31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 19} The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. Day 19 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderThe Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking SchoolThe Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. Day 19 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Kathleen Flinn

I’ve already discussed my love for food-related memoirs and cooking-school accounts, so I perhaps shouldn’t have included another book in that genre. But it’s my series so there’s going to be another one. I could probably had a half dozen without too much effort.

Flinn’s tale is probably my favorite cooking-school memoir, both because of her gift at recounting her experiences at the school, and because of the wonderful setting; Paris almost becomes a character of it’s own in the book.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 18} Fortune Cookie Chronicles

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee. Day 18 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderThe Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese FoodThe Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee. Day 18 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Jennifer 8 Lee

A book about Chinese food in America doesn’t, on the surface, sound that interesting to me. After reading the book, I’m more firmly convinced than ever that in the hands of a skilled narrator, any topic can become interesting.

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31 Days Of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 17} The Endless Steppe

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig. Day 17 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderThe Endless Steppe: Growing Up in SiberiaThe Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig. Day 17 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Esther Hautzig

Technically a children’s book, this is still an excellent account of Hautzig’s childhood. I’ve read a lot of World War II memoirs, but this one takes a different approach; instead of facing the Nazis, the Polish Hautzig and her family were arrested and sent by the Soviets to the steppes of Siberia, accused of being capitalist enemies of the people.

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31 Days Of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 16} Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Day 16 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham LincolnTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Day 16 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Doris Kearns Goodwin

It’s not often that I so enjoy book that I was assigned for class (in this case, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War IINo Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II) that I finish the class and seek out other books by the author. But I did this time.

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31 Days Of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 15} Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir. Day 15 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderEleanor of Aquitaine: A LifeEleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir. Day 15 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Alison Weir

While I love biographies and am not afraid of lengthy books (this one is well over 400 pages), sometimes I almost dread starting them – it can be hard to keep all the personalities straight, and how they’re related by blood or marriage.

Weir does a fantastic job of writing her biographies in such a way that I don’t struggle to remember who is who, and who is this other person, and how do they connect to the main character? That may not seem like significant praise, but it’s important to me that if I’m reading a biography for fun, I want to not have to take notes on who the various individuals are. If I’m reading a biography for fun, I want it to be, well, fun. And it is when it’s a biography by Weir. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s also a novelist, but Weir is excellent at keeping the story going.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 14} A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Day 14 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian TrailA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Day 14 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Bill Bryson

For someone with no affection for camping out (I like my comfy mattress and the convenience of indoor plumbing too much to appreciate roughing it), I love reading about bike treks (It’s Not about the Tapas), and other outdoor adventures quite a bit. Apparently vicarious adventure is my favorite sort of adventure.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 13} Confessions of a Tax Collector

Confessions of a Tax Collector: One Man's Tour of Duty Inside the IRS by Richard Yancey. Day 13 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books /Great Nonfiction ReadsConfessions of a Tax Collector: One Man’s Tour of Duty Inside the IRSConfessions of a Tax Collector: One Man's Tour of Duty Inside the IRS by Richard Yancey. Day 13 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books /Great Nonfiction Reads by Richard Yancey

Doesn’t sound all that interesting, does it? A revenue agent’s (i.e., tax collector’s) account of his time in the I.R.S.?

Don’t be so quick to write this one off. (Yes, I am full of puns for this one.) Yancey has a gift for storytelling, and his tales bring to life his 12-year career and the various characters he meets – both his colleagues and the delinquent tax payers he goes after.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 12} The Making of a Chef

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman. Day 12 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction ReadsThe Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of AmericaThe Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman. Day 12 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by Michael Ruhlman

After I graduated from college I worked as a server and bartender, so I’m familiar with the restaurant world, and I still find it fascinating to read accounts related to the restaurant world and chefs. In this book, the first in a loose trilogy, Ruhlman documents his experiences while at the Culinary Institute of America – a (the?) premier culinary school in the U.S.

I loved this account – it almost makes me want to go to culinary school, and I actually really liked that Ruhlman went into it as a writer planning on writing the book, instead of a student who decided afterwards to write a book about his experiences. I think it shows in the level of detail, and in how the book isn’t a memoir of Ruhlman’s experiences alone, but has a broader take on the events depicted.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 11} Hot Lights, Cold Steel

Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years by Michael Collins. Day 11 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderHot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon’s First YearsHot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years by Michael Collins. Day 11 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Michael Collins

A fascinating account of Collins’ years as an orthopedic surgical resident at the Mayo Clinic. There are details of medical procedures, but nothing too graphic.

Collins’ brings to life the challenges of residency: grueling hours, little sleep, low pay, limited time with family. Oh, and all the medical decisions that suddenly he’s responsible for making.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 10} Once Upon a Town

Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene. Day 10 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderOnce Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte CanteenOnce by Bob Greene

The term “heartwarming” seems like it’s made to describe Greene’s story of the small town in Nebraska that staffed a volunteer canteen for troop trains passing through. Every troop train. Every day. All day. The residents of the town and surrounding communities provided food and appreciation to the troops on their way to battle.

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