You know how people say truth is stranger than fiction?  Well, sometimes a really well-written nonfiction book on a fascinating subject can be better, more engrossing reading than a novel.  Hard to believe?  Take a look at three new nonfiction books on our shelves and decide for yourself.

First, for all of us who are devotees (whether we admit it or not) of the television show Orange is the New Black (the source book for this show, by the way, is also on our shelves and an interesting read, but not the one I’m highlighting now), haven’t you wondered about the real women behind some of the other characters besides Piper Chapman?  It turns out that the real Alex Vause was a woman by the name of Cleary Wolters, and she’s come out with a memoir entitled Out of Orange.  Naturally, her true life story differs from that of her fictional counterpart, but she spins an exciting tale and sheds a new light on Alex Vause and the realities of women running drugs and ending in prison.

Looking for something more practical but still very readable?  Parents of high school and college students (and perhaps the students themselves) will find a lot to consider in the new book, Will College Pay Off? A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make, by Peter Cappelli.  This clearly written (and well-researched) and non-ideological book, filled with graphs and charts, not only talks about the link between a college education and a well-paying job, but delves deeper into how students can get the most out of college when they’re there, whether financial aid applications change a college’s decision to admit someone, how to get that first job after college and whether unpaid internships are a good idea or not, and other questions you wouldn’t necessarily assume are covered by the book’s title.

And finally, who doesn’t like a story about scandal, fraud and wild living, especially one that involves other people and doesn’t actually affect you?  The book Empire of Deception, The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated a Nation, by Dean Jobb, takes us to Chicago in the Roaring Twenties and introduces us to a fascinating con man, one Leo Koretz, who swindled people out of $30 million in 1920’s money (probably something like $400 million in present day money) by enticing them to buy nonexistent timberlands and oil wells.  Then, when things got hot, he disappeared altogether, leading to an international manhunt lasting almost a year. After he was finally caught, his trial became one of those juicy criminal trials, of which there were so many in this period, which fascinated the whole nation.  Not being a man to do anything the ordinary way, Koretz died mysteriously in prison.  Greed, illicit sex, dirty politics, corruption of all kinds and a character at the center of it all who’s charismatic and brilliant: what’s not to like?  Check it out at the Field.


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