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Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November 2015Welcome to the first week of Nonfiction November! I am excited to be your official host this week. Throughout the month, my co-hosts and I will be reading and writing about nonfiction, and encouraging other readers to join us through a series of post topics and a couple of readalongs.

Our topic this week, a repeat from week one last year, asks you to look back on the year and share some thoughts on your reading life:

Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

This year has been kind of an interesting one for me. In the past, I’ve read about 60 percent nonfiction and 40 percent fiction. This year, I’ve actually read more fiction than nonfiction — 37 books compared to 32 books. And the majority of the comics I’ve read, 14 books in total, are fictional. Clearly, I need Nonfiction November!

I decided to approach this week’s topic similar to last year, survey style:

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

As I said, it’s been a strange year, lots of fiction and comic books and a lot less of the journalistic, narrative nonfiction that I really love. But I’ve definitely read some good nonfiction, including The Lonely War by Nazila Fathi, Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette, It’s What I Do by Lynsay Addario, and Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean,

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

The book I want everyone to read is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I’ve written about it a couple times: in comparison to Ghettoside by Jill Leovy here on the blog and as a recommendation to read if you loved To Kill a Mockingbird at Book Riot. And if you need more of a push to pick it up, it’s going to be a movie starring Michael B. Jordan (so, so in for that).

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

I keep talking about reading more books on race and social justice, but I keep skipping over them in favor of books that are going to be easier reads. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisis Coates is at the top of my reading pile for this month.

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

Honestly, my blogging mojo for the last six months or so has been pretty non-existent. I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that I mostly found myself happier to be reading than writing. So I’m hoping that the enthusiasm that bubbles up for this event will give me some of the juice I need to get in the groove again. And of course I’m psyched to add a million titles to my TBR list from all the great recommendations everyone offers up this month.

Programming Notes

Before I share the Mr. Linky, a few small programming notes:

  • I’ll be doing this week’s wrap up, so check back here sometime on Friday to see a summary of what everyone has been writing about.
  • If you’re talking about Nonfiction November on Twitter, please use the hashtag #nonficnov for your posts so we can find them. The hashtag seems a little crowded this year, but we’ll just make it work.
  • Next week’s host is Leslie (Regular Rumination), where we’ll be talking about nonfiction book pairings.
  • Bex (An Armchair By the Sea) is hosting a Nonfiction Book Swap to go along with Nonfiction November. The book swap is open internationally and participants should make a nonfiction only wish list. Sign ups are open until November 8, but head over to her blog for all the details.

Link It Up!

{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Heather November 2, 2015, 5:53 am

    I’m in the middle of It’s What I Do and am planning to read Just Mercy this month too. We must think alike.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading November 2, 2015, 6:28 am

    Ohh, good call on Just Mercy! That’s one I recommend a ton, too…such an amazing book. So excited for this month to start, thanks again for putting everything together.

  • Sarah's Book Shelves November 2, 2015, 6:43 am

    I thought the Great Beanie Baby Bubble was so fascinating/horrifying – I got the recommendation from you! And I need to make for my lack of nonfiction reading this month as well!

  • Leslie November 2, 2015, 7:17 am

    Sounds like I need to add Just Mercy to my list!

  • Beth F November 2, 2015, 7:53 am

    I love Nonfiction November even though I’m not an official participant. I end up adding to my TBR like a crazy person. 🙂

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:54 pm

      That’s the best part of the month!

  • Sarah @ The Country Bookworm November 2, 2015, 7:59 am

    Thanks for hosting this week! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading and add to my TBR shelf.

  • Tungsten Hippo November 2, 2015, 10:22 am

    I love this idea! I’m excited I found the hashtag. Reading your post, I realize I didn’t answer the “what am I hoping to get out of Nonficiton November” question. The answer is that I’m sure I’ll add a bunch of books to my “to read” pile. I’m also hoping to convince a few people to try out non-fiction short ebooks. I think it is a genre that can work really well with the shorter length!

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:55 pm

      I’m glad you mentioned nonfiction ebooks — they’re great!

  • Trish November 2, 2015, 10:32 am

    So glad you ladies are doing this again–I loved it last year and I’ve definitely seen my nonfiction reading increase since last year (though I think I can thank audio for that).

    Between the World and Me is definitely on my radar as well. I keep hearing such amazing things about it!

  • Nupur November 2, 2015, 10:34 am

    Thanks for the great recommendations! Being Mortal by Atul Gawande was my favorite non-fiction read this year, and the one I’ve recommended most to people.

    Other non-fiction books I’ve really enjoyed:
    The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (A look at the status of women in modern Afghanistan through the lens of the curious social practice of dressing up young girls as boys)

    What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
    by Randall Munroe. This was a seriously fun and seriously geeky read.

    Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast- a comic book memoir.

    Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
    by Gretchen Rubin. I really like her insights and they have been helpful to me this year in putting some new habits into place.

    The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. A detailed and insightful look at the Wright Brothers and how they developed their flying machine.

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:55 pm

      I have What If on audio book — hoping to get to it on a drive sometime soon.

