Seattle Picks: Book Group Best Bets--Nonfiction
Annotation:In her signature warm and perceptive style, the author of In the Time of the Butterflies recounts her eye-opening experiences while visiting Haiti to attend a coffee farm employee’s wedding.
Annotation:Bartels, a secretary in Washington, D.C., receives an unexpected phone call notifying her that she has been chosen to replace her dead uncle as king in Otuam, a small coastal town in Ghana. She accepts.
Annotation:Bissinger goes on a cross-country road trip with his 24-year-old savant son Zach in order to get to know him better and also to deal with his own feelings of parental inadequacy.
Annotation:Pulitzer Prize-winning Boo’s first book captures the abject poverty still rampant in Mumbai through the lives of four individuals living in slums near the airport.
Annotation:A century of Tibetan history marks three generations of women: their harrowing flight from the Red Army invasion of 1959, their experiences in a refugee camp and their lives in India, Switzerland and America.
Annotation:According to Cain, introverts comprise more than one-third of the population, yet they are often misunderstood. This thought-provoking book synthesizes scientific research and personal profiles to shed light on the talents and challenges of introverts.
Annotation:In this evocative family memoir, the author inherits an art collection (saved from the Nazis by a servant), prompting him to research his family’s history in 20th-century Paris, Vienna, Tokyo and Odessa.
Annotation:Foer, a science journalist, takes an entertaining look at how the human brain works and the nature of memory. He focuses on the “mental athletes” in the U.S. Memory Championship, and their successful memorization techniques.
Annotation:In this free-standing companion to her popular memoir Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller paints a vivid, affecting portrait of her mother Nicola and her passionate attachment to the African continent.
Annotation:A Harvard professor offers a fascinating account of how the re-discovery of an ancient Roman manuscript – with radical ideas about the universe being comprised of tiny particles – sparked the Renaissance. Winner of the National Book Award.
Annotation:Halloran, a primatologist at the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy in Nicaragua, conducted an in-depth study of how chimpanzees communicate. His captivating account reveals not only their language but also each chimp’s unique personality.
Annotation:Massie narrates the drama and intrigue involved in Catherine’s seizure of the Russian crown from her husband and of her long reign as a benevolent Empress who longed to build an enlightened Russia.
Annotation:During the Victorian era, Americans went to Paris to rub elbows with the rich and famous and to embrace the unusual. McCullough’s biographical sketches animate this City of Light.
Annotation:This Pulitzer Prize-winning book traces the human history of cancer: the tragedies, the trail of victories as treatments are discovered and the continuing fight against this evil king of all ailments.
Annotation:Tracing her own family’s experience with racism, NPR host Norris opens the painful subject of her father’s shooting in 1946 – a presaging of Civil Rights protests – and discovers how this period still shapes our thinking.
Annotation:An inspiring and sometimes humorous account of actors and actresses in Afghanistan who overcome a plethora of challenges to perform Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost in 2005.
Annotation:The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Brokeback Mountain describes her efforts to build a dream home on 640 acres of Wyoming wilderness, focusing her lyrical observations on the land, its history, its wildlife, and herself.
Annotation:This visually innovative book – a collage of text and images – traces the personal and scientific lives of Marie and Pierre Curie, and the impact of their chemical discoveries on the world.
Annotation:At a time of emotional crisis, the author (who had never carried a backpack) challenges herself to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. She chronicles lessons learned on the grueling, beautiful journey.
Annotation:Novelist Treuer brings a lyrical style to this nonfiction account of life on an Indian reservation, combining personal memoir (he grew up on Leech Lake Reservation) and broader history into a gritty and moving narrative.
Annotation:Wheeler’s riveting account of her travels over a two-year period to the Arctic Circle (from Serbia to Alaska to Greenland to Lapland) explores the history and science of a beautiful, bleak region.
Annotation:Wilkerson tracks the exodus of six million African Americans from the South to the North in search of better living conditions, between 1915 and 1970.