Tag: Nonfiction November

Nonfiction November 2017 Mini Reviews and New Additions to my TBR

November 28, 2017 Blogger Events 16

Nonfiction November 2017


Another Nonfiction November (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Julz at Julz Reads, and me) is in the books! And, it was a good one. I read/listened to eight books and only two were stinkers (and, I was shocked about one of them).

I usually use Nonfiction November to create my Nonfiction TBR for the coming year and I found some great books to get that started!

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link).

2017 Nonfiction November Mini Reviews

After the Eclipse by Sarah PerryAfter the Eclipse by Sarah Perry
Nonfiction – True Crime/Memoir (Released September 26, 2017)
371 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Plot Summary: Perry’s mother was murdered when she was 12 years old…and Perry was in the house when it happened. Years later, she tries to find out who her mother was and who killed her.

My Thoughts: After the Eclipse is part true crime with a little The Glass Castle thrown in. Sarah grew up poor with an absentee father and had a close bond with her mother. The publisher’s blurb says the book is about Sarah getting to learn more about her mother following her death, but I thought it was more about finding peace in the aftermath of the murder and closure (i.e. finding out who killed her). It’s an incredibly powerful story with multiple eye-widening moments, but the story dragged a bit through the middle (between the murder and its immediate aftermath and finally finding the killer).

Black Dahlia Red Rose Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Marie Eatwell
Nonfiction – True Crime / Investigative Journalism (Released October 10, 2017)
368 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: Liveright)

Plot Summary: Eatwell investigates the famous and still unsolved 1947 Black Dahlia murder (young, aspiring starlet Elizabeth Short was found virtually bisected on a residential sidewalk in Los Angeles) and poses a theory about who the murderer was based on evidence that was suppressed at the time.

My Thoughts: The Black Dahlia murder occurred during a time when Los Angeles was rampant with corruption (including in the LAPD) and gangsters. And, this vivid setting and culture is very much a part of the murder and the book, making Black Dahlia, Red Rose feel like more than just a true crime “genre” book. The case itself is fascinating, as is the corruption that went on at the time and the re-examination of the evidence now…but, I did get bogged down in details a bit through the middle when the focus turned to corruption in the LAPD. If you liked In Cold Blood or American Fire, I think you’ll like this one!

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie SpenceDear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released September 26, 2017)
256 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: Flatiron Books)

Plot Summary: Spence, a public librarian, shares her “love letters and break-up notes” to her favorite books, as well as musings and rants about various aspects of her reading life…plus, a whole section of book recommendation lists.

My Thoughts: I recently tried reading My Life with Bob (the New York Times Book Review editor’s memoir of her reading life) and DNF’d it during the first half because it talked too much about esoteric books and got intellectually snobby one too many times. Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the anti-My Life with Bob! You’ve probably heard of most of the books she discusses and even read a few…and there’s no intellectual snobbery here. Spence is relatable, funny, and often snarky. The chapters are short and it’s a great book to pick up when you need something light and easy. Also – it will explode your TBR list…consider yourself warned.

Forty AutumnsForty Autumns by Nina Millner by Nina Willner
Nonfiction – History/Memoir (Released October 4, 2016)
416 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: William Morrow)

Plot Summary: Willner, an ex-U.S. intelligence officer covering East Germany, tells the true story of her family being separated by the Berlin Wall and their experience living in Communist East Germany.

My Thoughts: Forty Autumns was my favorite book of Nonfiction November! It’s a look at communism and East Germany through the lens of one family’s experience. I learned a ton about life behind the Iron Curtain (a topic I’ve been fascinated with ever since seeing the East German women’s swim team dominate the 1988 Seoul Olympics) and the gut-wrenching fear and oppression the East Germans faced. I recently paired it with Georgia Hunter’s novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, in a Fiction / Nonfiction Pairing post. They’re similar stories about families fractured by war and an oppressive regime, just different countries and different wars. Like Hunter’s novel, Forty Autumns is highly readable despite it’s serious topic and touches the emotional heart-strings while giving you a history lesson.

How Reading Changed My Life by Anna QuindlenHow Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
Nonfiction – Memoir (Released January 1, 1998)
96 Pages
Bottom Line: Skip it.

Affiliate Link: Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: Ballantine Books)

Plot Summary: Quindlen’s thoughts on her reading life and books she’s loved.

