Tag: book

Non Fiction Reading Challenge 2019

5 Non-Fiction Books You Need to Read Right Now!

As 2019 continues on, we have a lot of book releases to look forward to. Heck, if you want to see the list of the top three books I can’t wait for, check out this list.
Thank you for clicking on that.

Now you might notice that one of those books, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and The Last Trial of Harper Lee, is non-fiction. That book has not come out yet, but in honor of my anticipation here are five non-fiction books that have come out this year and are, above all, wonderful, eye opening, great reads.

Stephanie Land beside a cover of "The Maid"
Image Via Inlander
Released on January 22nd, Stephanie Land’s autobiography beautifully describes her life, post-eviction, as she recalls being tossed onto the street, working as a maid in houses she could never afford just to make ends meet and struggling with poverty. With dreams of moving to Montana, attending college, and becoming a full-time writer, Land’s life-long goals are always just out of reach, pushed back by childcare fees, heating bills, and rent. It’s a memoir that takes you through the underbelly of America. Gritty, soul-crushing, this is one for the masses to take heart.
Don’t believe me? Well, look at how the Nation states, “[i]n the end, her life does take a turn that sets her on the path to becoming a published author. But it is not a kind of fairy-tale twist so much as a gradual confluence of good luck.”
Cover of "When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon" by Joshua D. Mezrich
Image Via Amazon
Released January 15th, Joshua D. Mezrich’s autobiography describes the tribulations and hardships of being a surgeon. Questions like “How much risk should a healthy person be allowed to take to save someone she loves?” or “Should a patient suffering from alcoholism receive a healthy liver?” are questions he faces on a daily basis, but nonetheless they are life changing.

A transplant surgeon by trade, the book opens with Dr. Mezrich, ferrying organs, getting aboard a small plane that winds up getting caught in a violent thunderstorm. The drama speaks for itself: not only are the passengers on the plane in danger, but the people who desperately wait for those organs are in danger of dying thanks to a storm they are far away from.

What’s going to happen? Read the book, but know that on CSL’s website Kevin Kovaleski, CSL Behring’s Senior Director and Therapeutic Area Strategy Team Lead-Transplant, said, “Mezrich’s book sheds light on a critical area of medicine, one that’s ready for advancements, innovations and breakthroughs”.

 

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Cover of "Becoming" by Michelle Obama

Image by Amazon

Despite its release on November 13, 2018, Michelle Obama’s autobiography is still going strong, and for good reason. The Guardian calls it “frequently funny,” Vanity Fare states, “surprisingly candid, richly emotional, and granularly detailed that it allows readers to feel exactly what Michelle herself felt at various moments in her life,” while the The New York Times noting that the book is more about motherhood than politics.

But I know what you’re asking: What’s my opinion? It’s great!

 

2. The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang

Esme Weijun Wang beside her book, "The Collected Schizophrenias"

Image Via The Paris REVIEW

The New York Times writes that “[i]n Wang’s kaleidoscopic essays, memoir has been shattered into sliding and overlapping pieces. . . . Her multifaceted arguments can be gratifyingly mind-expanding” and this book truly is mind-expanding. Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, this collection of essays has stories that will break your heart, make you cry, and teach you about living with mental illness, as noted by The Paris Review which writes how it “examines schizophrenia from historical, medical, social, and emotional perspectives, and looks at the myriad ways it is misunderstood, including by the psychiatric community and schizophrenics themselves.”

The book shows that living with mental illness isn’t pretty, isn’t horrifying, but at its core is completely human.

 

1.The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Image result for The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch amazon

Image Via Amazon

Released January 8th, this book details the foiled plot to murder George Washington. George Washington, in case you didn’t know, was this General guy who became President or something.

I kid. It’s actually remarkable.

Back in 1776, the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City conspired to assassinate George Washington. It might have worked too, if it weren’t for that pesky would-be counterfeiter and that iron mill foreman. It’s exciting and is something straight out of a movie. It would be unbelievable, if it wasn’t true. (Here’s the SparkNotes-esque version on History Channel for those who don’t like to read)

Don’t believe me? (Why? I trust you, George) National Public Radio says, “The First Conspiracy is an excellent book, enthralling and beyond fascinating, and it’s sure to delight both fans of thrillers and American history.”
Check it out.
Also check out Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and The Last Trial of Harper Lee when it hits bookshelves May 7th.
Featured Image Via Bookbub
Color photo of Frankenstein's monster looking upwards

5 Differences Between ‘Frankenstein’ and the Film Adaptations

Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley is hailed as the first real science-fiction novel. Following Dr. Victor Frankenstein, it chronicles Frankenstein’s journey to create life and his clash with his creation after he succeeds. Touching on themes of ambition, lost of innocence, revenge, humanity, responsibility and creattion,  Frankenstein is a dense but very worthwhile classic of its genre. However, it unfortunately has been largely displaced in the popular consciousness by its film adaptations. To celebrate its publication anniversary, here are five facts about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its many differences to work that adapted its spooky tale.

