Reading Suggestions

Find your next great read here

Quick Reads: Short Non-fiction

Leave a comment

short on timeOnly have a few minutes to read at a time?  Why not try a book with short chapters, essays, poems or stories?  These collections of essays, humor & anecdotes are perfect for intermittent reading.

Printer-friendly version

a

a

a

a

a

Don Borchert. Free for all: oddballs, geeks & gangstas in the public library.

The author recounts his experiences working as an assistant librarian in a public library in suburban Los Angeles, as he encounters patrons who range from bored latchkey kids left there for the afternoon, to rowdy teenagers, to Internet-obsessed adults, to drug-dealers.

a

a

a

a

a

The Best Life Stories: 150 real-life tales of resilience, joy, and hope– all 150 words or less!

Collects 150 short essays that reveal the memories, dreams, and struggles of their authors and that show that happiness can be found in even the darkest moments.

a

a

a

a

Tony Dungy. Uncommon: finding your path to significance.

Reflecting on what it takes to achieve significance, the Super Bowl-winning coach and best-selling author of Quiet Strength shares lessons he learned from his remarkable parents, his athletic and coaching career, his mentors, and his journey with God.

a

a

a

a

a

The Best American Spiritual Writing.

A selection of the finest spiritual writing of the year offers essays and articles on faith, spirituality, and their influence on politics, creativity, literature, and other fields, reflecting Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and other diverse perspectives.

a

a

a

a

a

Trudy Harris. Glimpses of Heaven: true stories of peace and hope at the end of life’s journey.

A former president of the Hospice Foundation for Caring shares 40 inspirational case stories about patients who experienced comforting and uplifting glimpses into the afterlife, from visions of angels to visits from departed loved ones, in a volume that also shares compassionate advice on how to talk about the spiritual aspects of death with someone who is dying.

a

a

a

a

Cormac O’Brien. Outnumbered: miraculous stories of incredible victories against the odds.

 In detailed examinations of battles such as those between Greeks and Persians at Salamis, the French and English at Agincourt, and the Union and Confederacy at Chancellorsville, the author reveals the factors (such as luck, incompetence, and overconfidence) that lead to the defeat of superior forces by ones with far fewer fighters and resources. Generously illustrated with maps, images, and photographs, this well-written book will have great appeal to readers interested in military history.

a

a

a

A Tribute To Military Families: letters of thanks from our nation’s children.

A collection of essays written by children from across the country celebrating the dedication and accomplishments of our country’s service members and their families.

Wanda Lou Willis. More Haunted Hoosier Trails.

Indiana folklorist Wanda Lou Willis is back with all-new ghostly tales in this hair-raising companion to Haunted Hoosier Trails.Wanda explores Indiana’s hidden history in spooky locations around the state. Local history buffs will relish the informative county histories that begin each chapter, while thrill-seekers will eagerly search out these frightening spots. More Haunted Hoosier Trails is perfect year-round for raising goose-bumps around the campfire or reading under the covers with a flashlight.

a

a

a

a

John Marciano. Anonyponymous: the forgotten people behind everyday words.

A collection of short essays shares the whimsical stories behind many everyday terms, from the Earl of Sandwich’s invention of the meat-and-bread combination to Etienne de Silhouette’s money-saving alternative to the portrait.

a

a

a

a

a

Richard Lederer. The Revenge of Anguished English: more accidental assaults upon our language.

A new collection of language snafus by the author of the best-selling humor classic includes such examples as “Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding” and “antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.”

a

a

a

a

a

Mad Science: Einstein’s Fridge, Dewar’s Flask, Mach’s Speed, And 362 Other Inventions And Discoveries …

365 days of inventions, discoveries, science, and technology, from the editors of Wired Magazine. On January 30, Rubik applied for a patent on his cube (1975). On the next day, 17 years earlier, the first U.S. Satellite passed through the Van Allen radiation belt. On March 17, the airplane “black box” made its maiden voyage (1953). And what about today? Every day of the year has a rich scientific and technological heritage just waiting to be uncovered, and Wired’s top-flight science-trivia book MAD SCIENCE collects them chronologically, from New Year’s Day to year’s end, showing just how entertaining, wonderful, bizarre, and relevant science can be. In 2010, Wired’s popular “This Day in Tech” blog peaked with more than 700,000 page views each month, and one story in 2008 drew more than a million unique viewers. This book will collect the most intriguing anecdotes from the blog’s run-one for each day of the year-and publish them in a package that will instantly appeal to hardcore techies and curious laypeople alike.

a

a

a

Good Dogs Doing Good: lives transformed by man’s best friend.

