Mini Reviews on Nonfiction Reads

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Color of Water
by James McBride

The author tells the true story of his amazing mother’s life. She was an Orthodox Jewish woman, the daughter of a rabbi, who married a black man in 1942. She was molested by her father and eventually ran away from home. She raised 12 children who never knew her story until they were adults.

One of the most fascinating and enthralling looks at race in America that I’ve ever read. It’s a completely unique view. McBride’s mother was white and Jewish and his father was black. Mix in there the fact that there were 12 kids in his family and the author’s desire to succeed in both the world of music and literature and you’ve got one hell of a book. It’s hard to have too many preconceived notions about race when you come from such a diverse background.

Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes
Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson

A great read for any married couple. The authors take case studies with honest answers from a variety of couples and they apply economic principles to their problems. They manage to do it with humor and make the potentially boring subject incredibly entertaining and relatable.

I’m not big on self-help books, marriage books, etc. They just never seem to interest me enough to read the whole thing, but I couldn’t put this one down. Think about it as Freakonomics for marriage. I loved hearing about the issues couples were dealing with. Some were ones I could relate to, others weren’t, but all of them were interesting.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
by Donald Miller

I read Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz, a few years back and was surprised to find some I could relate to so easily. This one is no different. He struggles with his faith, etc. and is completely honest with his thoughts. He also recently got a puppy, which made his story particularly accessible for me.

He talks about searching for his father, traveling to Manchu Picchu, helping mentor kids, getting into shape and working on a screen play for a movie version of his book. He suggests that people will live better lives if they think of them in terms of making them a “better story,” which is an interesting concept. One friend decides to do just that and moves his family to another country to work as a missionary. There are no earth-shattering realizations in this book, just interesting observations and experiences that can be applied to almost anyone's life.


Sandy Nawrot said...

I think I would read all of these. But that first one...white, Jewish, married to a black man? In 1942? You just can't make this stuff up. I cannot even imagine what that must have been like.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - Can you believe that! It was an amazing story.

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

Love these mini reviews!

I'm reading Blue Like Jazz right now and am thoroughly enjoying it. Glad to hear Miller has another great book out there!

Also, I'm an econ nerd and Spousonomics sounds really interesting to me...another book for the non-fiction TBR!

annieb said...

I just watched an interview with Ann Patchett on Goodreads (I don't know how old it is) and she said The Color of Water was a perfect book to give to anyone. I just ordered it on Paperbackswap to give to me.

nomadreader said...

I can't believe I've never read The Color of Water. It's one of those books that's universally loved, it seems. I'm also intrigued with Spousonomics, and I am rarely interested in self-help!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kat - I'm not a fan of most marriage help books, but that one was great. I heard they made Blue Like Jazz into a movie and I'd love to see how they did it.

annieb - I love Patchett! I'll be curious to hear what you think of it.

Allie said...

I just finished reading The Color of Water with my juniors. They really liked it! I thought it was pretty good too. :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Allie - That one would be such a great book to read in high school.

Jenners said...

Spousonomaics sounds quite interesting!

Kailana said...

So, does Spousonomics explain how to get the other person in the relationship to actually wash the dirty dishes? If someone can figure that out I am so there... haha

Anonymous said...

ALL of these sound great! Thanks for the feature.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kailana - It actually does talk about that! That's why I liked it, it's practical.