My Thoughts: This memoir was kind of all over the place and didn’t feel much like the Anna Quindlen I know and love. Some parts (personal memories of growing up a bookworm) were warm and relatable (typical Quindlen), while others read like an academic term paper. The silver lining is that it’s chock full of amazing, famous quotes about books and reading. I never thought I’d be recommending you skip an Anna Quindlen, but I am.

Strangers in their Own Land by Arlie Russell HochschildStrangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild
Nonfiction – Politics (Released August 16, 2016)
351 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: New Press)

Plot Summary: Liberal sociologist Hochschild went deep into Louisiana Bayou country to get to know some of the people who politically identify with the Tea Party.

My Thoughts: I’m really glad I read Strangers in Their Own Land, but it was different than I expected. It does delve into the reasons these particular people support the Tea Party (and hate the idea of government intervention and support, though they theoretically could benefit from it), but a large chunk of the book is about the environmental pollution of this area of Louisiana. The environmental piece was interesting reading, but I thought was a bit overdone given it was somewhat of a tangent. A logical “next book” if you liked Hillbilly Elegy.

Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinThe Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Nonfiction – Life Improvement (Released December 29, 2009)
301 Pages (Audio: 10 hours, 15 minutes)
Bottom Line: Read it / Listen to it
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Purchased (Publisher: Harper)

Plot Summary: Rubin dedicated a year of her life to focusing on the things that matter…thus her “Happiness Project.”

My Thoughts: The Happiness Project is a relatable exploration of figuring out what makes you happy and how to focus on those things in your daily life (her motto is basically sleep, workout, declutter…in my words). It’s filled with actionable, manageable, common sense tips that are easy to integrate into your life, but that we often forget to focus on (i.e. get more sleep). Plus, she throws in memorable quotes to keep you on track (i.e. “sleep is the new sex”, “take pleasure in an atmosphere of growth”). Sometimes she comes across as a “happiness bully” (her words) and I think she could drive me nuts to have as a friend, but overall it’s a great tool to help you hit reset on on your life.

UnbelievableUnbelievable by Katy Tur by Katy Tur
Nonfiction – Politics (Released September 12, 2017)
301 Pages (Audio: 7 hours, 46 minutes)
Bottom Line: Skip it

Affiliate Link: Amazon
Source: Library (Publisher: Dey Street Books)

Plot Summary: NBC News Correspondent Tur’s behind the scenes look at what it was like to cover Donald Trump’s political campaign.

My Thoughts: I’m always interested in the behind-the-scenes dirt from political campaigns…from either party…and you’d think the dirt from the Trump campaign would be exceptionally entertaining (maybe not the right word, but close enough). But, funnily enough, I don’t feel like I learned anything new from this book. Maybe because so much has already been reported by the media along the way or tweeted about by Trump himself, but I felt like Unbelievable was a re-hash of things I already knew…except maybe getting a better appreciation for the perpetual exhaustion of those involved in political campaigns.

New Nonfiction to My TBR

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts (November 1, 1987)
Recommended by Melissa Firman…this one caught my eye because she paired it with The Heart’s Invisible Furies (my review) in her fiction / nonfiction book pairings.

Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced.

Ghettoside by Jill Leovy (January 25, 2015)
Recommended by Kazan at Always Doing (via my comments section).

Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of murder in America–why it happens and how the plague of killings might yet be stopped.

Grocery by Michael Ruhlman (May 16, 2017)
Recommended by Joann at Lakeside Musing.

Cookbook author and food writer Ruhlman explores the evolution of the American grocery store and how it has affected what we eat. The author uses two of his Midwestern hometown grocery chains, Heinen’s and Fazio’s, and his memories of his father’s love of food and grocery shopping as the foundation for this engaging narrative.

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan (March 5, 2013)
Recommended by Tara at Running N Reading.

The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history (the Manhattan Project).

On Writing by Stephen King (June 27, 2017)
Recommended by my friend and author of the fantastic book We Were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter (along with a number of other people in the comments section of my Books about Reading and Writing post).

On Writing begins with King’s childhood and his uncannily early focus on writing to tell a story. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade and culminates with a profoundly moving account of how King’s overwhelming need to write spurred him toward recovery.

What was your favorite read and top TBR add of Nonfiction November?

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What I’m Reading Now (11/20/17)

November 20, 2017 It's Monday! What are you reading? 21

Nonfiction November (get all the details here!) is still going strong (last week, I shared my favorite Books on Reading and Writing) and I’ve still got some posts to come! But, I’m starting to burn out of actually reading nonfiction. I’ve switched to reading fiction for a bit, though I’m still listening to nonfiction on audio.

I’m also hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever, so will be stressing out about that all week! Hosting parties is not my forte. But, my family’s Thanksgiving gathering is always laid-back and informal, so I’m banking on that to cover up my inevitable hosting flubs!

Finally, my Best Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers 2017 guide is coming on Black Friday! I don’t know about you, but I never go to stores on Black Friday. Can’t think of anything worse. With my holiday gift guide, you’ll be able to knock out your shopping for all your book lover friends and family without leaving your couch! Something I’m always thankful for…

Hosted by The Book Date.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link).

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️It’s a 5 star Alcohol & Advil pairing…possibly the first 100% 5 star one I’ve ever done! The Heart’s Invisible Furies will slay every emotion you have…you’ll laugh and cry and everything in between. And, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will fix you right up afterwards…it reads easy, but the story has lots of depth. You’ll probably start out hating Evelyn, but don’t be sure you’ll end up there. Also – you have no idea how truly perfect a pairing this is until you’ve read both books. LINK TO MY REVIEWS IN BIO.⠀ _⠀ ⠀ How do you recover from a book that absolutely slays you?⠀ _⠀ ⠀ Alcohol & Advil is my feature where I pair a book likely to cause a “reading hangover” (i.e. the alcohol) with a recovery book (i.e. the Advil)! For me, the “alcohol” is usually a book that I either absolutely loved or one that punched me in the gut in an emotionally depleting way…and, in this case, it’s the former.⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ *⠀ @johnboyne @hogarthbooks @tjenkinsreid @atriabooks @bookofthemonth #bookstagram #amreading #bookworm #instabooks #bookblogger #booklover #booklovers #booksofinstagram #bookgram #bookblogger #bookaddict #bookaddiction #fiction #bookofthemonth #bookofthemonthclub #BOTM #heartsinvisiblefuries #sevenhusbandsofevelynhugo

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I finished reading…

How Reading Changed My Life, Black Dahlia Red Rose
How Reading Changed My Life
by Anna Quindlen (January 1, 1998)
It pains me to say this, but this is the first Anna Quindlen I’ve ever not liked. I hope it will be the last. Mini review to come.

Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Marie Eatwell (October 10, 2017)
This investigation into the still unsolved Black Dahlia murder in 1940’s L.A. hit my true crime spot. It’s not perfect, but a pretty fascinating and maddening read for true crime or L.A. history buffs. Mini review to come.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent


Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent (August 22, 2017)
My library hold for this dark and demented story came in at just the right time. It’s exactly the change of pace I needed after lots of nonfiction. I’m 25% through and still not quite sure where it’s is headed, but I can’t wait to find out!

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

Senator's Children by Nicholas Montemarano


The Senator’s Children
by Nicholas Montemarano (November 7, 2017)
DNF at 49%. This story about the two daughters of a U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate came recommended by one of my go-to book gurus and it was fine, but I’m never in the mood for “just fine” during the last 2 months of the year. It’s a time when I’m looking for a latecomer to sneak into my Best Books of 2017 list. So, on to the next…

Upcoming reading plans…

I’m not sure. I have a bunch of library holds that could come in any day. I also have a list of 2017 books to at least try before the end of the year, which I’ll be sharing on Tuesday.

was reading…

One Year Ago: I was hosting last year’s Nonfiction November Book Pairings and didn’t do a Monday update.

Two Years Ago: I’d just read one of my favorite Nonfiction November reads of 2015.

How was your reading week?

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Nonfiction November 2017: Be the Expert…Books about the Reading and Writing Life

November 14, 2017 Book Lists 30

Nonfiction November 2017


Today’s Nonfiction November (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Julz at Julz Reads, and me) topic is fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

It’s not surprising that some of my very favorite authors (Pat Conroy, Anna Quindlen, Ann Patchett) have books on this list. What bookworm doesn’t want to delve into the reading and writing life of their favorite authors…and snag some great book recommendations as a bonus?! There’s something comforting about reading your favorite author’s thoughts about how reading fits into their lives…and realizing they’re echoing your own.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link).

books about the reading and writing life

Books about the Reading and Writing Life That I Love

A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy (my review)
A collection of Pat Conroy’s writings on books, reading, writing, and life (including letters addressed to his readers)…and his final book published (posthumously). Plus, you get his unfiltered thoughts on various books and authors (he loved Game of Thrones…not Infinite Jest).

