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Nonfiction Book Reviews
Ingenious by Jason Fagone
"Ingenious is a book about ordinary people attempting to do the extraordinary. It focuses on four groups of people from all over the country trying to build a car better and more fuel-efficient than any car at the time, for the likes of 10 million dollars. It’s about the little guy taking on the big guy, amateurs trying to create a car from the frame up to, go 100 mpg when the big manufacturers couldn't do it. Each group has their ideas to reach the goal, and each faces setbacks most would give up after, but they press on. One group tries to make a super-light car and another tries to create a hybrid engine. It’s not hard to tell the ideas each group had, played a huge part in their outcome.
I enjoyed the book, learning about each of the four teams was very interesting and the different approaches they took. Besides, a few times where the author made it slightly confusing who he was talking about, the book in my opinion was very well written. The author did a great job mixing in his thoughts without taking away from the actual book itself. "
Tomorrow is Another Country by Allister Sparks
"Tomorrow is Another Country: The Inside Story of South Africa’s Road To Change begins with Nelson Mandel communicating secretly with then South Africa’s minister of justice about Mandela’s ultimate release from prison. It then switches over to talks including Mandel and his African National Congress, and the Broederbond. The purpose of these talks was to create a national government, where the black majority had representation. Ultimately, the Broederbond was not just ready to give the majority of the power away though. The author also investigates the then President of South Africa’s attempt to cripple Mandela and the African National Congress(ANC) by creating and possibly funding an anti-ANC Alliance. However, the author does end on a positive note, giving clues as to why the words Tomorrow is Another Country are in the title.
This book was very interesting and much can be learned from it. I like the realism it provided, coming from a real South African journalist. There is a lot to understand from this book though, and I recommend reading up on Apartheid and South Africa in general from the ’50s through the ’90s. Overall, the book is worth the read if you are interested in history and this type of material."
Sombody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur
"This is a collection of poems written by Sophia Thakur. The poems are written as a narrative detailing the author’s feelings. Thakur details her life and emotions as a mixed-race girl by splitting the book into 5 sections: process, grow, wait, break, and grow, and outlines her self-journey.
While I don’t often read poetry, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it incredibly emotional. Thakur expressed very relevant emotions and gave perspective on her life and struggles. Overall, it was a lovely book that explores a number of prevalent issues, and I would definitely encourage others to try it.”
Apple by Eric Gansworth
“Apple (Skin to the Core) is a memoir by Eric Gansworth. Gansworth talks about his experiences growing up in an Indigenous reservation in the US during the 60s to the 80s. He describes the Native American boarding schools that his grandparents were forced to attend and its impact on them. Gansworth also related his childhood experiences to pop culture throughout the 60’s-80’s, such as the Beatles, Rush, Batman, and Kiss. Overall, Apple (Skin to the Core) is an important story which informs non-Indigenous Americans about the struggles of living on a reservation, the type of community people have in the reservation, and discovering one’s own identity.
I enjoyed reading the book because I did not know much about Native American reservations before reading it. I also thought it was interesting to hear about the lasting effects of Native American boarding schools as well as Gansworth’s childhood and the journey of him finding his identity.”
Drawing the Vote by Tommy Jenkins
“Drawing the Vote is a graphic novel that explains how voting has developed throughout the US history. Along with the history of voting, Jenkins also identifies the social issues that interfere with the validity of the voting system. These social issues are slavery, women’s rights, and modern-day systematic issues. The book helps to show how the US political parties and government has developed over time. Also, questions that some readers of the book may have are posed in the book and answered. By reading this book, people will learn about interesting facts and people and they will hopefully feel that it is their responsibility to vote and do so.
I really liked the book. I think that the book did a really good job when explaining the importance of having the right to vote. Jenkins also did an amazing job when explaining social issues throughout the US’s history that denied certain groups of people the right to vote. Overall, the book is very descriptive and even takes on questions that some people may have when reading the book and in doing so, clarifies to all audiences the ideas behind why he chose to write this book.”
You Call This Democracy by Elizabeth Rusch
“This book describes our democracy, what’s wrong with it, and how to fix it. How do we prevent gerrymandering? Should we lower the voting age? Should Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico become states? This book points out that our country is not exactly what we want it to be and how to correct it.
I would recommend this book to everyone because it explains everything simply and is easy to understand. It is nonpartisan and uses issues that both sides agree to change. It uses many charts and diagrams. The point of the book is to inspire you to make a change, and I think it executed that job perfectly.”
A Sporting Chance by Lori Alexander
“This book details Ludwig Guttman’s life and the obstacles and successes in his life to start a new worldwide appreciation of the paraplegic. When he first started in medicine, the paraplegic were considered “incurable.” Ludwig committed his life to change everyone's minds. In 1948 the first unofficial Paralympic games were held in England. Using illustrations, photos, and featured stories, this book tells how Ludwig went from a young boy, curious in medicine, to the founder of the Paralympics.
I liked this book because it details Ludwig’s life and his experiences throughout both world wars. The use of pictures and facts effectively contributes to the understanding of the story. It was full of detail yet easy to understand.”
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
“This book is about successful people and the conditions that brought upon their success. The main point of the book is success is a lot less talent and a lot more hard work and luck. This book goes in-depth on why people like Bill Gates become successful. It also talks about what causes failure and why everyone does not succeed. Overall, this book is an analysis on how people succeed as well as fail.
I enjoyed this book because it opened my eyes to the circumstances it takes to become successful. It also has a lot of interesting stories about people and events.”
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