30 August 2019

6 True Stories for Adult Readers

Happy holiday weekend if you’re celebrating something in your part of the world (it’s Father’s Day for some, Labor Day for others). We don’t have any particular plans, but I sure hope to get in some reading time. I am backed up on my adult nonfiction (I read and reviewed kids’ nonfiction last week), and I’m bummed because there are so many great titles this month. Here are six that remain on my list. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a review for at least one of these on Monday.

review of Death on the Derwent: Sue Neill-Fraser’s Story by Robin BowleDeath on the Derwent: Sue Neill-Fraser’s Story by Robin Bowles (Scribe US, Aug. 27). What it’s about: In the summer of 2009, a man disappeared from his yacht on Australia Day. His partner of almost 20 years was convicted of the murder, despite the lack of evidence, including a body and a weapon. Thanks to a change in Tasmanian law, Sue Neill-Fraser has recently been given a chance to prove her innocence. Why I want to read it: The tagline of book caught my attention—“Don’t fool yourself that the innocent never go to jail.” Bowles is a well-known true-crime writer. Reviews: The book hasn’t gotten stellar reviews, though the story is definitely timely, with a potential witness coming forward and Neill-Fraser's new trial on the horizon.

review of Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table by Carole BumpusSearching for Family and Traditions at the French Table by Carole Bumpus (She Writes Press, Aug. 27). What it’s about: Part travel writing, part culinary adventure, Bumpus introduces us to the French families who invited her into their homes and to their dining tables to talk about food, life, wine, and cooking. The book is organized by regions and is full of stories and musings on everyday food and kitchens, gathered from more than 70 interviews. Why I want to read it: This is so me and sounds like something I’ll eat up (pun intended). Even better, the book is subtitled “Book One,” so I hope there’s more to come. Oh, and did mention the included maps and recipes? Reviews: This book has gotten universal praise from both everyday readers and professional reviewers.

review of Five Days Gone by Laura CummingFive Days Gone by Laura Cumming (Scribner’s, Aug. 27). What it’s about: When the author’s mother was three years old (in the 1920s), she was kidnapped but recovered five days later, apparently unharmed. Her parents sheltered their daughter thereafter but never told her about the incident. Later, however, Betty learns about the kidnapping as well as other secrets concerning her early life. This book is Cumming’s attempt to help her aging mother uncover all the truths. Why I want to read it: It sounds like a fascinating story that is a mix of investigative work, the story of a family, and the story of a mother and daughter. Reviews: Reviewers have good things to say about the way Cummings was able to tease out the facts from the family stories, photographs, documents, and other sources.

review of Faber & Faber: The Untold Story by Toby FaberFaber & Faber: The Untold Story by Toby Faber (Faber & Faber, Aug. 13). What it’s about: On the 90th anniversary of the publishing house that brought many of the greats—T. S. Eliot, Sylvia Path, Lawrence Durrell, and Marianne Moore among them—to print, the founder’s grandson, Toby Faber, tells us the stories behind the books and authors, including how the company survived the war and which books they rejected. A story of publishing, books, and a changing world. Why I want to read it: As a book lover and a long-time book editor, I must read this. I particularly relish and celebrate what the New Yorker calls “small major” independent publishers. Reviews: The history has been earning many positive reviews for its insights and behind-the-scene stories.

review of The Mosquito by Timothy C. WinegardThe Mosquito by Timothy C. Winegard (Dutton; Aug. 6). What’s it about: The subtitle explains why you should be interested in the annoying mosquito—“A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator.” You may find it hard to believe, but the mosquito has been a direct driver of human genetics, human migrations, human conflicts, and so much more. It has killed tens of billions of people throughout history and hasn’t stopped yet. The mosquito is much more than a summer annoyance. Why I want to read it: As a former anthropologist and geneticist, I’ve been thinking about the interconnections between humans and mosquitoes for decades. I want to know the newest research. (I’m planning on an audio/eGalley co-read.) Reviews: This book has gotten mixed reviews, the negatives mostly related to its length and style.

review of Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra FullerTravel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller (Penguin Press, Aug. 6). What's it about: In her latest memoir, Fuller pays tribute to and tells the story of her father, Tim. Fuller morns her father’s loss while celebrating everything about him that made her life what it is: living in the moment, hanging on to hope, embracing everything life gives you. She writes about how Tim ended up in Africa after he left England, about how he met his wife (Fuller's mother), and about his life in Zambia as a family man. She also writes about what her life has been like without him. Why I want to read it: I’ve read pretty much everything Fuller has written, and I love her observations about her family and life in general. I’ve always wanted to know more about her father. Reviews: Reviewers have nothing but positive reactions to Fuller’s storytelling abilities.


bermudaonion 8/30/19, 8:14 AM  

I've come to love nonfiction more and more. All of these titles sound good to me and I'm adding several to my wish list.

rhapsodyinbooks 8/30/19, 8:55 AM  

I'm guessing "Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table" will have readers seeking out brioche or something! Sounds good to me!

Mae Travels 8/30/19, 9:21 AM  

all those titles sound like good reading. The number of books about France, especially about French food, by Americans always amazes me. I keep trying to find books by French writers about themselves. but we have much more to say about them than they say about themselves. Perhaps. The one on your list is probably good, but I don’t know if I want to read more about Americans in France.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

sherry fundin 8/30/19, 2:52 PM  

mosquitos really has me curious
sherry @ fundinmental

Vicki 8/30/19, 3:02 PM  

Great variety of books! I'm adding a few to my list.

Jackie McGuinness 8/30/19, 3:28 PM  

I added Five Days Missing and definitely Faber & Faber.

Daryl 9/1/19, 1:22 PM  

these all sound like good reads ... thanks!

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