Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Focusing on several North Korean defectors, Nothing to Envy describes life under Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and (a tiny bit) Kim Jong-un, focusing particularly on the famine in the 90s. It’s quite fascinating to get a glimpse of what life was like for a handful of people, both before and after defection. They represent a wide range of North Koreans including, among others, a scholar, a kindergarten teacher, a doctor, and a true believer. I highly recommend this book to older teens and adults interested in or learning about everyday life in DPRK.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 74
Pages Read in 2018: 17,695
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Caring for a Colony: The Story of Jeanne Mance by Joanna Emery

Caring for a Colony is about the founding of what we now call Montreal, focusing on Jeanne Mance and the tiny hospital she founded. It is aimed at kids so it is simple. I don’t know much about Canadian history so this book was quite interesting and educational. I highly recommend it to children learning about Canada.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 72
Pages Read in 2018: 17,129
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Sound by William C. Robertson

Aimed at people who need to teach someone else, Sound covers waves and instruments and why we hear what we hear. It’s packed full of information, but reads fast and is still easy to understand. There are lots of experiments included to help you really get the science being explained. It’s quite dated, though, particularly the section that talks about how anyone over about 40 will have a record player laying around. I recommend this book for people who want to understand or need to teach the basics about sound.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 69
Pages Read in 2018: 16,572
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead

Covering all the senses plus magnetic sense and emotions, Bird Sense explains what we know about how birds see/hear/taste/etc. The author is extremely passionate about birds and that comes through in the writing. I was pleasantly surprised just how much I enjoyed it. I don’t know a whole lot about birds and this book was still easy to understand. I learned a ton. I highly recommend it to anyone with any interest in birds.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 64
Pages Read in 2018: 16,006
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire by Diana Preston

Shah Jahan is the most recognized member of the Moghul Empire because of the Taj Mahal, the incredible mausoleum he built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal covers several generations of the Moghul Empire. It is much more about the people than the Taj Mahal, though it does spend a few chapters on it. I found most of the book to be quite interesting and learned a whole lot. I recommend this book to adults interested in the Taj Mahal or the Moghul Empire.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 62
Pages Read in 2018: 15,578
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Afghanistan by Donkey: A Year in a War Zone by Anna Badkhen

A journalist embedded with NATO troops in Afghanistan in 2011, Anna Badkhen spent most of her time getting to know the regular people of Afghanistan. Their fears, their concerns, how they lived their lives, what they thought about the Taliban, what they knew about Bin Laden and 9/11, and how the seemingly never-ending wars were affecting them. What she found is often heartbreaking and sometimes surprising. Most of her account is fascinating. I suspect she meant each chapter to be a standalone article, however, because she constantly repeated information that had been in previous chapters. This got quite tiresome. I recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the everyday life of Afghans under the shadow of war.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 61
Pages Read in 2018: 15,236
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Around the World in a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz

Covering Prince Henry the Navigator, Bartholomew Diaz, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral, John Cabot, Amerigo Vespucci, Juan Ponce de Leon, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, and Ferdinand Magellan, Around the World in a Hundred Years tells the story of about one-hundred years of exploration in a way younger readers can understand and find interesting. On occasion it drags a bit, but the majority is quite fascinating. I recommend it to upper elementary to lower middle school age kids.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 54
Pages Read in 2018: 13,298
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Middle Grades, Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz