The Gift of Reading Non-Fiction

If you have non-fiction readers on your gift giving list, you have many books to choose from this year.

In the biography category, artists will undoubted appreciate Ninth Street Women: Five Painters and The Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel. Young sports aficionados will be inspired by Open Heart, Open Mind by Canadian Olympian and advocate for mental health Clara Hughes. And memoir lovers with an interest in politics will enjoy Michelle Obama’s Becoming Michelle which details her journey from working class Chicago to the White House.

For the coffee drinker who loves to travel, consider The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers. A gripping account of a 24-year-old Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee and travels to his ancestral home to source the beans only to face militia roadblocks, kidnappings and threats against his life. Another option for foodies: Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by award-winning journalist Jonathan Kauffman. An outstanding food and cultural history that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and shows how the concept of health food evolved in the kitchens of young baby boomers before becoming mainstream.

If your reader is focused on social justice and immigration The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu is a shocking insider look at US immigration from the perspective of a border patrol agent. Another powerful read is The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Iraqui-American poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail.

An Amazon best book of 2018 that reads like a thriller and will appeal to crime aficionados as well as business geeks is Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. Bad Blood is the story of Theranos, a Silicon Valley start-up whose charismatic founder, Elizabeth Holmes, raised nearly one billion dollars over 15 years for a company founded on lies, falsehoods, bullying and fraud.

In a year when laughs were hard to come by, at least as far as current events were concerned, John Cleese, Professor At Large is a sharp and clever collection of Cleese’s lectures at Cornell University while he was a visiting professor. For some mother-daughter humor, I See Life Through Rose`-Colored Glasses by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella is a hilarious collection of essays about the pitfalls of daily life.

And finally, for inspiration and motivation an ideal pick is Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan.  Named a best book of the year by Real Simple and Bustle, this is a story-driven collection of essays on twelve powerful phrases we use in our relationships including I don’t know; tell me more; no; I was wrong; and I love you. Both funny and touching, Corrigan’s book is a fabulous read heading into a new year.


My May Reads

Reading time is at a premium right now as the garden calls. The tomato plants are taking over the greenhouse, and so are the peppers, basil, sweet peas and a few restless eggplants. Normally everything is in the ground by now but things are different this year. After weeks of not being able to work outside much, of wearing a hat and a heavy coat to walk Team Sheltie, we’re now outside in t-shirts and capris. Seemingly overnight we’ve gone from October-like cold to July-like heat. The garden is confused. Some beds are still heavy with moisture while others are sprouting weeds faster than I can pull them. Consequently I’m working outside most evenings until sunset trying to get on top of things. Here’s what I’m reading when I finally come in for the night.

On the Kindle: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

At the gym: The Happiness Animal by Will Jelbert

Beside the bed: 100 Best Plants for the Coastal Garden by Steve Whysall

Books read to date in 2017: 32

My August Reads

crazy busy#BusyAugust is usually quiet. I figured this year would be no exception. I’d anticipated time off to catch up on reading, daydreaming, ice cream eating.  Instead, life threw us a curveball in the form of helping my mother downsize and move. She’d been on a waiting list, the opportunity presented itself, and it was one of those ‘if you say no, you may have to wait another two years’ kind of thing.  So she jumped on it.  And it’s all good except free time has been at a premium. I haven’t even gotten out on my bike yet this summer. I’m hoping things will slow down towards the end of the month so I can get out for a ride or two and read a few extra books. In the meantime, here’s what I’m reading right now:

Beside the Bed: Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

On the Kindle: Newbie Nick by Lisa McManus

At the Gym: The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Books read to date 2014: 50


Kindle Love . . . It’s Growing

kindleIt’s gotten off to a slowish start, my relationship with the Kindle. But my affection is growing.

It’s becoming a habit to tuck the Kindle into my purse when I head out for an appointment now, and I almost always reach for it at night when I crawl into bed. The Kindle is lighter than a hardcover and the backlit screen makes reading easy. Sure, there are things I don’t like and probably never will (the small screen – the very thing that makes it easy to hold – means way less type on the page than I’d like; the lack of page numbers; my impatience when I have to scroll back to find the book title or a particular passage – all things I still find easier to do in an actual book) but the Kindle is working its way into my heart and into my life.

What I’m reading this month:

On the Kindle – A Perfect Evil by E.C. Sheedy

At the Gym – Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

Beside the Tub – Paris, A Love Story by Kati Marton