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Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Thu May 12, 2011 9:58 am
by Chris OConnor
What would you like to read as a group for our July, August and September 2011 NON-FICTION discussion?

Please put some thought into this. What non-fiction book would you like to discuss as a group? Only make suggestions if you have over 25 quality posts on our forums. Posts where you are saying "great post! or where you are advertising your own books aren't what we consider quality posts. We only want suggestions from people who have a track record of being active on our forums. It is pretty easy to get up to 25 posts so start now and you can earn the right to influence what books we read in the future.

When you make your suggestions provide the title, author and a link to where we can read more about your suggestion. And tell us WHY you would like to read your non-fiction book suggestion.

Most importantly this thread is a DISCUSSION so participate. Making your suggestion is the first step. But we need you to take the time to look at what other people have suggested and comment. Would you read their book suggestion? Why do you like or dislike their suggestion? Don't be shy. If you think their book suggestion is boring, too long, or not likely to generate quality discussion just say so. Conversely, if you think they have suggested a great book you should say so. We ONLY read and discuss books that a lot of people have left positive feedback on so if you see a book you might enjoy and you don't speak up you have not done yourself or a service. We need feedback on ALL suggestions.

Please only make one or two suggestions per person. Put some thought into this. We don't need quantity as much as quality. Nobody wants to research 5 books per person. It becomes like homework. It is far better to suggest one book that you think would be excellent as the focus of discussion.

Now what would you like to discuss in July, August and September?

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Thu May 12, 2011 11:22 am
by Chris OConnor
I'm going to suggest Elie Wiesel's "Night" for discussion. This is the true story of a Nazi concentration camp survival. Oprah's Book Club has discussed this book and Elie Wiesel is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Although this is a small book it would generate some great discussion about the Holocaust. We could probably read a fiction book like Schindler's List in conjunction with "Night." Review
In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

Book Description
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 12:52 am
by Dawn
I'd be game to read "Night". I picked up a copy a while back but haven't gotten into it. Pretty heavy topic. I've been putting it off. This would be a good opportunity.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 5:03 pm
by wilde
Ah, summer. Now I can suggest books! I have a few ideas, but this time I'm going to suggest Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. It's a memoir that was under some controversy recently.
From Barnes & Noble's website: All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.
Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:
* have a playdate
* be in a school play
* complain about not being in a school play
* not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
* play any instrument other than the piano or violin
* not play the piano or violin
The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.
Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:
"According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:
1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse.
2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality.
3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"
But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting- and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
Review from Amazon: Chua (Day of Empire) imparts the secret behind the stereotypical Asian child's phenomenal success: the Chinese mother. Chua promotes what has traditionally worked very well in raising children: strict, Old World, uncompromising values--and the parents don't have to be Chinese. What they are, however, are different from what she sees as indulgent and permissive Western parents: stressing academic performance above all, never accepting a mediocre grade, insisting on drilling and practice, and instilling respect for authority. Chua and her Jewish husband (both are professors at Yale Law) raised two girls, and her account of their formative years achieving amazing success in school and music performance proves both a model and a cautionary tale. Sophia, the eldest, was dutiful and diligent, leapfrogging over her peers in academics and as a Suzuki piano student; Lulu was also gifted, but defiant, who excelled at the violin but eventually balked at her mother's pushing. Chua's efforts "not to raise a soft, entitled child" will strike American readers as a little scary--removing her children from school for extra practice, public shaming and insults, equating Western parenting with failure--but the results, she claims somewhat glibly in this frank, unapologetic report card, "were hard to quarrel with."

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 9:31 pm
by Dexter
Tim Harford, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure ... 0374100969
Drawing from research across disciplines—psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, physics, mathematics, political science, and economics—and interviews with some of the world’s most pioneering leaders, thinkers, and strategists, Harford reveals hard-won lessons learned in the field and the importance of adaptive, trial-and-error processes in tackling issues such as fostering innovation, climate change, poverty, the financial crises, and conflict.
“Tim Harford could well be Britain's Malcolm Gladwell. An entertaining mix of popular economics and psychology, this excellently written book contains fascinating stories of success and failure that will challenge your assumptions. Insightful and clever.” —Alex Bellos, author of Here’s Looking at Euclid
“This is a brilliant and fascinating book—Harford’s range of research is both impressive and inspiring, and his conclusions are provocative. The message about the need to accept failure has important implications, not just for policy making but also for people’s professional and personal lives. It should be required reading for anyone serving in government, working at a company, trying to build a career or simply trying to navigate an increasingly complex world.”—Gillian Tett, author of Fool’s Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and How Wall St. Greed Corrupted Its Bold Dream and Created a Financial Catastrophe
I've read two of Harford's popular economics books -- The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life. This one looks like it would be of broader interest.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:15 am
by Chris OConnor

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:21 am
by Chris OConnor
I'm going to revise my suggestion. Night is a pretty short book for a 3-month reading period. Little did I know, but Elie Wiesel wrote Night as the first book in a 3-book series. The 3 books are Night, Dawn and Day, and all 3 are relatively small. I'm proposing we read all 3 books in order within the typical 3-month period. All 3 books total 352 pages. And people could read just one or two and not all three.

