lover. Who could resist the lovely Golden Retriever staring back at you? This book is a memoir, of sorts, where Susannah Charleson tells the story of how she ended up working with a Search and Rescue dog – with the perfect name of “Puzzle”.

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Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Three Cups of Tea – by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea – by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

When I first picked up Three Cups of Tea, I knew very little about it, other than it was a non-fiction book about a man who built schools for girls somewhere in the Middle East. I wasn’t sure how the tea fit into the story, or why there were three cups of it.

The full title is: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace – One School at a Time. Or, at least that is the title that appears on the trade paper version (which is what I picked up). In the back of the book, there is an acknowledgement section, which was written in two parts. One part was written by Relin, and one was by Mortenson. In Mortenson’s part, there is a paragraph that reads:

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