Top Ten Books Outside My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Books I Enjoyed
That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

TTT for September 3, 2019
#TopTenTuesday

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For this edition of #TopTenTuesday, we are talking about Books I Enjoy That Are Outside My Comfort Zone.

Please click on the covers to access my review

1. Time travel stories

I usually don’t like time travel stories, but it works here, with a nice mix of history and cultural touches.

Vintage 1954

2-3. Manga

I have tried to read Manga, but often I didn’t like them. Except these:
The Secret World of Arrietty is actually a Film Comic Adaptation, I didn’t even know such a thing existed. This story is cute, and the artwork is just stunning!
I was surprised to love Orange, because it’s basically a teenage love story, but the art is well done (essential for me), and the plot is actually intriguing and original. I quickly devoured the two thick volumes of it.

 Orange The Secret World of Arrietty

4. Ghost stories

I about never read ghost stories, but I won this book for somebody else. Before giving it to the person, I opened it, and devoured it! I was really surprised to enjoy this Middle Grade ghost story. Very rich story!

Trace

5. Hemingway

I really don’t like his books, except this one, a beautiful memoir on his time in Paris.

A Moveable Feast

6-7. Political books

Another genre I almost never read. But these were surprisingly very well done and interesting.

 Fear Democracy in Chains

8-9. WWII  and YA

Having read so much about WWII in my French curriculum and in novels, I now try to stay away form it. However, these 2 books were amazing, the first one for the quality and originality of the writing, the second for the content (WWII and YA, 2 categories I rarely read in).

 HHhH Defy the night

10. Essays

I rarely read short stories or essays collections, because I usually feel the end comes too abruptly. This one however, was fabulous, being written by an amazing author.Chronicles of a Liquid Society

Have you read any of these?
Any other good title you would recommend
in these categories?

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Nonfiction November: My Year 2018 in Nonfiction

Nonfiction-November-2018-1-300x300

#NonficNov

Click on the logo to see the detailed schedule

As every year, a bunch of really cool bloggers are co-hosting Nonfiction November.
Here is the topic for week 1:

YOUR YEAR IN NONFICTION

Hosted by Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Here is the recap of the nonfiction I have read (the links will send you to my review when it’s posted) or will finish for sure before the end of the year.
A pathetic 9 compare to 22 last year!! And I’m not sure I will read more nonfiction this year, besides these titles.

Why so few this year?
The reason being mostly that I really wanted to focus on reading books taking up dust on my shelves, and most were novels. And also the fact that I have read less this year, so the percentage fiction/nonfiction may end up pretty close to that of 2018, my end of the year statistics will tell.
Here are the titles:

Biographies:

  1. Monet, Itinerant of Light, by Salva Rubio (and EFA) – graphic nonfiction
  2. Conan Doyle for the Defense, by Margalit Fox
  3. Elder Sebastian of Optina, by Tatiana Torstensen

About trips:

  1. Journal de mon voyage d’AmĂ©rique, by Louis-Philippe
  2. The Ship, the Saint, and the Sailor: The Long Search for the Legendary Kad’yak, by Bradley G Stevens

About politics:

  1. Democracy in Chains, by Nancy MacLean- audiobook
  2. Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward

About music:

  1. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, by Thad Carhart

Orthodox spirituality:

  1. Modern Orthodox Thinkers: From the Philokalia to the Present Day, by Andrew Louth

 

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

Conan Doyle for the Defense

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Democracy in Chains

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to
more this year?

Current issues, which is totally new to me

What are you hoping to get out
of participating in Nonfiction November?

Get acquainted with more nonfiction readers and good titles unknown to me

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE NONFICTION THIS YEAR?

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Fear: Trump in the White House and Democracy in Chains

  Fear  Democracy in Chains  

Fear: Trump in the White House

and

Democracy in Chains

 

short reviews

 

I usually refrain from reading about politics. But recently, two books called my attention:
Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward,
and
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean.
Click on the book covers to know more about them

One day, I saw the name Nancy MacLean treading on Twitter. I was curious who she could be and ended up listening to her book, published a year ago. The reason she was trending now was that the night before, she had been invited at a TV show – I don’t have TV and didn’t know about that.

MacLean’s book was very enlightening, showing how the current situation in American politics has roots back in the 1950s.
She also talks at large about school segregation, based both on races and money. Enormous college fees are one aspect of efforts made to limit education to the wealthy. Scary.

Even more scary is MacLean’s presentation of where the Koch brothers’ ideas are coming from and what Libertarians are all about. I was curious to see exactly what they wanted to change in the current U.S. Constitution, and are supposedly close to realizing, but unfortunately, I didn’t find these details explicitly mentioned, even though that’s what I had heard advertised about the book.

Despite this absence of details in this specific point, I thought the book was a fascinating research on the origin of what’s going on now. I learned a lot!
Besides, the narrator of the audiobook is very good, with a good pace for nonfiction.

***

Now to get a closer look at the current situation, I decided to read Fear, only because of the seriousness and reputation of its author.
I was hesitant, thinking I didn’t need to get more depressing details that we already get through the media – even though I avoid most of them.

Actually, I came out of the book (devoured in a couple of sittings) quite admiring of the staff who do all they can to salvage the situation and try to do something with what they have.  This excerpt from page 226 gives a good idea:

Fear p226

Some have criticized actions such as staff members taking a paper off the presidential desk, to be sure a dangerous document would not be signed, and to avoid catastrophic consequences. Indeed these acts don’t seem normal, but the book shows that in desperate situations, desperate acts are needed.

I liked the style of the author, presenting daily vignettes with as much objectivity as possible. The book is extremely documented and tries to just state facts. Quite an unusual and refreshing perspective these days.

DID YOU READ ANY OF THESE? 
WHAT DID YOU THINK?