  • Florinda November 2, 2015, 10:49 am

    I singled out BEING MORTAL as one of the highlights of my nonfiction year too. IT’S WHAT I DO was one of the best memoirs I read. And like a few others have commented, I have JUST MERCY in my TBR (I bought the ebook a while back). I’d really like to read more essay collections.

    I’m so glad you gals are doing this again–I love Nonfiction November!

  • BermudaOnion(Kathy) November 2, 2015, 12:40 pm

    That is an odd reading year for you.

  • Marisa @ The Daily Dosage November 2, 2015, 7:54 pm

    This is my first time participating and I’m very excited. My nonfiction reading has been nonexistent lately and I’m hoping to jumpstart it again this month. I just put Just Mercy on hold at the library and eager to read it!

  • Katie in MA November 3, 2015, 8:25 am

    I’m so excited to be back for Nonfiction November! Thank you so much for hosting! I’ve dived into Stiff, Triggered, and my hold for Sisters in Law came in – such a good start!

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:56 pm

      I’ve got Sisters in Law on the way to the library as well. My library hold list is seriously out of control right now.

  • JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing November 3, 2015, 8:55 am

    Adding Just Mercy to my list.
    Thanks for hosting again this year .

  • Julie Merilatt November 3, 2015, 9:48 am

    If you’re interested in social justice, stop by my blog on November 11 to enter to win a copy of Stolen Years: Stories of the Wrongfully Imprisoned. Great read.

  • Laura @ The Buttontapper November 3, 2015, 11:02 am

    Wow, everyone seems to be reading such serious nonfiction that I feel like a bit of an outlier here with my celebrity memoirs and writing guides! Your post about The Great Beanie Baby Bubble made me giggle, though. I seem to recall enacting some very serious soap opera-style storylines with my BFF’s huge collection of Barbies, once upon a time, so I can relate to the collector’s madness. 😉

    Thanks for hosting this event – I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts!

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:57 pm

      I love fun nonfiction, so you’re definitely not alone! Celebrity memoirs on audio book seem to work pretty well for me too.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End November 3, 2015, 8:53 pm

    I love Michael B Jordan so so much and I think he’s a really charismatic and interesting actor. And also, I wish he wouldn’t get pigeonholed into just being, like, the actor you go to for Important Movies about Race. I think he’s fantastic at that! And God knows I do not want Jason Katims to stop casting him in television shows. But I’d also like to see him get opportunities to do roles beyond that. Romantic comedies! Action movies that aren’t terrible (*gives Fantastic Four the side-eye*)! JOURNALISM THRILLERS.

    (On an unrelated matter, I saw the trailer for Spotlight today and it looks amazing.)

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:57 pm

      I am behind you 100 percent on this. We should start a club… The Society for People Who Want Michael B. Jordan to Be In All Movies, Even Fun Ones.

  • Tara @ Running 'N' Reading November 4, 2015, 8:21 am

    I’ve yet to read Just Mercy, but I’ve thought about it several times; thanks for the glowing recommendation! I guess I need to get on that one – ha! I can relate to you on the blogging slump; I think I go full steam ahead for awhile and then need a break, or just don’t feel as motivated. Nonfiction November has definitely given me an excuse to stick with it, so thank you! Looking forward to participating for the first time this year; y’all are amazing for doing this!

  • Jay November 4, 2015, 12:56 pm

    Thanks for hosting! Looking forward to hearing about a lot of new to me non-fiction.

  • Rachel November 4, 2015, 12:58 pm

    I feel like I’ve commented here, but apparently I haven’t. I loved Being Mortal. I, too, want to read more social justice. I have so many on my TBR pile! I’ve been reading a lot on mental illness lately because I’m taking a psychology class.

  • Carrie November 4, 2015, 3:24 pm

    Thanks for hosting. This is one of my favorite blog activities of the year!

  • emma at Words And Peace November 5, 2015, 7:43 am

    thanks for hosting!

  • susan November 5, 2015, 7:51 am

    I’m hoping to get some new nonfiction titles. Thanks for hosting. I just finished The Indifferent Stars Above which was pretty epic. I’ve read quite a few nonfiction titles this year — wahoo!

  • Jennifer @ Bookish Lawyer November 6, 2015, 12:57 am

    Really excited to be participating. It was so great to have a reason to go back and look at all the great nonfiction I have read so far this year and to look forward to my stack for the month ahead! Can’t wait to check out other posts to add books to my TBR pile.

  • Ann @ Books on the Table November 6, 2015, 2:48 pm

    Better late than never — just added my link. Thanks for hosting — I love nonfiction. Halfway through The Three Year Swim Club, and while it’s not Boys in the Boat, it’s quite good.

    • Kim November 8, 2015, 12:58 pm

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I’m hoping my library will get it sometime soon.

  • Paige November 17, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Totally late to the party, and I didn’t follow the prompts, but I definitely wanted to participate :3 Thanks for hosting, I’ve been looking over all the amazing posts here and on other blogs over the last few days and it’s so much fun! 🙂

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