Offers heartwarming stories of loveable dogs that have helped their masters cope with life-threatening diseases and chronic illnesses, in an illustrated collection that encourages readers to face their own challenges.

a

a

a

a

a

Don’t Try This At Home: culinary catastrophes from the world’s greatest cooks and chefs.

Forty of the world’s greatest chefs relate outrageous true tales from their kitchens. From hiring a blind line cook to flooding the room with meringue to being terrorized by a French owl, these behind-the-scenes accounts are as entertaining as they are revealing. A reminder that even the chefs we most admire aren’t always perfect.

a

a

a

a

Jen Yates. Cake Wrecks: when professional cakes go hilariously wrong.

Have your cake and laugh at it, too, with the sweet treat known as Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong. From the creator of the ultrapopular blog CakeWrecks.com, here are the worst cakes ever, including the ugly, the silly, the downright creepy, the unintentionally sad or suggestive, and the just plain funny. With witty commentary and behind-the-scenes tidbits, Cake Wrecks will ensure that you never look at a cake the same way again.

a

a

a

Karen Musgrave. Quilts in the Attic: Uncovering the Hidden Stories …

Quilts in the Attic is chock-full of stories of quilters’ and collectors’ most meaningful quilts and quilt discoveries–from an old Victorian crazy quilt unearthed at a local flea market to Grandma’s heirloom quilt retrieved from the attic. Filled with tales of quilt intrigue and detective work, thebook uncovers the mystery and meaning of the quilts we love.

a

a

a

a

a

Chris O’Dell. Miss O’Dell: my hard days and long nights with the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the women they loved.

A former tour manager who was friend, confidante, and lover to some of the most revered musical icons of the sixties, seventies, and eighties tells all in the ultimate fly-on-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll memoir, in a book that includes forty photos, many from the author’s private collection.

a

a

a

a

a

Craig Robinson. Flip Flop Fly Ball: an infographic baseball adventure.

A lively treasury of baseball trivia gleaned from the author’s flipflopflyball.com website is comprised of 120 full-color graphics that share statistical, historical and cultural tidbits on everything from the miles traveled by a baseball team in one season to the height of A-Rod’s annual salary in pennies.

a

a

a

a

Bill Lee. Baseball Eccentrics: the most entertaining, outrageous, and unforgettable characters in the game.

A round up of the most outrageous group of malcontents, characters, rebels, nut jobs, reprobates, wing-nuts, wackos, space cadets, head cases, goofs, free thinkers, and oddballs who ever livened up the grand old game of baseball, this collection not only describes their most bizarre antics in often-hilarious detail, but also includes the unique thoughts of Bill “Spaceman” Lee, a man known for his colorful quotes and offbeat personality.

a

a

a

a

a

Henry Winkler. I’ve Never Met An Idiot On The River: reflections on family, photography, and fly-fishing.

In this delightful collection of humorous anecdotes and heartfelt observations, Henry Winkler shares the joy and wisdom he’s accumulated while honing his skills as a fly fisherman. A accomplished sportsman who meticulously records the measurements of every fish he hooks, Winkler has learned that his yearly trips to the river are not just about catching trout. More importantly, they’re about adopting the proper perspective on life.

a

a

a

a

Harvard Classics, Volume 17: Folklore & Fables.

David Sedaris. Barrel Fever.

Short stories and essays by an apartment cleaner and a popular commentator for National Public Radio highlight the absurd behavior of modern Americans, such as the suburban dad who saves money by performing surgery at home.

a

a

a

a

a

Short Takes: brief encounters with contemporary nonfiction.

Short Takes presents over seventy-five writers whose range and style demonstrate the myriad ways we humans have of telling our truths. Themes develop and speak to or collide with one another: musings about parents, childhood, sports, weather, war, solitude, nature, loss-and, of course, love.

a

a

a

a

a

Sloane Crosley. I Was Told There’d Be Cake.

Offers a humorous look at human fallibility and the vagaries of modern urban life by detailing such offbeat situations as the despoiling of an exhibit at the Natural History Museum, the provocation of a boss, and siccing the cops on a mysterious neighbor.

a

a

a

a

a

Mark Twain. Wit & Wisecracks.

