Saturday, August 25, 2012
Summer of Nonfiction
Typically, I read grown up books in the summer and those designed for a younger audience the other three seasons. Very rarely will I choose nonfiction because I find it dry, fact focused, and ultimately boring. Perhaps, I developed this impression from textbook readings. In my experience (with a few exceptions) you want to get someone excited avoid textbooks. You get the idea, my boy's like nonfiction but not me.... until this summer. I have read several well written narrative nonfiction. I decided that if William C. Rempel decided to venture into the "textbook" arena, I would be hooked. How would he present the Battle of Blair Mountain? Who wouldn't want to read about the bombing of U.S. citizens by the U.S. government? Exactly!
"What did I read by Mr. Rempel?" you ask. I heard about his book At The Devil's Table: the untold story of the insider who brought down the Cali Cartel (publisher link) during a NPR episode ofThis American Life. The segment titled Hiding in Plain Sight (available in iTunes) included an interview of a man named Jorge who is currently in the Witness Protection Program. It took about 30 seconds of having the voices and story planted in my head and a quick trip to the library to be completely hooked. This captivating story shows how it can be shockingly simple to find trouble (of course) and the far reaching impact of your family and friends. The price for ourselves and our family can be quite steep with a wrong move. I wonder did Jorge have a choice even in the beginning? Did he ever have a fair chance? I'm still not sure and I've finished the book.
One thing is certain, I'll look for more books and articles written by Bill Rempel.
In the meantime, what's your favorite nonfiction?