My Year in Nonfiction (2016) & It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (10/31/16)

October 31, 2016 It's Monday! What are you reading? 43

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?
Hosted by The Book Date.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Last week’s reading was pretty unmemorable. I finished Miss Jane by Brad Watson, which was an interesting story, but diverted to boring American pastoral life background in the 1920’s-30’s a bit too much. And, after trying to get out of my comfort zone, I ended up DNFing Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein at 32%. I’m now almost finished with Pat Conroy’s memoir, My Reading Life, which has been somewhat of a comfort read for me (Conroy always is), but is probably my least favorite thing he’s written. 

Nonfiction November 2016
The best news is that one of my favorite reading events, Nonfiction Novemberwill kick off this week after all! I’ll be co-hosting along with Katie at Doing Dewey (big thanks to her for organizing everything!), Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Rachel at Hibernator’s Library, and Julz at Julz Reads. Today, Katie is kicking things off with Your Year in Nonfiction. Hop on over to Doing Dewey to link up your posts and check out the plans for the month.

I’ll be hosting Nonfiction/Fiction Book Pairing the week of November 14 – 18.

My Year in Nonfiction

One of my reading goals for 2016 was to read more nonfiction than I did last year and I’m shocked that I’ve actually been doing just that! A big chunk of this is via audio, which I hadn’t been able to figure out how to make work for me prior to this year. But, I’ve found that lighter nonfiction (for me, sports and celebrity memoirs, life improvement, trashy celebrity exposes, and social/behavioral sciences) is the key to my audio success. So far, I’ve read or listened to 25 (32% of my total reading) nonfiction books so far this year, compared to 12 (16% of my total reading) for all of last year, and am looking forward to increasing that number this month!

Favorite Nonfiction of 2016
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

It’s a tie between Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (review), When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, and Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Not the most unique list, but my favorites are my favorites.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Right now, it’s definitely Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (review) since it achieves a delicate balance of entertaining dysfunctional childhood memoir and social analysis that’s pertinent to this election cycle. However, I think I’ll be recommending Tiny Beautiful Things more over the long-term.

What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?

Food / Cooking Nonfiction

This is actually a type of nonfiction I used to read tons of, but have fallen off the wagon with since I started blogging. I’m an unabashed foodie and used to love reading chef’s memoirs, cooking school memoirs, and general nonfiction about food, cooking, and restaurants. I’ve recently fallen prey to the allure of new fiction at the expense on some of the more niche genre reading I used to love and am working on incorporating this back into my reading diet. I’m planning to start by readingKaren Stabiner’s Generation Chef this month.

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

I’m hoping to plough through as much of my Nonfiction November 2016 reading options list as possible, add a bunch of new nonfiction books to my TBR list, and discover some new blogs to follow!

How was your reading week? How was your year in nonfiction?

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43 Responses to “My Year in Nonfiction (2016) & It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (10/31/16)”

  1. Rachel

    I’m so excited that Nonfiction November happened after all! I might set aside my one fiction book for the month in favor of one more nonfiction. I’m thinking about White Trash, by Kirsten Potter, since it’s relevant to the politics that are going on today. I don’t read a lot of political books.

  2. JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    I’m so glad Nonfiction November is happening after all – big thanks to you and the other hosts! When Breath Becomes Air is one of my favorites this year, too, and I’m finally first or second on the hold list for Hillbilly Elegy. Fingers crossed I get it sometime this month!

  3. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Since I host that Running Book Club, I read a lot of non-fiction! Trashiest non-fiction I’ve read would have to be Suzy Favor Hamilton’s autobiography Fast Girl. Favorite would be Becky Wade’s Run the World.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Suzy Favor Hamilton’s book is on my list!! Possibly for audio. And so is Run the World..also for audio.

  4. Tanya Patrice

    I would so love to get more non-fiction in my reading, but I haven’t quite found what I like yet. I’m looking for something to read this month as my unofficial participation in non-fiction November.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I feel like it takes some trial and error to find your nonfiction niche…there are many ways to go! Hope you can pop in unofficially this month!

  5. Susie | Novel Visits

    Nonfiction is tough for me. I generally like it best when it reads like fiction (The Boys in the Boat for example). I did really enjoy Hillbilly Elegy…thanks for that recommendation. When Breath Becomes Air is one I’ve looked at and may need to try. I’m excited to see some of the nonfiction that everyone will be recommending this month.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      So you probably like narrative nonfiction (and I agree with you on wanting it to read like fiction sometimes!). Have you ever tried Erik Larson? I think you’d like him…Devil in the White City and In Garden of Beasts are my favorites of his.

