It’s Nonfiction November, a five-week event of discussions on everything related to nonfiction. This week’s prompt, hosted by What’s Nonfiction, is about looking back at our year of reading nonfiction. What was our favorite read, what did we recommend most often, and which topics were we drawn to?
I’ve read 15 nonfiction books so far this year. There’s a lot of overlap across categories but they dealt primarily with racial issues, medical or mental health, psychology, history, and family relationships. For example, I read three books about cooking, but each of those books also dealt with issues like mental health, personal identity, and family.
- Food and Cooking: Garlic and Sapphires, Crying in H Mart, Eat a Peach
- Racial Issues: Seven Fallen Feathers, Devil in the Grove, You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey, Caste
- Medical, Mental Health and Psychology: Sorry I’m Late, Broken, The Body Keeps the Score, Get Well Soon, Eat a Peach, Garlic and Sapphires, In the Dream House
- Family relationships: Braving It, Crying in H Mart
- History and True Crime: Catch and Kill, A Woman of No Importance, Seven Fallen Feathers, Devil in the Grove
Without a doubt, the books I’ve recommended the most this year have been the ones dealing with racial issues, like Seven Fallen Feathers, Caste, Devil in the Grove, and You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey. All four of those books were informative but also devastating (even Lacey, which is written in a comedic tone but describes traumatic and sadly too common incidents).
I also read some fantastic books dealing with psychology and mental health issues. I loved Jenny Lawson’s Broken – but then I love all her books. I particularly enjoyed this one on audiobook because Lawson is even better when reading her work. The Body Keeps the Score was a fascinating book about the impact of trauma on the body. And Crying in H Mart was a powerful memoir about a woman grieving for her mother.
Catch and Kill is another book I strongly recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about the issue of systemic sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry. Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow tells a powerful story about his role in uncovering the atrocities committed by Harvey Weinstein and others like Matt Lauer and Donald Trump, and how much the entertainment industry looked away and/or covered it up. I don’t necessarily recommend the audio version (Farrow’s narration was a little distracting), but I strongly recommend the book.
I hope you enjoy Nonfiction November! Look for nonfiction reviews and posts on topics like fiction/nonfiction pairings, ask the experts, and “stranger than fiction” nonfiction. And please check out some of the other blogs that are posting for this event.