Nonfiction books are kind of like that relative who you really should invite to Thanksgiving Dinner but somehow, you never quite get around to calling. Or, maybe you do remember to extend the invite, but that person is the last on your list.
And then – who’da thunk it? – turns out that person has the best stories, the best dessert, and you can’t wait to see them again.
That’s what a good, satisfying nonfiction book can be like.
If you don’t believe me or if that hasn’t been your experience, then may I humbly suggest you check out Nonfiction November. It’s a blog thing (because, you know, ALL THE BLOG THINGS HAPPEN IN NOVEMBER) hosted by Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness fame, along with co-hosts Leslie (Regular Rumination), Katie (Doing Dewey) and Rebecca (I’m Lost In Books).
Nonfiction November is a month-long celebration, with nonfiction book reviews and weekly discussion topics. On the Monday of each week in November, one of the hosts will put up a post with the weekly discussion topic. The post will have a place to share links with responses to the topic OR reviews of nonfiction books that are posted during the week. On the Friday of each week, the weekly host will do a roundup of submissions to peruse.
I should probably get started on this week’s writing prompt:
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?
Favorite nonfiction read of the year:
Without counting memoirs in this category, I’ve read 11 nonfiction books this year on topics such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show; growing and eating local food for a year; Hurricane Katrina; memoir writing; The Sopranos (and how it and other cable shows changed television); gluten and how it affects the brain; introverts; thyroid disease, and how places at the Jersey Shore (the real one) got their names.
Of those, I think my favorite would be these two (which are also the nonfiction book/s read in 2014 that I’ve recommended the most):
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers, by David Perlmutter.
I’ve been gluten-free (more or less) for about 16 months now, and this book has been eye-opening to see how gluten’s inflammatory properties can have such a detrimental effect on so many aspects of one’s life. Speaking for myself, I have definitely seen a reduction in my migraines (to the point where I am considering going off one of my medications), my energy level, and my stomach woes.
We were on vacation this summer when some writing inspiration struck, and I needed Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir by Beth Kephart. As in, I needed it immediately. Problem was, it was sitting on my night table, 500 miles away and not among the 9 books I had brought with me.
So I downloaded the e-book.
Because when you absolutely need a certain book, you need a certain book, amiright?
One topic or type of nonfiction I haven’t read enough of yet?
Not sure. Although my numbers seem lower than usual, I actually think I read a pretty wide variety of nonfiction, considering. If I had to choose, I’d probably say history – but that’s kind of not my thing. It depends what era of history because, let’s face it, some are more interesting than others. (I’m more inclined to read about, say, women’s history than the Civil War.) Perhaps more books about Pittsburgh’s history. That I could definitely get into.