I don’t know about you, but I just finished my fifth Lincoln audiobook and I am not much closer to figuring out that man. So COMPLicated. House of Abraham by Stephen Berry was better than I expected, and Berry writes with an actual personality, which I always appreciate in nonfiction. It’s all about Lincoln’s relationship with the Todd (his wife Mary’s) family.
What I DIDN’T like was H.W. Brands’s The Zealot and the Emancipator, which was a kind of dual biography themed on abolition about John Brown and Lincoln. Brands was much, much more favorable to Brown, which is a Take.
Ok! New nonfiction for this week:
DDT! Originally it was meant to save lives during WWII by killing the insects that spread disease. When its harmful effects were widely publicized by Rachel Carson and others, it was banned in 1972. Now it seems to be back? Conis tells the story of this harmful 20th century chemical in her book with its excellent, excellent cover.
New York Times Opinion editor Thottam tells the story of six Kentucky nuns who traveled to India in 1947 and built a hospital in Bihar, “an impoverished and isolated state in northern India that had been one of the bloodiest regions of Partition.” Thottam’s mother was trained by these women to become a nurse in the 1960s. This is the story of the women whose lives were changed by Nazareth Hospital.
Quake Chasers: 15 Women Rocking Earthquake Science by Lori Polydoros
This is so specific that I love it? Like, wow, they find 15 diverse women scientists who study earthquakes. This is just under 200 pages and for ages 12 and up (excellent). Check out stories like: “Dr. Debbie Weiser travels to communities post-disaster, such as Japan and China, to evaluate earthquake damage in ways that might help save lives during the next Big One. Geologist Edith Carolina Rojas climbs to the top of volcanoes or searches barren deserts for volcanic evidence to measure seismic activity. Geophysicist Lori Dengler works with governments to provide guidance and protection against future tsunamis.” We frequently talk on For Real about how there is someone who is interested in everything, and this not only highlights that super cool fact, but also shows young people potential careers in earthquake science. Hurray!
Love Me As I Am by Garcelle Beauvais
Apparently this person is on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and costar Erika Jayne (who is someone?) threw Beauvais’s book in the trash, which, if you do this on a reality show, might actually be a kind friendship thing to do since it results in book publicity like the above. Apparently her book is about being born in Haiti, immigrating to Boston, and eventually embarking on an acting career that included NYPD Blue (the ’90s!) and, now, “RHOBH.” This seems very fun if you watch this franchise! I asked my two friends who do to describe her and they said “icon” and “she’s perfect and probably too good and smart for the Real Housewives machine, but I’m thankful she’s a part of it.”
Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at Audiobooks.com with a free trial!
For more nonfiction reads, check out the For Real podcast which I co-host with the excellent Kim here at Book Riot. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.