Nonfiction November 2019 Wrap Up | Summary and Q&A

November 30, 2019
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Nonfiction November 2019 Wrap Up


Olive discusses her favorite nonfiction books read in November, including books on making, The Great Gatsby, sneakers, Fred Rogers, self-delusion, conception, the human body, memoirs, and environmental issues.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are some of the lessons on making that Olive learned from Adam Savage's book?

In his book, Adam Savage discusses the importance of doing something several times before truly mastering it and seeing early tries as iterations rather than failures. These lessons can be applied to life in general, not just making.

Q: How does Maureen Corrigan's book provide a new perspective on The Great Gatsby?

Corrigan, a Fitzgerald scholar, brings a deep knowledge and passion to her book, offering readers insight into the long-lasting legacy of The Great Gatsby. Olive found that reading this book made her see the novel in an entirely new way.

Q: What aspects of sneaker history does Nicholas Smith explore in his book?

Smith's book, "Kicks: The Great American Story of Sneakers," delves into the history of athletic shoes, from the original rubber stabilization to the development of modern-day sneakers. He examines the intersection of sports, fashion, and status symbols through the lens of sneakers.

Q: Why did Olive prioritize reading a biography of Fred Rogers before watching the Tom Hanks movie?

Olive, being from the same area as Fred Rogers and having a personal connection to his work, wanted to read a biography of Mr. Rogers before watching the movie. She discusses her feelings on the book and movie in a separate video, which she links in the description.

Q: What topics does Gio Tolentino explore in her collection of essays, "Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion"?

Tolentino's essays cover various topics, including the changing nature of the internet with the rise of social media, her experience on a reality TV show, the pressures faced by women, and sexual assault scandals at her alma mater. However, Olive found that Tolentino's observations lacked new insights or a clear path forward.

Q: How does Katharina Vestri approach the topic of fetal development in "The Making of You"?

As an embryologist, Vestri offers a unique perspective by discussing the development of a fetus as though it were the reader themselves. She combines scientific knowledge with an informal tone, making it accessible and informative. The book is short and could be a great gift for expectant parents.

Q: What are Olive's thoughts on Bill Bryson's book, "The Body"?

While Olive likes Bill Bryson's sense of humor, she found his book on the human body to be too broad and not as effective as more focused books on specific aspects of the body. She prefers a more in-depth and distinct approach to nonfiction reading.

Q: How does Olive feel about Tara Westover's memoir, "Educated"?

While Olive recognizes the strength and well-written nature of Westover's memoir, she feels conflicted because she wanted more emphasis on the education aspect. She also believes that with time and healing, Westover may gain more perspective on her experiences and let go of some of the anger expressed in the book.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Olive read several nonfiction books in November and starts off by briefly discussing books that were included in her Nonfiction November TBR.

  • She reviews books on making by Adam Savage, The Great Gatsby by Maureen Corrigan, sneakers by Nicholas Smith, Fred Rogers by Maxwell King, self-delusion by Gio Tolentino, conception by Katharina Vestri, the human body by Bill Bryson, and a memoir by Tara Westover.

  • Olive also reflects on the timing of memoirs and discusses Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, Furious Hours by Casey Cep, and On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming.

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