non-fiction

All Souls: A Family Story From Southie by Michael Patrick McDonald

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In this devastatingly honest memoir Michael MacDonald, one in a family of ten, recounts his experience growing up in Southie which is one of South Boston’s public housing projects.  Described by all the residents as “the best place in the world”, McDonald has the courage to pull back this veil and tell the emotional and powerful true story.  MacDonald explores the busing riots of the 1970s, Southie’s “no snitch” culture, the loss of four of his own siblings, and the exploits of Whitey Bulgar (the town’s top gangster and father figure).  Through all of this pain and loss McDonald is still able to point out areas of hope and the strong sense of community that is still alive in Southie today.  

Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller

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Ever wonder what it would be like to grow up with hoarders as parents? Kimberly Rae Miller dishes it all in this powerful coming-of-age tale about just that. We’ve all got that spot in our house that’s the place we put things that we’re saving for later because we know we’re actually going to use them. Right? Yes? Then months later we stumble across those same prized objects and pitch or donate them because, well, who has the time to do all the things?

Imagine, if you will, that messy place being your entire house and add in never throwing away anything on top of that and you’ll sort of get the idea what it’s like to walk a day in Kim’s shoes. She wasn’t able to ever have friends over and often had to conceal her parents messes and behaviors for fear of children’s services coming and separating her from them. Even worse, one house she and her parents occupied was so messy that it caught fire and they lost absolutely everything they owned. You’d think this would mean a fresh, clean start in a new, uncluttered home but that’s not case as things quickly start to pile up again.  But don’t just take my word for it, read this engrossing title for yourself to learn all about what it’s like to be the child of hoarders. For tackling such serious stuff, it’s quite an enjoyable read but be warned as there are a few graphic moments (think bugs, messes, and even a suicide attempt) that aren’t for the faint of heart.

If you like this title, you should also check out the nonfiction book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy Frost and the YA novel Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu.

"Born to run" By Christopher McDougall

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Removing the myth that running requires special exercises and equipment, author McDougall argues, running is at the heart of what it means to be human.  We follow the amazing Tamarahura tribe runners in Cooper Canyon to ultra marathoners; all end up in a race of fifty-miles through the heart of Tarahumara country, pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans racers.  Fun page turning! 

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