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LeslyKS
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Registered: ‎06-30-2008
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looking for non-fiction for book club pick

Our book club's trend has been to read fiction (sad & depressing ones at that, lately).  I am hosting for August and would like to pick a non-fiction book about an important/interesting person.  My first thoughts have tended to lean toward learning about someone that has been influential in our American history (sadly, I didn't have ANY interest about history while going through school and frankly didn't pay much attention, which leaves me at a loss for choosing our selection for August) - to use my selection as somewhat of a learning experience for our club readers.  However, I am open to suggestions outside of American history.  I'd like a book that will leave our readers saying things like "wow...I had no idea that person did all those things", or "I never realized how much that person contributed to the shaping of our society", and "what a truly interesting person....I feel like I really learned something by reading this", etc.  Now, I must say that the majority of our group of 9 members DON'T like change, so I'm really going out on a limb here by wanting to pick a book of this type, and I realize I'm putting a LOT of pressure on myself to pick a really, REALLY good book.  So......I'm counting on great suggestions from the community to help a reader save face :smileyhappy:
Thanks SO much in advance for your input!!
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Timbuktu1
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Registered: ‎12-31-2007
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

the history book club has chosen "My Early Life" by Winston Churchill. It's FUNNY! If you choose it you can join our discussion!
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Everyman
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

A few possibilities for nonfiction book club discussion:

West with the Night, by Beryl Markham. Fascinating, well written.

Travels in West Africa, by Mary Kingsley. Also fascinating, and in parts hilarious with that dry self-deprecating English sense of humor.

Endurance, by Alfred Lansing. In theory a story of one of the greatest small boat voyages in he world, but in reality a saga of endurance, triumph, and one of the most extraordinary men ever to venture South.
or, for a less literary but very much I Was There account, Shackleton's Boat Journey by Frank Worsley, captain of the Endurance.

Hermit of Peking by Trevor-Roper. Biography of one of the most fascinating characters in Chinese-European history.

The Library of Greek Mythology, by Apollodorus. Get Greek mythology from the source!

How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Herman. Interesting thesis, well presented.

The Lessons of History, Will and Ariel Durant. Stepping back from the facts of history to a broader perspective. Lots of good material for discussion here.

Plato's Republic, Bloom's translation. If you're up to digging your teeth into something worthwhile, there's nothing more worthwhile.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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pjpick
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Registered: ‎03-16-2007
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

[ Edited ]
Hmm... I have a few recommendations but I'm not sure they fit your criteria.
 
The Icemaster by Jennifer Niven
Manhunt by A. Swanson (twelve day search for John Wilkes Booth)
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (so much better than the movie and an interesting figure in his own right)
Indian Creek Chronicles  by Pete Fromm (short memoir that might be a good entry into the non-fiction world for fiction readers--one of my faves and was a big hit with friends)
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
 
The last four are American non-fiction. Haven't read the Shakelton story (I have the Lansing version but haven't cracked it yet) but I've heard the story is a good one!


Message Edited by pjpick on 06-30-2008 09:42 PM
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

I second the suggestion for Manhunt:The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer By James L. Swanson. There are lots of interesting facts about everything surrounding the assassination. The book reads like a novel . Take a look at some of the books at Barnes and Noble or at the library and then decide. Good luck!
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LeslyKS
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Registered: ‎06-30-2008
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

Thanks for all the input.  I've got a good little list going now based on your suggestions.  One that wasn't anyone's suggestion, but looks extremely interesting is "Counselor" by Ted Sorensen (JFK's "right hand man").  Has anyone read this one?  Would invite comments.  Also, has anyone read "Ladies of Liberty" by Cokie Roberts?
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pjpick
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Registered: ‎03-16-2007
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

Haven't read either one of those. I did see Cokie Roberts interviewed on that book. I think she mentioned that one of the ladies used to dampen the back of her dress so it would cling to her posterior to show it off. Quite the scandal in that day!
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick



LeslyKS wrote:
Thanks for all the input.  I've got a good little list going now based on your suggestions.  One that wasn't anyone's suggestion, but looks extremely interesting is "Counselor" by Ted Sorensen (JFK's "right hand man").  Has anyone read this one?  Would invite comments.  Also, has anyone read "Ladies of Liberty" by Cokie Roberts?


Hi-----My in-person book club did Ladies of Liberty last month. Many of us couldn't finish it. There were parts we liked and found interesting but to us it read like a history book. This might not be the book for people who like to read fiction to break them into non-fiction. Also it was featured on the History Board here in Barnes and Noble last month and did not get lots of participants.Just my group's opinion.
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Timbuktu1
Posts: 1,572
Registered: ‎12-31-2007
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick



LeslyKS wrote:
Thanks for all the input.  I've got a good little list going now based on your suggestions.  One that wasn't anyone's suggestion, but looks extremely interesting is "Counselor" by Ted Sorensen (JFK's "right hand man").  Has anyone read this one?  Would invite comments.  Also, has anyone read "Ladies of Liberty" by Cokie Roberts?





I've gotten up to Chapter 2 in Ladies of Liberty. It's OK. I just have too many other books to read.
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bcarr
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Registered: ‎09-12-2007
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Re: looking for non-fiction for book club pick

I would highly suggest Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  It was the non-fiction selection for my group this past year.  Very well written and extremely interesting.  It lead to one of the longest and most animated discussions.  Enjoy!