Nonfiction Book List from 2016

*originally published from 06/14/2016


20342617.jpg1. JUST MERCY: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Part memoir and part history of “justice” system in Alabama, USA.  Stevenson is a great writer and passionate about social justice in the South.  We should not be judged by our worst moment…we all deserve redemption. (true crime; social justice; memoir)

2. DEAD MAN WALKING: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty that Sparked a National Debate by Sister Helen Prejean

This book changed my opinion on the death penalty – it gave me the stronger conviction that the death penalty is not the answer in any way. Prejean is not preachy or aggressive in her opinion but rather outlines the fact with her own experience.  I also read Forgiving the Dead Man Walking: Only One Woman Can Tell the Entire Story by Debbie Morris which tells the story about the victim.  I am glad I read it as it gives you another side of the case, but is not as well-written. (death penalty; true crime; memoir)

3. IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote

Capote takes a true crime case and spins it into literary nonfiction.  While it is based on true accounts, Capote does use drama and fiction to keep the story flowing.  Capote has inserted himself into the story and was in town while the crime was being investigated. (literary nonfiction; true crime)

4. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale

What a crazy story! I am not sure how much of the details is true and how much is used for dramatic effect but it is a good story about a con artist. (true crime; memoir)

22294061.jpg5. ROMANTIC OUTLAWS: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley  by Charlotte Gordon

I read Shelley when I was 18 and Wollstonecraft in my 20s and both women have fascinated me.  The fact that they were mother and daughter just heightened my interest.  This is my first biography on both and I loves this book.  It gives a decent look at their life and works. (writers; biography; history)

6. SISTERS IN WILDERNESS: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill by Charlotte Gray

I have heard of Susanna Moodie all through my education but never really knew anything about her.  I knew that Margaret Atwood had written a series of poems so I was interested to know more about them.  The sisters emigrated to Canada with their husbands, and lived in the bushes – an experience very different than their childhood.  Both women were writers and wrote about their separate experiences. (history; biography; writers)

186793917. LIAR, TEMPTRESS, SOLDIER, SPY: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

I wasn’t expecting to gallop through this book as quickly as I did.  Abbott turns facts into a great prose.  I love that we get an idea of what women did to help in the Civil War.  We usually just have the male accounts.  I also enjoyed Jennifer Chiaverini’s historical fiction novel, Spymistress. (history; civil war)

8. BY MYSELF by Lauren Bacall

Other than being gorgeous and having the love of and for Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall is the every day girl that reaches her dreams.  She is so down to earth…it will make you want to have beer or coffee with her. (memoir, hollywood)

9. BAD FAITH: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine by Paul A. Offit

When I checked this book out of the library I was just expecting to skim through it to get an idea, but after reading the introduction I could not stop reading.  Good thing I started a bit earlier in the evening as I read until I finished.  The real life accounts in this book is so heartbreaking but it is so important to read Bad Faith. (religion; science; medicine)

10. Karen Armstrong – THROUGH THE NARROW GATE: A Memoir of Spiritual DiscoveryTHE SPIRAL STAIRCASE: My Climb out of Darkness 

I read these memoirs back to back so I can’t quite decipher details between them and so am putting them as one.  I picked up an Advanced Reader Copy,The Spiral Staircase when I worked at the bookstore.  I started this book and could not stop reading.  Armstrong is a fascinating woman and her experience with spirituality is eyeopening.(religion; memoir)


Books I am Looking Forward to Reading in Summer:

261145081. TRUE CRIME ADDICT: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray  by James Renner

2. FORGIVING MY DAUGHTER’S KILLER: A True Story of Loss, Faith and Unexpected Grace by Kate Grosmaire

3. KICK: The True Story of JFK’S Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth

4. HOW THE POST OFFICE CREATED AMERICA: A History by Winifred Gallagher

5. A GIRL’S GOT TO BREATHE: The Life of Theresa Wright by Donald Spoto



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