View Full Version : POC favorite Non-Fiction

08-16-2012, 11:06 PM
Thought we could also make a list for Non-Fiction books. I don't read many, but here are three awesome books I have read.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kawamba

A Long Way Gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Kitty Pryde
08-16-2012, 11:45 PM
Ah, I have some.

Cooked by Jeff Henderson (crack dealer to prisoner to uber-successful restaurant chef memoir)

Black Cool, ed. by Rebecca Walker (essays by various people)

Writing The Other by Nisi Shawl/Cynthia Ward (this one is for writers! highly recommend!)

No-No Boy by John Okada, a vastly underappreciated nonfiction novel. It suffers from a bad title, an appalling book cover, an unpopular subject, and an author who wrote one book and then died in obscurity. The title refers to Japanese young men in internment camps who said no to being willing to serve in the US Army and no to swearing loyalty to the US (a country in which they were born citizens and had imprisoned them without cause). Anyway, a very powerful novel about culture clash and a somewhat neglected part of our national history.

I'm dying to read Yes, Chef, the memoir by Marcus Samuelsson as we are big fans of him and we think he is the coolest.

Rachel Udin
08-18-2012, 02:10 AM
Language of Blood by Jane Jeong Trenka
Outsiders Within by Jane Jeong Trenka (editor)
Fugitive Visions by Jane Jeong Trenka
(crosses with adoption stuff too)

The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong by Lady Hyegyong (Covers Joseon Korea)

Maya Angelou (often Autobiographical) (African American)

Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson--Jobs was half-Syrian on his birth family father's side and half-Armenian on the maternal adoptive side. So mixed PoC heritage.

08-18-2012, 05:09 AM
Black Boy - Richard Wright

08-18-2012, 09:28 AM
The West on Trial: my Fight for Guyana's Freedom, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-West-trial-Guyanas-freedom/product-reviews/B0006BPNOG/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1) by Cheddi Jagan.

For anyone interested in the politics of race, this is the book to read; it's out of print, but still an eye-opener into the shenanigans perpetrated by the US and GB governments in order to stay in power in one of their colonies -- and to rule the majority POC population. Admittedly, some of the book is a bit of a rant and there's a lot of facts and figures which makes boring reading. But the story itself is incredible.

A quote from the only review on amazon.co.uk:

Before you read this book it is hard to believe the oppression that was still going on in the British Empire until well after the Second World War. You cannot help but feel sympathy for Jagan, branded a communist by the American and UK governments (even though his policies were no more left than those of British Labour at the time!),the electoral system constantly being fiddled by London and his party and nation split along racial divides that previously weren't an issue to try and get an administration more sympathetic to the West in power.Jagan was born to a very poor East Indian family, labourers on a sugar estate. He grew up to be the country's leader into independence -- an incredibly outspoken and fearless man of integrity. Even his enemies praised him for his integrity. He was utterly, selflessly dedicated to the cause of oppressed people, a Gandhian figure. He was treated horribly by Kennedy and Churchill.

Here's a short account of what happened:

MI5 files reveal details of 1953 coup that overthrew British Guiana's leaders (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/26/mi5-files-coup-british-guiana)

Secret documents declassified on Friday by MI5 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/mi5) reveal in detail how in 1953 the UK under prime minister Winston Churchill (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/winston-churchill) overthrew the elected government of British Guiana – now Guyana (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/guyana) – because he feared its leftwing leader and his American wife would lead the British colony into the arms of the Soviet Union.

Another article:

In Racial Matrimony (http://www.thenation.com/article/radical-matrimony?page=0,1#)

the CIA committed what Kennedy adviser and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. later admitted was "a great injustice" against Cheddi Jagan, funding strikes and race riots in Georgetown in an effort to destabilize his government. (Schlesinger's apology, delivered to Jagan at the Nation offices in 1990, was the subject of the magazine's June 4 lead editorial that year.)Anyway, in the end, 30 years later, he was voted back into power.

Rachel Udin
08-19-2012, 02:21 AM
Ah! I forgot, Secret Life of Mariko, about a Japanese woman in the 1990's. A journalist interviewed her for a year while she worked there. It's really fascinating and humanizes Japanese life for the time period it was written in. The journalist dug pretty deep, trying to get all kinds of perspectives, so the community that Mariko lives in comes alive for you. The anthropologist fan in me likes it.

Apparently the same author did something like that for Northern India, but I never got to read that one.

Rachel Udin
08-20-2012, 07:47 AM
New ones I found by going to the bookstore. I'd have bought them if I wasn't poor.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Ann Fadiman
A memoir about a Hmong girl. It won at least one award, according to the cover, and it seems pretty fascinating. It covers Hmong and Laos culture very well and the tension between the two groups. (I really wanted this one because it didn't look like Minority Pathology Porn)

Picturing Model Citizens by Thy Phu which is a book that literally has photos and then there are explanations about how and why those photos were taken. Such as the picture of the Chinese railroad workers. I really wanted that book. Covers Asian American studies as much as photography.

Modern Japanese Culture edited by Yoshio Sugimoto which looks like it would be really, really useful for building a complete Japan and breaking from the manga and anime models as well as the usual stereotypes. Again, really, really wanted that book, but I'm broke.

They had a whole bookshelf on African American studies (sociological), but I didn't have time to sift through it. It wasn't all Martin Luther King and the rights movement either, from the titles.

American Chinatown by Bonnie Tsui is a fascinating look at Chinatown in the US. Wanted that one too, couldn't buy it.

The Rice Room (memoir) by Ben Fong-Torres which is a memoir of a Chinese American who later invents rock and roll. The store had the second edition, which had photos. PoC on the cover, BTW.

The bookstore also had a shelf for Native American and Hispanic groups. I wanted to look at those, too, but the selection in the bookstore was so great, that I'll have to return to pick up some of the more promising titles from that too.

Ahhh~ Spent three blissful hours grinning in there. Bookstoreeeesss~

I'll return with the other titles I find when I go back.