Are you looking for a big, absorbing book of nonfiction to fill these long winter nights? One to give as a present to a friend or relative who loves nonfiction? Want to get lost in another time, another place? Want to take a sea journey the old-fashioned way in grand style? In any of these cases, Dead Wake’s the book for you.
Larson brings the era just before the U.S. entered World War 1 to vivid life. Having just completed it, I feel as though I recently crossed the Atlantic in one of the most modern and luxurious vessels of the early 20th century.
Not only is Larson excellent at capturing everyday life in earlier times, but he also provides a cast of highly believable characters from the famous: President Woodrow Wilson to the obsessed: rare book dealer Charles Lauriat, to the vanguard: early feminist architect and spiritualist, Theodate Pope. Read more about Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
In our death-phobic culture, most of us need all the help we can get planning for our own and our loved ones’ deaths. This excellent guide, rich with examples, and a good smattering of humor gives just that—an overview of how to prepare for both the practical and spiritual aspects of dying.
Donna Schaper, who is also a minister, opens the book with “The Best Funeral Ever.” She shares funerals and memorials from actual people she knew and helped.
She describes the deceased and makes clear that their wishes should be followed. She closes this chapter with a eulogy she wrote for a feisty friend, Anita, who told the police she would keep driving, no matter what they said, and insisted that no one sing hymns at her service.
In a later chapter on bad funerals, she relates that mistakes happen. For one of the services she conducted, instead of the music the bereaved requested, she carelessly played a classical work left in the CD player. The widow never noticed the switch, and said later, that the music made her feel better during the funeral. Read more about Approaching the End of Life: a Practical and Spiritual Guide
My family and I lived for five years in the North American rainforest of Southeast Alaska. In those days, it rained over three hundred days a year. To this day my children prefer a rainy day to one filled with sun. That’s one reason why this book called out to me.
It’s a compendium of archaeological, historical, and scientific facts about our most common precipitation. Also, included in it are a series of mini-biographies of people who are renowned for some connection to rain.
One of these includes Princess Anne of Denmark who tried vainly several time to sail to Scotland to marry her fiancé, King James VI. Violent storms blew her back to the Nordic regions twice. This was in August, 1589 during the time known as The Little Ice Age. King James VI eventually enlisted his navy to take him north to marry her. Read more about Rain: a natural and cultural history
In a radio broadcast this year, President Obama said this about racism in America. “We are not cured… Societies don't overnight completely erase everything that happened 200-300 years prior.” That’s the premise of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new nonfiction book, a moving personal letter to his son.
Coates begins by sharing his own difficult childhood on the streets of Baltimore where his only goal was to survive. He describes learning another language “of head nods and handshakes.” He learned “a list of prohibited blocks” and even learned the “smell and feel of fighting weather.”
As the days shorten, and autum winds blow, it's time to dream about and plan your next national park vacation. We are lucky to live in a country with so many outstanding natural places to visit: the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Acadia, Yellowstone, Zion...the list goes on and on.
If you can't decide which national park to visit next, this guide will give you lots of ideas. Whatever your interests--photography, horseback riding, climbing summits, mountain biking, fly-fishing, petroglyph-viewing, you'll find lots of great recommendations.
Say you're a history afionado, how about the ten best parks to follow our presidential footprints? Try Gettysburg, Mount Rushmore (of course), Theodore Roosevelt N.P., the Jefferson Monument, etc. Each list has at least a half page entry on why it's included.
This is a hard book to categorize. Is it a dual biography? A history of a region? An environmental paean to a place? A literary memoir of the West? A road book to both grand and despoiled places?
It’s all of the above and more. Gessner began the book as a tribute to two western writers who have inspired him: Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner. Gessner went to grad school in Colorado and fell in love with the southwest. Abbey and Stegner became his heroes and teachers, although not literally—he learned through their writing.