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Who is getting excited for Nonfiction November! Something about knowing the event was on the horizon really kicked my nonfiction reading into gear this month — more than half of what I’ve picked up in October has been nonfiction. It feels really good to be getting back into that groove.

I’m also excited to share that we’re adding another component to the celebration this month, one that I hope will be able to bring in even more people. A blogger I recently connected with, Leann at There There Read This, proposed a nonfiction Instagram challenge for next month. We worked together on the prompts and came up with this:

If you’re interested in participating in Nonfiction November but don’t have a blog, feel free to join us on Instagam and Litsy using the prompts above and the hashtag #NonficNov. I’ve had a lot of fun using Instagram to share books this year, and so I hope some of you will try it out too. We’ll be posting the prompts on Instagram later this week, and will kick off on November 1.

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Happy Fall 2017 Readathon!

It’s Readathon day!! I’ve got my books and my snacks and my tea, and I’m ready to settle in for a full day of great books.

I’ll be doing most of my Readathon updates on Twitter (@kimthedork) and Instagram (kimthedork). I’m also planning to update this post with other notes using Storify. You should be able to see the embedded Storify below, but if not follow this link.

Happy Readathon, everyone!

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Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is coming! The Readathon is probably my favorite day of the whole year. There’s nothing more indulgent or nerdy that sitting down to read for an entire day with the rest of the bookish Internet.

To get ready, I’ve been focusing on my five major strategies for Readathon success — choosing short books with big fonts, starting with a quick-ish read, mixing genres and formats, preparing mostly healthy snacks, and getting the house tidied up for a distraction-free day. I’m also excited that I’ll have two Readathon companions this year. My sister and my mom will be around on Saturday, and both are planning a full day of reading. I think that will be really fun!

I’ve been taking books and and off my stacks for the last few weeks, but I think I’ve finally settled on my options for Saturday. If the day goes really well I’ll be able to finish four books, plus a few comics, and clock in some time with an audio book. Here’s what I’m considering:

Nonfiction

  • A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo (256 pages) — Four narratives of “ordinary women and men fighting extremism in Africa.”
  • The Return by Hishram Matar (272 pages) — “When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing under mysterious circumstances. … Twenty-two years later, he returned to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance.”
  • Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen (288 pages) — Essays about unruly women and their impact on popular culture.
  • The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer (288 pages) — In the 1980s, librarians banded together to save ancient Arabic texts from Al Qaeda.

Fiction

  • The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel (272 pages) — A young man brought up in a corrupt family agrees to one last heist in order to break free.
  • Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (288 pages) — “The suspenseful and heartbreaking story of an immigrant family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.”
  • The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland (272 pages) — The last transcriptionist at a New York City newspaper has a simple life, until a story shocks her out of her reverie.
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (288 pages) — Short stories set in the world of one of my favorite YA books, the Grisha Trilogy.

I’ve also got several comics on my pile — four volumes of LumberjanesSaga Volume 7Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Truth, and a couple volumes of Phoebe and Her Unicorn. I am pretty psyched about those too!

Like usual, I’ll have a post up here on Saturday where I’ll collect my updates from the day, primarily my Twitter feed (@kimthedork) and Instagram (kimthedork). For the last several Readathons, I’ve been using Storify to collect all of my updates in one place, and I anticipate doing that again because it’s really convenient.

Happy Readathon, see you then!

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Happy Sunday! A couple of weeks ago Jenny at Reading the End decided to launch a little project called Something on Sunday, a way to celebrate the little things in life and share some love for the things that matter most. She encouraged people to blog every Sunday “about something that kept you on your feet that week”:

… whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you.

So, I’m in. This week my something on Sunday is decidedly bookish, although I am sure that will be the case for most Sundays going forward. But this week… let’s talk about cheap books!

Half Price Books, for those of you unfortunate enough to not have that chain nearby, is a store where you can get… half price books. I take piles of books there to trade in pretty regularly, only to turn around and spend more on new books on the trip. It’s a vicious cycle.

Every year, all of the Half Price Books locations in the Twin Cities team up to host a giant clearance sale in the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. All books are less than $3. Most are $2. They pile books up on these long tables — sort of organized, but mostly not — and then let you in to just shop. It is amazing — kind of like a library book sale on steroids.

I managed to mostly contain myself this year, only grabbing 10 books (and two of them are short story collections I’ve already read, just didn’t have in my permanent collection). That seems remarkably restrained. Here’s what I grabbed:

  • The Planets by Dava Sobel — Science! Space!
  • Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis — American history! Hamilton!
  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright — Pultizer Prize winner! Also, Al-Quaeda.
  • Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert — Fiction!
  • Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman — Short stories!
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo — Fiction!
  • Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm — Fiction! Psychological thriller!
  • The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preson and Mario Spezi — True crime! Italy!
  • Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea — Fiction! In translation! From Saudi Arabia!
  • The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel — Short stories!

I did not pick up a copy of The Way Forward by Paul Ryan, which someone hilariously piled up in the fiction section. Good job, book nerds.

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Do you love November? Do you love nonfiction? Then consider joining Julie (JulzReads), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Katie (Doing Dewey), Lory (Emerald City Book Review) and I for Nonfiction November, a month-long celebration of everything nonfiction.

A Little Looking Back

Before I get into the logistics and prompts, I hope you’ll give me a little space for some reminiscing. Nonfiction November has been around since 2013, when one of my blogging friends and I decided to launch a personal challenge to read exclusively nonfiction during the month of November. We decided to open the challenge up and invite other bloggers to join us, with weekly prompts and link ups to discuss and share our favorite nonfiction books.

The reception was awesome, and the event has come back every year since then with a different group of hosts. For personal reasons, I wasn’t able to be involved last year, but others took up the cause and did a great job. It’s been so gratifying to see a little thing launched with very little thought turn into an annual event that other bloggers look forward to participating in. Ok, end of the sappiness.

Nonfiction November 2017

Nonfiction November will run pretty much as it has every year. On Monday, the week’s host will put up a post with our prompt for the week where you can link up your posts throughout the week. On Friday, the host will gather up responses and share a few as part of a weekly round up. Here are the dates, hosts and topics for this year:

Week 1: (Oct 30 to Nov 3) — Julie @ JulzReads — 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?

Week 2: (Nov. 6 to 10) — Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Shelves — Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Week 3: (Nov. 13 to 17) — Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness — Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

Week 4: (Nov. 20 to 24) — Katie @ Doing Dewey — Nonfiction Favorites: We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

Week 5: (Nov. 27 to Dec. 1) — Lory @ Emerald City Book Review — New to My TBR: It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

Nonfiction Book Swap Sign-Ups

This year, we’ll also be bringing back the nonfiction book swap! If you sign up for this swap, you’re committing to sending your swap partner at least one nonfiction book (or more if you want), mailed/ordered in time to arrive by the end of November. You can send books yourself or order them and have them sent directly to your partner. Katie, who is organizing the swap, suggests Book Depository as a great way to send books internationally if you and your partner are in different countries. Sign-ups will be open until November 3 and partner information should go out to everyone by November 5.  You can fill out the form to join the book swap at this link.

Ok. I think that’s it! I hope you’ll consider joining us for Nonfiction November. If you post on social media, please use the hashtag #nonficnov so we can also try to promote and share those posts. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments!

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