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Recently escaped from Azkaban, this Browncoat enjoys beers, books and bumming through local areas playing at tourist. Her reading interests are constantly at war, from trenchant historical and science works to the bewitching allure of YA fantasy and science fiction.
Perhaps one of the most controversial and debated books written, Lolita outraged readers with its characters and content becoming not only a literary classic but spawning the idea of the "Lolita". But as Weinman reveals with diligent research and an empathetic narrative, perhaps one of the heart-rending aspects of this novel was its inspiration which was drawn from the actual tragic nightmare faced by Sally Horner. I was riveted and yet, sobered as Weinman delivers a novel that is more than just true-crime but instead also provides a compassionate look about the horrors faced by a young girl and its literary impact on Nabokov's classic.
From the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to the conditions described in Sinclair's The Jungle, historically we have seen a constant struggle between industry and safe working conditions, usually at the cost of human lives. Born in the late 20th century with labor laws and OSHA, it was only through this well-researched study into the lives of the "shining girls" from the radium-dial factories did I realize just how woefully uninformed I was. Moore provides a haunting narrative into the lives of these young women, combining a riveting account with compassion and respect. She not only acknowledges their strengths, but also their lasting impact resulting from the "Radium Girls" case, still felt even to this day.
I’ve always had a weakness for haunted houses, and Priest has created a thrilling tale of a haunted house from the engaging perspective of Dahlia Dutton, the daughter and employee of a Salvage company commissioned to strip and take over Winthrow Estate. Dahlia is well-rounded and versatile woman— sharp, sassy and in-charge. With a storyline of twists and turns, Priest gives readers a haunting story of a house empty but not abandoned, full of memories and anger. The gothic feel of this book reminds me of that great Shirley Jackson classic, The Haunting of Hill House.
Effectively combining historical research and an engaging narrative, Schiff creates a book where fact and storytelling intertwine making this book both informative and captivating. It reads as suspence-filled fiction, yet shows an unfliching look at the real terror and bad blood circulating in Salem township.
Weir’s debut novel combines a hilarious personality with genius know-how to create his main character, Mark Watney. Fast-paced and magnetic, this book made me both hold my breath and laugh out loud. Remember, duck tape is magic and should be worshipped.
Combining investigative journalism and personal observation, Colbert explores the world's five crucial and chaotic extinction events, and presents an ongoing sixth event, the Holocene Extinction. While applying the latest scientific data and theory, Kolbert maintains an informative and engaging narrative. She does not attempt to downplay either the situation on which she reports or her own responses in creating a satisfying and rewarding read. Highly recommended for fans of fiction and nonfiction alike!
Strayed held nothing back when she wrote this memoir. Her brutal honesty and heart-wrenching quotes caused me to love a book in a genre I usually don’t frequent. This book drew me in with its straightforward writing style and the author’s journey both outward and inward.
In 1846, a wagon-train of 87 pioneers traveled westward in search of a better life. Only 48 of them would survive. While traveling this route was common, the party faced unusual circumstances leading to tragedy and horror. Brown introduces us to Sarah Graves, a young bride with her family. His focus on Sarah gives the reader a feeling of empathy and an intimate understanding of the journey, breathing life into an event marked by brutality, while maintaining a historian’s perspective. Far beyond educating the reader, Brown creates a unique understanding of the group and the humanity of its members.
I finished my Simon Winchester binge with this one, his most recent, and without a doubt it’s not only my favorite, but also one of the better books I have read. Each chapter, devoted to a specific subject, reads with the economy of a self-contained short story, while giving us a better understanding of the region as a whole. From surfing and volcanoes to the Bikini Atoll and the transistor radio, Winchester takes on the daunting task of telling the story of the enormous Pacific and performs excellently
Though relations between religious affiliations in the U.S. have a tricky and complicated history, a hallmark of this country has been its tolerance of the differences. However, there are instances when extremism has motivated horrific actions. Krakauer focuses on a double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalists claiming the command of God, creating a gripping narrative that provides a chilling and illuminating look, not only into this double murder but into the Mormon religion and the descent from religious belief into fanaticism and delusion.
The Civil War was one of the most crucial periods in our nation’s history. Horrific and devastating, it reverberated through every aspect of American life. With detailed research and an abundance of evidence, Faust provides a harrowing glimpse at a previously overlooked repercussion of the war by focusing on how the violence and massive death toll shattered the fundamental understanding and acceptance of death and dying on the part of ordinary people. I was profoundly engaged and humbled by this perceptive look into the words and lives of a people so profoundly altered.
In this account of the men, women and children who were exiled to the colony of Molokai, Tayman, through the perspectives of its inhabitants, chronicles the history of the leper settlement as well as the disease’s impact on the Hawaiian Islands. These narratives reveal the failures and biases of a system that banished them, and the heartbreak of families torn apart. It is also a story of courage and the determination to survive against the odds.
Perhaps more than in any other nation, Americans have a variety of distinct cultural identities, based on how and where we were nurtured and raised. No matter where we travel or live, these stay with us. In his memoir, Vance vividly describes his childhood growing up in Appalachia. Poverty, addiction, and abuse are woven together to create a striking account of this region. Vance’s honesty, both about his own family’s saga and Appalachia’s decline, provoked me to take a genuine look at a part of America I had not previously examined, and its influence on the rest of our country.