NON-FICTION CHARMAINE CHAN
image

E-books and audiobooks

New e-book and audiobook non-fiction by Kim Goldman, John Norris and Suzy Favor Hamilton

Advice on how to survive a media storm, celebrating a journalist of the old school and a fast girl's descent into a sordid life

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 9:01pm

Media Circus

by Kim Goldman with Tatsha Robertson

BenBella (e-book)

Kim Goldman's brother, Ron, was the man killed in 1994 alongside Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of O.J. Simpson. This is why she knows what it feels like to be at the centre of a media circus, with reporters camping outside your home and cameras intruding on moments of grief. That episode lies behind this book, which, she says, tries to sensitise a culture that has become numb to the pain of others. Her effort is to be applauded although the book would have benefited from more analysis, better management of quotes and further insight from the reporters themselves. We hear from, among others, the sister of Sharon Tate and the wife of police brutality victim Eric Garner, whose words "I can't breathe", captured on video, were replayed constantly and printed on T-shirts. Esaw Garner says: "[The media] cheated me out of grieving for my husband." Helpfully, Goldman includes a section offering advice to others who may one day be in the spotlight: important advice to those approached for interviews? You don't owe the media anything.

 

Mary McGrory

by John Norris

Viking (e-book) 

John Norris’ portrait of Mary McGrory is lovingly burnished and a wonderful read. An American journalist (1918-2004) who wrote political columns when few women covered politics, Norris was a radical voice who rose to prominence during the Army-(Joseph) McCarthy hearings in 1954; her daily articles during 36 days of the hearings were credited for having been central to his demise. So popular were her columns, first for The Washington Star, later for The Washington Post, they were syndicated in 1960, although some readers didn’t like her mingling reporting and commentary. Not bad for a writer who began as a book reviewer and whose first column was about her dog. We learn about her friendship with J.F. Kennedy, and   why her name was on the list of Richard Nixon’s 20 key enemies. Her glittering career, however, was diminished by regret about her personal life; a devout Catholic with firm pro-life convictions, she never married. In an age of blink-and-you-miss it news, Norris’ book is fascinating as a history of old-school journalism. 

 

Fast Girl

by Suzy Favor Hamilton 

Harper Audio (audiobook)

Not everyone will feel for Suzy Favor Hamilton, who in Fast Girl chronicles how bipolar disorder changed her life. In no-nonsense fashion she tells of her life as an American Olympic runner. Then, she says, her mental illness took her to dark places: before races, she dreamed of somehow breaking a leg so she wouldn't have to run. She was also bulimic and enjoyed the feeling of control that gave her. Post-track career, she ended up selling real estate with her husband, Mark. They had been married 20 years when a trip to Las Vegas opened their eyes to the escort business. From there on, Hamilton, who narrates her own book, tells of making monthly visits to Vegas to get her thrills as a prostitute. She left her husband and daughter behind for weekends of wildness, making sure they knew she was all right but otherwise taking risks with customers. But then a journalist discovered her identity and the tears began. Many will find her story fascinating; this reader would have found more interesting the story from her husband's perspective.