Author Topic: Non-Fiction  (Read 272172 times)

ClassicsAdmin

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Non-Fiction
« on: January 03, 2009, 06:46:19 PM »


TO NONFICTION BOOK TALK

What are you reading?  Autobiographies, biographies, history, politics?

Tell us about the book; the good and the bad of it.  

Let's talk books!






Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction ~
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 10:39:08 AM »
WELCOME!

Isn't this a bright beginning to a lively discussion of nonfiction books.

Since this new site (and isn't it great!) began several nonfiction books have been discussed and I'll just name a few.......

Indian Summer
This Republic of Suffering
The Worst Hard Time
Barbarians at the Gate
In the Flame

I know there have been more, but that's all I can think of now.  

SO, DO COME IN AND TELL US WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN READING AND WHY YOU LIKED IT.  

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT FOR A BOOK DISCUSSION?

CubFan

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 11:46:38 AM »
I’m so pleased to seen this site open.  I’m more of a lurker than a participant.  I usually have 4- 5 titles going at one time on various topics/people. That way I can read what appeals to me at the moment and since they are a variety of topics I don’t get them confused. I am a plodder when it comes to nonfiction.

I keep one book in the car so I always have something with me if I’m detained somewhere.  I haven’t picked this year’s new title yet.  Left over from 2008, the kitchen table right now hosts An American Sphinx: the character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph Ellis for breakfast reading.

Next to my reading recliner, also left over from 2008, I am in the beginning of The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam. 

Next week my two new treats will arrive - Lincoln: President Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 by Harold Holzer; and, Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, ... With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory by Roy Blount.  The former will join the Halberstam next to my reading recliner, and latter with probably take up residence in the small reading room. 

I read along in all of the books and as I finish one I start something new.  Then about Thanksgiving I try to finish up all that I started. This December I finished:  An Army at Dawn: the war in North Africa, 1942-1943, Vol. 1 of the Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson; Jacob’s Well: a case for rethinking family history by Joseph A. Amato; and, Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder by David Weinberger

I don't do well with discussion groups on a specific book because I'm still rebelling against all the years of book reports, book talks, book reviews  and having to read on a schedule. Since I've retired I enjoy reading what I want, when I want, for as long as I want and not being held accountable. I do check in nearly everyday to see what others think about the books they are reading and to get ideas for new titles to read.

For years my highlight of the week was Brian Lamb's Booknotes.  I can't tell you how many books I bought and read because of that program. 

I found The Worst Hard Time riveting. It isn't often I find a nonfiction book that I can't put down.

Time to let someone else talk!    Thanks again for this site.  Looking forward to many happy days.  Mary
"No two persons ever read the same book" Edmund Wilson

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2009, 11:47:27 AM »
The book, THE WORST HARD TIME by Timothy Egan, an award winning book, was good reading.   I don't think any of us realize the extent of this man-made disaster and the impact it had on the whole western are of the United States; and still does to this day.  This book portrays a few people, their life, their way of living and their desperation during the dust bowl.

Where in the United States could these people, many of whom had been homesteaders living on free promised lands by the United States Government and the railroads, go as the depression was in full swing at the time.

----------------------

On a visit to B&N yesterday I bought the book STALIN'S CHILDREN by Owen Matthews.  Looks promising.

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2009, 11:55:19 AM »
HELLO MARY!

GOOD TO SEE YOU HERE!

We discussed THE AMERICAN SPHINX some years ago on the old Seniornet site and it was very good as I remember. 

What a feast you bring!  I'm writing titles that you gave us on a pad I keep by the computer and I, too, always watched Brian Lamb's Booknotes.  Now we have so many programs about books to watch and isn't it grand.

And, of course, best of all we have this site!

I find a month to discuss a book is adequate for me.  I try to decide if I should read the whole book first or just the assigned chapters and even though I have been trying to decide this for years now, I have come to no conclusion!

Discussing books is my way of relaxing even though I can't do it in a recliner!  Hahaha   My computer chair is comfortable though and I am SO THANKFUL I live in an age that makes this all possible; this communication while at home and at my own speed! 