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe (my review)
Schwalbe’s collection of essays featuring individual books and how they impacted his life…ranging from serious classics to dark thrillers to children’s books. I added a couple books discussed here to my TBR!

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
A librarian’s letters to the books in her life…both the ones she loves and the ones she hates. And, tons of recommendation lists. PS – it’s really funny.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (my review)
This memoir/essay collection is about much more than the reading and writing life, but both are covered extensively. Anna Quindlen has a grounded, practical outlook and just gets life. Listening to this on audio felt a bit like a therapy session.

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Are you surprised Conroy is popping up again? Here he talks about his reading life and the books and people that shaped it.

The Getaway Car by Ann Patchett
A very slim memoir in which one of my favorite authors counsels aspiring writers that the key to the castle is simply putting in the work. Not such a bad piece of advice for life in general.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (my review)
Like Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, this essay collection covers lots more than just reading and writing. The Getaway Car is included in this collection and you get to hear the story behind Parnassus Books among other goodies.

What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
Yep, this memoir is about running. But, it’s also about writing and the two are inextricably linked for Murakami.

Books about the Reading and Writing Life That Are On My TBR

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
I think this is Lamott’s version of Patchett’s The Getaway Car and Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I’m hoping to fit it in this month.

What are your favorite books about reading and/or writing?

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Nonfiction November 2017: Fiction / Nonfiction Pairings Round-Up

November 10, 2017 Blogger Events 10

Nonfiction November 2017


I was thrilled to host this week’s Nonfiction November topic: fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Pairings like this are one of the best ways for me to find new books to add to my TBR and I hope you all found some great new-to-you books this week!

Your Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings

Next week, Sophisticated Dorkiness will be hosting Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert:
Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
Join us and hashtag your social media posts with #nonficnov!

 

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Nonfiction November 2017: Fiction Nonfiction Book Pairings Link-Up

November 6, 2017 Blogger Events 40

Nonfiction November 2017


Today’s Nonfiction November (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Julz at Julz Reads, and me) topic is fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Fiction / Nonfiction Book Pairings is my favorite topic of Nonfiction November and I keep a running list throughout the year of all my ideas for pairings. I hope y’all have just as much fun with it!

Link up your posts below and check out the plans for the rest of the month at here! I’ll be posting a round-up of everyone’s posts on Friday.

Fiction Nonfiction Book Pairings

The Shooter’s Mother’s Perspective of a Mass Shooting

Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold’s mother (Sue) shares her struggle following the shooting and Dylan’s suicide in her poignant memoir, A Mother’s Reckoning.

Jodi Picoult’s novel, Nineteen Minutes, centers around a mass school shooting in a small, New Hampshire town. Chapters are told from various characters’ perspectives, including the mother of the shooter’s. 

On Caring for a Terminally Ill Parent

Dan Marshall’s memoir, Home is Burning (my review), chronicles his journey caring for his ALS-stricken father in hilariously inappropriate detail and with heart-wrenching emotion. 

In Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing (my review), an up-and-coming New York journalist returns home to care for her cancer-stricken mother and comes to understand her much better in the process.

A Family’s Struggle to Survive Massive Wartime Oppression

Forty Autumns tells the story of the author’s East German family’s experience living behind the Iron Curtain…and their heart-breaking separation from their daughter, Hanna, who escaped.

Georgia Hunter’s novel, We Were the Lucky Ones (author interview), is inspired by the true story of her Polish Jewish family, who was split apart during World War II. PS – We Were the Lucky Ones was nominated for a 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Debuts – if you read and loved this book, vote here now!

Beneath the Surface of Seemingly Perfect Teenagers

What Made Maddy Run is the heart-breaking story of a seemingly perfect (if you looked at her Instagram account) teenager who commits suicide during her freshman year on the Penn State track team. This is a must-read for parents of young athletes. And, the book Maddy had with her when she died was…

Reconstructing Amelia (my review) is the fictional story of an over-achieving teenage girl who apparently jumps to her death from her school after getting caught cheating. 

The Intensity of Youth Sports

Friday Night Lights profiles the incredible intensity of high school football in Texas. Plus, it inspired my all-time favorite TV show of the same name!

Beartown (my review) is Fredrick Backman’s fictional story of elite youth ice hockey in Sweden…and the fallout of all that intensity. 

