Just A Scarlet O’Hara Wannabe: All Nonfiction Pt. 2

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Amanda and Jenn do another round of nonfiction questions this week on Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by All the Books, Re-entry by Peter Cawdron, and The Handmaid’s Tale: Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood, illustrated by Renee Nault.

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1. My dad is a huge American history buff, but he is also conservative (yikes for liberal me). I want to get him a book he’ll enjoy about American history but would love some recs for female authors or native voices. Right now, he is really into revolutionary war time biographies as well as books about native culture in early America. He doesn’t read fiction (but maybe a bomb historical fiction that’s hyper truth-based?). I want to gently open his eyes to diverse writers (without spooking him like a baby deer). Thanks so much! and love from PHILLY!!!


2. Hi, Amanda and Jenn! I listen to your show every week, and my TBR list keeps growing. But, here I am, with a request all the same.

I recently read Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, and I couldn’t put it down. It was a new experience because I don’t usually read a lot of nonfiction or memoirs. And it’s something I want to change about my reading life.

I’m a teacher and scholar, so I often read many academic texts and essays for work. And, when I have time to read something for pleasure, I gravitate more toward fiction, something with a driving plot that keeps drawing me in.
I also have trouble reading memoirs because many feel inauthentic to me, or I just simply can’t relate (e.g. Eat, Pray, Love). So, how very surprising that I would fall in love with a book that was, in part, about falconry. Specifically, I loved the beauty of the book, its language, and the descriptions of nature. I also related to the author’s authentic and open description of her grief after losing her father. But, it also had a driving plot that drew me in again and again. Surely, there are other memoirs and nonfiction titles that can cure my book hangover and fill a very large gap in my reading list. Thanks in advance for the help!


3. Hey Amanda and Jen! I recently started watching and fell in love with the new Hulu show ‘The Path.’ I also recently listened to Leah Remini’s ‘Troublemaker’ memoir on audio and I’ve found myself really interested in reading more about cults. I’m open to memoir, nonfiction, or fiction books that examine the nature of cults and either living in them or escaping from them. Thanks for the suggestions!


4. I’ve been watching The Ascent of Woman on Netflix, and now I’m just dying to read some nonfiction books about women in history. I want some history books about kick ass women in history, and you two seem like the people to ask.
I have a particular fascination with ancient history, and the Middle Ages, so if you guys know of any books about those times it would be great. Otherwise I’m fine with pretty much any time, as long as it’s not too modern. Basically the older the better.
(P.S. I’ve already read Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, and Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon, and The Peabody Sisters by Megan Marshall is on my TBR list.)


5. Hi! I love your podcast and was happy you moved from biweekly to weekly productions.

I’m looking for nonfiction recommendations. I’m a writer and tend toward creative nonfiction, but I have trouble to find nonfiction that I find as enjoyable and interesting as I find fiction. Some books that I have enjoyed are Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, Mindy Kaling’s memoirs, and Sloane Crosley’s essays (interestingly, I did not enjoy her novel as much as her nonfiction). Do you have any other rec’s for a fiction reader and nonfiction writer?



6. I’m pretty fascinated by serial killers and would like book recommendations about either real serial killers or fictional. I recently read The Girls (and didn’t realize it was about the Charles Manson group until afterwards- face palm). I liked the book and am looking for more like that. There are so many nonfiction books about serial killers that aren’t well written, I think mostly because they are written by newspaper columnists who wrote about the story at the time in the news and then crammed all the articles into a book, lacking flow. Major bonus points: I read a book about serial killers about 10 years ago, it was a conglomeration of nonfiction short stories about serial killers and their background, basically how they became serial killers (their childhood, abuse they faced, etc) but, for the life of me, I cannot find that book again, if you can find it that would be amazing. THANKS!


7. Whenever I hear about a new feminist essay collection or memoir, I get really excited, run out to get the book, and then am crushingly disappointed. I don’t quite understand why I’m so often disappointed by these books, but it’s definitely a recurring problem – and it’s very frustrating! I love the IDEA of the books and always start out so optimistic, but it seems like the essay and memoir formats just don’t work for me. Can you recommend some feminist reading that is NOT a memoir or essay collection? Either fiction or nonfiction is fine.


Books Discussed

These Truths by Jill Lepore

A World On Fire by Amanda Foreman (rec’d by Liberty)

The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn

Escape by Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

Empress by Ruby Lal

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty (YouTube: Ask a Mortician and Recommended)

My Own Devices by Dessa (Recommended and TEDx)

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

The Feminist Utopia Project, edited by Alexandra Brodsky and Rachel Kauder Nalebuff