Non-Fiction Reviews

March 14, 2013

I have this unfortunate habit of reading a bunch of books in rapid succession and then forgetting to post reviews. I should work on that.

Anyway, I recently went on a bit of a non-fiction binge in my reading (though admittedly there were still a few novels mixed in here and there). It’s not that I don’t like non-fiction; I really do, it’s just that I find novels so enticing!

Anywho, onwards!

I found The Druggist of Auschwitz interesting, but it felt really disjointed and confused to me. Though that could have been because I was reading it along with four or five other books. Even so, it never felt particularly clear exactly whose story he was trying to tell. Dr. Capesius, the druggist, figures prominently, obviously, but he certainly isn’t the protagonist. And yet none of the other (for lack of a better word) characters really fit the bill either. It was an interesting/horrifying glimpse at that aspect of the camps, but it didn’t feel like it told a cohesive story.

HHhH was fascinating and a very quick read for me. I can see how some people wouldn’t like that style, but it worked for me. And the short chapters made it particularly well-suited for subway reading as it was easy to get to a decent stopping point. What’s interesting to me is that the BookRiot piece is what turned me on to this book, and it focused so much on the author’s seemingly pathological need to make everything reflect reality. I certainly got the impression that he wanted things to be accurate, but I think I perceived this book quite differently than the two writers from BookRiot. Either way, I’m glad that I read the review that encouraged me to read it as it is a phenomenal book.

I’m not usually emotionally affected by non-fiction (which, now that I think about it, seems kind of contrary — why do I relate more to fictional characters?), but The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks definitely had me in an emotional stronghold. It was fabulous. I was all over the place and nearly cried in inappropriate (physical) places on multiple occasions. Basically, I was a mess, but it was totally worth it. Read it. Read it now. That’s all I have to say.

I’m actually still in the midst of the non-fiction binge I guess, since I’m reading two other books right now (though on less depressing subjects —why do two out of three of the books I just reviewed deal with WWII/the Holocaust and the other with medical ethics?) and waiting for a memoir to come in at the library.

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2 Responses to “Non-Fiction Reviews”

  1. Janice said

    Henrietta Lacks was our first book club book – really fantastic! What was HHhH about??

    • I thought I remembered you reading it. Definitely made me feel skeezy being associated with Hopkins, but then I remembered that they pay my medical bills and I felt a bit better. HHhH is about the assassination of Heydrich. It’s phenomenal.

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