American Adulterer: A Novel

by Jed Mercurio

American Adulterer: A Novel by Jed Mercurio

I hated this book. That is all you should really know, but let me go into the details. This “novel” details the life of JFK beginning with his Inauguration as President of the United States until his assassination. Mercurio calls it a novel in order to not do the due diligence type of research that a non fiction book of the same topic would require. Read More »

Justice For All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made

by Jim Newton

Justice For All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made by Jim Newton

As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I have a difficult time enjoying a biography if I don’t necessarily like the person the book is written about. To separate the book from the person is a challenge, so full disclosure, I think Earl Warren was kind of a jerk. And a bit of a hypocrite. Read More »

Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-covered Truth

by David Alan Grier with Alan Eisenstock

Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-covered Truth by Alan Grier with Alan Eisenstock

Ugh, I hated this book. Mercifully, it was written so that an elementary student could have gotten through it quickly had they wanted to… and I sincerely hope none would. Read More »

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This book and I have history… I read a review before it came out and was very excited about it. Then, one of the defunct book clubs that I am a part of decided to read it. I was thrilled, then they decided to replace the selection with The Help *gag*. I was disappointed but always having 20 books or so on my to read shelf didn’t leave me time for moping. Read More »

Who Do You Think You Are?: A Memoir

by Alyse Myers

Who do you think you are: a memoir by Alyse Myers

Every now and again I like to read a biography about someone I have never heard of. In this case it was an auto-biography, or memoir if you want to get fancy about it, written by Alyse Myers. I knew nothing about who she was, or why her life was important, but discount books are my weakness. Read More »

The Rasputin File

by Edvard Radzinsky

The Rasputin File by Edward Radzinsky

Rasputin is one of the great characters in history. He features in countless novels, non fiction books, plays, and even cartoons. Often Rasputin is portrayed as a seducing villain who caused the downfall of the Romanov empire.  Radzinsky sets out to present a real Rasputin, one who propagandists failed to present. Read More »

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Kill Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

I am always a bit skeptical when I pick up a book that someone AND someone else wrote. I get vicious flashbacks to university where I had to write papers in a group. Trying to fit your own writing style with the writing style of someone else… well, lets just say I hated writing papers in a group or as a pair. I don’t know how two people organize one set of thoughts, which is one of the problems with this non-fiction. Read More »

Raising a Riot

by Alfred Toombs

Raising a Riot by Alfred Toombs

This non fiction comes to us via my husband and the yard sale. It is another of the ‘christian fiction’ set, though Christianity is not displayed quite so prominently, or prominently at all. If I did not know where this book came from, I would just assume it was another set of memoirs that didn’t need to be written as nothing of import actually happens. Read More »

Stalin’s Children: Three Generations of Love, War, and Survival

by Owen Matthews

Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love, War, and Survival by Owen Matthews

Stalin’s Children met my criteria for a good biography. Most likely because I found myself crying throughout the first third of the book. Read More »

Into the Wild

by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I am not sure whether I actually enjoyed this book. Probably not a good sign since I have already finished it but, you see, I find myself torn. I feel biographies should be written about people that DO something, people worth learning about. The circumstances portrayed in this non fiction are certainly tragic, but I am not sure if they merit a novel. I am also not sold on Krakauer’s writing style. Read More »

Welcome to My World

by Johnny Weir

Welcome to My World by Johnny Weir

First, I think I should let you know that I got this book for free… as a joke. When Borders went out of business (moment of silence), they gave a bunch of books that they couldn’t offload at a 90% mark down to my brother’s place of work. He came over once while I wasn’t home and hid them all over my bookshelves. The joke is on him because I will read anything! Read More »

My Two Chinas: The Memoir of a Chinese Counterrevolutionary

by Baiqiao Tang with Damon DiMarco

My Two Chinas: The Memoir of a Chinese Counterrevolutionary by Baiqiao Tang with Damon DiMarco

There were so many great aspects to this book, but other aspects left me flat. When I read an autobiography, I expect a person to relate the events of their life with a level of passion or interest, and why not? Most people enjoy talking about themselves. My Two Chinas could have been written by a stranger, some of the episodes in the book were retold with such a lack of passion that I wouldn’t have believed, except for the use of the first person, that Biagiao Tang wrote this about himself. Read More »

Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution

by Joel Richard Paul

Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution by Joel Richard Paul

I know some people don’t like non fiction. They get bogged down in the dates and the details, and if it doesn’t pertain to their immediate circumstances… they just don’t care. I am not one of those people. I LOVE non fiction. I like obscure settings, and obscure people. The older, the better. Sadly, Unlikely Allies seemed to be history light. Read More »

Always Magic in the Air: The Bomb and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era

by Ken Emerson

Always Magic in the Air by Ken Emerson

I have a slight confession. I don’t usually read the preface, introduction, or forward in books. I find that if I’ve never read the book I get too many spoilers. If the preface is written by someone I find interesting, I will go back and read it at the end. Most of the time; however, I am content to read the book and have done. I read Ken Emerson’s introduction, and I am glad I did. Read More »

Tried By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander In Chief

by James M. McPherson

Tried by Way: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson

In modern parlance I would consider myself ‘a fan’ of Lincoln. From the many biographies I’ve read, to the bajillion hour Ken Burns Civil War Documentary that my nocturnal newborn and I watched, Lincoln stands out as an all around good guy. More importantly, he wasn’t a hypocrite which in these days of political intrigue and outrage, is a pretty amazing fact. The only problem with Lincoln is the in flux of information about the man. Read More »

Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System

by Roberto Saviano

According to the cover, this ‘novel’ is now an award-winning film. I have a hard time believing they could make a film from the contents of Saviano’s novel. It isn’t a story so much as an expose that has no actual narrative. Though I found it interesting, highly interesting, it would be better served for a magazine article, and not a book. Read More »

Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne

by James Gavin

Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne by James Gavin

Initially, I wanted to give this book a bad grade, but I realized I really wanted to give Lena Horne a bad grade. The book was good. Well written. Well balanced. Well researched. I just don’t like Lena Horne. I thought she wasn’t a talented singer and really didn’t understand the fuss. Stormy Weather confirmed my feelings. Read More »

Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War: A Story of the Three Greatest Generals of the Greatest War

by Terry Brighton

Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War by Terry Brighton

I am not sure why historians can’t seem to choose shorter titles, but they can’t, and as a result we know what they want their book to be about from the cover. For some reasons over the past year or so I’ve read several WWII books. Both fiction and non fiction. None have focused at all on the North African theater of war, so the novel was refreshing in that aspect. Read More »

Don’t Mind if I Do

by George Hamilton and William Stadiem

Why did I want to read about the life of the darkly tanned old Hollywood lothario? Why, not? And that pretty much sums up George Hamilton’s philosophy on life, at least according to himself. Before picking up this book I knew very little about George Hamilton. After reading it, I don’t necessarily feel like he is an old friend, but it was a fun read. Read More »

American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem

by Jane Fletcher Geniesse

When I picked out this book highly discounted I knew nothing about the American Colony. It sounded vaguely familiar, almost as though in my internet ramblings, I’d stumbled across a wikipedia article… but after having read the history, I am certain that I’d never known about the group that went to Jerusalem to await the second coming. The book chronicles the life of Anna Spafford who would transform from a poor Norwegian Immigrant to a powerful ‘religious’ leader in Jerusalem. Read More »

Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z

by Col. Percy Fawcett

Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z by Col. Percy Fawcett

In 1925 Col. Fawcett disappeared in the jungles of Brazil. He was looking for a legend called the Lost City of Z. In the 1950s his youngest son Brian Fawcett published his father’s manuscript that had been intended for publication after the expedition for the City of Z. Finally, finally, finally, a biography worth reading about someone who actually DID something. Read More »

I Was Told There’d Be Cake

by Sloane Crosley

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… if you write memoirs, or essays about your own life, or an autobiography, you should definitely have done something in your life worth writing about. Sloan Crosley has done nothing worth writing about. Read More »

On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined

by David Roberts

A book that didn’t need to be written. Read More »

My Lobotomy

by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming

As I began reading Dully’s account of his youth and the lobotomy given at the age of eleven, I found myself disliking the author intensely. Granted, he has had a lobotomy so his memory was affected, but he strikes me as the textbook bratty kid with a bad attitude. Read More »

Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford

by Thomas M. DeFrank

I have never been a big fan of Gerald Ford. It is the Star Wars/Star Trek thing. I like Reagan, and I agree with Nancy when she called him “the unelected President”. Apparently, that incensed President Ford, as comes out in the book. Despite an almost non interest in President Ford as an entity, I am a sucker for history and politics. Read More »