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4 new nonfiction books that will shock you

A book can do many things: fill you with emotion, thrill you, and entrance you. But not all books can shock you.

I love books that change my line of thinking or at least challenge linear logic. Some books do this by presenting a challenge and overcoming it (or not overcoming it) in a way that we could never dream. Others put to rest notions that have been pounded into society’s heads.

These books, all released between 2013 and now, do just that: They boggle our brains by shocking us.

Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure
by Sarah Jane Butfield

Going to Australia has been on my bucket list since I was 12 (it’s a long story), and reading Butfield’s memoir ignited the travel bug in me yet again.

This memoir follows Butfield and her family’s difficult and often emotional voyage to foreign lands in a way that will pretty much drain you … in a good way, of course!

Why it will shock you: Australia is this perfect oasis, right? Well, yes and no. Butfield and her family brave many elements after moving from England to Australia (cue penal-colony joke).

But they do it while keeping a positive attitude.


Why you should read it: It is super-inspiring. Fans of Wild will find it especially refreshing, because it has that same sense of going on a journey through rough times, and is told through a strong woman’s point of view. Plus, as many obstacles as there are thrown at Butfield, she always manages to “make lemonade.”


My Hero Walks on Water
by Brian Dobson

This inspirational memoir follows the journey of a man from his hard times to finding great success, in the form of bodybuilding. It’s the male equivalent of a Cinderella story.

Why it will shock you: This is the most honest book I’ve read in a long time. It chronicles Dobson’s addictions and rebellion unapologetically, which just adds to the buildup before Dobson turns his life around. Actually, he does more than just turn his life around: He helps countless others do the same.


Why you should read it: The fact that Dobson did such a 180 with his life is just the perfect example of how anything is possible. This man founded a gym, where he then discovered and trained athletes like Ronnie Coleman to become Mr. Olympia eight times! Oh, and he started a ministry to feed the homeless … with fish he catches himself. Does it get more awe-inspiring than that?


Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone
by Bo Burnham

I have been a Bo Burnham fan since his YouTube days. In high school, I dedicated countless hours to memorizing Words, Words, Words in its entirety. And it is still a neat party trick to spew out that gem. So of course, Bo’s first book is just brilliant, and demented, and hilarious.

Why it will shock you: Well, besides the fact that he pens the phrase “muscular teeth,” which still makes me do that weird snort-laugh thing that I thought I was done with, his prose is so unexpected. The same delivery he has on stage is punched into this monster of a book.

Pop Matters

Why you should read it: This is a quick read. But if you read it like I did, it will take a while, because you have to keep going back to find jokes that you missed. That’s how clever this guy is. There are many layers to his comedy—and some very valid points.


Why We Love Serial Killers
by Scott Bonn

Any book about serial killers will probably scare the bejesus out of you. Trust me, I know. But Bonn’s book is a bit different in how it goes about it. The book delves into society’s fascination with serial killers (have you turned on your TV recently?) and what makes those killers tick.

Why it will shock you: First off, your ideas about serial killers are probably wrong. They are not all like Buffalo Bill or Dexter. Some actually have functioning families, and some are women. But more than that, we are asked to look at ourselves and understand how our feeding into the serial-killer spectacle often fuels these monsters.


Why you should read it: This is a really intelligent book that puts a new spin on a popular topic in an unexpected way. Plus, Bonn actually talks to Son of Sam and BTK. Spoiler: They are just as insane as you’d imagine.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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