Saturday, March 14, 2020

Book Haul: True Story

Welcome to Stacking the Shelves and Mailbox Monday, where I get to show off the books I’ve gotten recently. Here are a few nonfiction books that have turned up at my house in the last few months. I’ve already read some of them, so great job, Me. Also, I’m including Brooding YA Hero in a nonfiction haul because Broody is a real person. You can’t convince me otherwise.

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True Story

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga Of A Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown

In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

In this gripping narrative, Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most infamous events in American history.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Brooding YA Hero: Becoming A Main Character (Almost) As Awesome As Me by Carrie Ann DiRisio & Linnea Gear

Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?

Or maybe you're just really confused about what "opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs" actually are?

Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a "self-help" guide (with activities—you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.

As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.

Boy Erased: A Memoir Of Identity, Faith, And Family By Garrard Conley

The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.
When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.
By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.

The Residence: Inside The Private World Of The White House by Kate Anderson Brower

America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?


  1. Where have I been that I didn't know that Brooding YA Hero had a book? Need it. Obviously.

  2. Ooh Donner PArty caught my eye. I think that one looks pretty good.

  3. Educated and The Residence are two books I have read. I LOVED Educated. I can't remember if I loved The Residence or not, I think I liked it. I am interested in the Donner Party, for sure!

  4. Brooding YA hero sounds good! I am very intrigued by The Indifferent Stars Above too! Happy reading them all!
    Here's my STS

  5. I read YA Hero as an ARC. I had followed him on Twitter, and he was hilarious, but it got a little repetitive in a book. Still fun moments.

  6. I have always wanted to read Brooding YA Hero.

    Happy readings!
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

  7. The Residence was an awesome book! So cool to learn more about the White House.

  8. I do like a good nonfiction book! I need to read more.


  9. I loved Educated! It was my top book a couple of years ago. 👍✨

  10. Brooding YA Hero sounds like a lot of fun! I hope you enjoy all your books.

  11. I haven't read any of them but I am planning to get some non fiction read over the next two weeks so I can supply my uncle with some books to read during isolation. He likes the mountain climbing true stories so I'll start with that!

  12. Looks like a satisfying book haul! Hope you enjoy reading them! Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!