Incidentally, there is another nonfiction book that I’m dying to pair with Beartown, but telling you what it is would spoil one of Beartown‘s central plot elements. Those of you that have read Beartown can probably guess the mystery nonfiction book…

Inside the Lonely Psyche of a Pro Tennis Player

Andre Agassi’s memoir, Open, chronicles his lonely childhood playing tennis under the tutelage of his overbearing father and his continued loneliness on the pro tour.

The main character of Trophy Son (my review), Douglas Brunt’s fictional story about a young tennis star, seems suspiciously similar to Agassi, down to the Greek father.

What are some of your favorite Nonfiction / Fiction pairings?

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Nonfiction November 2017: My Year of Nonfiction So Far

October 29, 2017 Blogger Events 25

Nonfiction November 2017

 

Welcome to Nonfiction November 2017! I’m thrilled to be co-hosting again this year along with Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and Julz at Julz Reads. Nonfiction November is my favorite reading event of the year and I always welcome the change of pace from reading lots of new fiction releases all year long…and never more so than this year! So, here’s my year of nonfiction so far…

Hop over to Julz Reads to link up your introductory post!

My Year of Nonfiction

So far this year, I’ve read 35 Nonfiction books (37% of my total books read), 27 of which were audiobooks. Audiobooks seem to have almost single-handedly (well, 77%) saved my nonfiction reading this year!

Most of my nonfiction reading this year has been memoirs or essays with some investigative journalism, sports books, and life improvement thrown in.

Favorite Nonfiction of 2017 So Far

Stranger in the Woods, Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake, Born a Crime

It’s a tie between…

Most Recommended Nonfiction Book of 2017

It’s a tie between…

This year, I haven’t read enough…

Narrative Nonfiction, which is my favorite type of nonfiction! 

And, the reason I haven’t read much of it this year is that narrative nonfiction doesn’t work quite as well for me on audio as other types of lighter nonfiction. And, so much of my nonfiction reading so far this year has been on audio.

This year, I’m hoping to…

  • Reading more nonfiction in book form (rather than audio)
  • Read more narrative nonfiction
  • Get a change of pace from reading mostly new fiction releases this year
  • Discover new-to-me blogs
  • Start making my Nonfiction TBR for 2018!

What are your favorite Nonfiction books so far this year?

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Nonfiction November 2017 is coming soon!

October 3, 2017 Blogger Events 18

Nonfiction November 2017

 

I’m thrilled to be co-hosting 2017’s Nonfiction November with Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Julie at Julz Reads, and Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness! Nonfiction November is a month dedicated to celebrating nonfiction…we’ll talk about our favorites, trade recommendations, discuss our nonfiction reading habits, and hopefully discover some new book blogs!

Personally, I tend to push nonfiction to the back burner in favor of the shiny, new fiction releases, so I always appreciate this month of re-focus on a genre I love, but tend to ignore sometimes. And, after this year of Fall fiction, I’ve been especially itching for a change of pace!

Hope to see you in November!

Nonfiction November Schedule of Events

Week 1 (Oct. 30 to Nov. 3)

Introductions and Your Nonfiction Year So Far (Hosted by Julie at Julz Reads)
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?

Week 2 (Nov. 6 to Nov. 10)

Nonfiction / Fiction Book Pairing (Hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves)
Pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Week 3 (Nov. 13 to Nov. 17)

Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness)
Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

Week 4 (Nov. 20 to Nov. 24)

Nonfiction Favorites (Hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey)
We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

Week 5 (Nov. 27 to Dec. 1)

New to my TBR Hosted by (Lory at Emerald City Book Review)
It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

Nonfiction Book Swap Sign-Ups  

This year, we’ll be bringing back the nonfiction book swap!  If you sign up for this swap, you’re committing to sending your swap partner at least one nonfiction book (or more if you want), mailed/ordered in time to arrive by the end of November. You can send books yourself or order them and have them sent directly to your partner. Katie suggests The Book Depository as a great way to send books internationally if you and your partner are in different countries. Sign-ups will be open until Nov 3rd and Katie will do her best to have partner info to everyone by Nov 5th. Sign-up here:

Possibilities for my Nonfiction November Reading List

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (January 1, 1994)
A writing guide by a legendary writer who I’ve yet to read

Forty Autumns by Nina Willner (October 4, 2016)
The story of a family caught on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall

How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen (August 1, 1998)
A tiny “reading life” memoir by an author I’m trying to read as much of as possible

My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul (June 13, 2017)
Another “reading life” memoir…

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild (August 16, 2016)
The book frequently mentioned as the logical next read if you liked Hillbilly Elegy

Ranger Games by Ben Blum (September 12, 2017)
An Army Ranger holds up a bank…the question is “why?”

