Favorite Non-fiction Sub-genre- THE POST!
Posted: July 27, 2011 Filed under: Uncategorized
THIS COULD NOT BE AN EASIER QUESTION FOR ME TO ANSWER!
INTREPID GIRL REPORTERS OMIGODOFCOURSE!
Specifically, Intrepid Girl Reporters Documenting Their Adventures While in Nuts-Crazy Far-Flung Locales.
I cannot get enough of this genre. I want to drizzle it with chocolate sauce and spray eight cans of whipped cream on it and eat it for every single meal.
Below, my top recently-read picks. I’ll blog about most of these in more detail at a future date. Until then, may you enjoy these books and be inspired to be an Intrepid Girl (or Dude) yourself!
NOTHING TO ENVY by Barbara Demmick
Barbara Demmick spent close to a decade as a LA Times Foreign Correspondent in Seoul, South Korea. While there, she interviewed a handful of North Korean Defects about their time in The Scariest Country on Earth (Afghanistan, don’t get hurt feelings, you’re the Second Scariest Country on Earth, and we’ll get to you later down the list). The result of Demmick’s painstaking work is NOTHING TO ENVY: ORDINARY LIVES IN NORTH KOREA, one of the most fascinating, frightening, heartbreaking, gorgeous, and ultimately inspiring works of non-fiction I have ever had the privilege of reading. Don’t get freaked out and go “Oh, North Korea, that sounds depressing, I think I’ll pass.” It’s a little depressing, naturally, it’s omifuckingod North Korea. It’s also one of the most mesmerizing testaments to the human spirit I have read in my twenty years of, you know, reading.That and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, those are my picks for Book Testaments to the Human Spirit. NOTHING TO ENVY has been topping my recommendations list to fellow non-fiction lovers for the past few years and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
DREAMING IN HINDI: COMING AWAKE IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE by Katherine Russell Rich
Things aren’t going super-awesomely for Katherine Russell Rich at the start of DREAMING IN HINDI. She’s been fired from her job as a magazine editor and is dealing with her second (Jesus Christ, SECOND) bout with cancer. She takes a freelance writing assignment in India and the book details her time spent in Udaipur, in particular focusing on her study of the Hindi language. Rich posits that because Hindi is such a radically different language than English, if she can learn to speak Hindi, she can learn to be a different human being (as aforementioned, with career and health woes, life in English isn’t going too hot.) Inspiring without being a gooey, gushy, dripping-with-life-lessons Hallmark movie, DREAMING IN HINDI is both sweeping, panoramic, epic adventure and your favorite college professor teaching a linguistics course all in one brightly-colored- sari-wrapped package . Katherine Russell Rich, consider this an open invitation for you to be my cool author pseudo-aunt, I will 100% be your adoring book blogger pseudo-niece.
SIDEWAYS ON A SCOOTER: LIFE AND LOVE IN INDIA by Miranda Kennedy
This book has a deceptively girly-book, chick-litty, middle-aged-lady-book-club, vagina-friendly-penis-scaring cover. Penises come back! It’s okay! This isn’t about shoe shopping and feelings talking! It’s about an American NPR reporter (all the liberal penises just came back), how she spent her twenties as a foreign correspondent in India, and her relationships with the women of the country, from her close friends to her servants. The front row seat to Indian gender politics is edge of your seat fascinating, the anecdotes at turns gut-busting and sobfest-inducing, and the relationships are just pure, great memoir-ing. Penises, it’s okay! All genitalia can enjoy this book!
THE TALIBAN SHUFFLE by Kim Barker
This is basically the funniest book about Afghanistan or Pakistan you are likely to find hanging around your local bookstore (because we are all still shopping at our local bookstores and have not become Brainwashed Zombie Children of Amazon.com, please say I am right about this). Kim Barker spends most of the aughts going back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Michiko Kakutani, in her NY Times review, basically said this book was 30 Rock in the Middle East, with Barker playing the part of Liz Lemon. And who am I to argue with Kakutani? Oh wait, I do it all the time. But in this case I agree with Michiko-face. This book is funny and scary the way Catch 22 is funny and scary, without you having to start the dense bloody bugger twelve times before you can finally get past page 50.
FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING by Rachel Dewoskin
It’s a memoir about an American girl who was on a Chinese soap opera in the 1990’s with 600 million viewers called FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING. If you don’t want to read it after that one-sentence-pitch, why are you even reading this blog, you have not fun in your soul, begone, I say, begone!
Until next non-fiction time!
Books are my Boyfriends