Tag: nonfiction

Broaden Your Mind With This Week’s Non-Fiction Picks

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high-quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the theme of current best-sellers, showcasing what nonfiction books are the biggest hits with audiences! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

5. The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang

 

A swirling collection of color coming together

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The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang is a collection of thirteen essays that offer a new vocabulary and discussion topics regarding the perils of mental illness. The author, Wang, struggles with schizophrenia herself and offers light of what it’s like to grapple with one’s own mental sickness. In the book, Wang balances her own personal struggles with carefully crafted research, creating a unique experiences that will speak to anyone fascinated by the topic or fighting their own battles mentally.

 

4. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer 

 

An American flag on the backdrop of a black background

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The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer examines America’s complicated and often disgraceful history with the Battle of Wounded Knee, the massacre of Native Americans by American troops in 1890. The author, a Native American who grew up on a reservation, examines Native American’s history with Wounded Knee and all the attempts to destroy their culture throughout the years. In doing so, David Treur finds that their culture has, while no thrived, transformed and created a unifying sense of identity culture that has resisted being wiped and in some ways, grown stronger. This is a profound read that showcases a people’s resistance and holding onto their culture through the turbulent years.

 

3. Maid by Stephanie Land

 

A pair of maid gloves on the white background

Image via Amazon

Maid by Stephanie Land turned to housekeeping to meet ends meet after  an unplanned pregnancy. There, she saw how mistreated the housework community was and began to write stories online sharing her experiences. Stories of living on foot stamps, uncaring government employees who refused maids assistance, and overworked, underpaid Americans who were struggling to meet ends meet. This book now explores that lifestyle, the lifestyle of what it’s really like to be a maid and shares their stories with the world. This book gives a voice to those who have none as it follows Stephanie’s journey and many others like her.

 

2. Make Scream, Make it burn by Leslie Jamison

 

A bunch of neon letters saying 'Make It Scream Make it burn'

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Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison is another collection of essays, each offering varied, different, and thought provoking content. Among the essays featured is one about the loneliest whale in the world, the landscape of the Sri Lanken War, becoming a stepmother, and journey through Las Vegas in a. desperate search for the American Dream. Each essay is full of nuance and passion, each different yet related under a constant banner beautiful writing and connecting thematically. Jamison’s voice is impossible to resist and with emotional, intellectual power this is a must read.

 

1. Charged by Emily Bazelon

 

An African-American man stands at a prison fence
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Charged by Emily Bazelon is an examination of the broken American prison system. It examines the power prosecutors truly have, who control a case and are more liable to swing the jury over to their side in order to ‘win’ rather than balancing a fair system. They decide who lives and goes free, who lives and who dies, with all the biases that come with their decisions. This book follows two young people caught in the unfair justice system: Kevin, a twenty year old charged with a serious violent felony and Noura, a teenage girl indicted for murdering her own mother. The author follows their cases in detail, showing why criminal cases go wrong and showcaseing how the system can be reformed.

 

 

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Tech Genius Bill Gates’ Top 5 Fascinating Summer Reads

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

― Albert Einstein

 

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It’s a popular assumption (or at least should be) that while most of the population retreats to the comfort of literate depreciation, devouring B-Macs and B-movies, intellectuals feast upon gold. The written word, written well, is the gilded currency of the realm. Knowledge is power and books are brain food. To quote a little-known dwarf from fictitious history:

 

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“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That is why I read so much.”

 

The most illustrious entrepreneurs and CEOs devour puissant semantics and syntax—communing with minds, not unlike their own. Tech titans such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Melinda, and Bill-fricking-Gates have openly expressed interest in books sprung from the minds of creatives like David Foster Wallace, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci. The best way to avoid the mistakes of the past is to examine it and the minds engrossed within it—their souls on the paper.

The wealthiest, most ambitious, and most successful (regardless of your definition) people in the world tend to read more than the average bear. Being a voracious reader, the aforementioned Microsoft magnate has admitted to a weekly reading goal of ONE—one solid behemoth of a book per week. One can imagine the tech titan settling into his reading corner the way a blacksmith goes to work, the weight of uncertainty hammering wrought pieces into something malleable. As one would imagine, his ambitious reading list is no vacation.

