Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Non-Fiction November: My Year in Non-Fiction

I do like to read non-fiction although it is certainly a much smaller percentage of my reading than fiction is. I don't read just any non-fiction though, it has to really grab me. That doesn't mean it has to be about something that I do or want to do, something I love, or a person I have heard of. No, what that means is that it must tell a compelling story. Sure, it's a true story but it's a story none the less. Luckily non-fiction has undergone a radical change in the past decade(s). It no longer reads like a textbook. ::snooze::  Instead, it is every bit as gripping as the best novels. And I'm sure that goes a long way towards explaining why I read so much more non-fiction than I used to. So this month is dedicated to non-fiction and while I certainly won't be devoting all of my reading to only it, I will certainly keep a closer eye on what I do read and trying to even out the percentage just that little bit more.

In the spirit of joining in on the event that Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Katie at Doing Dewey, Leslie at Regular Rumination, and Becca at I'm Lost in Books are hosting this month, here are my answers to their questions.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

If I look at my calendar year so far, I've read 140 fiction and 26 non-fiction titles. Obviously skewed heavily in favor of fiction! Of those, my favorites (because I can't abide being pinned down to just one) were Between You and me by Mary Norris because I love language and any discussion of it makes me happy, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown because this was the definition of gripping as I nervously rooted those boys onward despite already knowing that they won, and Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie Mallowan (review to come) because it was a lovely look about a time long past and a fascinating departure for the mystery novelist.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

I have recommended The Boys in the Boat the most because I think that it is the most likely to find a universal audience although I intend to talk up the Christie Mallowan memoir a lot (and I've only just finished it yesterday).

What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?

I do tend to read non-fiction similar to the above three: memoir, travel, and sports. Add in cooking, animals, and history and you've got a pretty good view of what I do read. I don't often read religion (although I did just read a religious memoir), business (although I have one of these on the tbr shelves to potentially tackle this month), crime (never gonna happen), or self-help (I am not interested in improving myself or maybe I feel like the suggestions are too self-evident on the whole, take your pick).

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

As for what I'd like to get out of participating (probably sporadically), well, I figure I can use it to find even more of the fascinating and true tales that I've been searching out in recent years or maybe just move some of those I've accumulated off the shelves and actually finally get around to reading them.

And that's it. I've read my first non-fiction of the month (the Christie Mallowan I finished yesterday) so now I'm off to select the next one and to see where this month takes me.


  1. Good luck finding some good nonfiction books to read! I've heard Boys in the Boat is fantastic. :)

  2. As you know I love nonfiction so I don't need the month of Nivember to remind me to read it, but to my frustration, given my restrictions for book clubs and reading challenges, I might only read one more nonfiction book this year! Color me grumpy.

  3. The Agatha Christie bio sounds really intriguing - I'll watch out for your review.

  4. Yay for The Boys in the Boat! It was my most recommended nonfiction as well. And - I'm reading what's panning out to be a somewhat similar one right now...The Three-Year Swim Club.

  5. I recommend The Boys in the Boat a lot too. It just so great.

  6. I've heard such good things about The Boys in the Boat (like from Kim!), so it's definitely high on my TBR!


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