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Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: A Non-Fiction Education

Since my life is still fairly chaotic thanks to our continued home remodeling as well as just, you know, stuff, weekly Top Ten Tuesday posts seem to be about all I can handle here at BBB. I'm hoping the remodel will be done by the end of this month and life will get back to normal. In the meantime, here's a little peek to show you how good things are looking:

My kitchen in April, when we started remodeling.

My kitchen, now-ish. This pic was actually taken a couple weeks ago. The contractor has been working on projects in other areas of the house, so we're still waiting for the backsplash, vent hood, and some open shelves to be put in. 

I'm really happy with how the remodel is going, although I'm impatient for it all to be done, of course. 

Anyway, back to TTT. I missed last week because my husband and I were in the mountains celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. It was a nice little getaway, but I was bummed to miss a fun TTT topic so I'm going to do that one instead of this week's, which is: Top Ten Books I Received for Review That I Loved So Much I Bought a Copy for My Personal Library. That's a mouthful! Instead, I'm going with the School Freebie from last week. I really wanted to make a list of books set in haunted schools, but I couldn't come up with five titles let alone ten, so I'm going for a less fun but still interesting (to me at least) theme—Top Ten Non-Fiction Titles I Want to Read. Since I'm such a fiction addict, non-fiction books feel educational to me, and educational = school, so yeah, here we go:

Top Ten Non-Fiction Titles I Want to Read
- in no particular order - 

1. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe—My friend is in the middle of this one and she was telling me last night how intriguing she's finding it. It's about the Sacklers, the family "famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin." Definitely sounds like a compelling read!

2. The Woman They Could Not Silence: The Shocking Story of a Woman Who Dared to Fight Back by Kate Moore—The same friend who recommended #1 suggested this one for our next book club discussion. It tells the story of Elizabeth Packard, a wife and mother whose husband had her committed to an insane asylum when he started feeling too threatened by her opinions and intellect. Her unwillingness to back down led to advances in women's rights and the freedom of other women who were institutionalized against their will.

3. My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair—As the subtitle indicates, this memoir is about a Black woman who discovers her grandfather was Amon Goeth, a ruthless Nazi commandant who was executed for his brutal war crimes. The discovery throws her into a deep depression and causes her to question many things about her family and heritage.

4. The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede—I've heard excellent things about this book, which tells the story of how a small town welcomed thousands of stranded jetliner passengers with open arms when their planes were forced to land in Gander on September 11, 2001.

5. The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman—Just looking at the cover of this book makes me nostalgic for my teenage years! Sounds like a super fun read starring a unique decade in history.

6. In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado—Even though I have no interest in mountain climbing myself, I still find memoirs about scaling Mt. Everest and other giants absolutely fascinating. This one is about a woman struggling with the challenges of her own life and her experience leading a group of novice climbers on a harrowing trip up Everest. 

7. Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases by Paul Holes—Although I used to be a big true crime fan, I've read little of it in recent years. Still, this memoir by the detective who found the Golden State Killer sounds interesting. 

8. Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them by Neil Bradbury—Speaking of true crime, this is another title that sounds really intriguing to me.

9. Overdue: Reckoning With the Public Library by Amanda Oliver—I've always loved libraries, so this book sounds right up my alley. The author recounts her experiences working as a librarian in impoverished areas of Washington, D.C., and what she learned about the evolving role public libraries serve.

10. Admissions: A Memoir of Surviving Boarding School by Kendra James—James' job as an admissions officer who specialized in bringing diversity to elite prep schools caused her to reflect on her own tumultuous experience as the first Black legacy student at The Taft School. 

There you go, ten non-fiction books I want to read. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Which NF titles are on your TBR list? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!


  1. I hope you had a nice anniversary trip!

    Your kitchen is looking good.

    The Day the World Came to Town was such a heartwarming and uplifting read. I adored that one.

    Empire of Pain was a tough read at times because of how many lives have been destroyed by opioid addictions. But it was still well worth the read for sure.

    My post:

    1. That's exactly what I've heard about THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN. I need a heartwarming read right now, so I'm going to be sure and request it from my library. I'm sure EMPIRE OF PAIN will be a tough read, but I am looking forward to learning from it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

  2. Love your new kitchen! ---- Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty I've read. It was/is quite the eye-opener: people start out wanting to do the right thing and then PROFITS!

