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December Bookworms Carnival: Non-Fiction

December 19, 2007

Welcome to the December edition of the Bookworms Carnival. bookworm.jpgThis month, the theme is non-fiction, and there’s a little something for everyone. The books are roughly grouped by Dewey Decimal category, although keep in mind I have no library training so this was my general impressions!

3M over at 1 More Chapter has reviewed her seven non-fiction reads of 2007. While Wild Swans by Jung Chang “was easily the best of the bunch,” there are a variety of genres represented.

Eva (me!), here at A Striped Armchair, dicusses three quite different non-fiction reads. She finds Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat pertinent to “everyone interested in the human condition” while Madame Secretary by Madeleine Albright and A Cold Case by Philip Gourevitch may have a more limited audience.

Zen Mother found much comfort and inspiration in The Right Words at the Right Time, vol. 2 by Marlo Thomas, an anthology of reader’s stories about times in their lives when they heard exactly what they needed. Over at, she shares her own charming story in addition to reviewing the book.

100.Philosophy and Psychology
At adventures in daily living Suzanne finds Wild at Heart by John Eldredge quite helpful in her understanding of her son. The book discusses the psychology of men, as well as compiling quotes on the state of men. Suzanne thinks it would be a good gift for “any man who is a father or has a father.”

Meanwhile, Anne Ford’s On Their Own provides advice to a different group of parents: those raising adult children with learning disabilities and ADHD. Hopeful Spirit from On the Horizon was frustrated by the middle of the book, when the whole thing began to sag. However, she found the ending to be uplifting enough to balance out this weakness. After an in-depth analysis, she concludes that “On Their Own will help parents and loved ones acknowledge, accept, and make peace with [the necessity of learning to let go].”

300.Social Sciences
Over at Philiobilion, Drew Westen’s book The Political Brain provides an interesting new twist at looking at man as a political animal. As Philiobilion explains, the myth of a rational voter, one tenaciously clung to by the liberal left, is just that-a myth. By analysing specific political incidents as well as possible explanations, Westen provides “essential reading for anyone in the political game, particularly from the left.”

In a different vein, (a site whose name is self-explanatory), has posted an interview with Robert Horshowsky, the author of The Last to Die. According to Horshowsky, writing this account of the last two Canadian prisoners to be executed “took a toll on [him] physically and mentally.” To find out why he’d take on such a project, as well as more about Canada’s relationship with the death penalty, check out the full interview.

500.Natural Sciences and Mathematics
GrrlScientist of Living the Scientific Life finds the rereleased All Things Reconsideredby Roger Tory Peterson a “chatty and engaging book.” In this collection of essays, written by the creator of “the definitive field guides” for North American birds, the reader encounters stories of ornithologists and the birds they track, as well black-and-white versions of Peterson’s bird illustrations.

To switch from the air to the sea, Chris of Book-a-Rama reviews The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson. The book focuses on the lobster industry of Maine, which involves the lobsters, the fishermen, and the scientists who study them. Corson interweaves scientific facts with more personal, biographical sketches, but to a somewhat lukewarm result. Chris says that “it’s not a bad read if you’re interested in biology, lobsters or fishermen.”

600.Technology (Applied Sciences)
Lit*Chick gives readers an extended, annotated list of her favourite foodie reads, which while they may contain recipes are not cookbooks. As this is one of her favourite genres, she includes a variety of approaches from the “foodie chick lit” of Amanda Hessner’s Cooking for Mr. Latte to Anthony Bourdain’s “dry humour, adventurous eating habits, and sharp tongue.”

Heather of Errant Dreams Reviews looks at two cookbooks very appropriate for the holidays. She finds the The Ghiradelli Chocolate Cookbook perfect for chocolate lovers, between stunning pictures and “recipes [that] perform flawlessly,” the only drawback is caloric! Meanwhile, Rebecca Rather’s The Pastry Queen Christmas provides a variety of both main-dish and dessert recipes from the ‘down home cookig school.’ Heather thinks it “would make a lovely source of recipes for your own holiday feast, or the perfect holiday gift for your favourite cook.”

Switching gears to something less fattening, Tea Party Girl reviews The Way to Tea, Jennifer Sauer’s guidebook to San Franciso tea houses. Tea Party Girl explains the book is a great read even if you’re not planning a trip to San Francisco, since “it’s still relatively rare to find a tea book that has beautiful photographs AND spans the different tea cultures.” This one explores the huge scope of tea parties, from traditional British and Japanese approaches to a decidely modern ‘tea nightclub.’

After all of this focus on food, Jen at The So-Called Me provides a relief in her discussion of two books on blogging, WordPress for Dummies and Guide to Blogging with Moxie. According to her, the former caters to beginners, while the latter “was actually a really good book,” with tricks and hints for the more experienced blogger.

700.The Arts
Dewey (our charming organiser!) of The Hidden Side of the Leaf finds that Annie Liebovitz’s A Photographer’s Life provides not only stunning pictures, but also a “moving story” of her family life. With a mix of public and private subjects, Dewey found the photographs striking and shares several of her favourites in the posts.

From photography to music, Sarah of Brood raves about But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer. In this exploration of jazz, Dyer decided “to follow the rules and wavs of the music.” Thus, the main focus of the book is on various jazz legends, both their personal lives and their music. Sarah concludes that “This is just one of those books-I want to scream its name from the rooftops.”

