Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron James, Batso the biker, and other real-life stories

Real life can seem stranger than fiction. Here are some real-life stories that may surprise you, from the lives of NBA superstars to going-green experimenters driving cross-country in their french-fry oil-powered car. Looks for these non-fiction reads here on BookBag using the World Catalog / search boxes and fasten your seatbelts for some wild rides!

Shooting Stars, by LeBron James and H. G. Bissinger (Penguin Press) Adult Nonfiction. You probably know NBA superstar LeBron James is busy packing his bags for Miami -- but what do you know about where he came from? Writing in cooperation with the author of Friday Night Lights, James tells about growing up poor in Akron, Ohio and later playing killer basketball with his best friends, "the Fab Five," on the Shooting Stars amateur youth team and at St. Vincent-St. Mary's high school. Fans of on-the-court action will especially enjoy this exciting and timely memoir.

Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck, and a Few Turtles, by Denise Flaim (Viking) Adult Nonfiction. With their combined 1700 pounds of muscle and their blunt, in-your-face approach, the heavily tattooed members of the animal-rescue group Rescue Ink can seem a pretty intimidating bunch. After all, do you really expect a biker nicknamed "Batso" to have a soft spot for kittens? Maybe you should: these New Yorkers have made it their mission to improve the lives of abused and neglected animals. This inspirational book gives background information on each fascinating member of the organization and tells the stories of many of their rescue adventures.

My Name is Jason. Mine Too. - by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin (Joanna Cotler Books) Nonfiction. Two guys named Jason, former college roommates, chase their dreams and ponder the meaning of their lives in this mélange of verse and artwork that, in two distinct voices, tells about a single, universal journey. The Jasons--one a poet, one a painter--struggle financially after moving to the Big Apple to seek their fortunes, and just when one of them is ready to give up hope, the other buoys him up. Just the thing for artists, free thinkers, and philosophical types, this tale of The City is a quick and inspiring read.

Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-Country Search for a Greener Future, by Greg Melville (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill) Adult Nonfiction. Who needs gasoline? Not Greg Melville--and, if you ask him, "nearly anyone can operate and maintain a french-fry car." To prove it, he converted a dilapidated old Mercedes from a diesel-powered car into one that uses recycled grease as fuel and drove it from Vermont to California with his old college buddy Iggy riding shotgun. Collecting fuel from restaurant dumpsters along the way, Greg and Iggy also tour a number of sites powered by green energy (including geothermally heated Fort Knox and Google's solar-powered headquarters). The New York Times calls this book "an entertaining combination of On the Road and An Inconvenient Truth."

Three Little Words, by Ashley Rhodes-Courter (Atheneum) Nonfiction. This powerful and harrowing real-life story traces author Ashley Rhodes-Courter's painful childhood and offers a challenging look at the U.S. foster-care system. Taken from her neglectful mother as a toddler, Ashley endured more than a dozen foster families--ranging from benevolent to apathetic to downright cruel--over the next nine years. Written to inspire hope in children who have, like the author, fallen through the cracks in the system, Three Little Words is a captivating, disturbing, and (ultimately) encouraging story.

I'm Down: A Memoir, by Mishna Wolff (St. Martin's Press) Adult Nonfiction. At one point or another, most of us struggle to feel like we fit in--and humorist Mishna Wolff's story is a prime example of that struggle. In the 1980s, Wolff and her family, all of them "white Americans of European ancestry," moved to a poor black neighborhood in Seattle, where Wolff's father--who truly wanted to be black--could embrace African-American culture. Wolff tried desperately to fit in with her classmates, but she wasn't "black enough"; then, after her mother had her transferred to a private school, she found she wasn't quite white enough, either. Check out I'm Down for Mishna's hilarious, absorbing, and bittersweet story.

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