Upcoming Nonfiction by Women

October 29, 2014 2014, lists, nonfiction, women in nonfiction 29

2015 nonfiction by women


A few weeks ago, I took a good look at my nonfiction reading and decided I wanted to shift my focus toward choosing more titles by female writers. In an effort to combat the male-centric nonfiction media focus—and to create a mental reading list for myself—I took a deep dive into 2015’s publishing catalogs and surfaced with ten fantastic sounding upcoming titles written by women.


Ravensbruck by Sarah Helm (January 20, 2015)

“While the core of this book is told from inside the camp, the story also sheds new light on the evolution of the wider genocide, the impotence of the world to respond, and Himmler’s final attempt to seek a separate peace with the Allies using the women of Ravensbrück as a bargaining chip. Chilling, inspiring, and deeply unsettling, Ravensbrück is a groundbreaking work of historical investigation. With rare clarity, it reminds us of the capacity of mankind for both bestial cruelty and for courage against all odds.”

The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell (January 20, 2015)

“Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history that has long been kept quiet, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war.”

Ghettoside by Jill Leovy (January 27, 2015)

“Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential American murder—one young black man slaying another—and a determined crew of detectives whose creed was to pursue justice at all costs for its forgotten victims. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of murder in America—why it happens and how the plague of killings might yet be stopped.”

American Reckoning by Christian G. Appy (February 5, 2015)

“Drawing on a vast variety of sources from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an original interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences. Authoritative, insightful, sometimes surprising, and controversial, American Reckoning is a fascinating mix of political and cultural reporting that offers a completely fresh account of the meaning of the Vietnam War.”

The Monopolists by Mary Pilon (February 17, 2015)

“The inside story of the world’s most famous board game-a buried piece of American history with an epic scandal that continues today. The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man’s lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game’s questionable origins.”

Galileo’s Middle Finger by Alice Dreger (March 10, 2015)

“As scientific discoveries increasingly complicate our traditional ideas about human identity and behavior, Dreger poses an urgent question: How do we balance social justice and scientific freedom when these ideals seem to be in open conflict? As she shows was the case with Galileo, in spite of how scientists and activists may think their values differ, justice and truth are inextricably bound up. Galileo’s Middle Finger ultimately makes the case for treating the quest for evidence as essentially sacred, and doing so specifically to advance justice.”

Eye of the Beholder by Laura J. Snyder (March 16, 2015)

“‘See for yourself!’ was the clarion call of the 1600s. Natural philosophers threw off the yoke of ancient authority, peered at nature with microscopes and telescopes, and ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses and created paintings filled with realistic effects of light and shadow. The hub of this optical innovation was the small Dutch city of Delft. Here Johannes Vermeer’s experiments with lenses and a camera obscura taught him how we see under different conditions of light and helped him create the most luminous works of art ever beheld. Meanwhile, his neighbor Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s work with microscopes revealed a previously unimagined realm of minuscule creatures. The result was a transformation in both art and science that revolutionized how we see the world today.”

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed by Meghan Daum (March 31, 2015)

“In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, thirteen acclaimed female writers explain why they have chosen to eschew motherhood…This collection makes a smart and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path to a happy, productive life, and takes our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. In this book, that shadowy faction known as the childless-by-choice comes out into the light.”

That’s Not English by Erin Moore (April 14, 2015)

“In That’s Not English, the seemingly superficial differences between British and American English open the door to a deeper exploration of a historic and fascinating cultural divide. In each of the thirty chapters, Erin Moore explains a different word we use that says more about us than we think. For example, ‘Quite’ exposes the tension between English reserve and American enthusiasm; in ‘Moreish,’ she addresses our snacking habits. In ‘Partner,’ she examines marriage equality; in ‘Pull,’ the theme is dating and sex; ‘Cheers’ is about drinking; and ‘Knackered’ covers how we raise our kids. The result is a cultural history in miniature and an expatriate’s survival guide.”

