wily wiley reads: non-fiction addition.

mountains beyond mountains: the quest of dr. paul farmer, a man who would cure the world by tracy kidder :::  living in boston, i think it's nearly impossible that one hasn't heard of the work of dr. paul farmer and partners in health.  this book, which gives a biographical take on dr. farmer, immerses you in his day-to-day life and takes you from haiti, to russia, to peru, and back again.  the humanitarian work which kidder describes from it's very roots, is incredible.  i believe there is a wealth of knowledge for any individual to gain from this book.  kidder explains the role of poverty in the fight to cure infectious disease and the role that dr. farmer is playing in a mission to cure diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.  a really fabulous and thought-provoking read.

my lobotomy by howard dully and charles fleming ::: i love finding i book on a topic that i have absolutely no knowledge, opinion or ideas about.  jill leant this book to me a few weeks ago and i could not put it down.  howard dully's memoir is a cathartic exploration of his past.  when dully was twelve he was given a lobotomy and his life changed forever.  in his fifties, dully decides to go back and answer the question he struggled with his entire life: why was this horrific procedure performed on him?  the book does a wonderful job of giving the history of the lobotomy, the doctor who started it all in the united states, and the ways in which this procedure changed the lives of many.  i cannot recommend this book enough.  a short read, my lobotomy is a truly heart wrenching memoir.

the gardner heist: the true story of the world's largest unsolved art heist by ulrich boser ::: another incredible non-fiction find.  this is another that jill leant to me and it made my month of non-fiction one to be rivaled.  if you live in boston than you've heard of this art heist time and time again, but ulrich boser gives you the inside track on the event which changed the art world forever.  with great attention to the history of the museum, biographical information on isabella stewart gardner, and a play by play of the events that unfolded on march 18th, 1990, this book is a total page turner.  i especially loved the rundown of the boston crime world, which of course features the one and only, whitey bulger.  boser tells of interesting pieces of evidence, theories and the cast of characters that surround one of art's greatest mysteries.  a great mash-up of art history and crime drama.

in the sanctuary of outcasts by neil white ::: neil white's memoir starts as he heads to prison for an eighteen month sentence after being found guilty of fraud.  as white arrives at the prison in louisiana he quickly finds himself out of his comfort zone.  housed on the same grounds as the prison is the united state's last mainland leper colony.  while i'm typically not very interested in reading prison stories, learning more about the history of leperosy and meeting a wonderful cast of patients, nuns and prisoners made this a worthwhile read.  white can be egocentric and unsympathetic at times, but the heart of the memoir has a lot of soul.  i read most of the book on our trip back to boston from pennsylvania and put up with a pounding headache because i just could not put this book down.

after a month of non-fiction reading, i quickly grabbed the first piece of fiction i saw.  while i love non-fiction, my heart belongs to the novel.  i am now back to my fiction, non-fiction, fiction, non-fiction pattern of reading, but am glad i took the time to learn a great deal these last few weeks.

as always, i would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations on what you've read recently and what i need to add to my ever-growing reading pile.

1 comment:

  1. Love all of these non-fiction reviews.. I agree with the fiction/non-fiction alternating though. All four of these sound like good reads, especially My Lobotomy!