Non-Fic Picks: Biography and Memoir

Posted Aug 6, 2015

Meet someone new; read a biography.  Here’s three recently published life stories that just hit our new non-fiction shelves.

The Beautiful Unseen: Variations on Fog and Forgetting by Kyle Boelte

At the age of thirty and living with guilt for almost twenty years, Kyle Boelte starts to analyze the emotions, circumstances, and memories surrounding his older brother's suicide.  While reviewing a cardboard box of his brother’s letters, notes, and artifacts, Boelte also takes special interest in the San Francisco fog.  Born in Kansas, then moving to Denver’s premier suburbs, Boelte eventually makes his way to the City by the Bay.  More than just a physical migration, Boelte’s journey includes personal memories, historical context, and environmental implications.  He uses San Francisco’s climate as a means to explore the impermanence of memory while stressing the importance of nature.  Wrought with powerful emotional and physical imagery, The Beautiful Unseen is a glimpse into loss and perception.         

The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop by Steve Osborne

Through fourteen standalone chapters, Steve Osborne gives readers an inside glimpse into the New York Police Department, the largest municipal police department in the United States serving a city of over eight million inhabitants.  One can only imagine the things this twenty year veteran has seen and the stories he has to tell.  From his early days on the rookie beat to making lieutenant, Osborne has seen drug deals, a stabbing in broad daylight, a Wall Street stockbroker accused of rape, and the devastation of September 11th.  As an experienced storyteller with The Moth, a non-profit organization that hosts storytelling events, Osborne engages readers with his ability to highlight the pros and cons of serving on the force while illustrating the detrimental long term effects the job can have on cops.     

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon

Just ten days after giving birth a baby girl, Mary Wollstonecraft—writer, philosopher, and women’s rights advocate—died.  Her daughter, Mary Shelley, world renown for writing Frankenstein, could only connect with her mother through Wollstonecraft’s writings.  For have never knowing one another, the two have a lot in common.  For example, Wollstonecraft and Shelley were both “radical” writers; they both were in love with writers and gave birth to children outside of wedlock; both were single mothers living in exile; and best of all, both women changed society.  Romantic Outlaws is the first dual biography that explores Wollstonecraft and Shelley lives in tandem.  Told in alternate chapters, Gordon explores both mother and daughter through larger a larger lens while taking readers through Revolutionary France and Victorian England.

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