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
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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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Honoring H.G. Wells

“Losing your way on a journey is unfortunate. But, losing your reason for the journey is a fate more cruel.”h-g-wells-youngish.jpg

Prolific writer Herbert George Wells, more commonly known as H.G. Wells was born Today September 21st in 1866.

His first novel, The Time Machine was an instant success and Wells produced a series of science fiction novels which pioneered our ideas of the future. His later work included novels, history, politics, social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. Wells was also known for satire and social criticism.
He laid out his socialist views of human history in his Outline of History.

Wells is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is called a “father of science fiction. Here are a few of his most treasured tales:

“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams”

“Sometimes, you have to step outside of the person you’ve been and remember the person you were meant to be. The person you want to be. The person you are.”

“If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.”

What have you learned from Wells?

America in Literature II

downloadThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here is my list of quintessential American literary works:

PART II of II

The Things They Carried 

by Tim O’Brien
A classic, life-changing meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Catcher in the Rye
By J.D. Salinger
A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.
Wikipedia

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

 

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Moby Dick

By Melville
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville, published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance.

 
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller’s play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

 

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau
An essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Sound and The Fury
By William Faulkner
The tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

 

America in Literature I

119001003406-originalThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here is my list of the top quintessential American literary works:

PART I of II

Common Sense
By Thomas Pain
Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Benjamin Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold and fight for independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist. Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


By Mark Twain

One of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language, Twain’s novel can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but what’s undisputed is the novel’s position as one of the most influential books in American literature.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com10ca59f648094240a32e3146b99bce6c

Book Bean: Iced Huckleberry Hibiscus
Brew some hibiscus tea add honey to taste and chill. Lightly crush a handful of fresh huckleberries (raspberries or marion/black berries are great too). Add berries and ice to a tall glass and pour in chilled tea.

 

The Scarlet Letter
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, and is considered to be Hawthorne’s “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

An anti-slavery novel published in 1852, the novel “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman.Wikipedia. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

green-spritzer-051-mbd109404_vertRated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Fitz SpritzerGreen tea chilled, fresh lime juice, sugar, and club soda. Pour mixture over ice and enjoy your own Green Rickey 😉 Make it fun, add an olive, lime wedges, and/or mint for garnish.


Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman

A visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Beloved

By Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery,  the novel is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Set after the American Civil War (1861-1865) this spellbinding novel transforms history into a powerful story as intimate as a lullaby.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck
A Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
California Frappe
Frappe-1080x631Cut off peel and white pith from 2-3 orange wedges. Bring 1/2 cup of dry red wine, 2 Tsp. of sugar, a grate of orange zest, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon to a simmer, add the orange wedges and simmer for approx. 10 min. mixture should reduce to a syrup, let chill. Pull 2 shots of espresso (or use 4 oz of brewed coffee chilled.) In a blender add ice, coffee, syrup (for an easier option use marmalade 😉 ), and milk (to taste) blend and enjoy!

Stay tuned for PART II this evening!

While you wait vote for you favorite American Author 

 Share with us about your vote, what do you love about this author, and what makes them “A Great” in American literature?

Piraté Au Lait

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I’m feeling the Swashbuckler love this morning. Maybe it’s the Cuban coffee, or maybe it be the weather, but my love for all things piratey sounds!

Here are some buccaneer books and a black jack brew
to get you on board:

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Starting with a classic. This tale is packed with memorable characters, pirates, a deserted island, and of course buried treasure! This is a new illustrated edition; award-winning artist Robert Ingpen has a beautifully captured Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved novel. The book features over 70 awe inspiring pictures.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
by Avi
I read this book when I was younger but I remember loving it. It is definitely one of the books that sparked my love of novels. It was a thoroughly engrossing tale of a young girls arduous sea journey among a ship full of unsavory sailors. It’s a great story were prim and proper Charlotte changes to a swashbuckling mate of a mutinous crew, and is even accused of murder.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
by William Goldman
This is one of my favorite stories of all time! You will not find another book so full of adventure, humor, romance, action, and camaraderie. Well, you might, but please share it with me because I’ve yet to find a book equal to the balance and brilliance of “The Princess Bride.” You will find these pages rich in character and satire.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Yo ho, Avast ye! Let’s take a brief intermission and enjoy some treasure; a steaming cup of Buccaneer worthy Coffee!tumblr_nz4nkwDlES1tuqkmto1_1280

Book Bean:
Piraté Au Lait
Get out your best stein. Pour in rum, coffee liqueur, and a glob of buttered rum. Fill 3/4 the way full with hot coffee/espresso. Top it off with warm and slightly whipped (or steam frothed) cream and cinnamon. 
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Blimey! That’s good!

Peter Pan and Wendy
by J.M. Barrie
This montage would not be complete without the famous Captain James Hook and mermaids of Neverland! The book I have pictured here is the Centenary Edition (Sterling Illustrated Classics.) This timeless tale never grows up, it is magical and captivating. Reading it is charming and will remind you of childhood fun and joy. There is always time for an adventure!

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

 
Neverland
by Anna Katmore

I had to include a tbr in my little book array and this one looks inviting. An adaptation of the classic “Peter Pan.” It looks like a compelling book full of fun and adventured but geared a bit more to grown-ups. Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales. But she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. That’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall. Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure
and Coloring Book

by Johanna Basford
I thought I’d change it up a bit and add a touch of fun. These coloring books are SO beautiful and so fun to dive into. They are not only full of stunning pictures with intricate detail, they also have a bit of a game to them. It is an enchanting way to unwind, and this one in particular will blow you down!

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

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Well shiver me timbers that was fun!

What piratey tales do you love
and/or want to read?

Holy Library Lookbook

Let’s celebrate this Holy day with a Holy Lookbook.
Here are some beautiful and inspirational libraries from
Holy locations all over the world.

Admont Abbey (Austria)

Familiar? I think Disney may have been inspired… 😉

Abbey library of Saint Gall (Switzerland)

A stunning and warm library. During a fire in 937, the Abbey was destroyed, but the library remained intact.

Waldsassen Abbey (Bavaria, Germany)

The intricate engraving work engulfing this library takes my breath away.

Westminster Abbey Library (United Kingdom)

The Library and Muniment Room houses the extensive and historic collections of books, manuscripts and archival material

Vorau Abbey Library (Austria)

There is something just absolutely magical about this library.

The Vatican Library (Rome)

Formally established in 1475, (although much older) it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It currently has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.

Melk Abbey Library (Austria)

The Melk Library was orginially a palace. The library has two floors and around 80,000 volumes of priceless works.

Wiblingen Abbey Library (Germany)

Is this the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow..? I adore the beautiful vibrant colors of this library.

El Escorial Abbey Library (Spain)

The library was a Renaissance statement of power, majesty, prowess, and intellectual world leadership designed for both the preservation of the old (binding multiple cultural histories into a single Catholic Spanish culture) and discovery of the new.

Göttweig Abbey (Austria)

The wood work on this library and contrasting simplicity is gorgeous.

Einsiedeln Abbey Library (Switzerland)

The abbey is dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits, the title being derived from the circumstances of its foundation, for the first inhabitant of the region was Saint Meinrad, a hermit. I could very easily become a hermit myself with this as my haven!

I hope you enjoyed these beauties, have you ever visited an abbey library?