      So glad you liked Hillbilly Elegy!

  6. Beth F

    I listen to nonfiction all the time. For history and biography, I often buy or borrow a print copy too, so I can follow along with the maps, photos, charts etc. I’m listening to a history book at the moment.

    I don’t know how much nonfiction I’ll get done this month, but I’m so glad you all are hosting.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      That’s smart to get the print also to follow along with charts, etc! I should have done that for Dataclysm, which didn’t translate that well to audio.

  7. Naomi

    I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, and I’m okay with that. But I actually have a big long list of nonfiction books I would love to read – I just keep putting fiction first.
    I’m always drawn to nonfiction related to food, like you, including just plain cookbooks cover to cover. I also like science-y topics and history. If I’m luck I might sneak one in this month – I have two on my review pile right now that I can’t wait to read!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Haha – you sound like me last year. I always put fiction first. But, I tried to change that this year and I’ve really enjoyed the nonfiction I’ve read and listened to. Hope you get to your 2 review books!

  8. Athira

    I’m so excited for this event! Thanks for co-hosting it. I have been loving nonfiction more and more over the past few years and it’s all thanks to audiobooks too. I may have even read more nonfiction than fiction this year so far, but I haven’t counted yet.

  9. Melinda

    Nonfiction November sounds like great fun and I may join in the future once my TBR is a little more under control. I think the last NF book I read was this past summer and for my book club (and I didn’t even enjoy it…even though it was my suggestion!)

  10. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Woohoo! I’ve had some really strong nonfiction reads this year, and I am VERY much looking forward to stocking up on nonfiction recs for next year this month. Thanks for being one of the hosts!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      You know, I hadn’t considered that it might be a very American book. I’m trying to think whether the general principles would translate internationally. Well, I guess you’d learn something about a part of American at least.

  11. Stacy @ The Novel Life

    YAY! So glad y’all were able to get it all pulled together. Love this event! Katie from Doing Dewey has been influencing my reading lately so I have a few books to discuss this nonfiction november 😉
    Thank you for co-hosting! Y’all totally rock!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      You’re welcome – Katie really did all the organizing! But, I’m thrilled to co-host!

  12. Megan -- booksandcarbs

    I have been recommending Hillbilly Elegy right and left. People are responding to it, for sure! I grew up not far from Middletown, OH, where J.D. Vance grew up. His book gave me a new appreciation for the Hillbilly culture that was part of our area. Greater Cincinnati is not Appalachia, but there are so many influences from citizens who have moved north from Appalachia.

    I agree with When Breath Becomes Air as another great nonfiction read. I’ve read mixed reviews on Dear Sugar. I know I can read the ebook for free via my library so maybe I will check it out.

    My nonfiction November will be celebrity-based: Anna Kendrick, Lauren Graham, Joel McHale.

    Enjoy your nonfiction this month!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Me too! So..having grown up around there, do you think he was accurate? I don’t have that perspective.

      Enjoy your celebrity nonfiction November! I’m listening to Angelina on audio, so I’m kind of joining you 🙂

    • looloolooweez

      Uh, sorry, I wasn’t actually done commenting and somehow managed to hit the post button anyway. AS I WAS SAYING, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Hillbilly Elegy. And: foodie books for the win! Have you thought about joining up with the Foodies Read (hosted at Based on a True Story / group next year?

  13. Ellie

    I want to read When Breath Becomes Air. I really need to try audiobooks again, I’ve seen a lot of nonficnov participants are using them. I do now have a large part of my daily commute that is walking. Previously I tried and my brain would always wander but I’ve got at least 80 minutes of non-reading time that could be filled if I can get my head focused! 😀

    • Sarah Dickinson

      It took me awhile to find the type of audiobooks that work for me, but I’m so glad I finally did! I discovered fiction does not work well. Light nonfiction is my go-to.

  14. Toady

    While you call your favorites unoriginal, they are new to me. I am quite removed from what’s going on in nonfiction and rarely read it. I have enjoyed it in the past, and hope to be inspired to read it more often. I did add a couple of your favorites to my TBR.

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