Non-fiction can be provocative, moving or just plain unpredictable. A beach read?  You bet.


Skeptical readers asked the NYT why a book about a four-year-old who has a near death experience, who says he visited the afterlife and sat on Jesus’ lap, is included on the nonfiction best-seller list.  The editor replied “their policy is not to second-guess personal accounts”.  Well, here’s my list. No near/during/after death tales but you’ll find nerds, before-I-die wishes, and the subculture of collectibles.  Consider these quirky curiosities for your next summer read.



Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School

By Alexandra Robbins

Sometimes you really want to believe something but you secretly worry there’s no proof to your theory.  Well, here you go, fellow nerds ~ you were right all along.  It really is true that what made you incapable of fitting in during high school is what enabled you to succeed as adults.  It wasn’t easy to make your way through those perilous conformist waters and the social ugliness of adolescence but now it’s popular to have been unpopular. Robbins follows outsiders ~ the Band Geek, the New Girl, the Loner, the Gamer, the Nerd.  Will they inherit the earth or just a lump of coal?


Remember the Alpha Betas and the Tri-Lambs?




What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

by Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, Jonnie Penn

Throw the first pitch at a major league baseball game.  Help deliver a baby.  Get on the cover of Rolling Stone. Four friends decided they needed to make a drastic change so they made a list of 100 things to do before they died. Thus began the journey to uncover their buried lives.  Since 2006, their quest to complete the list, known as The Buried Life, took them across North America, inspired an MTV documentary series, and motivated legions of fans to share their own before-I-die wishes. Plenty of encouragement here to go out and live your dreams.



Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America

by Maureen Stanton

Here’s a look into the intense and wired subculture of antiques and the people who trawl for them.  Through the world of the previously-owned wades master dealer Curt Avery (fake name, real guy), a seemingly unassuming fellow who taught himself the business and approaches it like high-stakes poker ~ sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but ideally you come out ahead. Here’s life on the yard-sale-flea-market-antique-show-auction-house circuit. Do you collect airline spoons?  Zippo lighters? shrunken heads? Hello, eBay.


What are you reading? Does it give you brainsquirts of surprise? or take you into the bloviate zone? Do share. 


meet you here next sunday ~ female sleuths in fiction

Toni 7/7/13


  1. Just finished Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver– a good read with a strong message. Before that it was Shantaram (can ‘t remember the author offhand) – a fantastic, partially true tale about a man who escapes from an Australian prison and goes on to make a life for himself in India, with a side trip to Afghanistan.


    1. Jane, you should totally come to our book group in September. We’ll be bumping heads, er, discussing Flight Behavior. Thanks for putting Shantaram on my radar… Sure stands out on the shelf, looking like one big story. Got my attention. Is there a prequel and sequel? I read that it’s the middle of a trilogy. Better increase the weights for my arm lifts. 😉


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