Monday, December 20, 2010

Best Books of 2010: Biographies and Non-Fiction

While going through all of the books I read this year, I realized that I read a lot of non-fiction in 2010. Some were very popular books this year, like reading about how inconsiderate my soon-to-be former governor was in his marriage. Some were not. But here are my favorites of 2010, in no particular order.

The Politician by Andrew Young: Short (but funny) story on how I able to borrow this book. I was on a long waiting list for this book at the library. At the time, I was working at Curves and I was talking to the ladies on the circuit about Jenny Sanford's book. And one of the ladies piped up that she was reading The Politician. What makes it so funny is that this member is a Republican who loves Glenn Beck (and she saw him when he was in Charleston with Bill O'Reilly). When I told a coworker about this, I think she nearly fell out of her chair laughing, because we truly could not see her reading this book.

Young, who was John Edwards' assistant for years, was willing to do anything for this man. He really believed that he would become President (and at one point in my life, I did too). When Edwards' mistress winded up pregnant while he was trying to be Obama's running mate, Young and his family were put in hiding with the mistress. After that, Young was dropped like a hot potato.

I know there are some people who don't feel bad for Young, but I do. Here was a man who bent over backwards for his boss, treated bad along the way, just to wind up broke in the end. I hope he makes a ton of money off of the book. And makes me glad that I voted for Obama in the 2008 primary.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice: I may not agree with Condi's policies, but I like her as a person. She give a remarkable account of her childhood and how her parents (her father was a pastor and college administrator and her mother was a teacher) make sure that race would not be an excuse to hold her back from her dreams. I know they are looking down on her, amazed about her accomplishments.

The Grace of Silence by Michelle Norris: Norris, who is on NPR, finds out that her father was shot in the leg after being discharged from the Navy. Her research leads her to what race relations was like in the 1940s and how far we have come (but we still have a long way to go).

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore: Two guys, same name. From the same city and are about the same age. One became a Rhodes Scholar, served our county, and is a respected business leader. The other is spending the rest of his life in prison for murder and is already a grandfather in his early 30s. How did this happen? This book explores how two young African-American men took different paths in life.

Foxy by Pam Grier: You may know her as Foxy Brown or as Jackie Brown, but Pam Grier has been busting doors and kicking butt behind the scenes. In this autobiography, she talks about her childhood, dating in Hollywood and being a breast cancer survivor.

Killing Willis by Todd Bridges: Everyone knows what happened after Diff'rent Strokes went off: the drug abuse, the arrests, etc. But no one knew what led up to that: the physical beatings from his father, being sexually abused by his manager and being constantly harassed by racists and cops. I'm glad he's been able to straighten out his life and remained sober for almost 20 years. Another side note: about a week after I finished the book, Gary Coleman passed. Todd seemed like he was one of the very few people who looked out for Gary in the end.

This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson: Because librarians rock! :-)

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