Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games is incredibly dense and full of information. It’s extremely well researched with lots of end notes and sources (filling about a quarter of the book). It covers pretty much everything you can imagine about the 1936 Olympics (both winter and summer) including the aftermath and how it changed later Olympic games. It’s a good choice for someone who is interested in the Olympics.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 49
Pages Read in 2022: 17,979
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Evicted is very eye-opening. The author, a sociologist, lived among people in poverty and wrote about them and their experiences with eviction and how not having stable housing affects all aspects of life. This brings a human face to the issue making it about not some random guy in the inner city but about specific people like Lamar and Scott and Arleen. He gives ideas on how we can help prevent evictions and reduce the percentage of income people spend on rent. The book is extremely well-sourced and researched. The last about quarter of the book is footnotes. It’s a really excellent book and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning ways to lift people out of poverty.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 49
Pages Read in 2021: 15,167

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The School I Deserve by Jo Napolitano

The School I Deserve by Jo Napolitano

The School I Deserve chronicles the 2016 court battle against the Lancaster school system that won older (17+) refugees the right to go to the regular high school rather than be shunted to the last chance school for at risk youth. The writing is excellent and really guides you through the case day by day. Interspersed throughout is background on some of the refugees named in the case, as well as what was going on in the country, at the rise of Trump, related to refugees and their education (as well as increasing anti-refugee sentiment). I found it to be quite fascinating. I recommend it to anyone interested in refugee rights or curious about how life goes for refugees once they have been resettled in America.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 35
Pages Read in 2021: 10,135

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

Broke in America by Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox

Broke in America by Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox

There are a lot of people living in poverty in this country. Broke in America attempts to humanize them by telling their stories and explaining how various aspects of poverty affect other seemingly unrelated things in their lives. Every chapter has ideas on how you can help. I found the book to be very informative without sounding preachy. I learned a whole lot from it. Having dealt with some of the things discussed as a foster parent, I could relate just a little to how frustrating dealing with bureaucratic red tape can be. The main point of the book is to do something to help our fellow humans. I very highly recommend Broke in America.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 32
Pages Read in 2021: 9072

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

Liberty’s Torch by Elizabeth Mitchell

Liberty’s Torch by Elizabeth Mitchell

Liberty’s Torch is surprisingly engaging and interesting. Often non-fiction can be dry, but this one is definitely not. The author tells the story of Bartholdi and his quest for fame by building a giant statue. I didn’t know much of how the Statue of Liberty came to be so this book was very fascinating and educational for me. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in history.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 28
Pages Read in 2021: 7786

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Filed under History, Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede

When the airspace over the United States was closed following the terrorist attacks on the morning of September 11, 2001, several thousand passengers were diverted to Gander, a small town in Newfoundland. Faced with the “plane people” staying amongst them for a few days, the people of Gander jumped into action. They organized clothes, towels, medication, food, entertainment, and places for the stranded passengers to stay. They made lifelong friends. They restored a belief in humanity that was lost when the terrorists turned planes into missiles. The Day the World Came to Town is a quick and easy read. It’ll make you smile and maybe cry, but it’ll definitely make you feel good. It closely follows the stories of a few days in the lives of several people, flipping between them in a more or less linear timeline. Even almost twenty years after 9/11, this story is a wonderful snapshot of a bunch of people making a horrible situation into something not nearly so bad. I recommend it to all adults.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 22
Pages Read in 2021: 5993

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Raising Multiracial Children by Farzana Nayani

Raising Multiracial Children by Farzana Nayani

Aside from being dreadfully dry and boring, Raising Multiracial Children didn’t seem to have a clear focus or purpose (definitely not what the title indicates). The author rambles on and on and is very disorganized. Sometimes she’s talking to parents, sometimes to teachers, switching sometimes in the middle of a single paragraph. There are some excellent statistics and a few gems for raising children from multiple races or ethnicities, but for the most part it’s just not a very well-written book. Everything useful in it could have been written in a handful of blog posts. This is a book to skip.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 21
Pages Read in 2021: 5733

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

How Not to Get Married by George Mahood

How Not to Get Married by George Mahood

George Mahood is funny. He’s got an excellent British sense of humor (humour). He also was a wedding photographer for several years. In How Not to Get Married he addresses several traditional bits of a wedding from picking your wedding colors (the most important decision you will ever make, obviously) to tossing the bouquet to the honeymoon to cutting the cake (he really hates the cutting of the cake). Interwoven with origins and theories are examples he’s seen in his career photographing weddings. Some are sweet, some are horrifying, and some are just silly. It’s a nice mind vacation and if you are getting married it may even help you chill out and enjoy the ride a little more.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 14
Pages Read in 2021: 3960

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Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller

I never realized there was so much corruption and scandal in the world of olive oil. I also now want to find an olive oil bar. I found this book to be quite fascinating. You wouldn’t think the topic would be quite so engaging, but it definitely is. I recommend it to anyone who likes olive oil.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 60
Pages Read in 2020: 17,326
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

We Are Not Refugees by Agus Morales

The word refugee has a very specific meaning. Most displaced persons in our world are not actually refugees. There are many terms for them based on where in their journey they currently are. This book seeks to tell the stories of those non-refugee displaced people.

The book jumps around a lot. It goes from one continent to another and back, from one time period to another and back, and jumps around from person to person, sometimes revisiting those that were introduced chapters before. It also fails a bit at what it claims to do. The author uses a lot of words, often repeating the same thing over and over, to talk about the types of displacement, why they are displaced, where they go, where they want to be, but doesn’t use very many words to actually tell the true stories of those who are displaced. The writing is good and the concepts are told well if you ignore how repetitive it is.

Overall, We Are Not Refugees does serve an important purpose and that is to help people to understand that when we use the term refugee we often are not using it correctly at all. More importantly, it shows that displaced persons are human beings with stories and lives. I recommend it to anyone interested in the plight of people who must leave their homes due to war, violence, or persecution.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 41
Pages Read in 2020: 11,008
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo