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.

Continue Reading “American Gothic – by Steven Biel”

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.

Continue Reading “501 Minutes to Christ – by Poe Ballantine”

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.

Continue Reading “Outliers: The Story of Success – by Malcolm Gladwell”

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.

Continue Reading “Wishful Drinking – by Carrie Fisher”

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.

Continue Reading “Waiting – by Debra Ginsberg”

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”.

Continue Reading “Scent of the Missing – by Susannah Charleson”

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:

Continue Reading “Three Cups of Tea – by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin”

Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Me Talk Pretty One Day – by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day – by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a memoir, of sorts, that is presented in the form of 28 short stories. Each is funny, unflinchingly honest, and a unique way to look at the world. The stories range from when Sedaris was a child, through adolescence, college years, and adulthood.

His family included parents and siblings that were rather unique in their outlook on life, too, so you can imagine how outlandish some of the events in the stories are. Sedaris has a flare for the dramatic that is incredibly entertaining and that flows right in to the scene he is describing.

Continue Reading “Me Talk Pretty One Day – by David Sedaris”

Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Half A Life – by Darin Strauss

Half A Life – by Darin Strauss

“Half my life ago, I killed a girl”. That opening line grabs the reader, immediately. What happened? How did it happen? Suddenly, all these questions popped into my head, and I had to know more about this story.

Half A Life is a true story. It is a memoir that the author wrote about something that actually happened to him, and about how he managed to cope with it. When he was eighteen years old, he was driving his father’s car. A few of his friends were with him. They were heading out to have some fun, not unlike most people that age. It was supposed to be a normal, relaxing day.

Continue Reading “Half A Life – by Darin Strauss”

Book Reviews, non fiction 0 comments on Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir – by Danielle Trussoni

Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir – by Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni was definately “Daddy’s Little Girl”. She was named after him, physically resembled him, and adored him. Her parents split up when Danielle was young. While Danielle’s mother kept her other siblings, Danielle chose to live with her father.

The two were very close, and this allowed Danielle to notice that there were some very odd things about her father. Dan was haunted by his experiences in Vietnam. He would tell stories about his experiences over there, and end up lost in thought, oblivious to his surroundings. Danielle simply accepted her father as he was, and basically took care of him until he was “back”. In many ways, she had become the adult in their family.

Continue Reading “Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir – by Danielle Trussoni”