800.Literature and Rhetoric
Funnily enough for a bookworms carnival, there was only one entry under this category. Nevertheless, Becky’s (of Becky’s Book Reviews) enthusiasism for Catherine Andronik’s Wildly Romantic makes up for it! Aimed at a high school audience, the book discusses poets from the English Romantic Age as well as providing readers with representative poems. Becky says that “I think that these poets will appeal to lots of readers–if given a chance–because they were truly unique individuals.”

900.Geography and History
Jenny of Jenny Up the Hill has contributed her thoughts on a book that has haunted her, First They Killed My Father. In this memoir, describes her life as a refugee from Cambodia as well as the larger story of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge’s massacre and systematic destruction of its own people. As Jenny explains, “There are some books that you read and shortly thereafter forget. And then there are some books that stick with you and remind you of how fortunate you are and how immature you are to complain about the little things in life that bug you…[this] is one of those books.”

Book Nut of Melissa’s Book Reviews has a more lighthearted, though perhaps no less life-changing, book to share: An Embarassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof. Why life-changing? She explains that “this book made me want to travel…made me want to do what I’ve always thought would be the ideal ‘vacation’: renting a house for a few months and exploring the area that way.” In the meantime, this memoir of Vanderhoof’s and her husband’s escape to the Caribbean (via a cruising ship they saved up to buy) will help address any reader’s wanderlust.

Well, that’s that! I hope that you enjoy the carnival, and it’d be great if you wanted to link to it on your own blog (hint, hint). The next carnival is being hosted by Reading With Becky with the theme of “Best of 2007.” Just e-mail your posts to laney_po at yahoo dot com by January 14th to participate. I know I’m really looking forward to seeing this one! :)

25 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2007 9:43 am

    One of my reading goals for next year is to read more non-fiction. This edition of the Carnival will give me plenty of ideas about what to read!

  2. verbivore permalink
    December 19, 2007 10:58 am

    What a great Carnival, thanks for hosting! This has given me quite a few books to add to my already overflowing book wishlists!

  3. December 19, 2007 12:00 pm

    I’ll have to come back later when I’m not at work and peruse all these interesting posts! But for now, I have to compliment you on arranging everything by the Dewey Decimal System.

  4. December 19, 2007 2:04 pm

    love how you arranged the topics. inspired! thanks for including me in the carnival goodness.

  5. December 19, 2007 3:07 pm

    Great carnival. Love the setup.

  6. December 19, 2007 4:43 pm

    This is a very useful list — thanks for posting it!

  7. December 19, 2007 7:26 pm

    Great idea! Thanks for doing this… I love seeing what others are reading.

  8. December 19, 2007 7:41 pm

    Eva, you’ve done a wonderful job. Loved how you categorized things with the dewey decimal system. Such a good list of nonfiction and some good suggestions for my TBR list.

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas. I know it’s going to be white. We’ve got a pretty good blanket of snow just next door.

  9. December 20, 2007 9:05 am

    Thanks so much for the link. I may be late to the party, but permit me to echo the plaudits for the inspired organizational choice…

    c novim godom!

  10. December 20, 2007 10:13 am

    Finding your blog (through Mel at Lit Chick) is a wonderful gift I’m giving myself. During the holidays, I plan on going back to the beginning and read each and every word.

    I enjoyed today’s “Carnival” and found so many books I’ve read and so many I’d like to read.
    Thank you for all that you share,

  11. December 20, 2007 11:43 am

    Nymeth, glad to inspire you!

    Verbivore, gotta love that TBR list. :) I’m glad that you enjoyed the carnival!

    Dew, thanks! I thought it’d be most fun this way. :D

    Mellymel, I’m glad you like the layout. And thanks for contributing!

    Chris, thanks!

    Dorothy, glad it’ll come in handy!

    Melissa, glad you’re enjoying it!

    Booklogged, you’re always so sweet. :) It’ll definitely be white-they’re predicting a ton of snow tomorrow. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

    Excecutedtoday, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for contributing! The interview was really interesting. :) Vi govorite po-russki? Dobro pozhalovat, u c novim godom! :)

    Joni, thank you for all the sweet words. I’ll come visit your blog as well! And happy holidays. :D

  12. Myrthe permalink
    December 21, 2007 3:05 am

    Great job, Eva! Lots of reading fun is waiting for me, so I’m off to follow the links.

  13. December 21, 2007 7:32 am

    Great Carnival edition!

    Out of curiousity, did you receive my email with my non-fic post? Just wondering. :)

  14. December 21, 2007 7:40 am

    Myrthe, thanks!

    Alisia, no I didn’t. :( We can always sneak it in there if you want!

  15. December 21, 2007 7:54 am

    Vi govorite po-russki? Dobro pozhalovat, u c novim godom!

    Ochen’ plokho. :( But the rodina seems to have me in some queer epicycle of its orbit.

    There’ll be original Russian translation — by competent parties :) — on the site tomorrow. And speaking of: if you ever have a yen to guest-write on a deeply macabre subject…

    Thanks again for the fantastic carnival.

  16. December 21, 2007 8:49 am

    This is a fantastic post and I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks for all your hard work.

  17. December 21, 2007 9:50 am

    Eva, that’s okay! I don’t even remember which one I submitted, maybe I only think I emailed you! My brain is a bit mushy like that these days.

  18. December 21, 2007 7:47 pm

    Executed, I hate trying to type Russian in the Roman alphabet-I’m horrible at it! I might take you up on the guest-writing offers one of these days. I don’t know anything about the topic, but it’s good to keep learning!

    Tara, thank you-so sweet. :) I just appreciated all of the contributors!

    Alisia, lol…I can only imagine! I hope little Myra is doing well. :D


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