Favorite Non-fiction Sub-genre- THE POST!

So  I’m hanging  out with the lovely bloggerinas of BAND: Bloggers Alliance of Non-fiction Devotees, because I love non-fiction like love is going out of style!  So  this month’s topic is “What’s your favorite sub-genre of non-fiction”
 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.

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.
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!
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.
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

10 Comments on “Favorite Non-fiction Sub-genre- THE POST!”

  1. Care says:

    Your enthusiasm is… scary. I have actually read a book in this sub-genre but mistakenly labeled it “travel”, silly me. Shooting the Boh by Tracy Johnston. I am thrilled to have this classified correctly as Intrepid Girl Reporter Documenting Their Adventures While in Nuts-Crazy Far-Flung Locales.

  2. Bloggerinas — hee hee, I love that! Yes to NOTHING TO ENVY. That was an amaaazing book. One of my very favorites, ever. And of course I want to read all of these other ones, stat. Nonfiction solidarity!

  3. amymckie says:

    Hah I love bloggerinas and I love your choice – intrepid girl reports sounds like fun reading! Not my usual fare but the books you mention all sound really interesting!

  4. Great definition of a sub-genre and I had no idea that there would be so many! I just finished one that is not in a far-flung locale, but still quite an intriguing story — The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris. This one started out to be intrepid girl reporter tackling the story about increased dialogue surrounding race in the U.S. and turned into memoir when she learned that her own family had kept mum about past events.

  5. eileen says:

    Nothing to Envy was one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read – the rest look fabulous and are being added to my TBR list as we speak!

  6. Meg says:

    Oh, I’m so in for Foreign Babes In Beijing. And that cover is fab!

  7. Christy says:

    Nothing to Envy has definitely been on my radar for a while. Great choice for non-fiction subgenre! Reminds me that I wanted to write a post for the BAND discussion question.

  8. BlogFromBookStores says:

    I don’t read as much non-fiction as I’d like to but since you are so enthusiastic and these books sound awesome, they are being added to my Goodreads “To Read” list immediately!

  9. Cass says:

    Yes, yes, yes. What about the two books by Emma Larkin about BURMA (Finding George Orwell in Burma & Everything Is Broken)? Those books are terrifying and definitely took a lot of OVARIES to get researched and written.

  10. […] you want a better bit about this book, I’ll direct you over to this post by Kit (Books are my Boyfriends), about her favorite nonfiction subgenre, “Intrepid Girl Reporters […]

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