Noteworthy Non-Fiction

I love reading great non-fiction books. I enjoy reading about historical events and people. I love memoirs and biographies of interesting and diverse characters. I also will read an occasional self-help book, if it’s applicable and not too overly cliche.

Here are some great noteworthy non-fiction books:

(Click any photo or title for more info.)

Diary of a Young Girl

If you haven’t already read this book I highly recommend it. This girl wrote so well in her journal, and told her story so exceptionally. – semi-spoiler alert! – For her to be able to tell her story in the midst of such hardship and have it survive in her place, is beautiful. It’s a bit haunting knowing that she wrote this leading up to what was likely a very horrendous end. I felt a bit of a knot in my core that was hard to shake. I tend to get very attached to the lives and stories of protagonist in books, and
it’s always very difficult when bad
things happen. The eeriness with this book was that I couldn’t tell myself
(it’s just a book.)

Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: 
Simple Tea
You may not feel like spoiling yourself with anything decadent while reading about such hardship.

The Funny Thing Is

On a much lighter note there is this delightful book about the real life happenings of one Ellen Degeneres. Now, I am a fan of Ellen’s, I love the style of her humor and wit. So I am quiet a bit biased going into this little mini review. This book is a breath of fresh air. It is pure Ellen genius, and I sped right through it. At the end I was sad it was over, the light-hearted gentle humor was such an endorphin rush. I don’t know if other people will feel as I did reading it,
but I sure hope so. 🙂

Rated: a shocking 3.9 on amazon.com
Iced-Green-tea.jpg

Book Bean: Alppuchino
I know I’m not Ellen, I need to drink more Iced Green Tea.

Empire of The Summer Moon

This is a fantastic book. I purchased it because it was inviting and looked really interesting. It is about chief Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanche tribe. Being of Native American heritage myself, I am drawn to historical books such as this. What I love about this book is that it reads like a novel. The story is so engrossing and interesting. It was well written, informative, and entertaining as well. If you are interested in Native American Culture and/or History (or even if you’re not) this is a must read.
Rated: 4.5 on amazon.comHazelnutMochaTrailMixCup_thumb1

Book Bean:
Trail Mix Mocha Latte
Espresso with steamed milk, flavored with chocolate, almond extract, and cherry. Keep it natural for a better more earthy flavor.
Man’s Search For Meaning
 I know, another book about the Holocaust, but it is such an exceptional book. This particular book is written by Victor Frankl an Austrian Neurologist and Psychologist. He writes about the events that took place from a different point of view than other books I’ve read, which I really liked. He would break down the why’s and woes of each person’s action/reaction, and I  found that fascinating. This book is part Holocaust experience story, part “what I’ve discovered because of it.” It’s like getting a mini-documentary and a self-help book all in one.

Rated: 4.7 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Plain Brewed Coffee

Again you won’t feel like indulging while reading this painful memoir.

Love, Lucy
And to end with another light-hearted note. Lucile Ball, the comic legend and genius. This autobiography was discovered randomly after her death. Again I am probably a bit biased here, because I ADORE Lucy. I Love Lucy was iconic. I grew up watching it, and to this day it is my favorite! Lucille ball and Ricky Ricardo are a match made in heaven (on screen at least.) I love the behind the scene detail, and the great pictures that accompany this book. I am so happy that this gem was discovered so that we could enjoy her legacy.

Rated: 4.8 on amazon.com
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Book Bean:
Vitameatavegamin!
But seeing as it’s so hard to find, how about a mouthful of
Truffle Cocoa, to get in the Lucy spirit 🙂

 

I know there are so many other lovely books that I’m leaving out. Books that I just haven’t read yet, or wasn’t thinking of. However, these are the ones that stood out to me. 🙂

What non-fictions book/s stand out to you?

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Homage to George Orwell

george-orwell-bbc.jpgEric Arthur Blair better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.

Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)

 

Animal Farm

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Down and Out in Paris and London

Orwell’s first work — a sensitive and insightful description of the life of the working poor in Paris and the homeless in London. It is still very relevant today, and while aimed at the casual reader, it is of interest to the scholar and activist.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a match against the powers that be.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Share your thoughts
Have you read Orwell, has he influenced you in any way?

One Book To Rule Them All 3

Continued from Part Two

shutterstock_253710055-largeIn a poll I posted to help us all get to know each other I asked the question:
If you could only ever read one book forever, what book would you choose?

Now many of you did say you’d rather not live, and though I’m sure many others felt torn between that option and having to chose, they did choose. I have compiled the following montage.


There can only be one, one book to rule them all!

Part THREE of Three:

 The King James Bible

The Bride Collector

by Ted Dekker

 

The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas

I have to hoorah this one as it is an all time favorite of mine 😀

 

I haven’t finished writing it yet…. 😉

The Cardturners

by Louis Sachar

 

The complete works of Theodore Storm
Sorry this is all I could find.

 

Ulysses

by James Joyce

9424093Poems of Heinrich Heine

51naG-FeFpL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is a fantastic book, a little short though…

metamorphosis

 

The Metamorphasis

by Frank Kafka

 

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Headhunter

by Timothy Findley

oryx_and_crake

Oryx and Crake

by Margaret Atwood

 

 

The Siege

by Helen Dunmore

 

I only like books WHILE I’m reading them.
Interesting response.

 

Marching Powder:
A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail

by Thomas McFadden

 

DNA of the Gods

by Chris H. Hardy Ph.D.

 

Sometime a good book is just getting away from it all.


Beauty 

by Robin

This is another all time favorite of mine and I was impressed to see it was picked 3 times 😀

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury


Seven Pillars of Wisdom

by T. E. Lawrence

A wise a choice 😉

 

The Great Gatsby 

by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Unwanteds

by Lisa McMann

I’ve heards this is a great series, one day maybe I’ll get a chance to read it.

