Today I thought I’d share a summary of all the books I managed to read during Non Fic November… I didn’t manage to get through everything on my list, but I’m still pretty please with my efforts 🙂 I’ve already reviewed Granny is My Wingman and The Burglar Caught By A Skeleton for you, but here are the others I ticked off my list last month:
Mama Rose’s Turn by Carolyn Quinn
This was one pretty epic book, and kind of the example that proves the rules that non-fiction takes forever to read! Despite it taking a few weeks of investment, I really enjoyed it. I have a bit of a thing for the underdog, so I really loved that the author consistently defended a personality typically viewed as a bit of a monster. Her research was impeccable, and rather than filling in any blanks with guesswork, Quinn held her hands up and said “I’m not sure what really happened but I’d like to think it was this“. The life of Rose Thompson was a whirlpool of eccentricity, scandal and dedication, and I would fully recommend you immerse yourself a little. This is a woman who carved out stellar careers for two daughters, inspired three memoirs and a Tony award-winning musical as well as multiple films, a newspaper series and a character in a crime novel. You owe it to her to get to know her.
What Falls Away by Mia Farrow
In a nutshell, Mia Farrow has lived a ridiculously fabulous life. Every memoir I’ve read before this one has been about a person who started off with a normal life but went on to do something that would put them in the public eye. Farrow, on the other hand, was born into the glamorous Hollywood bubble of stardom. The book was a pleasure to read; her narrative tone is welcoming and compelling and I love that she makes no apologies for any of her life choices, despite overwhelming judgement and pressure from the media. The way she talks of her marriage to Frank Sinatra makes me nostalgic for a time I never even experienced… and her astounding grace in the face of a horrific and highly publicized event just makes me love her. I encourage you to pick up a copy and read it for yourself, because no review will do it justice.
Jump Start Your Creativity by Shawn Doyle and Steven Rowell
I read this in the hope that it would re-inspire me… as I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut recently. Unfortunately I found myself very disappointed. Rather than stimulating my artistic cells, it almost bored me to death. If you want to coordinate some cringeworthy team building or generate some ‘creative solutions’ to business problems, then this book is for you and I’m sure you’ll find there to be some valid tools… it just didn’t fit my purpose. I also found the writing style to be quite fake – it felt like reading a sales pitch rather than a helpful guide. All in all, not my fave.
American Cookery, or the art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables, and the best modes of making pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, puddings, custards, and preserves, and all kinds of cakes, from the imperial plum to plain cake: Adapted to this country, and all grades of life by Amelia Simmons, An American Orphan
Erm… first observation… it has a really long title… After really enjoying the ‘food history’ aspects of How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom I wanted to read an olde worlde cook book during Non Fic November. Originally published in 1796, this one definitely fits into that category, and is actually the first known recipe book to have been written by an American. The ‘God Bless America’ mentality is evident from the very first page (actually, it’s evident from the front cover…) but it’s more quaint than annoying. I’m probably not going to cook anything from the book, but I love some of the phrases she comes out with (my fave being the assertion that garlics are far better suited to the brewing of medications than to foods… because the French use garlic, and you know what they’re like…) What a gem!
Bossypants by Tina Fey
I would love to say that I’ve been a Tina Fey fan for years, that I watched her religiously on Saturday Night Live, that I have every episode of 30 Rock on DVD, and that I went to all of her early improv shows. However, then I would be telling you four lies. To me, she’s the teacher from Mean Girls. Despite not really knowing who she was (and being far too English to have noticed the infamous Sarah Palin thing) I really enjoyed the book. She’s just so funny! I’ll admit that there was the odd joke that I didn’t enjoy, or rather, that I didn’t think was completely necessary (I’m more of a wry/sarcastic/satirical person) but there were a few instances of embarassing ‘laughing on the bus’ while reading. Bossypants is really accessible, and offers a fascinating peek into the world of comedy, something I know next to nothing about… I would definitely recommend this book to anyone out there that finds non-fiction a bit dry… because this is anything but!
And here concludes all of the Non Fic November posts for 2013, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along… but let’s get back to those novels!