Saturday, June 25, 2011

This and That : Non-Fiction Summer Reads

New and Different
Here's a quick list of summer reading suggestions for non-fiction readers.  The list includes memoirs, true crime and history flavored titles, a few of which relate to topics recently discussed "in the news".

Connecticut author Jeff Benedict (Without Reservation, Little Pink House) writes about 1993's E. Coli outbreak in the U.S. in his latest title, Poisoned.  A topical food safety read given the recent E. Coli outbreak in Europe.

In The Statues That Walked, two anthropologists explore the history of gigantic statues located on a remote island in the Pacific, discovered in 1722 and later described in Captain Cook's journals.  Pair this read with a travel video and  Aku-Aku, a classic book by Thor Heyerdahl of Kon-Tiki expedition fame.

"Try to imagine Thoreau married, with a job, three kids, and a minivan" and with high-tech gadgets.  If you can imagine this, try Tom Montgomery Fate's Cabin Fever : A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild. This one might also provide a perfect reason to read (or re-read) Walden. 

True-crime fans looking for backstory on Kill the Irishman, a June DVD release about 1970's Cleveland racketeer Danny Greene, might also try the book by Rick Porrello.  Brings to mind the recently captured Whitey Bulger and The Departed...   

In Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of  Men, Beijing-based Science correspondent Mara Hvistendahl explores the growing gap in the ratio between boys and girls and its consequences.  Read a review published in Bloomberg or listen to an author interview courtesy of NPR.

Sarah Sentilles, raised Catholic and later, a former candidate for the Episcopalian priesthood, offers her spiritual memoir, Breaking Up With God : A Love Story.  Pair this one with Dating Jesus by Hartford Courant columnist Susan Campbell.

U.S. Marine and Iraq veteran, Jess Goodell, recounts her tour as member of Mortuary Attachment platoon in Shade It Black : Death and After in Iraq.

The Murder of the Century : The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins takes place in the late 1800's but offers an all too familiar account of our taste for sensational headlines, the more lurid the better.