This past Monday, Mr. Gates announced a list of five books he wishes to read with us this summer, which he often does via his blog, Gate Notes. These are not leisure reads. All of the books seem to concern the theme of sudden change—in a world carrying the weight of uncertainty, perhaps he wishes to embrace the productivity of malleable and uncertain public opinion.

“I’ve recently found myself drawn to books about upheaval… whether it’s the Soviet Union right after the Bolshevik revolution, the United States during times of war, or a global reevaluation of our economic system.”

Coincidentally, book number one is…

 

1. Upheaval By Jared Diamond

 

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jared Diamond’s book analyzes problem-solving tactics to solve major national crises—similarly to the way one would deal with losing a loved one or other such personal crises. The book has been bashed by The New York Times but not by Mr. Gates. On his blog, he calls it:

A discipline-bending book that uses key principles of crisis therapy to understand what happens to nations in crisis. [Jared Diamond] reminds us that some countries have creatively solved their biggest problems. Jared doesn’t go so far as to predict that we’ll successfully address our most serious challenges, but he shows that there’s a path through crisis and that we can choose to take it.

 

2. Nine Pints By Rose George

 

Gates has invested money in diagnostic blood tests designed to detect diseases like Alzheimers and cancer; he has previously recommended books like Bad-Blood about the Silicon Valley diagnostics company Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes. He’s clearly fascinated by blood. That being said, Rose George’s book looks at the relationship business and health. The title refers to the amount of blood in the human body and Gates aim to emphasize the importance of that fact. The ways in which blood in the body affects the lives of women in particular. Gates mentions:

George writes about girls in poor countries having sex with older men simply so they can afford pads and tampons. “It’s called ‘sex for pads,’ and though it is hidden, it is common,” she writes, citing a report from a field officer in one African slum that 50 percent of the girls she encountered there had turned to prostitution to afford sanitary pads.

But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the book is all doom and gloom. Many aspects of the book were uplifting, especially the parts that reminded me of the life-saving innovations that emerge from a better understanding of blood and its component parts. Blood tests have already made it easier and faster to diagnose diseases and predict when a pregnant woman will deliver her baby.

 

3. The Future of Capitalism By Paul Collier

 

Oxford economist Collier argues that three major battles divide contemporary society: cities vs. towns, educated vs. uneducated (at the college level), and wealthy countries vs. fragile states. Basically ruthless capitalism that focuses on profit=bad. Gates, being a billionaire philanthropist, obviously has an opinion on the matter:

I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Collier has to say. I was especially struck by the central idea of his book, that we need to strengthen the reciprocal obligations we have to each other. This won’t directly address the divides, but it will create the atmosphere where we can talk more about pragmatic solutions to them. “As we recognize new obligations to others,” Collier writes, “we build societies better able to flourish; as we neglect them we do the opposite…. To achieve the promise [of prosperity], our sense of mutual regard has to be rebuilt.

4. Presidents of War By Michael Beschloss

 

Bill Gates never served in the military, like most civilians, he wonders how he would fair in combat…

If I had been just a year or two older, I might have been called to serve in the Vietnam War. I think that’s one reason why I’m so interested in books and movies about the war. I always come back to the same question: If I had fought in the war, would I have shown courage under fire? Like many people who have not served, I have my doubts.

This book takes a look at how American presidents have dealt with war from the turn of the 19th century up until the 1970s (eight conflicts in total). Gates acknowledges the importance of understanding conflict from a historical point of view:

It is hard to read about today’s conflicts without thinking about how they might connect to the past and what impact they might have on the future. Presidents of War is worth reading, whether you are one of the nation’s leaders or just an armchair historian.

Gates’ reflection reminded me of Treasury of the Free World (a book that offers a glimpse into the minds of leading figures during the 1940s), where Ernest Hemingway writes:

We have come out of the time when obedience, the acceptance of discipline, intelligent courage and resolution were most important, into that more difficult time when it is a man’s duty to understand his world rather than simply fight for it.

 

5. A Gentleman in Moscow By Amor Towles (only work of fiction to make his list).

Image result for a gentleman in moscow by amor towles

 

Fiction. Yes. 

The novel’s synopsis is as follows (via Goodreads):

A transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Gates claims, “at one point, I got teary-eyed because one of the characters gets hurt and must go to the hospital. Melinda was a couple of chapters behind me. When she saw me crying, she became worried that a character she loved was going to die. I didn’t want to spoil anything for her, so I just had to wait until she caught up to me.”

