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(More than) Just the Facts: Favorite Nonfiction

Updated: Jan 14


Dave Cullen's Parkland: Birth of a Movement - I was so moved by Dave Cullen's Parkland. As he did in Columbine, he takes on the events of a tragic school shooting. In this case, though, he focuses solely on what happens after that day, with an exploration of the March for Our Lives movement led by Parkland's survivors. The book is both sad and hopeful. I must admit that I was simultaneously looking forward to this book and absolutely dreading it: events like this one bring about equal parts of sadness and rage for me. While certain parts hit me hard, communicating fully what this (and other) communities have lost, the activism of these students is inspiring, and it was wonderful to focus both on their success and on their path forward. This is a must read. (Jen)

Dani Shapiro's Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love - Inheritance is the second memoir by Dani Shapiro that I've read (I listened to Hourglass, which I also highly recommend). In Inheritance, Shapiro explores the aftermath of her accidental discovery that she was conceived by donor-assisted artificial insemination and that her father is not her biological father. As she searches for more information, she finds her donor father, Ben Walden, and contends with the knowledge that the Orthodox Jewish ancestry she's always known is not her birthright. Shapiro's writing is gorgeous: spare and reflective and precise. Her memoir takes on the very nature of identity, of what makes her who she is. Beautiful, stunning work. (Jen)

Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Re-reading Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy was a revelation. Again. I found myself marking quotations on nearly every page, holding back tears on every page, inspired on every page. Stevenson unveils the injustice that clogs the criminal justice system. While I felt so much anger while reading, Stevenson always brings it back to hope, to the mercy that gives the book its title. The structure, which alternates between the ongoing story of Walter McMillian and individual stories that highlight different forms of injustice, allows him the opportunity to highlight both the systemic problems that plague the system AND individual stories that give those problems a face. Bryan Stevenson engages both the reader's brain and emotions as he makes an argument for humanity and mercy. (Jen)

Other Recommendations

Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me

Dave Cullen's Columbine

Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat


#nonfiction #bookishfaves

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© 2020 by Ashley, Jen, and Sara of Unabridged Podcast, LLC. All rights reserved.