Spinster by Kate Bolick (April 21, 2015)

“From the first pages of this lyrical, heartfelt, and thought-provoking memoir, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick draws us into the vibrant world she has made for herself. Vital to this private universe is a cast of pioneering women of the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have lit the way for Kate and emboldened her at crucial personal junctures to remain single: poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, essayist Maeve Brennan, novelist Edith Wharton, journalist Neith Boyce, opera diva Ganna Walska, and social critic Charlotte Perkins Gilman. By connecting the dots between single women past and present, Kate reveals the long arc of slowly changing attitudes toward women and marriage, and shows us why, even today, the choice to remain single is a source of considerable debate and societal handwringing.”


Read This, Watch That: Dr. Mütter’s Marvels and The Knick

October 28, 2014 2014, ARC, nonfiction, reviews, tv and movies, women in nonfiction 21


I don’t spend much time with the television playing randomly. There are a handful of shows I watch each season and when I get into a show (usually a super stylized period drama) I really get into it. One of my recent obsessions, The Knick, wrapped its first season a few weeks ago and left me feeling sad about the lack of bloody operating theaters in my life. Thankfully, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels came around just in time.

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

In the early 1800’s, anesthesia had not yet been developed for medical use. The use of leeches for bleeding was common practice and the spread of bacteria was so misunderstood that post-operative infection was seen as a sign of healing. While some doctors felt content in practicing medicine as it had been practiced for years, by the mid-1800’s, others began to seek progress.

In Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz follows the unlikely man from a sickly childhood to his time as a popular surgeon and teacher at Jefferson Medical College. Well ahead of his colleagues, Dr. Mütter insisted on taking time to focus on both pre and post-operative care, stressing the importance of consulting with his patients. At a time when every cut made by a surgeon would be felt, Dr. Mütter believed it was important to completely outline every procedure for his patients, many of whom suffered from disfiguring abnormalities.

But Dr. Mütter’s foresight didn’t end there—he was leaps and bounds ahead of his colleagues in preventing the spread of disease, the early use of ether and even the concept of diversity. Aptowicz paints an absolutely fascinating portrait of a man who should be remembered for much more than the medical collections he left behind.

The Knick (Cinemax)

By 1900, germ theory had been widely accepted and more “had been learned about about the treatment of the human body in the last five years than was learned in the previous five hundred.” Though the fictionalized version of New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital, known as The Knick, feels modern compared to the world of Dr. Mütter just 50 years earlier, it’s not without its problems. Dr. John Thackery, The Knick’s head surgeon, willingly takes on the most difficult cases in hopes of reaching medical breakthroughs, but finds himself continuously held back by his own opium addiction. With themes that mirror the challenges Dr. Mütter faced and historical figures well-known to most viewers, The Knick is the perfect follow-up to the engrossing world of Dr. Mütter’s Marvels.


It’s Monday October 27th, What Are You Reading?

October 27, 2014 2014, it's monday, what are you reading? 21


Two vastly different covers this week, no? They’re pretty different books, too. I finished up Dr. Mutter’s Marvels last night and now have both of these books in my sights. I’m really excited for some good meta-reading with Azar Nafisi’s The Republic of Imagination, which also feels like a good early jumpstart to Nonfiction November. In the Red is a little outside my comfort zone, but I’m intrigued by the story of an affair with hints of Romanian fairy tales.

On Saturday, I posted about open voting for Book Blogger Top Picks, which is something I’m throwing together to track the best books in the blogosphere for 2014. If you’re a book blogger and would like to vote, head on over and share your thoughts!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


Book Blogger Top Picks 2014 – Open Voting

October 25, 2014 2014, book blogging, book events 28

Book Blogger Top Picks 2014


As the Goodreads Choice Awards roll around near the end of each year, I’m always curious what voting might look like from a pool of book bloggers. There are some fantastic awards for specific genres, like the Cybils (Children and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) and the INSPY’s (Blogger’s Award for Excellence in Faith Driven Literature), but as far as I know there isn’t anything that polls bloggers on titles across the board.

