It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday, hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.
As it is also the last week of Non-Fiction November, I thought I would combine the two. (Check here for other participants at “Plucked From the Stacks”
Here is the description for Week 4:Week 4 (November 22-26) Stranger Than Fiction: This week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that almost don’t seem real. A sports biography involving overcoming massive obstacles, a profile on a bizarre scam, a look into the natural wonders in our world—basically, if it makes your jaw drop, you can highlight it for this week’s topic.
Here ae 5 “Stranger than fiction” non-fiction books (summaries from Goodreads):
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is the only one of the 5 I have read. It was an unbelievable story.
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her enslaved ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons”
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
“On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.”
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
“Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.
In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis. “
Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
“A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack, the Looming Tower. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists–both famous and less well known–and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative skills to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology”
Stiff by Mary Roach
“Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.”
I’ve read Stiff, which is quite interesting.
Haven’t read it, but ut sure looked interesting/unusual.
I have heard of Henrietta Lacks. Not sure I could read it but really eye opening I bet.
It was a surprisingly excellent read.
I’ve read all of these except the Lawrence Wright book, and I agree completely with the four I’ve read. Knowing what I know about the amazing writing of Wright, I’m sure that book is fantastic, too.
Thanks Deb. Will have to read the others. I was impressed them – and it is better when there is a recommendation.
Stiff is excellent! Mary Roach is one of my favorite nonfiction writers. Just be ready because she does have a bit of dark humor. I enjoyed it but some people are put off.
I have Henrietta’s story on my shelf and I really need to read it already! Maybe if I stop grabbing things from the library and buying books…..
Thanks for the recommendation. I so agree with you – so many books on my shelves but I get more from the library and then buy more, especially from thrift stores!
These are some great selections for this week. I have a copy of Five Days at Memorial, but I’ve never gotten around to it because it just sounds so awful. It’ll probably be worth it to read eventually, but I need to be in the right mental space for it.
I remember watching hours of CNN after Katrina.
I couldn’t believe the devastation.