It may sound weird but Scientology is one of my favorite topics to read about. You may have noticed a trend in my reading that has to do with cults and escape stories, and it’s true, I’m a sucker for reading about people who find themselves in incredible and disturbing circumstance and are able to make their way out of them. It also doesn’t hurt that Scientology is essentially bat-shit crazy, and therefore makes for endlessly engrossing reading. It’s hard to believe that a ‘religion’ that abuses its adherents to the degree to which Scientology does could continue to survive, but the brain washing perpetrated by the ‘church’ on its believers is so complete it’s hard to understand.
My very first post on this blog was a Scientology book list, and it has proven to be a very popular post. I thought I would dust it off with extended versions of the 3 original reviews plus new reviews of 3 more books that were in the original book list, but that I hadn’t read or reviewed yet at the time. These are Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, Ruthless by Ron Miscavige and Blown For Good by Marc Headley, and they’re included at the top of the post. At the end I’ve also listed four more books I’m thinking of tackling next once I feel the need for a little more Scientology madness. You can be sure they’ll also deliver.
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The True Crime genre is definitely having a bit of a moment not just in print, but also on television and in other forms of media. This recent increase in interest in the genre was initially accelerated by the sudden popularity of podcast Serial, which covered the story of the murder conviction of Muslim teenager Adnan Syed in its first season of episodes released in 2014. After that came Netflix’s original documentary series Making A Murder, which followed the apparent wrongful conviction of Steven Avery, and later the production of broadcast television series American Crime Story, which reenacted perhaps the most famous trial in U.S. history – that of O.J. Simpson.
Though these recent productions definitely incited further interest in True Crime, the reality is that human’s have always had a more or less morbid interest in real stories of crimes – and often the more gruesome or complex the better. There is something voyeuristic about people’s interest in the genre of course – most people (luckily) will never be involved in serious crimes like those which the genre encompasses, and it’s these extremes in human experience that typically draw a lot of attention from average citizens leading average lives. I’m among those interested in True Crime partly for the thrill of reading about events that are so far from my personal life experience, but I also have an intellectual interest in the criminal proceedings that are often discussed in True Crime titles. I like to put myself in the place of the detectives investigating the crimes, or the attorneys prosecuting a case or defending a suspect.
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Nonfiction November is being hosted by Doing Dewey, Emerald City Book Review, Sarah’s Book Shelves, Hibernator’s Library and Julz Reads this year. Make sure to check out the home page for the event this week and each of the host’s blogs for the themed linkups they are running. It’s a great way to discover new book blogs and get great nonfiction book recommendations.
The theme for Week 4 is Be The Expert/Ask The Expert/Become The Expert – and I decided to recommend books about North Korea since it’s a topic on which I’ve read pretty widely. I’m no ‘expert’ on it, but I think I’ve probably delved into the topic more than the average reader, and all the memoirs and historical nonfiction titles I’ve read about North Korea have been harrowing but also incredibly unforgettable reads that I would recommend to anyone.
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As I’ve revealed before in my Medical Memoir booklist, I read a lot of nonfiction written on scientific topics. In the last several years there has been an influx of excellent books written on complex scientific topics like the history of DNA or the history of computer science.
Despite the complexity of the topics they cover, these titles shine for their ability to turn advanced scientific information into accessible and engaging narratives for all readers. All 8 of these titles succeed in bringing important scientific topics to the public, while remaining captivating and engrossing reads.
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When I saw that Broke and Bookish was hosting their Top Ten Tuesday linkup with a Fall TBR list theme, I knew I wanted to participate. You’re allowed to include more than ten items for any Top Ten Tuesday linkup, and considering the size of my TBR list, I knew I’d have to.
I ended up picking 40 titles (12 Nonfiction, 20 Modern Fiction and 8 Classics) but my TBR list and especially what I’m prioritizing is always changing, so I’m sure the list of what I actually read will end up being somewhat different by the end of Fall (maybe shorter too). I’m also planning on ordering 3 books a month from Book Of The Month, so those will be added in as I go along as well.
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Epic voyages make for great nonfiction fodder, and I’m a sucker for a story about enterprising adventurers setting sail on the ocean blue, or people finding themselves transported from one place to another as part of the larger current of history.
Whether retelling of icy, doomed trips to the poles, treks across countries or endless deserts, and famously fateful maiden voyages, these books will transport readers along with their protagonists away from the everyday comfort of everyday life into an uncharted and uncertain future at the edge of human experience.
Make sure to pack your knapsack and kiss your loved ones goodbye for a few hours as you immerse yourself in their world.
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