So, let’s give it a shot! Rather than putting together an “award”, I’m aiming for something more informal—just a look at the 2014 titles book bloggers loved the most. I’ll keep track of the choices using Google Forms, which will be narrowed down to the top ten in each category when open voting closes on November 8th. A final round of voting from the top five will take place starting on November 22nd to determine a top pick for each category by December 6th.

I’m not collecting any information other than your picks and your blog name, which is just to make sure everyone taking part is active in the community and not voting more than once. I know many of us still have stacks of 2014 books left to read, so the form is set to allow edits for that incredible last-minute read. Give it a go! Or…you know, finish what you’re reading first.

Open Voting for Book Blogger Top Picks 2014

I’m linking up with Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Post this week, but if you could help spread the word (especially to YA, sci-fi/fantasy and romance bloggers since those are genres I tend to focus on less), I would really appreciate it!


Can I Get Another (Book)?

October 23, 2014 2014, discussion, lists 56



I regularly find myself browsing my shelves or running into favorite books and desperately wishing for a second (or third or fourth) book to dig into. In some cases it hasn’t been long since I read the author’s last work while others have made me wait a few years. Here are a few books that have me (not so) patiently waiting for the author’s next book.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Chad Harbach threw together two of my favorite things (baseball and a small academic setting) in the best way possible with 2012’s The Art of Fielding and has had me waiting for a follow-up since. He reappeared earlier this year with the essay collection MFA vs. NYC, but I’m still anxious for another great story.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

I absolutely adored the incredibly unique scrapbook style of 2012’s Girlchild and have recommended it ever since. I have to admit that I’ve done my fair share of checking Edelweiss for Hassman’s name in hopes that she has another book in the works. Hopefully soon!

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Not long after writing 2011’s Rules of Civility, Amor Towles released an e-book companion that followed one of the novel’s secondary characters. That’s all great and good, but I’d love to see what else he has cooking.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

This is one of my top five books ever. It’s disturbing and twisted in all the right ways and I absolutely need more. Sadly, there hasn’t been any signs of something else to come from Donald Ray Pollock.

The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin

I’m not big on series reading and maybe this is why. Where is the last book in this trilogy, Mr. Cronin? When I saw him speak at the National Book Festival last year, he mentioned that the third book should be out “next year”, but I don’t even see it on the horizon through mid-2015. I’m getting sad. And beyond forgetting details.

The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom

It’s only been a year since Kent Wascom’s debut and I’m already itching for more. That’s the sign of a great writer, right? The Blood of Heaven was one of the most intricately written books I’ve read in a long time and I can’t wait to see where Kent Wascom goes next.

Which authors have you on the edge of your seat waiting for another book?



Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

October 22, 2014 2014, reviews 18

Brutal Youth by Anthony BreznicanBrutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
Published by Macmillan on 6/10/2014
Source: BE Books Consulting
Pages: 416
Buy From IndieBoundGoodreads


On the day students and staff at St. Michael’s High School should be impressing the visiting prospective students, Colin “Clink” Vickler sets off a chain of events as he begins hauling glasses of preserved animals off the building’s roof. Over the course of the next year, a circle of freshman who witnessed Clink’s violent outcry attempt to navigate the brutal waters of St. Michael’s and work together to break down its perpetually ignored hazing system.

Breznican populates St. Michael’s with wonderfully flawed characters full of layers that take the course of the story to be revealed. But as the novel expands from the brilliance of its opening sequence, the sheer number of personalities makes it difficult to stay invested in one before abruptly shifting to another. Despite my interest in Brutal Youth‘s plot, I regularly found myself wishing I could combine the close lens of its first pages with the great character development demonstrated throughout.

Still, Breznican is extremely successful in crafting a story that will spark discussion and open dialogue, which would make it a great pick for book clubs. There’s much to turn over regarding the prevalence of bullying, it’s impact, and how school culture itself has changed since the novel’s early 90’s setting. In Brutal Youth, Anthony Breznican dives deep into the darkest corners of high school life and reappears with an intriguing tale well worth checking out.