 

Victor Frankenstein stands contemplating the sea in the cover to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Image Via Goodreads

1. The Framing Device

The original novel uses a framing device to tell its story. Captain Walton, a sailor in the arctic, picks up Victor Frankenstein on the ice and brings him aboard his ship. There, Frankenstein tells the tale of how he got here, turning the entire book into one long flashback. The Creature confronts Captain Walton at the end, vowing it will destroy itself via funeral pyre. However, Captain Walton is a character who is very rarely adapted, the framing device being almost entirely omitted from films based on or inspired by the book.

 

Fritz, played by Dwight Fyre, threatens the Monster, played by Boris Karloff with a burning torch
Image Via Telegraph

2. There was no Igor

Dr. Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant, Igor, is purely a creation of popular culture. In the original novel, Frankenstein worked entirely alone, creating the monster in a hidden room at his college. He kept the experiment entirely secret and had no outside help at all. The character of an assistant first appeared in 1931’s Frankenstein film in the form of Fritz, before being codified, ironically enough, by Mel Brook’s spoof film Son of Frankenstein.

 

Frankenstein confronts his creation in a 1934 illustration from the novel
Image Via Goodreads

3. The Monster Speaks

The Monster is a very different character from the mute, lumbering brute that was made famous in the Universal Horror films. Although he begins as a borderline feral creature after his ‘birth’, the Monster slowly learns language and reasoning over the course of the novel. He becomes extremely intelligent and articulate, often spending pages contemplating his unnatural existence. He even learns how to make clothes and uses weapons to defend himself as he survives in the wilderness. Compared to his film counterpart, he’s a wholly different beast.

 

Victor Frankenstein and Fritz standing over the Monster on the slab, preparing to give it life
Image Via BBC

4. The Creation is Offscreen

Doubtlessly one of the most famous in cinema is the creation of Frankenstein’s monster. Everything about it is iconic, from the slab the monster rests upon to the flashing laboratory equipment to the bolt of lightning that brings him to life to Frankenstein proclaiming “Its alive, its alive!” But the sequence in question actually isn’t in the original novel! Yes, the creation of the Monster in the book is entirely offscreen and left to the reader’s imagination. Oddly, this makes it more compelling to the imagination…how did Frankenstein do it? We’ll never know but it certainly makes good food for thought.

 

Victor Frankenstein leans over the inert form of the monster in his lab
Image Via Collider

5. Frankenstein Dies

In the novel, Victor Frankenstein pays for his hubris. After trekking the Monster to the Arctic, he collapses on the ice and is rescued by Captain Walton. But it is too late for him and after telling the Captain his story, he expires. Subsequent adaptations have spared Frankenstein his untimely demise, doubtlessly to keep a relatively happy ending.

What are your favorite moments from the book that didn’t make it to the screen?

 

Featured Image Via YouTube

Indie Bookstores Are Back After Decades of Decline

The history of bookstores has been far bleaker than readers might have hoped. The end began in 2011 with the closure of Borders, a bookselling giant responsible for the death of many a local bookstore. Borders’ attempts at resurgence were numerous and failed, culminating in their disastrous launch of the Kobo: an e-reader with no internet. Other chains were soon to follow. Book World, the leading book retailer of the Midwest, closed its doors in 2017. Barnes & Noble hasn’t yet taken a tumble… but it has taken quite the hit. The retailer plans to close 167 stores by 2022, leaving swaths of the country—even highly populated areas—without large chain bookstores. Although Washington D.C. spends more money on readingthan anywhere else in the United States, the District lost its last B&N back in 2015.

 

Image Via Pennlive.com

 

Chain bookstores were once the destroyers of indie bookshops. With their resources and massive retail spaces (which usually housed cutting-edge merchandise like alphabetical CD collections) it was challenging for the smaller local store to compete. After the recession, this dynamic reversed. Over the past eight years, the number of indie bookstores has increased by 25% while the larger retailers have faltered.

 

Image Via Money.howstuffworks.com

 

The explanation might be as complicated as it is simple: people have decided that they like to read books. That can be the only explanation when technological innovations have failed—the Kobo was an obvious disaster, and, while Barnes & Noble’s Nook helped it from meeting Borders’ fate, it hasn’t saves its clear decline in sales. It’s also possible that indie bookstores can appeal to niche markets-in particular, LGBT+ bookstores are able to cater directly to their clientele. These stores provide more than just retail: they also offer a sense of community that Amazon cannot.

 

Image Via Pride.com

 

“Independent bookshops are important because we’re a refuge, and we’re dead against everything becoming the same,” said Daniel Ross, proprietor of Bristol bookstore Storysmith. The UK in particular has experienced a resurgence of the indie bookstore. Since 1995, the number of independent bookstores has declined from 1,894 to a mere 867. In 2017, the decline plateaued, the number of stores increasing by one. And just a year later, the number spiked for the first time in over twenty years to reach 883.

While the number of indie bookstores hasn’t reached its 80s peak, the comeback is a sign of an even greater resurgence. It demonstrates that while big bookstores can’t hold up to Amazon’s onslaught, neighborhood bookstores can—and that means they likely will.

Featured Image Via Nextpittsburgh.com