Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Reading For Nonfiction November



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I don’t usually completely ignore the Top Ten Tuesday prompt, but that’s what’s happening today. Nonfiction November has just started. I wanted to show you what I’m reading. Some of these books are a little depressing because “A little depressing” is basically my aesthetic.







What I’m Reading For Nonfiction November







1. Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright




In 1518, in a small town in France, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced herself to her death six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had died from the mysterious dancing plague. In late-nineteenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome—a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary and led to historic medical breakthroughs.












2. The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn



In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader. 

In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink.












3. The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson



In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves “the Emmett Till generation” launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till’s lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history. 

But what actually happened to Emmett Till—not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till “unfolds like a movie” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till’s innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed.












4. Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments Of The Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater



Beginning with B. F. Skinner and the legend of a child raised in a box, Slater takes us from a deep empathy with Stanley Milgram's obedience subjects to a funny and disturbing re-creation of an experiment questioning the validity of psychiatric diagnosis. Previously described only in academic journals and textbooks, these often daring experiments have never before been narrated as stories, chock-full of plot, wit, personality, and theme.















5. Salvation On Sand Mountain: Snake Handling And Redemption In Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington



The people of Southern Appalachia are hill people of Scottish-Irish descent—religious mystics who cast out demons, drink strychnine, and handle rattlesnakes. When the author, himself Scottish-Irish, uncovers records of snake-handling Covingtons, he decides to take up serpents. The result is one quirky, unforgettable read.

















6. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance



Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love.” They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle class life and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history. 

Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how “hillbillies” lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.












7. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel



A former reporter for The Chicago Tribune and former atheist presents a tough-minded investigation of Christian beliefs, interviewing today's scientists, historians, and philosophers to gather compelling evidence for the truth about Jesus.
















8. A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure



During June 1998, Tori McClure set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore, but nevertheless she decided to keep going. Not only did she lose the sound of a friendly voice, she lost updates on the location of the Gulf Stream and on the weather. Unfortunately for Tori, 1998 is still on record as the worst hurricane season in the North Atlantic. In deep solitude and perilous conditions, she was nonetheless determined to prove what one person with a mission can do. When she was finally brought to her knees by a series of violent storms that nearly killed her, she had to signal for help and go home in what felt like complete disgrace. 

Back in Kentucky, however, Tori's life began to change in unexpected ways. She fell in love. At the age of thirty-five, she embarked on a serious relationship for the first time, making her feel even more vulnerable than sitting alone in a tiny boat in the middle of the Atlantic. She went to work for Muhammad Ali, who told her that she did not want to be known as the woman who "almost" rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. And she knew that he was right.












9. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson



Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakesand to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness.












10. Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, And A Mother’s Quest: A True Story Of The Jim Crow South by Beth Macy



The true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a 28-year struggle to get them back.

The year was 1899 and the place a sweltering tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, Virginia. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever.

Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even "Ambassadors from Mars."

Back home, their mother never accepted that they were "gone" and spent 28 years trying to get them back. Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy expertly explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars or in poverty at home?









Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are you participating in Nonfiction November?











36 comments:

  1. Ooh now these look interesting. Opening Skinner's Box and Get Well Soon look particularly interesting, I think I'll have to look into those. "A little depressing" tends to describe books I'm drawn to, so these sound up my alley, too. I've read A Walk in the Woods and The Case for Christ--I enjoyed the former, the latter was okay, but well researched haha. I really hope you enjoy all of these, they sound fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get Well Soon was really good. I’m hopefully going to read Opening Skinner’s Box next.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. Great list! I love the sound of Get Well Soon, that's definitely one I need to check out very soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Road to Jonestown is high on my TBR list! It's just SO LONG!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I swear I’m going to finish it this month. I’ve been putting it off for a year because it’s massive.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. Great list! That Slater book sounds fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A Pearl in the Storm sounds fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have read one of the books from your list, A Walk in the Woods. Most people love his books but it wasn't for me. Get Well Soon sounds like one that I would enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you didn’t like A Walk in the Woods. I haven’t started it yet. Get Well Soon was really interesting.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  7. These all sound really good! Get Well Soon sounds like a book I should read for research. I literally just wrote a chapter where the entire castle gets the plague a day or two ago. I haven't gotten to the chapters with the ghost city inspired by Petra yet, but it will be in the book too!

    I like mixing a little nonfiction into my reading, but this is NaNo month, so I'm not reading as much as I otherwise would.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read Get Well Soon! It was interesting and surprisingly upbeat.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. I’ve always been rather fascinated by Jonestown. I don’t really have memories of when it happened (I was only 10 at the time) but it still intrigues me. Almost any kind of cult mentality does really.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The rest may be a little depressing, but A Walk in the Woods is hilarious. I love that book. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You've got some really interesting choices here. I'll definitely be curious to see what you think of Jim Jones and the Hillbilly Elegy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven’t started either of those yet, but hopefully I’ll get to them in the second half of the month.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. I should really participate in something like this. I fail so hard when it comes to nonfiction books. Good luck with your TBR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be hard to find good nonfiction, but some of my all-time favorite books are nonfiction, so I keep trying with it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. I've only read A Walk in the Woods, which made me laugh a lot at first, but I think it ran out of steam. The snake handling book reminds me of The Serpent King.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Serpent King is the reason I got interested in snake handling. Someone recommended this book to me in the comments of my Serpent King review.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  13. You've got some interesting & varied books lined up for the month. The Jonestown book is already on my wishlist, and I've been meaning to read Bill Bryson for the longest time now! I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts on Opening Skinner's Box and also Hillbilly Elegy. Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I’m planning on reading Opening Skinner’s Box next. Hopefully it’s interesting.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  14. I wish I had been able to do this along witrh Scifi month as I have a ton of NF I need to get to! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sucks that so many reading events overlap. It was hard to choose between scifi month and nonfiction November.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  15. Oooh, several of these synopses have me intrigued to read the books. I've managed to not gear up for either Nonfiction November or SciFi November and am feeling a tad left out! Next year I'll be better prepared :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oooh I haven't heard of Nonfiction November! I hope you love all of the books you read this month! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! You've got some pretty heavy reading with some serious religious overtones. I want to read Hillbilly Elegy, and Opening Skinner's box looks good, too. šŸ‘✨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Religion is something I’ve always been curious about, so I tend to read a lot of books about it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  18. ha ha I think you will find A Walk in the Woods a nice break from your "depressing" aesthetic! It's hilarious! (and you can skip the movie adaptation - it's pretty bad).

    I've been wanting to read Hillbilly Elegy - heard so many rave reviews.

    Looks like a fascinating list of books - enjoy!

    Sue

    Book By Book

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m looking forward to A Walk In The Woods. I somehow ended up with a lot of depressing nonfiction.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete