Update And Nonfiction….A Twofer

In my previous posts about books by diverse authors, List of Stories To Be Read…Part 1 and List of Stories To Be Read….Part 2, I asked for your opinions and recommendations.  Your ideas are awesome.

In this post I’m going to tell you about two of the books that you have recommended that I have finished, but then also to get your ideas about nonfiction.

So this is a twofer.  First, the update.

I just finished the audiobook Born in Crime, by Trevor Noah.  Carrie Rubin suggested that I listen to the audiobook versus reading the book, because his voice is wonderful, it is his story so he tells it the best and he nails the different voices and accents portrayed.

Photo from books.google.com

Photo from books.google.com

This book is Trevor Noah’s coming-of-age in South Africa memoir story and it is fabulous.

I don’t want to give away his story, but it is so good.  The kind of book where I laughed out loud numerous times and teared up at others.  There was not even one moment when my attention strayed.  When I finished it I felt like a friend was saying good-bye.  But that’s okay, I’m going to read it again.

The second book I had talked about and now have finished is Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston.  When I say “now have finished,” I mean that I’m not going to read anymore (shhhhhhh……don’t tell the author).  I started out LOVING this book about life in a Japanese-American internment camp and the historical events of that time period in U.S. history.  Then the story stopped grabbing my attention.

I made a deal with myself a few years ago knowing that we have a finite time on this earth and more books exist than we could possibly ever read.  So if I stop liking a book or can’t initially get into a book (I usually give it 25 – 50 pages) I put it down.  And that’s what happened to Farewell to Manzanar.

I now know much more than I did about the Japanese-American internment camps and am so thankful to this book for that information.  Many of you will love it.  I just lost interest.  But see if you feel differently.

Now what I’m interested in hearing about:

  1. What are your favorite nonfiction books of all time?
  2. Are you reading nonfiction now?
  3. If so, what are you reading?
  4. If you were alone on a deserted island, what 2 books would you like to have with you?

the professor and the madman


My favorite nonfiction book ever is The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester.  I think I like it so much because it reads like fiction.  BEST.BOOK.EVER.

Now your turn to give me a suggestion for my next nonfiction read. I like language, history, science and biographies.

Hurry, I can’t wait!


About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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28 Responses to Update And Nonfiction….A Twofer

  1. Jess says:

    I absolutely love Trevor Noah. He’s so hilarious. I can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      You’ll love every word. Plus his story is insane. All I knew about apartheid is from the movie Invictus and a little from history class. He talks about everything. Race, language, his family, his schools, girls…..I can’t convey how really good it is. I totally recommend the audiobook though. I have Audible and listened to it commuting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    “There was not even one moment when my attention strayed.”—Yes! That’s exactly how I felt about Noah’s book. So glad you enjoyed it too. Best audiobook I’ve ever listened to in terms of content AND narrator.

    I’m actually reading nonfiction right now. Started Douglas Preston’s new one: “The Lost City of the Monkey God.” It’s about the search for a lost city in Honduras. The author joined in on the expedition. I’m loving it so far. Reads almost like fiction, and I find the topic fascinating.

    My favorite nonfiction book is “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I only wish there had been a book like this when I was younger. I grew up thinking I was weird, when really I was just an introvert. (Okay, maybe a little weird too…)

    Thanks for the mention!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Almost Iowa says:

    I like to read books about the history of technology. It is amazing how things we view as primitive are highly sophisticated.sophisticated.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Favorite non-fiction books:
    -“Nixonland”, by Rick Perlstein.
    -“The Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington (disagree with a lot of his points, but interesting all the same)
    -“The Decline of the West” by Oswald Spengler (Like Huntington, only more so–but it gives fascinating insight into the zeitgeist of Germany in 1930s)
    -“Conscience of a Liberal” by Paul Krugman
    -“The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli
    -“A Most Ingenious Paradox” by Gayden Wren. (This is an analysis of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas–I love it, but probably not much use to any non-G&S fans)
    -“How to Read Literature like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster (Sort of a cheat: non-fiction guide for reading fiction)
    -All of Michael Holley’s books about the New England Patriots

    Currently reading “Strategy: A History” by Lawrence Freedman. A sweeping overview of the history of strategic thought, from prehistoric times to the present. I love it.

    If I were on a deserted island, I would want to have a copy of “How to Survive on Land and Sea”–a very handy book my grandfather got in World War II and passed down to me. “Most Ingenious Paradox” would be the other one I’d take–for old times’ sake. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      These are great. I thought that someone would give a title about surviving on an island! Machiavelli I’ve read, of course.. I love Paul Krugman so will read that one soon.The Oswald Spengler looks great, too. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I should probably add: that list is more like ‘Part 1″. I’m sure there are many more books I will think of later!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        Oh me too. And I’m not counting memoirs as nonfiction, which they actually are. For many years I would have a fiction book and a nonfiction book going at the same time. I’ve moved away from that. During the school year I’m too wiped out at night. And I have to concentrate when reading nonfiction more than fiction.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. bluestempond says:

    I listened to “Born A Crime” on audio too, and really loved it. For sci-fi, I liked “Ready Player One” and “Wool” by Hugh Howey. Wool is part of a trilogy that was hard to put down.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ann Coleman says:

    I’ll have to read the first book you recommended, because it sounds exactly like the type of book I like. As for my favorite non-fiction books, I guess I’d have to say “The Opposite of Fate” by Amy Tan and “Night” by Elie Wiesel. I couldn’t possibly choose just two books for stay on a desert island, so I’d just close my eyes and grab two randomly off my shelf. Because if they are on my bookshelf, then I love them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      “Because if they are on my bookshelf, then I love them.” What a wonderful sentence! I’m not sure which books I would bring if I could only have 2. But I frequently wonder. I like both nonfiction books that you mentioned. 💟

      Liked by 1 person

  7. soberinvegas says:

    I love love love Trevor Noah and I love nonfiction!!! : D I just finished this book https://www.amazon.com/You-Cant-Touch-My-Hair/dp/0143129201 and it was such a great read! Anything by David Sedaris makes me laugh until it hurts, and also Tina Fey’s Bossypants. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Don’t know that I have an “all-time” favorites list either because my tastes evolve over time, or my memory fades, but I love David Sedaris (“Me Talk Pretty one Day”) and Ron Chernow (both Washington and Alexander Hamilton)
    Recently finished reading Think Like a Freak
    On a desert island, I’d want fiction: The Sellout by Paul Beatty and The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.

    But I’ll add Professor and the Madman to my Kindle. Sounds like its a keeper…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      I LOVE BARBARA KINGSOLVER. I don’t know The Lacuna, though. On my list now. And I’ll check out Ron Chernow. I read a Washington biography a couple of years ago. I’m not sure who the author was. I think I’m going to have to plaster my lists on my walls, they’re getting so long. I know, that’s what Goodreads is for.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bonsai says:

    If you like nonfiction and culture I’d like to offer a shameless plug for “The Six-Foot Bonsai.” It is the story of my headlong pursuit to become a Japanese wife that began in the early 80’s and lasted 21 years. I cannot promise humor, but you’ll learn a lot about Japan from behind the paper doors.

    Liked by 1 person

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