This month is Nonfiction November, a celebration of all things nonfiction. I’ve read some fantastic nonfiction this year and I’m proud of myself for reading more nonfiction than I used to. I enjoy this event because I get so many good nonfiction recommendations for next year.
Each week will be a topic hosted by a different blog. This week’s topic is Your Year in Nonfiction, hosted by Julz of Julz Reads. It’s an overview of our year reading nonfiction, including our favorite reads and topics.
Here are the nonfiction books I’ve read so far this year:
- The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally
- Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
- We Fed an Island by Jose Andres
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
- Dopesick by Beth Macy
- The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
- How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg
- Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
- Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas
- Forward by Abby Wambach
Most of what I read this month were memoirs, although they covered many different topics, from adoption to immigration to cooking. I loved Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums. Reichl is a great writer and storyteller, and nicely avoids making her book all about herself. Instead it’s a fascinating inside look at the world of food and magazine publishing.
I read quite a lot of books these days about immigration and race. Vargas’ Dear America is excellent and one I highly recommend. And Henrietta Lacks lived up to expectations, as a book that’s not only the history of a black family in America but a surprisingly accessible book about science, research, and ethics.
One of my favorite nonfiction reads was a non-memoir, The Library Book. This is a book about the LA Central Library and the fire that consumed it. Really it was about all things library-related, which is why I loved it so much.
I was deeply impacted by Beth Macy’s Dopesick, though I can’t say I loved it because of its difficult subject matter.
A few didn’t work well for me. I was disappointed in Heart Berries, which I heard raves about. I just didn’t connect to it. I also didn’t love We Fed an Island though I certainly appreciate Andres’ good work.
I listened to a number of these as audiobooks, though I generally find I can process nonfiction better if I read it. With some, I combined audio and reading and that worked well. I’ve discovered that authors aren’t always great narrators, though I appreciated hearing the stories of Reichl, Vargas, and Uringiyimana in their own voices. I’m pretty sure Offerman and Mullally would have been much funnier if I’d listened to them, but that was before I was listening to books.
Here’s the nonfiction I’m reading or that’s on my TBR:
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin
- There’s Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
- Beneath the Tamarind Tree by Isha Sesay
- The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective: Secrets and Lies in the Golden Age of Crime by Susannah Stapleton
- The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
- They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
- Relish by Lucy Knisely
- Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung
Happy Nonfiction November! I hope you’ll join in the festivities. What nonfiction do you recommend?