“It gives you a sense of how political turmoil affects everyone, not just those directly involved with it.”

 

Closing musing: I find the number of times Bill Gates mentions his wife, Melinda in every blog post awfully endearing—I see a disjointed, yet beautiful metaphor for how, with the right amount of awareness, compassion, and patience, we can walk hand and hand into an uncertain future…

No? Ignore this bit if I completely missed the mark…

 

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Featured Image Via Mensxp.com

 

 

Live Your Best Life With These New Self-Development Releases!

5. Self-Esteem For men by Jack Palm

This book provides readers (men) about the facts they need to improve their mental health and general lifestyle. The book is grounded in reality, giving helpful tips written in a simple, clear-to-understand language. It encourages a more positive mindset, using data from experts, interviews, and jobs to back up its findings. This book is sure to help you improve yourself by seeing the world in a more positive light and changing your overall patterns of thought to better your self-esteem.

 

An African-American man sitting in front of a grey background in a pink shirt

 

Image via Amazon

4. Let Love have the last word by Common

Common delivers a heartfelt memoir that will surely tug at your heartstrings. A Grammy, Academy Award, and Golden Globe winning artist, Common builds his novel around the theme of love and how it is the most important force in the universe. Touching on his personal life, Common shares stories about love, from his relationship to his daughter, to his own take on the current political climate, and his own career. Common knows that love isn’t the end-all-be-all of self-improvement, but you can’t have self-love without it! Loving the world while loving yourself is the healthiest way to heal and grow.

 

 

A grey backdrop holding the novel's title

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3. It’s great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi

It’s Great To Suck At Something is a bold self-help book that reveals that it’s okay to fail, regardless of what your darkest thoughts may tell you. Whoa, what a concept! But this book emphasizes embracing imperfection, embracing flaws, and learning to love them rather than obsess about them. Author Karen Rinaldi, who is a terrible surfer and all around imperfect person, but she learns to love herself by embracing the flaws, exploring herself and allowing herself to be imperfect by allowing herself to suck sometimes. (Hey, no judgment. Chances are, most of us have never even been surfing.) She’s sucks, and she’s okay with that.

 

 

A red book cover

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2. Best Self by Mike Bayer

Best Self by Mike Bayer does exactly what it describes: it helps you find your best self possible, Are you really the best self you could be? Are you living your best life daily? Mike Bayer, the author is a life coach who has helped everyone from celebrities to CEOs to normal, everyday blue-collar workers discover their best selves. By getting people to look at their own lives with hard-hitting questions, Bayer helps you find your best self, even if you’re reluctant to examine your own lifestyle with a critical eye. Sometimes, it takes some tough love to get you on the path to self-love, but the intensity is worth it. Growth may be a struggle, but it’s also a profound reward.

 

A woman walks across the forest path alone

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1. The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey

The journey starts here. In an inspiring novel from Oprah Winfrey, our Book Club Queen details the journey toward making your life not only successful but also meaningful. The book’s ten chapters are organized around important milestones for your life, creating key lessons and moments for you to create the best course for their life. This creates a framework to organize your own life around, and she shares her own personal stories to help you along. (Remember, even Oprah isn’t perfect: she was fired from her first reporting job at age 23, and look where she is now!) This is a great book to help you pursue what you want in life with passion and renewed focus.

 

 

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Upcoming ‘The Council of Dads’ Adaptation Tackles Mortality & Fatherhood

Each person we’re close with makes us feel a specific and inimitable way—every relationship is different. We are different with different people. Friends, coworkers, and acquaintances all make up the eternally-growing tapestry of our lives. We may grow apart from old friends and make new ones along the way, but the relationships we form will always be a part of who we were and are. In this way, the characters we spend time with are a direct reflection of ourselves. This is the notion that occurred to Bruce Feiler when he was tasked with facing his own mortality.