    1. Money really is the root of all evil, isn't it? So sad. I'm intrigued by the Sackler story, though.

      Thanks for stopping in, Rebecca!

  3. #2 sounds interesting although I think this would be tough read.

    All these sounds like tough reads and definitely ones I wouldn't call light reading. Though these do seem quite edcational.

    Have a lovely day.

    My list: Reasons why I would purchase books for my library

    1. I've started reading #2 and it's super interesting so far. It's definitely a tough read and a sad one, since the woman it's about was institutionalized simply because she dared to express opinions that were contrary to her husband's. It's amazing how few rights women had back in the day.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lissa!

  4. I LOVE how your kitchen is looking!! So fun! I hope it does get finished soon so you can get back to your "normal" life. Congratulations on 25 years :) I have not read any of these, but I agree with you, The Nineties does sound fun!

    1. I'm loving it, too! It's pretty much exactly what I pictured, although I did have to make a few compromises to appease the husband. Ha ha. I guess we've learned how to do that pretty well over 25 years of marriage :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  5. Your kitchen is looking fabulous! :D

    I'm not a huge non-fiction reader. I do read some books every now and then and a lot of your choices are rather intriguing. Great list! Thanks for stopping by my TTT. I was on my way, but you beat me, lol.

    1. Same, and when I do read NF I want it to be as engaging as reading fiction. I don't want anything that's going to put me to sleep, no matter how educational it is!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jenni!

  6. Your kitchen looks fabulous! Unmasked does look good.

    1. Thanks! I'm loving the new kitchen. It's very functional and pretty to boot.

      Yeah, I'm interested in reading about the HOW of crime solving. It's always fascinating to learn about the science, psychology, and just plain hard work that goes into catching a criminal.

      Thanks for popping in, Bonnie!

  7. Whoa -- the kitchen looks great, Susan!

    The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman has a memorable cover (I've seen it on a few blogs) and Overdue: Reckoning With the Public Library by Amanda Oliver seems like a good read!

    Thanks for visiting my Top Ten Tuesday list this week!

    1. I had a telephone JUST LIKE the one on the cover of THE NINETIES. So nostalgic!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lectrice!

  8. Hi, it’s Leah @ Leah’s Books- happy anniversary and your kitchen looks gorgeous! This is an awesome list of books. I’m not usually a major fan of non-fiction but so many of these sound really interesting!

    1. Thanks, Leah! It's hard to believe my husband and I have been married for 25 years. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess :)

      I'm not big on NF either, but I do like engaging narrative NF and these seem to fit the bill. We'll see.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

  9. Your kitchen looks AMAZING!! Wow, what a difference. I like the look of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, it sounds so very interesting.

    1. I love comparing the before and after pictures of my kitchen. It's been fun to watch it transform, although I'm definitely ready for it (and the rest of the house) to be done already!

      I'm looking forward to reading MY GRANDFATHER WOULD HAVE SHOT ME. It sounds super fascinating to me.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Wendy!

  10. First of all, happy anniversary. I remember our 25th, it was great. We're looking forward to our 40th next year.

    Your kitchen looks great. But I totally understand, it can be so annoying when things don't get along as quickly as you would like to (and often have been promised). But you are so far already, the rest will come and it will look fantastic.

    I hadn't heard about any of the books but they all sound highly interesting and have to go on my wishlist.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week.

    1. Congratulations on almost 40 years. That's a major accomplishment, especially these days.

      You're right and the things that still need to be done in the house really are like the frosting on the cake. I don't need kitchen backsplash or a mantle over my fireplace to survive. It will be nice when all the finishing touches are done, but I can be patient for a *few* more weeks. Hopefully!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

    2. I know you can. As long as the major stuff works, you can live. I've seen people doing it for years, LOL.
      And yes, 40 years is quite something. But they were good 40 years.

  11. Happy Anniversary, Susan. That's quite a list! I haven't heard of a single one. they all sound interesting but Overdue is one that I really must search for. Love books about books.

    1. Same! I also like books about the inner workings of familiar places, like libraries. I've never worked in one and I'd love to know what goes on behind the scenes.

      Thanks for stopping in, Neeru!