Bird by Bird:
Some Instructions on Writing and Life

by Anne Lamott

 

Well that concludes our look into the most cherished books of the
Cafe Book Bean community. It has been a lot of fun to see so many great books represented, and to learn new ones as well. We are a like-minded,
yet diverse group of book lovers, and I so enjoyed this fun project.

So… What would you choose?

Profound Paragraphs XIV

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”
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~Jane Austen, Persuasion

A Flight of Fantasy

magic_ball_library_columns_castle_63093_602x339I love fantasy fiction, especially when it is a bit different and outside the box (as fantasy fiction goes anyway.) I love books that enchant and leave the mind twinkling with imagination and magic. That is the inspiration behind this article and I hope it will captivate even the skeptics.

Worthy Fantasy-Fiction reads in all their phantasmagorical splendor:

Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Richard is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. One night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her and the life he knows vanishes. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He’s fallen through cracks in reality and landed somewhere that is Neverwhere.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
An epic tale of the two magicians who emerge to change Englands history. In the year 1806, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England — until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity overnight. Another practising magician emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s pupil and the two join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic and soon he risks sacrificing everything.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dynamic Duo Mocha
Orange-Mocha-Recipe-1.jpgA magical mix of cinnamon and orange in a mocha that’s to die for! Step 1: start slowly heating 1/8 cup or 3 small squares of dark chocolate (temping in double boiler or in microwave.) Step 2: When melted move to stove-top and mix in 1-2 drops of orange extract (or use orange flavored chocolate) and cinnamon powder to taste, then slowly whisk in 4-5 oz of milk of choice till smooth. Step 3: make coffee preferably pull a shot of espresso. Once your chocolate is hot and frothy and your coffee is ready cup your chocolate and pour in your coffee. Top with marshmallows and garnish with orange zest and cinnamon.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
“There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” (appropriate don’t you thik 😉 ) The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
The King’s Tea
a9241d03_snickers-pousse-cafe-001_thumb.jpgPour 6 oz of black or spiced hot tea into a pousse cafe glass, using a spoon in glass to prevent cracking. Add 2oz’s amaretto almond liquor, but do not stir. Top with on oz chilled whipped cream. Garnish with nuts and chocolate flakes. Enjoy.

 

The Once and Future King & The Book of Merlyn
by T.H. White

51yf9TfEUML._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Once and Future King:
A masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchants.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

The Book of Merlyn:
This magical account of King Arthur’s last night on earth. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

The Eye of The World: Book 1
by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs (a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts,) five villagers flee into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and the light.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Tea & Cake Latte
4d0362963d474978c371f7bd88d94948Another magical dynamic duo, this time in respect to England it’s with tea! Start with  4 ounces of strong steeped black tea (brew 2 tea bags in 5 ounces of water.) Steam 8 oz of milk (or boil and put in a blender, to make hot and frothy.) Pour .5-1 oz Real vanilla bean syrup (if you’d like to make it yourself heres a link!) in to cup of choice. Add in white chocolate powder and/or flakes to taste. Next add the tea and stir. Last add the steamed milk. Sprinkle with white chocolate flakes and vanilla bean.

The Queen’s Poisoner
by Jeff Wheeler
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life. Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. When new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Under Heaven
by Guy Gavriel Kay
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father’s last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

Inspired by the glory and power of The Tang dynasty, Guy Gavriel Kay evokes the dazzling 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Masala Chai
shutterstock_168107177Bring two cups of water to the boil. Add 3-4 tsp tea leaves, 1 chunk dried ginger, 3-4 crushed cardamom pods, 3 whole cloves, one piece of cinnamon, and 1-2 whole black peppers. Bring to boil again for about 15 seconds. Let stand for one minute. Warm milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Warm desired amount of milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Add warmed milk and sugar to taste. Garnish with Anise.

The Golem and The Jinni
by Helene Wecker
A chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on an enchanting journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem; creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni; being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in NYC, though entirely free.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

That concludes the list but here are A few other notable fantasy reads:
            

I purposely left off selections that I have featured before,
I want to keep it interesting.
So for more of my fantasy picks and favorites click HERE
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and HERE
Narnia, The Count, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Ring, Potter etc. and a few other great titles are featured elsewhere as well.

What are your fantasy favorites?

Writes of Passage

downloadToday is World Book Day

So, inspired by their “Writes of Passage” for YA readers, I thought I do my own little list of of important literary books. These books are sure to create a well rounded, cultured, and mindful reader.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…
The man who never reads lives only one.”

~George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

So here are my 10 must-reads for early readers:

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

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Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing “Of Mice and Men” (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness.

Though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal; a friendship and a shared dream that makes an individual’s existence meaningful.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

One of the most moving and eloquent accounts of the Holocaust, read by tens of millions of people around the world since its publication in 1947. This book had a huge impact on me as a person as well as as a reader.

The Diary of a Young Girl
is the record of two years in the life of a remarkable Jewish girl whose triumphant humanity in the face of unfathomable deprivation and fear has made the book one of the most enduring documents of our time.

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Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, she finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and at 13 is put on trial for murder!

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Christie’s most famous book, the bestselling mystery in the world.
“Ten . . .”  Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious “U. N. Owen.”
“Nine . . .”  At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.
“Eight . . .”  Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die.
“Seven . . .”  Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested.
His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium–a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster–except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s perfect comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. “Pride and Prejudice seems as vital today as ever, ” writes Anna Quindlen, and I couldn’t agree more.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

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Now go do something booky! 🙂