Making the Cut {Non-Fiction/Beach/Cooking}

Okay, so far we've covered children's chapter and picture books. I was only planning on writing one more post about books that made my re-read list, but then it started getting a bit long, so I'm breaking it up into three posts: Non-Fiction (today's topic), Fiction, and Religious/Personal Growth. I considered doing a fourth post: Cookbooks - but I thought that might be pushing it. I've loved reading about your recommendations in the comments thus far, so I do hope that you will continue the trend and share your favorite adult non-fiction books (worthy of a re-read) as well! Ready?


My Life in France by Julia Child
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. I had no idea what to expect when I purchased it, but I knew that I had enjoyed the 2009 film, Julie & Julia and that I wanted to know more about Julia Child.  The reviews that I had read about Julie Powell's book were less than stellar, and since Julia was my real interest, I decided to go with her autobiography instead. Good choice. This book was well written, attention grabbing, and full of fun little personal stories about Paul and Julia. It was, in fact, the perfect summer beach read - so if you're headed to the coast this year, I'd recommend adding this to your beach bag.

{2, 3 & 4}

It's a Jungle Out There!"Life is a Jungle!", and Jungle Calls by Ron Snell
Maybe the reason I find these so funny is because I'm married to a boy who was raised in the jungles of Peru, a child of missionaries. Possibly it's because I've chosen a life mate who grew up thinking it was normal to pass through the national army post on one motorcycle wheel (barefoot!) in order to get to school. However, even if you're not married to a crazy M.K. (missionary kid), I think you'll find these real life stories from Ron Snell to be humorous and more fun beach literature. If you have kids - especially boys - I think these would be great additions to any family reading stack that you might be collecting.


In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
I've already written a review of this book, so I won't take up too much of your time by recapping what I've already covered; suffice it to say, I enjoyed this book enough to recommend it as a re-read. I've tried several books by Bryson, and while some of them caused a chuckle every now and again, this one actually made me laugh out loud. It also made me want to book a flight to Australia. Bryson has a gift for making the most mundane situations, interesting and humorous - a truly talented writer.


The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
You're probably sick of hearing about this book by now, but I'm still in love with it! You see, it's so much more than a novel or a cookbook - it's BOTH. It's a nocook, or is it a cookvel, or possible an autocook, since it's actually more autobiographical in nature. Whatever the case, Flinn was clearly just getting started when she wrote The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry (a good book, but this one is better), and I can't wait to see what comes next! I enjoy her writing style, as well as her integration of techniques and recipes. As I've said elsewhere, she really does a great job of demystifying the kitchen. I plopped this book right next to my other cookbooks, and have referenced it several times already.


Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O'Conner
In December of 2005, we were sitting around a table on the edge of the Kalahari desert, discussing punctuation with a group of new friends. Lynne Truss's book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, came up during the conversation, and our Scottish friends were appalled that I had never heard of it. A few days later, I was handed a belated Christmas gift - a copy of Lynne's novel on the grammatical errors that we sticklers (and half-sticklers) find most annoying. Now, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with book #7 - I'm getting there! While I enjoyed Truss's take on the common grammar mistakes of the day, I found Woe is I to not only be educational, but entertaining and attention grabbing as well. In fact, if I were to choose one grammar book to give away, this would be it (though E,S & L is a close second).


300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds
Since I've decided not to dedicate an entire post to cookbooks, then I'm sneaking another one onto this list. By now, you should know about my love affair with this cookbook. I gave away copies for Christmas, I handed them out as house warming gifts, and I even gave away a copy on the blog back in the fall that eventually helped fill a freezer with post-baby meals. I've tried around 25 of the 300 recipes so far, and the majority of them have gotten no less than an "A" grade - some have even received the coveted "A+" mark. Wedding season is almost upon us: stick this book in a soup pot with a ladle and put a bow on it. They'll thank you later.


Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman
Newly married and starting my Sophomore year at a brand new college in a brand new town, I found myself in the classroom of a left-leaning English professor. I knew there would be problems from the moment I saw the "Gore for President" button on the lapel of his coat. I knew he was going to dislike me as soon as he discovered I was one of two conservatives in the room (the other being my 50+ year old landlord who happened to be taking the same class). Instead, what I discovered was that as long as we left politics alone (difficult to do in the year 2000), we got along fine! I never quite figured him out - he loved Edgar Allen Poe, hugged trees, voted Left, pushed me as a writer, and chose this book as part of the required reading. This is a definite re-read for me, and every time I grab my copy, it ends up with more notes in the margins and newly underlined sentences. In this world of 24-hour news and a plethora of social media bombarding us from our laptops, cellphones, and tablets, this book could not be more relevant. Read it!

Honorable Mentions
White Guilt by Shelby Steele (a non-Caucasian author)
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (fiction based on non-fictional events/people)
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken (read it with a box of tissues!)

What books in the
non-fiction/beach/cooking categories
would make YOUR re-read list?


  1. One of my favorite non-fiction beach reads was _To End All Wars_ by Ernest Gordon. It's his personal account of life in a Japanese POW camp where he and the other prisoners were forced to build the "Railroad of Death." My favorite parts were the accounts of Christian prisoners whose faith and testimonies stood firm in spite of the unbelievably brutal treatment they received at the hands of their captors. It's an amazing story. There's also an excellent movie based on the book, but they changed some of the details to condense the story. (One word of caution - the movie has some pretty graphic violence in it - realistic, but disturbing...so be forewarned.) Anyway, that's what came to mind for me... It's a great book.

    I'll definitely have to check out some of your recommendations here...they sound good. My MIL just shared another Bill Bryson book with me called _At Home_. She loved it... it's a history of how our homes and the items in them came to be what they are today. I'm really looking forward to starting it.

    1. Sounds interesting (though I think I'll skip the film - I'm not big on graphic stuff that's based on reality). I've got "At Home" on my To Read list now - thanks for the recommendation! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it once you finish it.

  2. Adding "My Life in France" to my to-read list... I, too, LOVED "Julie & Julia." I'd consider it one of my top 5 favorite movies EVER. =) Glad to hear that you enjoyed Childs' book so much! Can't wait to check it out!

    1. I hope you enjoy "My Life in France", Kaysi. I really did! If you're at all interested in cooking, then I would highly recommend picking up a copy of "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" while you're at it!


A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.


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