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Guts / Ghosts / Pashmina | Thoughts

I've recently read a ton of graphic novels and memoirs - some I loved and others not so much but were still a thrill to read. Guts by Raina Telgemeier I am always on the lookout for Raina Telgemeier's comics, so when I found Guts available at my library's Overdrive catalog last year, I had to request it right away. Her comics are always delightful, designed for the middle-grade audience, and written very well. Guts is a continuation of her Smile nonfiction graphic memoir series (see Smile and Sisters ) and recounts a period in her childhood when she experienced IBS for the first time. When Raina wakes up one night with an upset tummy, she just assumes it's a stomach bug as her mom is also showing the same symptoms. But when it doesn't go away soon but is instead influenced by the daily highs and lows of being a middle grader - good friends, not so good ones, and then the bullies, she realizes there's something else going on. If you have not read the previous

Be the Expert (Narrative Nonfiction) | Nonfiction November

This is my favorite week of Nonfiction November - as if I haven't already gotten enough recs so far, this week is sure to explode my list. This is the week to provide or request suggestions on a topic. 

What's Nonfiction? is hosting the week and she's asking - 

Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).



One of my favorite categories of nonfiction titles are those that are written in narrative style. So in that sense, they read like stories, like your favorite fiction titles, except that these stories actually happened. Depending on what they are about, it can sometimes feel as if truth IS stranger than fiction. Here are some of my favorites.



Jon Krakauer is likely my favorite author in this category. I haven't yet read everything he has written but I have enjoyed all of his that I have read. His Into Thin Air is an account of his own journey to climb Mt. Everest along with several other veteran mountaineers, some of whom died during the journey. It's sad just how close some of them were to safety when they died. Under the Banner of Heaven tracks the story of several Mormon Fundamentalists - at the core of this book is the story of how two felt they were called by God to murder a woman and her baby. Into The Wild pieces together the journey of Christopher McCandless as he trekked through the Alaskan wilderness and also died there.



Some of the best narrative nonfiction books can leave you wondering about the battles of nature vs human and amazed at the resilience of the human spirit. Lost in Shangri-La follows a small group of US military survivors after their plane crashed into a remote location in New Guinea, killing 21. Dead Mountain is probably among the spookiest I've read - it narrates the still unresolved Dyatlov Pass incident, during which nine experienced hikers are killed under extremely mysterious circumstances. You should hopefully be no stranger to Unbroken - it tells the story of Louis Zamperini's life, especially from the time his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and then being picked as a prisoner when he is found after many days of drifting through miles of open ocean. 




Some narrative nonfiction provide excellent study of the human mind while also telling fascinating stories. The Man in the Rockefeller Suit is a real-life Catch Me If You Can. If you say you are a Rockefeller, no one actually questioned your credentials, and so over the span of 30 years, this book shows how a man duped the world into believing his con and how he lived like a rich man without working a single job. In Switching Time, we meet Karen and her 17 alters, who all surface at various periods in her life to fight the unbelievable damage that was done to her. Brain on Fire's author chronicles her month of "madness" as she calls it - which starts with a seizure followed by a month of no memory of what she goes through, and her eventual recovery.


Is there a narrative nonfiction that you have loved? What did you love about it?


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