Feedback from February discussion of non-fiction books (and Lynette’s list is still to come)


Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth – Trevor Norton – a look at medical history through the lens of people who experimented on themselves.

 The InformationJames Gleick  – a thoughtful and provocative exploration of the big ideas of the modern era: Information, communication, and information theory. 

 The Professor and the MadmanSimon Winchester – story of the beginning of the Oxford English Dictionary

 Longitude Dava Sobel – story of the solving of the problem of ships that left the dock and had no idea where they were.

 A Walk in the WoodsBill Bryson – less than athletic man walks the Appalachian Trail and tells funny stories about it

 Servant’s Hall Margaret Powell – set in England at the time that the big houses with many servants are beginning to be unsustainable.

 Riding with Reindeer – Robert M. Goldstein – unusual tale of man who bikes above the arctic circle in Finland.

 Scratching the Woodchuck: Nature on an Amish FarmDavid Kline – a gentle nature story recommended after heavy shoveling.

 Forty Plus and Fancy Free, Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, Water, Water EverywhereCornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough – stories of the travel adventure of two women between the world wars.

 Steve JobsWalter Isaacson – biography of the brilliant and arrogant creator of Apple.

 My Beloved WorldSonia Sotomayor -memoir by the Supreme Court Justice.

 Prague WinterMadeleine Albright – subheading is A Personal Story of Remembrance and War – 1937 – 1948 – (hope this is the one you intended)

 The Devil in the White City, Isaac’s Storm, Thunderstruck Erik Larson (books about the 1893 World’s Fair, the storm that decimated Galveston Island, and Crippen – a famous murderer and the chase to apprehend him.)

 Wheat Belly William Davis – book suggesting that removing wheat from our diet is a good thing.

 Destiny of the Republic – Candice Millard – About President James A Garfield, the assassin who shot him and the power struggle that ensued as his doctors tried to save his life.   (Candice Millard is also the author of The River of Doubt – the story of Teddy Roosevelt’s travel on the Amazon after he lost his bid for re-election)

 The Youngest Science – Lewis Thomas – memoir of his doctor father and the history of medicine when no drugs were available.

 Home Town Tracy Kidder – about Northampton and the people who live there. (Also The Soul of a New Machine – about Data General and their development of a computer in their attempt to catch up with DEC and the VAX)

 The Race Underground: Boston, New York and the Incredible rivalry that Built America’s First Subway – Doug Most

 From Good to Great: Why some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’tJim Collins

 Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsDaniel H Pink (Also A Whole New Mind and To Sell is Human)

 The Wishing Year: A House, A Man, My Soul Noelle Oxenhandler – Oxenhandler records a journey that is at once comic and poignant, light and dark, earthy and spiritual. Above all, she is amazed to find that there is, indeed, both power and danger in the act of wishing. For soon her wishes begin to come true–in ways that meet, subvert, and overflow her expectations. And what started as a year’s dare turns into a way of life.

 Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-BeingAndrew Weil (and others – Healthy Aging, Eating Well for Optimum Health)  (also recommended his website

 Brain on Fire: My Month of MadnessSusannah Cahalan – Far more than simply a riveting read and a crackling medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her “lost month” to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love. It is an important, profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

 Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New EnglandTom Wessels, Ann H. Zwinger – A full and wholly original portrait of New England’s forests, tracing their evolution from pre-colonial days to the present through a study of the patterns we see today. Read this book, is many fans have said, and no walk in the woods will ever be the same.

 Last Child in the WoodsRichard Louv – a plea to let our kids have time in the outdoors to be a part of and understand nature.














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