CallieinOK

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 01:15:00 PM »
Marking my spot so I can return to find new possibilities.

I have just finished The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby.  It is a library book but I may buy my own copy so I can underline and make marginal notes, commentaries and faces expressing my opinion. 

During the 60's and most of the 70's, I was living on a mountaintop in Colorado and have often thought I completely missed experiencing the social changes of that era.  So I enjoy finding books that offer a description of the cause and effect of events during that time period.

Next on my non-fiction is Too Close To The Sun, a memoir by Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of FDR and Eleanor. 

I can see that my list of Books To Read is going to grow by leaps and bounds from suggestions I see here.  Thank you, each and every one.

jeriron

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 01:17:41 PM »
I am just finishing John Grogans book "The Longest Trip Home". It is about his growing up Catholic so that may not be of interest to all. I enjoyed it. Not as much as "Marley and Me" though.

Mippy

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 01:17:49 PM »
Hi to everyone and Happy New Year!

I've been reading non-fiction, more than fiction, over the past few months, for various reasons.

My current (re-read), by one of my favorite authors is:
Washington's Crossing  by David Hackett Fischer (2006).

The author is an American history professor emeritus at Brandeis University, and I think I've read all of his books, including the most recent one:  Champlain's Dream.   (hidden by husband, cannot find it to give a fly-leaf description).
                   
The latter is, in my opinion, much more difficult and perhaps not the best choice for a readers' discussion, but the former is about one period of the American Revolutionary War, and it really would  be excellent for a book discussion!
               
Lacking archives, I'm not sure if this group has already done it ... have we ... or have we ever done anything by this excellent author?

As some one says, let's talk ...     ;D
quot libros, quam breve tempus

Frybabe

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 02:11:46 PM »
I have Washington's Crossing, haven't read it yet. Dewey, came as a Christmas Present. Looking forward to reading it soon.

My next book to read however will be the SciFi book, Ender's Game (Card). I promised someone, when we were over on the old SeniorNet, that I would let her know what I thought of it.

Meanwhile, I am still SLOWLY reading through Liberal Fascism (Goldberg) and Lost Christianities (Ehrman). Both are non-fiction.

mabel1015j

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 02:58:12 PM »
I had posted this orginally in "the library" but i'll put it here, as it's specifically a non-fiction book.

I picked up a book from the library's "new non-fiction" shelf and am finding it intriguing.

It's title is An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege. Belle Greene was born Belle Marian Greener. Her claim to fame is that she became at a young age (early 20's) the librarian of J. P. Morgan's private library and eventually was the buyer and curator for his rare book/manuscript collection. She had a "dusky" complexion and as an adult stated that it was a result of Portugese ancestors, but her father was Richard Greener, the first person of mixed European/African-American ancestry to attend Harvard and who was the first Af-American professional staff person as Librarian at the University of South Carolina in the late 19th century. The U of SC was actually integrated after the Civil War and became re-segregated during the 1880's. Belle had a fascinating life, being a librarian at Princeton University during the first decade of the 20th century. While there she met J.P. Morgan's nephew, who was also a librarian at Princeton and he recommended her to his uncle. As Morgan's librarian she became a part of   NYC society, and the rare book community of the world, in the first half of the 20th century, an intriguing time and place of history.....................jean

nlhome

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2009, 04:22:47 PM »
I don't usually read non-fiction, mostly because I read so much material for my job, but some of the titles here sound fascinating. The latest non-fiction book I looked at was Fill 'er Up: The Glory Days of Wisconsin Gas Stations. Now doesn't that sound fascinating? Actually, it was - brought back a lot of memories. I loaned it to my sister, so will finish reading it later. Remember the old "filling stations"?

serenesheila

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2009, 04:44:45 PM »
Hi, all.  I just found this site.  I enjoy non fiction.  Am an history buff.  I have particular interest in the period from the Civil War to the present.  The book I am now reading is called:  "The Forgotten Man".  It is about the Great Depression, and the people who were alive at that time.  It is quite interesting.

I am down sick with a virus.  My mind isn't as clear as usual.  But, I think the author is named Amity Sch....... 

