A decade ago Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas topped the charts in music and The War Boys, directed by Ron Daniels, was one of the most watched movies. At this time in 2009, actor Michael J. Fox's memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist had recently released to high praise, we discovered narrative nonfiction author David Grann, read a haunting account about a national tragedy, and paged through a slightly odd picture book by a superstar of science fiction.
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Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
Wildly popular science fiction author Neil Gaiman, known for his Sandman graphic novel series and American Gods (now an original series in its second season on STARZ) took a sharp turn in May of 2009 with a picture book. The year before, Gaiman wrote a middle grade novel--The Graveyard Book--which went on to win the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal, so why not a picture book? A poetic celebration of daughters, Gaiman wrote and dedicated Blueberry Girl to his dear friend, singer Tori Amos.
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
David Grann's first book took many of us by storm, showing readers just how good narrative nonfiction can be. Ever since Grann brought us the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett's ill-fated search for a fabled lost city in the middle of the Amazon jungle, we have clamored for more from him. Nearly ten years after it's release, The Lost City of Z was turned into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt, and in 2017 we chose Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon as the best book of the year.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Ten years later and I still remember reading this remarkable book. Columbine came out a decade after the tragic event that rocked the nation, and the mere mention of the name immediately conjures up the memory of the first school shooting of its kind in our country. Cullen is an excellent reporter and was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the massacre. He spent the next ten years working on Columbine and his well-researched portrait of the two teenagers who will forever be remembered as catalysts for what has become a recurring nightmare in our country, is powerful and unforgettable. I still have Columbine at home--surviving ten years of bookshelf purges may tell you something about how good it is.
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