Before the summer is over, here are five good non-fiction picks for your reading pleasure. Please comment when you like one or submit your own suggestion.
1. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Katherine Boo spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a sprawling, cockeyed settlement of more than 300 tin-roof huts and shacks in the shadow of Mumbai’s International Airport. From within this “sumpy plug of slum” Boo unearths stories both tragic and poignant–about residents’ efforts to raise families, earn a living, or simply survive. These unforgettable characters all nurture far-fetched dreams of a better life. As one boy tells his brother: “Everything around us is roses. And we’re like the s**t in between.” A New Yorker writer and recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur “Genius” grant, Boo’s writing is superb and the depth and courage of her reporting from this hidden world is astonishing. At times, it’s hard to believe this is nonfiction. —Neal Thompson
2. Listen to Your Body, Your Best Friend on Earth by Lise Bourbeau
This book was written for those who have made a conscious decision to improve the quality of their lives and have decided to take control. The author provides the tools and the guidelines necessary for step-by-step personal development in every area of life. Based on the concept of Whole Mind Integration, the book is presented in five parts. Exercises at the end of each chapter provide the opportunity for guided practical application of the concepts presented. (Amazon notes)
3. Mother, Daughter, Me by Kate Hafner
A must-read this summer is Katie Hafner’s compelling memoir. The book chronicles the childhood of Hafner and her sister who lived in Florida with their young alcoholic mother and her revolving-door of boyfriends. When they are finally rescued from their mother’s neglect, they are sent up north to complete their childhood with their fairly absent father, cold step-mother and step-siblings.
Years later, at 77, Hafner’s mother finds herself aging and alone. Some combination of optimism, moral commitment, kindness and decency inspire Hafner to set out to reinvent their relationship by helping her move to San Francisco to live with Hafner and her teen daughter, Zoe. But as she describes it, “their year in Tuscany” did not turn out as she had fantasized, when childhood memories and resentments, that she thought were old history, quickly resurface with a vengeance. At times her story is tragic and heart-breaking, yet she manages to convey a great deal of humor and objectivity in observations of herself, raising a teen, her relationships and her diligent pursuit to establish a connection with her mother and for Zoe to do the same. (Susan R. Levy)
4. A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen
JAMES BOWEN was a street musician in London who found Bob the Cat in spring 2007 and the pair, now famous around the world, has been inseparable ever since. As their book climbed bestseller lists in many countries and their fame skyrocketed, Bob began to receive hand-knitted scarves from all over the world. He can do a great high five and remains a modest fellow despite the glory that has been heaped upon him. (Amazon notes)
“Stellar…A beautiful, never maudlin story of second chances for both man and beast and a poignant testimony to how much caring for someone — or some feline — can give you renewed direction when you’re down and out. Understandably, this was a best-seller in England.” –Booklist
5. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential. Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.(Amazon) Go Sheryl!!!!!
Reading is at the top of the list of things I love to do. And it doesn’t have to be summer. Much of my nonfiction I read in magazines, but these books provide amazing choices. Please share your book favorites or comment if you have read any of my picks. Happy Reading!!