Friday, February 10, 2012

Top 5 nonfiction reads

List by Tosca

"Every time I write a nonfiction book I get sued."
- Joseph Wambaugh

I feel like I should warn you in advance that this isn't one of my bizarre 'OMG I read this book and it was so WEIRD I have to recommend it to SomebodyAnybodyEverybody because that's the way I roll' kind of posts. (And I know you know the kind I mean, and if you don't then you must be new to this blog and, well, if that's the case then I apologise in advance for your loss of innocence from this point on). Nor is it one of my more thoughtful posts. (Which, as you know, are few and far between because, hey, touchy feely isn't my style). Nope, the key word for today is 'simple' - et voilĂ , our top 5 most requested nonfiction titles!

Steve Jobs / Walter Isaacson
Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues--Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

Reviewer comment:
  • "Still, Isaacson's exhaustively researched but well-paced, candid and gripping narrative gives us a great warts-and-all portrait of an entrepreneurial spirit-and one of the best accounts yet of the human side of the computer biz." (Publishers Weekly)
  • "Isaacson has produced a full, detailed account of an influential man's life, but the style never rises above that of a well-graded research paper. As for Jobs, readers will newly admire their iPhones but not the near-sadistic management style that produced them."(Library Journal)
  • "The result is a wonderfully robust biography that not only tracks Jobs' life but also serves as a history of digital technology. What makes the book come alive, though, is Isaacson's ability to shape the story as a kind of archetypal fantasy: the flawed hero, the noble quest, the holy grail, the death of the king." (Booklist)

  • Free range in the city / Annabel Langbein
    If you loved Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook, you'll adore this new collection of her 220 delicious recipes. Annabel invites you into her city home and shows how her free range cooking style can help you create a sustainable lifestyle in the city. With menus for every occasion, living well in today's busy world.

    What was I thinking : a memoir / Paul Henry ; with Paul Little
    From the man whose outrageous comments on TV divided the country, and almost caused an international incident, comes this very funny memoir. Packed with stories from his eventful childhood and his long and adventurous career in journalism, this is a gripping, often hilarious and always entertaining read. It gives a fascinating insight into the complex character of Paul Henry. - He's surprising - he doesn't subscribe to any expected set of beliefs, he's an individual with contradictory opinions. - He's bold - he set himself up as an international news correspondent working out of his Masterton lounge, watching CNN and jetting off to the latest hotspot. He's talked himself into getting interviews with people as diverse as Peter Ustinov and the Prime Minister of Malaysia; he was there for the funerals of Diana and Mother Theresa; he's been thrown into jail in Iraq. - He's versatile -starting with drama school, then broadcasting at the BBC, head of Radio NZ, standing for parliament against Georgina Beyer, international correspondent - as well as protesting at Mururoa and running an antique shop and his own radio station. - He's entertaining - a natural-born story teller who spins a great yarn, and who says, 'I'll apologise for hurting people's feelings but I'll never apologise for being outrageous.'

    Daughters of Erebus / Paul Holmes
    The crash of a giant DC-10 airliner on the lower slopes of Antarctica's Mount Erebus in broad daylight in late November 1979 remains one of New Zealand's greatest disasters. Everyone on board - 257 people - was killed instantly and the aircraft disintegrated to nothing but a black smear on the snow. This is the story of Captain Jim Collins's family - his wife Maria and his four daughters - who endured not only the death of a beloved husband and father, but the injustice of his being wrongly blamed for the disaster. Daughters of Erebus movingly tells their story of survival.

    That woman : the life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor / Anne Sebba
    Born in 1895 [or 1896] in Baltimore, Bessiewallis Warfield endured an impoverished and comparatively obscure childhood which inflamed a burning desire to rise above her circumstances. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, she nevertheless became one of the most talked about women of her generation, and inspired such deep love and adoration in Edward VIII that even giving up a throne and an empire for her was not enough to prove his total devotion. Wallis lived by her wit and her wits, while both her apparent and alleged moral transgressions added to her aura and dazzle. Accused of Fascist sympathies, having Nazi lovers and learning bizarre sexual techniques in China, she remains the subject of gossip and fascination. In death, the Duchess became a symbol of empowerment and a style icon, a woman whose unequivocal aim was to win in the game of life.

    Reviewer comment:
  • "This accomplished biography is smart, eloquent, and unafraid to go beyond the myth of the duchess of Windsor." (Publishers Weekly)
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