Octavia

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2009, 05:07:51 PM »
I started listening(I never use lurk :)) to non-fiction in Seniornet a year or so before it died. I really enjoyed some of the discussions even though I didn't have the books. I've been reading Politician's Bio's - Kevin Rudd and Peter Costello - only relevant to other Australians here.

The book that overwhelmed me was a little volume by a French journalist, Life Laid Bare, I think it was, a matter of fact account by survivors of the Rwandan massacre. If it had been written as a dramatic, heartwrenching account, I think it would have been easier to put down.These survivors told their stories so simply and matter of factly. I'd look up and think--this is mind-blowing, they're talking about the horrible, violent, deaths of their loved ones. Then to have to go back and live and work beside their killers!

It made me feel ashamed to be a westerner, to tell the truth.

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Sir Terry Pratchett.

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2009, 09:11:40 PM »
HEY, CALLIE!  Thanks for your post.  I read TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN,  and it's a new look at the Roosevelts - I liked it.  I think all the children, grandchildren of former presidents should write a book and tell us frankly what it was like to be so close the sun.

THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON is new to me; sounds good and is on my list!

HELLO JERI!  Have you seen the movie Marley and Me yet.  It is breaking records I hear.  I am one of the few who  has not read the book yet, but I will in time.  It's so funny so they tell me.

MIPPY!   Thanks for your post.  No we haven't discussed a book by Fischer; but we have done a discussion on Washington and the Revolutionary War.  At the moment, I can't think of the title; however, we could discuss Washington and that war numerous times and never complete a discussion.  I'll look it up at the Library; I saw it at B&N recently but my time was limited.  I hate that!  I could spend hours there and at the Library also!  My favorite things to do!

JEAN, Belle was an unusual lady at a unusual time in our history.  Sounds like a wonderful book!

Oh, indeed, NL, I remember fillling stations.  "Filler her up!"   "Check the oil, too"   All without getting out of the car.  My husband used to say that women would never pump their own gas, HA!

SHEILA, hope you get well soon, keep posting and we'll keep your mind busy!  It's does wonders for the body!

OCTAVIA!  Your comment about being ashamed to be a westerner is a feeling I often get when I read such books!  We are so fortunate, aren't we?  And I wonder, often, how I can help! 

I have the book CALL ME TED waiting to be read and when he was interviewed lately on BookTV he talked about his gift of a billion to the United Nations for humanitarian purposes and I think about making monies given accountable?  Where do they go?  To the common, poor people or the wealthy who can so eaily corrupt the system.


Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2009, 09:15:44 PM »
How about thinking of a book we might want to discuss?

Perhaps March might be a good month to do it?  We'll decide in Februry so when you read one you think might appeal to the group, I'll put it in the heading

CubFan

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2009, 09:17:58 PM »
Greetings -

I just watched Brian Lamb interview Robert Caro on Q & A and am again motivated to read a book because I was impressed with the author's approach to writing.  Since I've had The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York sitting on a shelf for some time, I've decided tonight is a good night to start it.  The over 1100 pages means it'll be a while before it's finished.  At least my timing is good - since I watch little on TV except sports (football, baseball & NASCAR) and now that football is almost over, and NASCAR and baseball don't start for some time yet I can make some real inroads all of my reading - although I do watch a lot of games and read at the same time - sound off and the advantage of replay.  I don't think you'll be hearing much from me for a while but I'll be having fun (most of the time -  I'm getting plenty of exercise with this winter's over abundance of snow).  Mary
"No two persons ever read the same book" Edmund Wilson

jeriron

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2009, 10:37:40 PM »
Ella

Yes I have seen the movie and I have read the  book. Enjoyed both.

mabel1015j

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2009, 10:57:21 PM »
Ella - come to New Jersey - we don't have to pump our gas.......YET! ..... I know people who say they will not move out of the state, just for that reason......i assume that's a bit of an exaggeration................but, for me, not much of one...............LOL

There have been so many great non-fiction books practically jumping out of the publishing house windows in the last couple of years, it's hard to think of ONE that we should discuss. I'd like to read the Roosevelt book, especially if it has a different focus than all the others i've read .................. jean

Gumtree

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2009, 11:02:48 AM »
Hello: I read non-fiction now and again but not as a regular diet but I 'lurk' about the non-fiction occasionally to see what everyone's reading. Such a wealth of material on offer it's hard to choose....