Red Notice by Bill Browder (February 3, 2015)
A real-life “political thriller” about an American financier in Russia tangling with the Kremlin

The Futilitarians by Anne Gisleson (August 22, 2017)
A grief memoir

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore (May 2, 2017)
The story of the girls who worked in the radium factories during WWI…with detrimental consequences

What are you thinking about reading for Nonfiction November? Does anyone have any thoughts on the books on my list? Which books should I kick to the top?

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Nonfiction November 2016: Summary and New Additions to my TBR List

November 29, 2016 Blogger Events 18

Nonfiction November 2016
I had a blast co-hosting and participating in Nonfiction November this year. A big thank you to Katie at Doing Dewey for leading this charge and to Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Rachel at Hibernator’s Library, and Julz at Julz Reads for co-hosting along with me.

This year, I was hoping to read some great nonfiction, find new nonfiction books to add to my TBR, and discover new-to-me blogs. I managed to do all three.

Books Read / Listened To

Nonfiction November 2016 Books Read


I truly did not read a single disappointing book this month, so that alone makes Nonfiction November a success. I read two backlist titles (Five Days at Memorial, We Should All Be Feminists), listened to one audiobook (Run the World), knocked out an ARC (Generation Chef), read the final book from my all-time favorite author (A Lowcountry Heart), and took a fellow blogger’s recommendation (Darling Days thanks to Eva at Paperback Princess). If I have to pick a favorite, I’d say Five Days at Memorial.

In addition to reviewing Five Days at Memorial and A Lowcountry Heart, I shared my thoughts about some of these books on Litsy (@sarahsbookshelves) and have a review of Generation Chef coming.

Books Added to my TBR

Thanks to Julz Reads:

Thanks to Unruly Reader:

  • Chasing Water by Anthony Ervin (U.S. Olympic swimming gold medalist, 2000 and 2016)

Thanks to Paperback Princess:

Thanks to Beth Fish Reads:

Thanks to Catherine at Gilmore Guide:

Thanks to Exurbanis:

Thanks to The Novel Life:

  • Spark by John J. Ratey

Thanks to A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy:

New-To-Me Blogs Discovered

 

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Nonfiction November 2016: Be the Expert…Dysfunctional Childhood Memoirs

November 22, 2016 Book Lists 25

Nonfiction November 2016
This week’s Nonfiction November (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Rachel at Hibernator’s Library, Julz at Julz Reads, and me) topic is Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert:

Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

Hop on over to Julz Reads to link up your posts!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I love books about dysfunctional families. And, lucky for me, there’s a plethora of those in the world of fiction. But, turns out heartbreaking childhoods, for better or for worse, lend themselves to fantastic memoirs as well. Here are some of my favorites…

Dysfunctional Childhood Memoirs

Dysfunctional Childhood Memoirs

A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
An abusive and emotionally distant father.

All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
Extreme poverty in the deep South, an alcoholic and volatile father, and a mother trying to hold her family together through it all.

Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright
Wright’s tough upbringing on New York City’s Lower East Side in the late 80’s/early 90’s…including poverty, her parents’s addictions, and her struggle with gender identity and sexuality.

Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst
An alcoholic mother and a father forever trying to publish the “Great American Novel” at the expense of providing for his children…and Darst’s struggle not to repeat her parents’s mistakes in adulthood.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Growing up poor in Appalachia with an erratic mother plus social analysis of the Appalachian poor’s struggle to achieve upward mobility.

Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner
Overcoming body image issues and managing life with an erratic father.

Still Points North by Leigh Newman
Navigating Newman’s parents’s divorce and disparate lifestyles.

The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy
Reflections on rebuilding a relationship with literature’s most famous abusive father.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
A vibrant, yet destructively alcoholic father and an eccentric mother averse to domestic stability.

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Nonfiction November 2016: Week 3 Round-Up

November 18, 2016 Blogger Events 12

Nonfiction November 2016
I was thrilled to host this week’s Nonfiction November topic: fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Pairings like this are one of the best ways for me to find new books to add to my TBR and I hope you all found some great new-to-you books this week!

Your Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings

Next week, Julz Reads will be hosting Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert:
Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
Join us and hashtag your social media posts with #nonficnov!
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