  12. These all sound great. I'd especially like to read Overdue.

    And your kitchen is looking fantastic!

    1. I think OVERDUE will be a really interesting read. One of these days, I'll get it from the library and see what it's all about. I hope we both enjoy it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deb!

  13. Love the kitchen! What an improvement! Haven't read or heard of any of these but seems like you have some great non-fiction reads coming up. Love the sound of some of them! Have a lovely rest of your day.

    1. I agree. The kitchen is so much more functional than it was. I especially love that we turned the hallway coat closet into a kitchen pantry. It makes a huge difference!

      Thanks for popping by, Zoë!

  14. Lovely kitchen! So glad yours is progressing nicely. And glad you got to get away for your 25th. Our renovations are progressing. Kitchen cabinets are mostly in except for a few upper ones. All countertops in the house have been measured and we're waiting on those to go forward with a bunch of things. However, the new sliding door for our bedroom was delivered today and it will go in at some point. I'll have some stories to tell when we are done. Take care!

    1. Oooh, yay, I'm glad your kitchen is coming along! Our cabinets took forever, but we were fortunate to get our granite countertops ready in only a couple of weeks. It's amazing how much you CAN'T do in a kitchen until you have countertops. I hope you get yours soon. I'd be interested to hear your remodeling stories :) I've got a few of my own. Ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kay!

  15. Your remodeling project looks fantastic, Susan. And I like your focus for this week's post. I almost always enjoy nonfiction when I read it, but I'm also way more likely to pick up another novel rather than a nonfiction book. All of your suggestions here look good.

    1. Same! That's why I like NF that reads like fiction. Narrative NF has worked well for me and I hope that trend continues with these books.

      Thanks for stopping in, Mary!

  16. Wow! Your kitchen looks amazing! So bright and open. Love it! I do not read a ton of non-fiction these days, but I hope these are all great.

    1. That's exactly the look we were going for! I love that it's so open and bright. Also, we're still waiting on window coverings, so it's ESPECIALLY bright at the moment. Ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

    2. Sam, I've tried to comment on your TTT post a few times, but I keep getting an error about verification failing :(

  17. Even not completely finished your new kitchen is amazing! I love it. And that book The Day the World Came to Town is one of my all-time favorite nonfiction reads. Great list! :D

    1. I think so, too. I really love how it's all coming together. Each new layer adds even more, so I can't wait until the backsplash, vent hood, open shelving, window framing, etc. gets done.

      I'm glad to hear that you love THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN so much. I've probably seen it featured on your blog, but my memory is terrible. It seems to be a favorite of many, so I'm excited to read it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  18. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm delighted with how it's turning out. The transformation has been really fun to watch.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  19. Your kitchen looks great! Love it! And nice books too. I like the sound of Woman They Could Not Silence and the Newfoundland book. these all look like fantastic reads, though.

    1. I'm a couple chapters in with THE WOMAN THEY COULD NOT SILENCE and it definitely tells an interesting and engrossing story. I need to check THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN out from the library. I meant to have it read before September 11th, but that didn't quite happen. Oops!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Greg!

  20. Overdue sounds great! And I love your new kitchen. It looks so open and really useable.

    1. The kitchen really is so much more functional now. I have a lot more storage space and I like the layout a lot better. Plus, the added pantry is amazing. I love it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  21. The first two especially look really good! I listened to Unmasked and really enjoyed it. Your new kitchen looks fantastic!

    1. Oh, good, I'm glad UNMASKED is a good one. I didn't know it was on audio. I'm always looking for new audiobooks to listen to, so I'll have to try it that way. Thanks for the heads-up!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  22. Good list. I thought Unmasked was really interesting and I'd like to read The Day the World Came to Town

  23. Oh wow, that is quite a change, and it looks beautiful. Oak-finish cabinets are durable, but I Am Not Immune to appreciating the current design trend toward lighter colors in the kitchen. Not to mention the beautiful countertops. And I can't stop gazing at the (glass front?) space above the cabinets.

    Bookwise...until this minute I had no idea that Valium and Oxy had come from the same company, so I've already learned something. And the public library one sounds really interesting.

  24. Your kitchen looks amazing, Susan. I bet you can't wait until it is all finished.

  25. I put Overdue and The Nineties on hold at my library. I love Klosterman, he's fantastic.


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