New on My Bookcase (vol. 6), the nonfiction

Last weekend was library day, and I had 23 books on hold, waiting for me. That’s enough books to fill up my own holds shelf!

That’s also so many books that I’m going to share the books I brought home in two posts. Today is all about nonfiction, while tomorrow I’ll share the fiction. (They won’t add up to 23 because some of the books were for my kids)

library haul 6 nonfictionA Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of BaconA Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by BooMama Sophie Hudson by Sophie Hudson (a.k.a. BooMama)
I’ve been reading her blog for something like 6 or 7 years, so of course I’m excited to read her book. Love her story-telling. I grew up in the South (two years in Mississippi even) but to Yankee parents, so a lot of what she writes is familiar-yet-not.

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party BrideThe Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown by Daniel James Brown
One of the books I finished this month was Winter of EntrapmentWinter of Entrapment: A New Look at the Donner Party by Joseph A. King, which told the story of the Donner Party, but it was not well-written at all, and I had to force myself to finish it. I recently read a review of Brown’s nonfiction, and the reviewer praised his books so much that I was excited to perhaps read an account of those events that didn’t have me wanting to fling the book across the room. {on a side note, clearly I need to work on my “stop reading that book” skills.}

Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 by Daniel James Brown by Daniel James Brown.
Yup. Same author. Didn’t really mean to get two books by him out at once, but I obviously didn’t juggle holds dates well here.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War IIThe Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan by Denise Kiernan.
World War II is one of my major reading interests, and I’ve read virtually nothing about the events around the building of the atomic bomb, so I jumped at the chance to rectify that.

The Partly Cloudy PatriotThe Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell by Sarah Vowell.
Love history, and have heard good things about Vowell’s books. I’ve never heard her on the radio, but I assume that’s an indicator that she knows how to tell a story well.

Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour + CampingGlamping with MaryJane: Glamour + Camping by MaryJane Butters by MaryJane Butters.
Read about this via the Pioneer Woman, and it sounded fun.

Two Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological DialogueTwo Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological Dialogue by Edward William Fudge and Robert A. Peterson by Edward William Fudge and Robert A. Peterson.
I read the recent interview with Fudge on Rachel Held Evan’s blog, and it got me curious enough to want to read the book.

The Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 200 Delicious RecipesThe Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 200 Delicious Recipes by Judith Finlayson by Judith Finlayson.
While slow cookers might seem like a fall and winter cooking device (all those soups and stews), I love using mine in the summer – anything to avoid turning on the oven! I’m also always looking for more vegetarian recipes, and have liked Finlayson’s recipes in the past. {I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t really like meat that much, and get tired of it easily.}

What are your go-to summer recipes? Bonus points if they don’t require heating up my kitchen. Extra bonus points if they’re vegetarian or vegan. My eternal gratitude if they can be made from pantry/freezer ingredients a.k.a. they don’t require a trip to the store. That’s my biggest problem with salads – I don’t want to shop more than once a week, and lettuce tends to only last a few days.

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  1. Sheila, I didn’t know you were a fan of books about WWII, too. The Girls of Atomic City has caught my eye several times. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

    Now you have me curious about Daniel James Brown. Some nonfiction writers can write so well, and draw the reader into the subject in such a way that it feels like you’re reading fiction. It sounds like maybe he’s one of them.

    • I just finished the Hinckley book, and I wouldn’t say that it’s just like reading a fiction book, but it was very good. A little too much detail about how huge firestorms like that develop to forget that it’s nonfiction, but he did a good job of making it understandable, even for someone who doesn’t really care about the details of what is a mass fire versus a conflagration versus a {insert other specific term here that I’ve forgotten already.} Honestly, I thought a conflagration was just a fire, but it turns out it has a precise meaning. It was hard to read at times, not because of his writing, but because of the subject matter.

      This was also his first book, and it gives me high hopes for his newer books – both the Donner book, and The Boys in the Boat.

      And yes, I love love love WWII books, as long as they’re not too military-tactics heavy. I prefer personal stories, and struggle to stay engaged with a book if it’s loaded with battle details.

  2. Uh, somehow last year I ended up on the Wikipedia article for the Donner party and ended up reading it and some very detailed article in the sources and basically all the links associated with it and. then I didn’t eat lunch, and spent the whole day feeling frozen and slightly sick. I have a hard time with wilderness death/survival-type stories. My mom has a whole book about people who have died in the Grand Canyon, and I just can’t.

    The Salty/Sweet book sounds interesting. My dad’s from Texas and considers himself a southerner.

    Atomic City made a brief appearance in Blackout/All Clear, didn’t it? That would be interesting to learn more about.

    Interested to hear what you think of several of these books. I can’t think of any summer cooking advice for you, but hopefully the cookbook will have some good recipes. My slow cooker seems to ruin everything it touches. 🙁

    • I don’t remember Atomic City making an appearance in Blackout/All Clear, but that could just be my faulty memory, and they were library books so I can’t check.

      For whatever reason, I often like survival stories – maybe because they just make me appreciate that I’m not in those situations? I wouldn’t read the Hinckley Fire book either then – it’s not really a wilderness book, but it’s got lots of death and suffering.

      I usually have good luck with my slow cooker, except for one time I tried to make a cake in it. The recipe promised that it turned out a great-textured cake blah blah blah. So not true. It was disgusting.

  3. I just added “the girls of atomic city” to my wish list. I was never much of a history buff.. At all. But I’ve developed a strong appreciation of it just in the last few years. One, because I am a military wife and was convicted of not having an appreciation or a knowledge base of our country. And two because my son finds it so interesting and is always asking questions! I figured I should jump on board! I read “Unbroken” probably a year and a half ago.. And that started something for me! This one sounds amazing as the women in the war aspect is fascinating.. Especially as we dawn the age of women on the front lines. Look forward to your review!

  4. I hope you plan to review The Girls of Atomic City. That sounds interesting!

    • I’m expecting to – I try and review all the nonfiction I read (except for theology books – I have a hard time writing reviews of those and generally don’t.) The other time I might be tempted to skip a review is if the book is so blah that I can’t get excited either way – not great where I want to talk about how much I enjoyed it, and not terrible where I want to try and save someone else some reading time.

  5. Where did you live in MS? I’m in the Jackson area.

    • Brandon, so also the Jackson area, although I was only 10 when we left so my geography specifics are fairly shaky. We lived super close to the reservoir and I remember driving by it all the time.


  1. […] Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan Trying again with this one, after I had to return it before. It sounds so […]

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