Tom Robbins. Wild Ducks Flying Backward: the short writings of…

An anthology of writings features both nonfiction essays and short stories that cover such topics as art critiques, poetry, country song lyrics, odes to redheads, kissing, Diane Keaton, tomato sandwiches, and the Doors.

a

a

a

a

a

Ernest Gaines. Mozart & Leadbelly: stories and essays.

A collection of short fiction and autobiographical essays from the award-winning author of A Lesson Before Dying includes five stories, set in Louisiana, that capture the joys and sorrows of rural Southern life, accompanied by prose works that chronicle his move to California at fifteen, the beginnings of his life as a writer, and the people and places he has encountered.

a

a

a

a

a

Justin Halpern. Sh*t My Dad Says.

After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, the 29-year-old author moves in with his 73-year-old dad, whose straightforward, expletive-laden advice and opinions became a hit on Twitter and are now offered in a hilarious collection.

a

a

a

a

Michael Ian Black. You’re Not Doing It Right: tales of marriage, sex, death, and other humiliations.

A series of comedic essays shares acerbic observations about the author’s family life in suburbia, from shopping for an unnecessary divorce home to attending kindergarten recitals.

a

a

a

a

a

John Grogan. Bad Dogs Have More Fun.

Bad Dogs Have More Fun is an unforgettable collection of more than seventy-five newspaper articles from The Philadelphia Inquirer written by former columnist John Grogan. Combining humor, wit, poignancy, and affection, these columns provide insight into the intriguing and wonderful world we live in. Whether it be writing about animals (from dogs to elephants to geese!), powerful and moving comments about his own and other families, trenchant comments on life’s foibles and farces, or his interviews and interactions with people who are memorable and unusual in their own right, John Grogan makes us laugh-he makes us cry-he makes us think.

a

a

a

a

Matthew Vincent. You Ruined It for Everyone: 101 people who screwed things up for the rest of us.

Energy sources are massively depleted. The government is wasteful and incompetent. The economy is imploding, the environment is toxic, and international terrorism threatens our day-to-day lives. And gum sucks. It just sucks. Who is responsible? Who made our world so dangerous, so unlivable, so stupid? Matthew Vincent is unafraid to name names. Who’s to blame for the three-ounce rule on airplanes? Who came up with the bright idea of branding every single sports stadium? Who made curling an Olympic event? Which pope made celibacy mandatory? Who invented daylight saving time? (Who doesn’t hate daylight saving time?) Here’s a book that’ll tell you who invented every unnecessary, annoying gadget that plagues modern life and haunts your dreams. It’s a book to keep in your bathroom for perusal before you end up having to drink out of your toilet bowl because there’s no potable water left in your hemisphere. Here’s a book that’ll tell you who ruined it for everyone.

a

a

Umberto Eco. How to Travel With a Salmon & Other Essays.

How to Travel with a Salmon is a highly engaging collection of what Umberto Eco calls his diario minimo – minimal diaries – after the magazine column in which he began “pursuing the pathways of parody.” These essays, written in the late eighties and early nineties, are his playful but unfailingly accurate takes on militarism, computer jargon, Westerns, art criticism, librarians, bureaucrats, meals on airplanes, Amtrak trains, bad coffee, maniacal taxi drivers, express mail, 33-function watches, fax machines and cellular phones, pornography, soccer fans, academia, and – last but definitely not least – the author’s own self.

a

a

a

a

Jayne Larson. Driving the Saudis: a chauffeur’s tale of the world’s richest princesses…

An Ivy League-educated actress and film producer who worked as a chauffeur for members of the Saudi royal family during their visit to Beverly Hills describes her witness to their opulent lifestyle and the complications, contradictions, and corruptions that result from their wealth.

a

a

a

a

a

American Story: a lifetime search for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Celebrates the inspirational stories of everyday, unrecognized people who changed the world for the better, from a truck driver who taught microsurgery, to the doctor who developed the vaccine for pertussis.

a

a

a

a

a

I Wish I’d Been There: twenty historians bring to life dramatic events that changed America.

In a study that looks at key moments in American history, a collection of essays by leading historians brings to life such important events as the Salem witch trials, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

a

a

a

a

a

Harry Webb. Call of the Cow country: true stories.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s