Saturday, February 12, 2011

More Non-Fiction Recommendations

Posted by Simcha 6:00 PM, under | No comments

A few weeks ago I had shared with you a list of some of my favorite memoirs (which I really hope that some of you tried) and here are a few more...

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir

A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller--the story of Malika Oufkir's turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege. Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.

This is an extremely intense and moving account of an entire family that was arrested and kept secretly imprisoned in Morocco for twenty years. It's been several years since I read this book but it still haunts me. There is a hopeful ending though, as Melika and her family did manage to escape and make their way to freedom.

Muggable Mary: My Life with the Street Crime Unit by Detective Mary Glatzle

I have no idea where I picked up this book but I’m certainly glad that I did since it’s one of my favorite memoirs.
Muggable Mary is the first-person account of Detective Mary Glatzle, which tells her story of how she came to join the NYPD in 1969, as a single mother of a five year old boy, during a time when women were rarely active in the police force. In an honest and open manner Mary recalls her struggle to gain respect as a female police officer and how she came to join the newly formed Street Crime Unit. In the SCU Mary would use various disguises to attract and capture the predators and criminals who prowled the streets of NY.

This is book offers a fascinating look at the NYPD in the 1970‘s and what it was like to be female police officer at that time. I particularly enjoyed getting to know more about Detective Mary Glatzle, who I was not familiar with before I picked up this book, and reading of her colorful assignments with the Street Crime Unit.

A Girl from Yamhill by Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is well-know for her popular Ramona books and in this memoir she shares her memories of growing up on a farm, and later, in Portland Oregon, during the Great Depression. Readers of Ramona will probably be able to identify familiar incidents from Cleary’s childhood as having appeared in her books, though even if you aren’t a Ramona fan you’s be hard pressed not to enjoy this book. Cleary talks in a candid way about her childhood and of growing up under her increasingly controlling mother, who kept trying to relieve her own youth through her daughter.

This is a beautifully written memoir that I’ve enjoyed rereading many times.

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough
This is another book that I purloined from my mother’s bookshelf because I just enjoy reading it so much that I had to have it for my own.

Book Description: 
Nineteen-year-old Cornelia Otis Skinner and twenty-one-year-old Emily Kimbrough set out on the adventure of a lifetime, first on the high seas and then in England. From ships running aground, to hiding a case of the measles to avoid quarantine, to unwittingly taking lodgings in a brothel, the young women experience one madcap adventure after another.

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay is delightfully funny and entertaining book in which the girls' crazy escapades never fails to set me off laughing. You just can’t find books like this anymore and if you are able to get a hold of this one I suggest you grab it and run (which is what I did). And then find a corner to get comfortable in, and read it.


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