Nonfiction November is underway and once again, I’m participating in this blogging project hosted by Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Leslie (RegularRumination), Katie (Doing Dewey) and Rebecca (I’m Lost In Books). For the month of November, our reading focus will be nonfiction books (or at least more of them than usual) accompanied by writing prompts about this genre.
It has taken me this entire first week of Nonfiction November to actually write this post. For real. It’s not like this is a particularly difficult post, but rather more likely that real life has gotten in the way of blogging (again).
Anyway, our writing prompt for Week One (November 2-6) focused on our nonfiction reading this year and our plans for this month.
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?
To date, I’ve read 14 nonfiction books this year.
Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainier Marie Rilke
Under Magnolia, by Frances Mayes
Whatever: Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves, by Maria Bello
Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, by Alexandra Fuller
Leaving Before the Rains Come, by Alexandra Fuller
We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit
Belief is Its Own Sort of Truth, Maybe, by Lori Jakiela
True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine, edited by Lee Gutkind and Hattie Fletcher
The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, by Carrie Bloomston
The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum
Big Magic: Creative Living Through Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
(How pathetic is it that I’ve only reviewed two of these? Quite a few are in drafts. Guess I’d better get those finished at some point.) I find nonfiction to be harder to recommend to people than fiction, because it is so tied to the reader’s specific interests. At the same time, when people ask me for a book suggestion, I like recommending nonfiction because they might not have considered seeking it out on their own. Fiction sometimes seems to get more attention; unless it is written by or about a celebrity, or something scandalous, nonfiction can be almost forgotten.
Of the 14 nonfiction books I’ve read this year, the ones I’ve been recommending most often have been Whatever: Love is Love, Belief is Its Own Sort of Truth, Maybe; and Big Magic. All three will likely be among my best books of 2015. (Won’t be long now until those lists start circulating!)
Joining them will likely be Stacy Schiff’s new book, The Witches: Salem, 1692. I’m only on page 33, but so far this gripping account of “our national nightmare, the uncooked, overripe tabloid episode, the dystopian chapter in our past” is very well written — despite a tendency toward the dramatic, but that can be forgiven.
As for what I’m hoping to get out of this month, I’d like to read a few more nonfiction books. In addition to The Witches, I’d like to start NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman. I would also like to finish more than a few recent issues of The New Yorker that I haven’t gotten to yet since I consider those articles to count for Nonfiction November too.
Want to see what other Nonfiction November participants are recommending and reading this month? Over at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Kim has a post with all the books that people have said they’ve recommended most as well as a link to all of the first week’s posts.