 

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In 2008, doctors told writer Bruce Feiler there was a cancerous tumor in his femur. Almost immediately, Bruce’s thoughts turned to his children. His three-year-old twin daughters. If he wasn’t around, who would advise them paternally? Tell them to put away their phones at the dinner table and take it easy on the family Suburban? He wanted them to know him. So he made a list of all the qualities of himself he wanted his girls to know and associated them with men he had known throughout his life. He had known these men since the playground, college, and various business ventures—men he trusted but may have lost touch with. He wrote them all letters, six in total, asking them to be a father to his daughters if the worst were to happen.

 

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The worst didn’t happen, and the council was never fully activated, but Feiler’s story became the foundation of his book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me. The memoir became a best-seller and has now, according to Deadline, inspired a television show which was just picked up by NBC. Council of Dads stars Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, and J. August Richards. The show tells the story of Scott (quasi Bruce played by Clive Standen) and his family after he receives a potentially terminal diagnosis. Facing this grim prognosis, Scott and his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) assemble a group of their closest three friends to help guide Scott’s family through all of life’s challenges. Deadline goes on to give us a preview of who these three influential men are as people:

The trusted group of role models Scott has assembled to help his family include his oldest friend Anthony, his AA sponsor Alrry and his surgeon and wife’s best friend Oliver. The three men agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s family through “all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer — just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.

 

Image Via Variety.com

 

NBC is undoubtedly aiming for the type of drama associated with their uber-successful This Is Us in its Council of Dads pickupHopefully, the show will produce the same amount of tearfully smiling faces that the former has. Tony Phelan and Joan Rater will write and executive produce along with Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, and Kristie Anne Reed. The pilot was directed by James Strong.

 

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Bookstr’s Top Nonfiction Picks of the Week!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high-quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the theme of current best-sellers, showcasing what nonfiction books are the biggest hits with audiences! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

5. Life will be the Death of me by Chelsea Handler

 

Chelsea sits cross legged on a white couch between two dogs
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Life Will Be The Death Of Me chronicles Chelsea Handler’s tale of self discovery after the election of Donald Trump and the despair she felt afterwards. Faced with self-destruction, Handler makes some big chances to her life instead, becoming more active in her social life, appreciating things she once took for granted, and even becoming politically active. The book showcases a year in her life, from its ups and downs, always witty and earnest. The book asks up to look deep within, showcasing what really matters to us and asking us to focus on that while keeping us laughing.

 

4. Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis

 

A woman dressed in a British uniform in a dining room
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Code Name: Lise may be nonfiction but it’s a page-turner!  During  World War II, Odette Samson decides to follow in her father’s footsteps, as he was a war hero. Landing in France on a secret mission, meeting Captain Peter Churchill. Fighting together in France, the two grow close and start a romance. But soon, they are captured by the Germans and held in a concentration camp. Enduring torture, the two face despair but never give up and hold onto their love for each other to endure whatever their captors can throw at them.

 

3. Mama’s Last hug by Frans De Waal

 

 

A closeup portrait of a chimpanzee
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Mama’s Last Hug explores the fascinating world of animals and their emotions through the eyes of primatologist Frans De Waal. The book begins with the death of chimp Mama, who shares a tearful last hug with her biologist that goes viral on social media. The story forms the core of Waal’s arguments throughout the book, as he showcases that animals are just as capable of displaying the full range of emotions humans have, such as fear, jealously, and love. The book showcases how differently we can view the world and uses emotional stories to tell its theories, creating a profound moving experience.

 

2. Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by Anna Quindlen

 

A picture of a multi-colored handprint
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting is a tender and thoughtful read by Anna Quindlen. In the age before blogs, Anna Quindlen wrote about the challenges and joys of family life in her syndicated column. Now, as a grandmother, she’s chronicling her own adventures in this phase of her life. She reflects how she’s no longer the main character of her life but a secondary one, a mentor to her grandson and a supporter of his parents. She provides an illuminating, funny, and thoughtful book, full of observations and showcasing how growing old isn’t so bad.

 

1. The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral life by David Brooks

 

A picture of mountains against a sunny backdrop
Image via Amazon

 

The Second Mountain by David Brooks is a book about helping find a more meaningful existence, especially in today’s world. Brooks looks at several tenants about modern life, including one’s family, spouse, philosophy, faith, and one’s chosen vocation. Both a helpful guideline to how to live a better existence and an engaging social commentary, this book will help you take a good look at your life and see if its really as meaningful as you want it to be. After all, the path to self-discovery starts by looking within.

 

 

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