Octavia Here we are again. My beloved one has almost finished the Costello Memoirs - He was enjoying it so much we gave it to Sydneysider son in his Xmas stocking  - Haven't heard how he likes it or even whether he's started it or not. Not sure whether I'll read it or not - my stack is huge at the moment. What was the Rudd bio like?
Reading is an art and the reader an artist. Holbrook Jackson

dean69

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2009, 06:17:12 AM »
I have just finished reading "Outliers" by Malcolm Galdwell and found it very thought provoking.  Having read his two previous books "Blink" and "The Tipping Point" this one did not disappoint.  Gladwell writes about issues that seldom are considered in the mix of why some people are successful and some not,  such as the culture into which you were born, when you were born and most of all access.

The next book on my reading list is "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" by Jeffrey Toobin.  I would love to hear comments from anyone who has read this book.

Mippy

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2009, 06:50:56 AM »
Hi,  Dean !   Nice post !
Outliers  by Gladwell is quite a good read.  It was a good fill-in book for me during many hours spent in waiting rooms, recently.   
I don't agree with everything he says, but that's par for the course.

I have just ordered Blink!
quot libros, quam breve tempus

pedln

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2009, 05:08:11 PM »
For some reason, I don’t read many non-fiction books.  But when I do, I usually enjoy them.  The most recent was The Worst Hard Time, that Ella spoke of, about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  Two that I’d like to read are The Outliers and  Three Cups of Tea, about Greg Mortenson and his efforts to build schools in developing countries.  And as a former Wisconsinite, I guess Fill ‘Er Up has to be on that list.  It sounds like fun.


Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2009, 06:20:20 PM »
WE HAVE ENOUGH SUGGESTIONS FOR THE WHOLE YEAR, A READER'S PARADISE RIGHT HERE.

But what about a book to discuss among us, possibly for March?  What do you think?

A friend of mine finished A TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Goodwin; all of you have no doubt heard of it????   Or read it?  She said it was one of the best books she has ever read. 

The problem is it has 900 some pages, Wow!   We could take two months!!!  We have never discussed a book about Lincoln to my knowledge.  Libraries are full of this book, it's very popular.

http://catalog.columbuslibrary.org/

I am just beginning the book STALIN'S CHILDREN: Three Generations of Love, War, and Survival by Owen Matthews.  Looks very good:  click on these links to read more about the books.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Stalins-Children/Owen-Matthews/e/9780802717146/?itm=2




Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2009, 06:30:14 PM »
THE OUTLIERS book sounds very good: 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Outliers/Malcolm-Gladwell/e/9780316017923/?itm=1

Thanks, DEAN, for the post and let us know how you like THE NINE.  I've heard about it and want to read it when I get through with all the ones I have waiting.

And thank you, PEDLIN, for your suggestions. 

How to decide what to read next? 

CUBFAN, I have that huge book - the one about Robert Moses - sitting in my book shelves, someday, someday..................   It looks so very good and I love books that tell us how cities were formed and great men, etc.    I'll get to it!

Mippy

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2009, 07:01:37 PM »
Have you read Outliers?
I don't see how it would work well as a discussion, as each separate section or essay stands alone.   But perhaps this group likes
that kind of collection of essays.

Moreover, there is some question in my mind about whether the "scientific" material in the book is rigorous science or not.

However, I did enjoy (most) of the book, and found it to be thought-provoking.   
quot libros, quam breve tempus

hats

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2009, 08:54:10 AM »
I would love to read "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I always enjoy hearing her interviewed on tv. She makes History so interesting.

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2009, 01:18:46 PM »
HATS!   Where have you been?  I don't think I have seen you on our new Book site and I am so glad you found us.

Well, any other comments about TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin?

