Non Fiction November! – Week 2

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Week 2: November 10 to 14 is hosted by Leslie at Regular Rumination

For week two of Non Fiction November, we are tasked with the following: “Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: 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).

I’m afraid I’m going to cheat this week and kind of do two of the three options. I’m a Non Fiction November Rebel! 🙂

Marching under the “Be the Expert” banner, I’d like to recommend a great popular history writer and three of his books. Have you ever heard of Daniel Boorstin? His isn’t a household name, but he served many years as Librarian of Congress, and also wrote several books on history, including maybe my favorite non-fiction book ever, The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination.

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One of the beauties of this book is that it’s really a huge collection of 8-15 page segments on great men and women in the history of the arts and thus can be out down and revisited without “having to start over” again or anything like that. I read it the first time over the course of several month’s worth of lunch hour reading at downtown Indy’s City Market building. This would’ve been in the late ’90s probably, and I can still vividly remember how somedays it was hard to re-enter the “corporate world” after just a brief sojourn with the heroes of the imagination. I learned SO MUCH reading this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

He also wrote the similarly structured books “The Discoverers” and “The Americans” – the latter which I had read as assigned reading in college, the former I read after being won over by The Creators. Another favorite by this author is the oddly titled “Cleopatra’s Nose,” a collection of “essays on the unexpected.” All great, great reading.

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Now for Part II – if you’ve made it this far 🙂 – I’d like to avail myself of the Ask the Expert option too.

I’m one who loves to know “the story behind the story” in regards to some of the great works of literature. This has led me to become a fan of author biographies (or even author autobiographies). I’ve read a handful of both – autobiographies of Asimov, Wells, Trollope, Franklin, e.g., and biographies of Kerouac, Hawthorne, Poe, Dickens et. al. I have a thick biography of Jack London on my bedside table that for some reason I still haven’t read. But I want MORE. 🙂 What are some great author biographies or autobiographies that you have read and would recommend? I’m happy to be guided…

Well that’s me, but what about you? Are you Being, Becoming, or Asking this week?

Below: Daniel Boorstin in 1992 (from Wikipedia)

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