I think the quality of non-fiction is getting better and better. Or maybe, just maybe I am doing a better job of choosing non-fiction I will find engaging. I have had two great non-fiction reads recently and have three more lined up I am excited to read.
1. Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller In this one Miller describes what a childhood living
with hoarders is like. She spared us most of the truly disturbing images, but there is no doubt her home was dirty and unsanitary and totally unfit for a child. The more poignant and striking part of her story takes place after she has left, but must return regularly to help her parents move out of home after home. These are homes filled with the detritus of her father's collecting and her mother's shopping. Over and over again they leave most of their belongings behind and start again in a fresh, clean place only to be buried in stuff again within months. Miller struggles with the long lasting mental anguish her childhood has caused along with the stress of having to see people she loves constantly beaten by their illness. It was a fascinating story, and though I might have wanted more of the icky stuff, I am glad she did not write her story that way.
2. On the Outside Looking Indian by Rupinder Gill I am quite sure there are people on the Metro who saw me reading this book and believe I am a crazy person. I just could not stop myself from laughing and most of the time I did not try. I picked this book up originally because I had a few Indian friends growing up and thought an inside look would be educational. In some ways it was. My friends were always a bit more forthcoming about why they could not attend a party or other social occasion. Gill and her sisters usually make up stories about family events rather than revealing the strictness of their parents. The premise of the book is that Gill has a list of missed childhood experiences she intends to have in her 30th year. She will learn to swim, take lessons of some sort, get a dog, learn to drive, and yes, the most magical of all childhood experiences, go to Disney World. Not all of her plans work out, but reading about her attempts and the way she assesses her childhood years later is hilarious and touching.
Next non-fiction reads:
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall, the same author who wrote The Peabody Sisters, which I loved.
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan I am always suspicious of statistics because I know the raw numbers can be interpreted in many ways, so I am hoping this will clear up some of my concerns.
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. I read about Huguette Clark in the newspaper just after she died in 2011, I just read another article about her and her bequest to the Corcoran Gallery of Art which I visited recently. This lady is fascinating.