Non-Fiction Books That Perfect for Summer Listening – Part Four

Welcome to the final part of our non-fiction book list highlighting great audiobook listens that are available for you to download on OverDrive / Libby.  This final part of this list features two opposite sides of the listening spectrum.  Our first ten audiobooks are about crazy true crimes that have happened around the globe.  Some of these stories are great listens so you will want to check them out.

True crime not your thing? Do you need a good belly laugh with all that is going on in the world.  The second part of our list today features some great humor books from a variety of authors.  These are guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and to get you in good mood.  As always, check these titles out on OverDrive with your Evergreen Indiana library card.  The links are provided immediately following the summary.

 

TRUE CRIME

 

Murder in the Bayou

Ethan Brown

Summary

An explosive, true-life southern gothic story, Murder in the Bayou chronicles the twists and turns of a high-stakes investigation into the murders of eight women in a troubled Louisiana parish.

Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the heart of the Jefferson Davis parish. Local law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage—from CNN to The New York Times. Collectively the victims became known as the “Jeff Davis 8,” and their lives, their deaths, and the ongoing investigation reveals a small southern community’s most closely guarded secrets.

As Ethan Brown suggests, these homicides were not the work of a single serial killer, but the violent fallout of Jennings’ brutal sex and drug trade, a backwoods underworld hidden in plain sight. Mixing muckraking research and immersive journalism over the course of a five-year investigation, Ethan Brown reviewed thousands of pages of previously unseen homicide files to determine what happened during each victim’s final hours. Epic in scope and intensely suspenseful, Murder in the Bayou is the story of an American town buckling under the dark forces of poverty, race, and class division—and a lightning rod for justice for the daughters it lost.   — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Shake the Devil Off

Ethan Brown

Summary

A charismatic young soldier meets a tragic end in this moving and mesmerizing account of the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and no-safety-net America

Zackery Bowen was thrust into two of America’s largest recent debacles. He was one of the first soldiers to encounter the fledgling insurgency in Iraq. After years of military service he returned to New Orleans to tend bar and deliver groceries. In the weeks before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, he met Addie Hall, a pretty and high-spirited bartender. Their improvised, hard-partying endurance during and after the storm had news outlets around the world featuring the couple as the personification of what so many want to believe is the indomitable spirit of New Orleans.

But in October 2006, Bowen leaped from the rooftop bar of a French Quarter hotel. A note in his pocket directed the police to the body of Addie Hall. It was, according to NOPD veterans, one of the most gruesome crimes in the city’s history. How had this popular, handsome father of two done this horrible thing?

Journalist Ethan Brown moved from New York City to the French Quarter in order to investigate this question. Among the newsworthy elements in the book is Brown’s discovery that this tragedy—like so many others—could have been avoided if the military had simply not, in the words of Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, “absolutely and completely failed this soldier.” Shake the Devil Off is a mesmerizing tribute to these lives lost.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Catch and Kill

Ronan Farrow

Summary

In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

 

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.

 

All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance that could not be explained – until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood, to Washington, and beyond.

 

This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability and silence victims of abuse – and it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

 

Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power – and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook the culture.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

 

Furious Hours

Casey Cep

Summary

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South.   — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Michelle McNamara

Summary

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.   — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Adnan’s Story

Rabia Chaudry

Summary

Serial told Only Part of the Story…

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig’s investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners

But Serial did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence — among many other points — and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.   — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Blood Games

Jerry Bledsoe

Summary

As they slept in their North Carolina home, wealthy Lieth Von Stein and his wife Bonnie suffered a vicious assault with a knife and a baseball bat. Bonnie barely survived. Lieth did not. The crime seemed totally baffling until police followed a trail that led to the charming stepson, Chris Pritchard, and his brilliant, drug-using, Dungeons and Dragons–playing friends at North Carolina State University.