The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, Day

Book Description
"Night is one of the masterpieces of Holocaust literature. First published in 1960, it is the autobiographical account of an adolescent boy and his father in Auschwitz. Elie Wiesel writes of their battle for survival, and of his battle with God for a way to understand the wanton cruelty he witnesses each day. In the short novel Dawn (1961), a young man who has survived the Second World War and settled in Palestine is apprenticed to a Jewish underground movement, where the former victim is commanded to execute a British officer who has been taken hostage. In Day (previously titled The Accident, 1962), Wiesel questions the limits of the spirit and the self: Can Holocaust survivors forge a new life without the memories of the old?

Wiesel's trilogy offers meditations on mankind's attraction to violence and on the temptation of self-destruction.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 1:45 am
by Dawn
My only grumble re: Wiesel's books here would be that it's pretty heavy reading (topic-wise) for summer, for me anyway...Sorta cuts in on the serenity of summer potentially. I'd probably do Night anyway.

Here's a gem, considered a classic at our house :) :
Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin ... 0140286780
There's a big difference between "making a living" and making a life. Do you spend more than you earn? Does making a living feel more like making a dying? Do you dislike your job but can't afford to leave it? Is money fragmenting your time, your relationships with family and friends? If so, Your Money or Your Life is for you.
From this inspiring book, learn how to

--get out of debt and develop savings
--reorder material priorities and live well for less
--resolve inner conflicts between values and lifestyles
--convert problems into opportunities to learn new skills
--attain a wholeness of livelihood and lifestyle
--save the planet while saving money
and much more
Really a great book for challenging you to think outside the box in terms of how you 'make a living'...

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:10 pm
by giselle
I like Wilde's suggestion, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, sounds like an interesting read and a very different perspective on an age old topic. I would read this book if its selected. I may not vote because I'm going away shortly till mid-June.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 3:23 pm
by President Camacho
Holocaust was abominable... a true life nightmare for humanity but I'm not interested in reading about it in this format because of that. It's a horror and to read it is a punishment to the soul. I'd rather read about the political science behind why a government like that was allowed to prevail and how they managed to convince the masses that exterminating a select few would solve their problems - that would be very instructive and eye-opening. We may even find parallels or "holes in the cheese" in our current government that we can eliminate so something like this is less likely to happen.

When I read Anne Frank... thinking back on it now I'm disgusted that they allowed me to read something like that at such a young age. What a horrible thing to do to a child - read that book. The holocaust was the most disgusting tragedy and they allow children to read about Anne Frank hiding from slaughter as if it was a fairy tale fiction with a message. IT WAS REAL!!! You know how horrible and morbidly twisted it is to allow a child to read that? I'm an adult and I don't think I could handle reading that book now.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 7:43 pm
by JulianTheApostate
Earlier today I found the following book in the bookstore. I've read two other books by Hochschild, both of which were excellent.

To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild ... 0618758283
World War I stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain’s leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published a newspaper for his fellow inmates on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain’s most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other.

Today, hundreds of military cemeteries spread across the fields of northern France and Belgium contain the bodies of millions of men who died in the “war to end all wars.” Can we ever avoid repeating history?

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 6:28 pm
by Murrill
I read Night when I was in college, i. e. a very, very long time ago. It was part of a course on Death & Dying. I was not aware of the other two works, but I would be interested in reading these, Night is very deep & provocative. I think it could generate some thoughtful conversations.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 6:17 pm
by Mammal
I absolutely loved the abridged audio-book version of: Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees by Roger Fouts

I would love reading the actual 400+ page book.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:05 am
by Chris OConnor
Mammal, while this book looks great and might make for an excellent discussion please read the very first post in this thread which contains the rules.

Re: Non-Fiction Suggestions for our July, August and September 2011 discussion

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:08 am
by Chris OConnor
We need more feedback on the current suggestions.