Detroit: An American Autopsy

From Frank DelBalso
Title: Detroit: An American Autopsy
Author: Charlie LeDuff
Learn how broke and corrupt the city of Detroit was. Houses burned nightly. Children have to bring their own toilet paper to school. Dead people lay unclaimed. Corruption exists at every level of the government. A judge is too lazy to work a full day and put people behind bars. Car executives make foolish decisions.

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Title: Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Having just read “Called Again” by Jennifer Pharr Davis, I thought it might be fun to play “Compare and Contrast” (as they say in essay questions) between these two books.

Jennifer David: A woman of God
Cheryl Strayed: Ungodly
Davis: An experienced hiker
Strayed: Can put one foot in front of the other
Davis: Decides to break the time record for hiking the Appalachian Trail
Strayed: Decides to see how many men she can pick up in five days
Davis: Happily married to a wonderful man
Strayed: Cheats on her husband with a heroin addict with his hair dyed blue

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Cheryl Strayed, fresh in the midst of personal loss and tragedy, decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (a trail that goes from Mexico to Canada along the West Coast) in the belief that if she does this, her life will be transformed and everything will be all right. The hike does change her life, but in ways she never would have imagined. It is an interesting and entertaining tale.

Perfumes : the guide

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Luca Turin
Title: Perfumes : the guide
This book was mentioned in “Coming to My Senses” (see my previous review). I never thought a book about perfume could be funny but this one’s hysterical. The authors do a comprehensive review of several hundred fragrances, and do not hesitate to call a spade a spade (or say that certain perfumes smell like drain cleaner, wet dog, or filthy clothing). The book is a tad dry in places, but overall quite informative.

The 19th Wife

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: David Ebershoff
Title: The 19th Wife
Here is another story (reference “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer) of Mormon culture and the development of the Mormon faith, including the schism that develops between mainline Mormons and the fundamentalists who break away. The story switches between the 19th century in Mormon culture and a fictional murder occurring in the present day in a fundamentalist community. Both storylines are well developed with empathetic characters, contributing to an engrossing read.

The Cat

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Edeet Ravel
Title: The Cat
A single woman’s beloved only son is killed at age 11, leaving her with nothing but the boy’s beloved pet cat. She retreats from the world in her grief, emerging to try to rescue the boy’s father from a deplorable living situation. Does she do this to prove she can still care for and nurture someone, or does part of her wish to eventually reunite with her former partner? The one constant she can depend on is the cat, whom she first resents because caring for the cat means she has to stay alive. It’s an interesting story.

The Working Poor

From Frank DelBalso
Title: The Working Poor
Author: David Shipler
This books tells of the struggles that poor working people experience in getting out of poverty. The author has a liberal slant but does on occasion also criticize the poor for their self inflicted problems. Several detail stories are told about individual people which are interesting but I found it difficult to make any political conclusions from these stories which were not backed up by any statistics.

Crossed

From Gina Scaglione
Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
This is the second book in the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. The action just keeps intensifying! So, they have finally broken out of the society, but now what? They are left completely on their own with absolutely no resources. Will they be able to learn how to care for themselves? You will have to read Reached to find out how this amazing trilogy ends:)

Dough, a memoir

From Wendy Bocian
Title: Dough, a memoir
Author: Mort Zachter
This book tells the story of how Mort, who was raised as poor in Manhattan’s lower East Side in the 1960s, discovers at age 36 that his bachelor uncles who ran a small, struggling family business were actually very, very rich. The story examines how Mort reacts to the news that he is eventually going to inherit millions. It is filled with an interesting cast of characters and is fun for nostaglia’s sake if you are familiar with the lower east side.I do not usually read non-fiction, but enjoyed the memoir and recommend it.

The Offering

From Wendy Bocian
Title: The Offering
Author: Angela Hunt
A woman and her husband cannot afford to have more children right away so they decide she will become a gestational carrier to earn money. The husband is a soldier and just as the wife is about to give birth to another couple’s baby,the husband is killed while on duty. She gives the baby away, but two years later discovers that she mistakenly and unkowningly gave away her own biological son. She struggles with taking back her child who she does not even know or allowing him to stay with the family who has raised him for two years as their own. This book raises some very interesting and difficult moral issues. I felt slightly disappointed in that after reading the jacket, I was able to predict much of what occured. I would have enjoyed it more had I been completely shocked at the events which took place.