NF Display March 2013

First off, BLARGH!  I already wrote this, even posted it.  Then I noticed a major formatting issue, tried to fix it (which utterly failed), and had CTRL+Z delete everything instead of functioning as "undo" and things just went downhill from there.  I make no promises to the accuracy of the reconstruction of the preexisting post with the exception of the book list, that I can guarantee is the same list of books (though possibly in a different order).


So, March non-fiction book display.  I'm going to take it as a good sign when many of the books that I wanted to include are actively circulating and were checked out when I put this out.  As the theme this month is Pages to the Screen I suppose this means either patrons are actively seeking out titles that movies have been made of, or the studios sometimes have really good taste.

My first choice for a March display was brewing, possibly paired with cheese making.  For some reason we have a LOT of books on cheese, I probably could dedicate a whole display to cheese alone.  Brewing for March should be pretty self-explanatory.  I had other considerations for the display this month.  We have a "From the Page to the Screen" film series going on through the Spring at my library, and I wanted to have a display nodding to that.  Any later and the series would have been half over or more, so I'll do brewing another month.

In a little over a week I've had to add titles to the display several times, and am still waiting for a few titles to come back long enough to go on display.  So I can say with some comfort there are some good books on this display, and with that and in no particular order, the book list:
  • Catch me if you can : the amazing true story of the youngest and most daring con man in the history of fun and profit / Frank W. Abagnale
  • The informant : a true story / Kurt Eichenwald
  • Argo : how the CIA and Hollywood pulled off the most audacious rescue in history / Antonio J. Mendez and Matt Baglio
  • Touching the void : the true story of one man's miraculous survival / Joe Simpson
  • Between a rock and a hard place / Aron Ralston
  • My left foot / Christy Brown
  • The accidental billionaires : the founding of Facebook : a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal / Ben Mezrich
  • A beautiful mind : a biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, 1994 / Nasar, Sylvia Nasar
  • Black Hawk Down : a story of modern war / Mark Bowden 
  • Fair game : how a top spy was betrayed by her own government / Valerie Plame Wilson
  • An ordinary man : an autobiography / Paul Rusesabagina with Tom Zoellner
  • Hero : the life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia / Michael Korda
  • Seven years in Tibet / Heinrich Harrer
  • The blind side : evolution of a game / Michael Lewis
  • Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game / Michael Lewis
  • Julie & Julia : 365 days, 534 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen / Julie Powell
  • The autobiography of Malcolm X / Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Zodiac unmasked : the identity of America's most elusive serial killer revealed / Robert Graysmith
  • Girl, Interrupted / Susanna Kaysen
  • Seabiscuit : An American Legend / Lauren Hillenbrand
  • Friday night lights : a town, a team, and a dream / H. G. Bissinger
  • Jarhead : a Marine's chronicle of the Gulf War and other battles / Anthony Swofford
  • Marley & me : life and love with the world's worst dog / John Grogan
  • See no evil : the true story of a ground soldier in the CIA's war on terrorism / Robert Baer
  • Flags of our fathers / James Bradley and Ron Powers
  • Into the wild / Jon Krakauer
  • We bought a zoo : the amazing true story of a young family, a broken down zoo, and the 200 wild animals that change their lives forever / Benjamin Mee
  • Running with scissors / Augusten Burroughs
  • The mayor of Castro Street : the life and times of Harvey Milk
Most of the books share at least in part their title with the movie(s) they inspired.  An ordinary man was made into a movie called Hotel Rwanda, so a few require familiarity with the subject to make the connection.  A few trends I noticed when searching for films with non-fiction counter-parts are in the types of stories that become movies.  One of which was the sheer number of true-story films that revolve around missing limbs (I admit this is not represented in the selection of titles above, but that is limited by what we have on the shelves here).

It was interesting to go through the reviews, both of books and movies, in building this display.  Some of these stories have engendered very strong reactions.  Between a rock and a hard place for example has an extremely high number of negative responses describing the author as highly who is at fault for what happened (many of those doing so also cite their own rock climbing experience as part of the impetus for this reaction), such as this review:

"I have read a few Mountaineering books, and as a climber/surfer/diver/backpacker/paddler/all around wilderness junkie, I was quite unsettled by this book. In the book, Aron Ralston is plagued by one-upmanship syndrome. The book should be a guide to avoiding wedging your arm between stones in desolate wilderness. Rather it is a distasteful brag-fest of Ralston's overzealous adventure practices. Events such as these lead to the closure of recreation areas every year in suit-happy America. I would further critique Ralston's wilderness appreciation by the fact he had headphones on while hiking. He should have carried a locator-beacon instead of and auditory inhibitor. On the contrary, I have yet to speak with Ralston about the book or events.
In place of this book, please read any of the tasteful works by Ed Viesturs, who sets an excellent example of the way in which people should behave in extreme wilderness settings."
Actually, that was one of the kinder critiques regardless of the reviewer's one star rating.  Other people loved to book, and I do have to agree that regardless of unsafe actions cutting off one's hand is by no means an easy feat.

Of course one of the big things that came up in the lists of movies based on true stories, is how different the books are from the movies.  Largely we all expect movies and books to have differences, some things don't translate well, other things sell better, or maybe the director just likes to blow things up.  So just like with The Hobbit, facets of the story are likely going to be tweaked in the translation when non-fiction is brought to film.  Jarhead leaves out quite a bit of Swofford's introspection as well as some of his less than legal activities.  A beautiful mind keeps Sylvia and John wedded throughout the film (read more in this Slate article).  Girl, interrupted has Angelena Jolie starring in a supporting role that is only briefly in the book, as well as morphing a series of vignettes into something with an cohesive plot.  So on and so forth.  Without arguing about whether or not this detracts from the story, I'd like to at least put out there that if the story was this compelling in the first place that the differences add value to reading the original.


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