I'm going to look up in B&N to see what a used copy (which is usually like new) costs.  I'll be back to tell you.

mabel1015j

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2009, 01:40:54 PM »
Team of Rivals sounds good to me............jean

gingerw

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2009, 01:50:14 PM »
Hi Hats, glad you are here. Welcome home.
Ginger

hats

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2009, 02:21:27 PM »
Hi Ella and Ginger,

It does feel like being back home. I am glad to be with both of you again. We have gotten a lot of rain in the area. This morning we lost power for a couple of hours.

serenesheila

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2009, 05:14:02 PM »
I vote for "Team of Rivals".  I love Doris Kearns Goodwin.  The time period had more impact on me, than any other period in our history.  I have the book, but have not cracked it yet.  I guess I was waiting for a Senior discussion.

I am still down with a virus.  My dil has it now, and went to the dr. today.  She was told it is either the flu, or something she ate.  I hope that none of you get it.

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2009, 06:46:11 PM »
THREE people are interested in discussing TEAM OF RIVALS!

Any others?

Let's see - we have HATS, JEAN AND SHEILA.

Oh, a good group!  Wonderful!   And SHEILA, I hope you get over that flu soon.  Did you get a flu shot which is supposed to prevent such awful incidents?

I got a used hardcover book from B&N (online) for $14, not bad considering the size of this one; the shipping costs are $3.  I have to have a copy I can write in when I am in a discussion; otherwise I forget it all later.

Janice

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2009, 12:15:43 AM »
I too enjoyed Fill er up, it was fun to read.
Team of Rivals sounds interesting.

Mippy

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2009, 06:32:14 AM »
For a discussion starting in March,  may I please be included as a maybe  since family obligations ...  both good (grand-baby due in April)  and less good (illness in the family) ... may take me away from
my computer during the upcoming months.
                                                                                   
I think I'll buy "Rivals"  whether or not I can participate, so a big thanks to all who suggested it,  to Ella, and others.

And p.s. off the subject:  I also got a flu shot because of another new baby in the family, who we hope will be visiting us within the month.  The darling new granddaughter is now 4 weeks old!
quot libros, quam breve tempus

PatH

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2009, 08:04:26 AM »
I want to check out "Team of Rivals" first, but if I like its looks, I'm interested.

Annie

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2009, 12:00:18 PM »
Hey there, all you gorgeous readers!  So glad to see that everyone is up to reading and discussing what ever you decide on.

Did I miss the description of "Rivals"???  I have only read one of Goodwin's books, entitled "Wait 'til Next Year"  which was about her growing up with the game of baseball.  Wonderful read!  I would bet that Cubfan would enjoy that one. 

I just finished a fiction discussion so will be looking in here for titles that I can put on my list for non-fiction.

So good to find old friends who were on the old SN site.  What a crash---or was it a dump??? :-\

Hello to Hats, PatH, Mippy, Gingee, Ella, Gumtree, Mabel, etc etc! And I found Macou on SL too but maybe in the fiction section.  This is like a family reunion.
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

mabel1015j

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2009, 03:19:17 PM »
I highly recomment Doris Kearns Goodwin's
"No Ordinary Time" for any of you who haven't read it..........it's about the Roosevelt's (FDR and ER) during the war years -that's WWII. She packs in so much information and yet it reads almost like a novel............jean

serenesheila

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2009, 04:48:14 PM »
Am still down with this virus.  Yes, I did get my flu shot.  My doctor tells me that without the shot, I might die with a virus. 
So, I keep getting both, the shot, and the flu!

I am feeling better.  Not as achy, cough has diminished, but am dizzy, and weak.  All I want to do is sleep.  So, not much time for reading.

PatH

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2009, 05:46:02 PM »
I read "No Ordinary Time" when it came out, and I agree--it's a really good read.

Annie

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Re: Non-Fiction
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2009, 07:17:55 PM »
Hi Sheila,
My mother and my sister both got the flu shot twice and the flu got them both times.  They both finally said no to the shot.  They were both over 50 at the time they received the shot.  I have been getting the shot for 20 years and, so far, no bad results.
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey