Bookish Summer: Non-Fiction Reads

I’m a fiction writer, and a fiction reader, for the most part. But today’s post is all about non-fiction. Hello! If you’re just tuning in, this is one of the final stops on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop Tour. At the bottom of the post is a schedule so you can go back and catch up on all the great book conversations we’ve had this month.

Today’s topic is: The last non-fiction book you finished reading.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

“We just tiptoe around things, afraid we’ll offend or look ignorant, be misunderstood. Honesty is a risk few are willing to take.” – Flow by Kennedy Ryan 

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I… don’t read a lot of nonfiction, quite honestly! I’ve only read from a select few… one of those being Felicia Day. Her book You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) is a beautiful dissection of somebody who is instantly relatable and very much All Of Us. Sure, she had different opportunities than you or I might experience, and her list of achievements is astonishing–but she gives the backstage glimpse, the real-world perspective, the oftimes harsh reality of the whole situation–while imparting the nuggets of wisdom and truth as only  she can. Reading her book inspired me to write an entire blog post on “How I Learned To Stop Hiding And Embrace My Own Weird” and I hope one day to achieve her level of confidence and charisma!

 

Allie Bock http://girlwithagoodbookandherdog.blogspot.com

The last non-fiction read I read was The Eighty Dollar Champion. It’s a true rags to riches story. The book also has photos from real life.

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition comes the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of “the Flying Dutchman” himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

 

My last non-fiction read was a memoir: Call me Adam by Arthur Adam. Arthur grew up poor in a small town not far from where I live. His memoir details his path from poverty and abuse to successful businessman. He is honest about his mistakes and his faults and the story reads like he’s sitting there talking to you. I had the chance to talk with him as we read his memoir for book club and he joined us one evening, and he’s an entertaining man with a storyteller’s voice.

Do you read non-fiction? What type? What was the last one you finished? Check out the rest of the tour! There’re a few days left but this is my last day hosting. Have a great summer, and keep reading.

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Review: The Ultimate Tragedy

It’s is Monday morning following Mother’s Day that I am typing this review. I mention this because this book deals with the loss of a child and on this weekend, as we celebrate mothers, this book is especially moving.

The Ultimate Tragedy is a memoir by Doreen Pchajek. Doreen lost her daughter in a car accident and originally wrote this book 5 years after her daughter’s death. She added an update at the end when she released the second edition roughly 10 years later. It was this second edition that I read.

Reviewing a memoir is hard. To criticize any part of it feels like you are criticizing the author’s life. There were parts of this book that were difficult to read, emotionally, but also technically. There were a lot of medical terms that I found difficult to follow.

The story itself was very sad. Losing a family member is hard, losing one in a sudden accident, well I wrote an article on sudden passings and slow deaths. I don’t know which is worse but I do know that to lose your daughter so young in an accident while you were driving the car must be devastating.

Doreen does a good job of conveying the despair and helplessness she felt.

Doreen has started a memorial fund in honour of her daughter. The Stacey Pchajek Memorial Fund provides scholarships to senior 4 grads in Southeast Manitoba, as well as awards to grade 8 grads.

Doreen’s journey has been a difficult one. She’s right – you never “get over it” but I think she’s reached a point where she can fit her grief into the rest of her life without it constantly overwhelming her.