“Haunting . . . Addictive, chilling and a masterpiece of reportage,” Blood Games is the true story of depraved young minds and a son’s gruesome greed turned to horrifyingly tragedy (Patricia Cornwell). Jerry Bledsoe masterfully reconstructs the bloody crime and its aftermath as he takes us into the secret twisted hearts of three young murderers.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Foxcatcher

Mark Schultz

Summary

The riveting true story of Olympic wrestling gold medal-winning brothers Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz and their fatal relationship with the eccentric John du Pont, heir to the du Pont dynasty

On January 26, 1996, Dave Schultz, Olympic gold medal winner and wrestling golden boy, was shot three times by du Pont family heir John E. du Pont at the famed Foxcatcher Farms estate in Pennsylvania. Following the murder there was a tense standoff when du Pont barricaded himself in his home for two days before he was finally captured.

Foxcatcher is gold medal winner Mark Schultz’s memoir, revealing what made him and his brother champion and what brought them to Foxcatcher Farms. It’s a vivid portrait of the complex relationship he and his brother had with du Pont, a man whose catastrophic break from reality led to tragedy. No one knows the inside story of what went on behind the scenes at Foxcatcher Farms—and inside John du Pont’s head—better than Mark Schultz.

The incredible true story of these championship-winning brothers and the wealthiest convicted murderer of all time will be making headlines this fall, and Mark’s memoir will reveal the true inside story.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

The Devil in the White City

Erik Larson

Summary

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Combining the stories of an architect and a killer in one book, mostly in alternating chapters, seems like an odd choice but it works. The magical appeal and horrifying dark side of 19th-century Chicago are both revealed through Larson’s skillful writing. – John Moe   — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

My Story

Elizabeth Smart

Summary

For the first time, ten years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime.

On June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

Now for the first time, in her memoir, MY STORY, she tells of the constant fear she endured every hour, her courageous determination to maintain hope, and how she devised a plan to manipulate her captors and convinced them to return to Utah, where she was rescued minutes after arriving. Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served.

In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change. She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. In 2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met doing mission work in Paris for her church, in a fairy tale wedding that made the cover of People magazine.  —  Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

HUMOR

Wow, No Thank You

Samantha Irby

Summary

A new essay collection from Samantha Irby about aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America.

Irby is turning forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and is courted by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife and two step-children in a small white, Republican town in Michigan where she now hosts book clubs. This is the bourgeois life of dreams. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “skinny, luminous peoples” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” and hides Entenmann’s cookies under her bed and unopened bills under her pillow.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

You Can’t Touch My Hair

Phoebe Robinson

 

Summary

A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the absurdity you are handed on the daily. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she’s been unceremoniously relegated to the role of “the black friend,” as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she’s been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel (“isn t that . . . white people music?”); she’s been called “uppity” for having an opinion in the workplace; she’s been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she’s ready to take these topics to the page and she s going to make you laugh as she s doing it.

Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is “Queen. Bae. Jesus,” to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, “2 Dope Queens,” to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, “You Can’t Touch My Hair” examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.”  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Stay Hungry

Sebastian Maniscalco

Summary

This inspiring, honest, uproarious collection of essays traces Sebastian Maniscalco’s career from playing boxing rings and bowling alleys to reaching the pinnacles of comedy success.

At twenty-four, Sebastian Maniscalco arrived in LA with a suitcase and saved up minimum wages. He knew no one and nothing about standup comedy, but he was determined to go for it anyway.

At forty-four, he’s on the Forbes’ list of highest earning comedians, sells out arenas, and has starred in four hit comedy specials including Why Would You Do That? on Showtime.

Stay Hungry tells the story of the twenty years in between. On the way from clueless rube to standup superstar, Seb was booed off stages; survived on tips and stolen food; got advice from mentors Andrew Dice Clay, Vince Vaughn, Tony Danza, and Jerry Seinfeld; fell in love; and stayed true to his Italian-immigrant roots. The one code that always kept him going: stay hungry, keep focused, never give up, and one day, you’ll make it. — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Dear Girls

Ali Wong

Summary

Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero), covering everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so heavily that she became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads.

The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal singles life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and disgusting) for all.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Thank You For My Service

Mat Best

Summary

In this hilarious and personal memoir, readers ride shotgun alongside former Army Ranger, private military contractor, and social media phenomenon Mat Best, into the action and its aftermath, both abroad and at home. From surviving a skin infection in the swampy armpit of America (aka Columbus, Georgia) to kicking down doors in the outskirts of Ramadi; from blowing up a truck full of enemy combatants to witnessing the effects of a suicide bombing right in front of your face, Thank You for My Service will give readers fresh insight into what it’s really like inside the minds of the men and women on the front lines

It’s also a sobering yet steadying glimpse at civilian life for veterans, after the fighting stops. When the enemy becomes self-doubt or despair, and you begin to wonder why anyone should be thanking you for anything, least of all your service. How do you keep going when something you love turns you into somebody you hate? — Goodreads.com 

Find it on OverDrive

 

Modern Romance

Aziz Ansari

Summary

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Dogtripping

David Rosenfelt

Summary

When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, refrigerators full of food, and volunteers for help. But traveling in three RVs with twenty-five dogs turned out to be a bigger ordeal than he anticipated. Rosenfelt recounts the adventure with humor and warmth and tells how he and his wife became passionate foster parents for rescue dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

You Are Now Less Dumb

David McRaney

Summary

The author of the bestselling You Are Not So Smart shares more discoveries about self-delusion and irrational thinking, and gives readers a fighting chance at outsmarting their not-so-smart brains

David McRaney’s first book, You Are Not So Smart, evolved from his wildly popular blog of the same name. A mix of popular psychology and trivia, McRaney’s insights have struck a chord with thousands, and his blog–and now podcasts and videos–have become an Internet phenomenon.

Like You Are Not So SmartYou Are Now Less Dumb is grounded in the idea that we all believe ourselves to be objective observers of reality–except we’re not. But that’s okay, because our delusions keep us sane. Expanding on this premise, McRaney provides eye-opening analyses of fifteen more ways we fool ourselves every day, including:

– The Misattribution of Arousal (Environmental factors have a greater affect on our emotional arousal than the person right in front of us)
– Sunk Cost Fallacy (We will engage in something we don’t enjoy just to make the time or money already invested “worth it”)
– Deindividuation (Despite our best intentions, we practically disappear when subsumed by a mob mentality)

McRaney also reveals the true price of happiness, why Benjamin Franklin was such a badass, and how to avoid falling for our own lies. This smart and highly entertaining book will be wowing readers for years to come.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

Simple Times

Amy Sedaris

Summary

America’s most delightfully unconventional hostess and the bestselling author of I Like You delivers a new book that will forever change the world of crafting. According to Amy Sedaris, it’s often been said that ugly people craft and attractive people have sex. In her new book, Simple Times, she sets the record straight. Demonstrating that crafting is one of life’s more pleasurable and constructive leisure activities, Sedaris shows that anyone with a couple of hours to kill and access to pipe cleaners can join the elite society of crafters.

You will discover how to make popular crafts, such as: crab-claw roach clips, tinfoil balls, and crepe-paper moccasins, and learn how to: get inspired (Spend time at a Renaissance Fair; Buy fruit, let it get old, and see what shapes it turns into); remember which kind of glue to use with which material (Tacky with Furry, Gummy with Gritty, Paste with Prickly, and always Gloppy with Sandy); create your own craft room and avoid the most common crafting accidents (sawdust fires, feather asphyxia, pine cone lodged in throat); and cook your own edible crafts, from a Crafty Candle Salad to Sugar Skulls, and many more recipes.

PLUS whole chapters full of more crafting ideas (Pompom Ringworms! Seashell Toilet Seat Covers!) that will inspire you to create your own hastily constructed obscure d’arts; and much, much more! — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

NPR Funniest Driveway Moments

National Public Radio

Summary

Selected from the National Public Radio archives, these stories by some of NPR’s favorite commentators will keep listeners laughing.

A “driveway moment” is when you’re so captivated by a story on NPR that you stay in your car to hear it to the end—even if you’re sitting in your own driveway. Some are serious, some are touching, and some, like the stories included here, are very, very funny.

Literate, intelligent, and droll, each tale is worth hearing again and again, and now you don’t have to stay in your car.

NPR Funniest Driveway Moments includes stories and interviews from your favorite NPR commentators and guests such as David Sedaris, Sarah Silverman, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Dame Edna, Larry David, Darryl Littleton, Justice Stephen Breyer, Jonathan Winters, Phyllis Diller, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, and more.  — Goodreads.com

Find it on OverDrive

 

 

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *