Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Nonfiction November: My Year in Nonfiction


Welcome to Nonfiction November. This event is a month-long celebration of nonfiction hosted by I'm Lost in Books, Sophisticated Dorkiness, Regular Rumination, and Doing Dewey. There will be reviews, readalongs, and discussion topics posted throughout the month. Be sure to check these blogs for complete details.

 Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction

Looking back on 2014, roughly a quarter of my reading has been nonfiction. This is only slightly above my average, but I've enjoyed the books so much I can't help but wonder why the percentage isn't even higher.

I should also note that I generally prefer listening to nonfiction. Even though I almost always have a hard copy (for photographs, charts, maps, etc.), audiobook nonfiction outnumbers print two to one for me. Perhaps I am an auditory learner.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? 


This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchette 
A wide-ranging essay collection from a favorite author. Patchett narrates the audio version herself... an added bonus.


What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? 


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Who would expect a book about crew to be so exciting?


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

Even though a lot of my nonfiction reading involves food and food culture,  Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick has been on my wish list for a very longtime. Earlier this week, Leila reviewed Without You, There is No Us  by Suki Kim. It sounds like an interesting book, and got me thinking about a possible North Korea reading project.



 What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
My main goal this month is to add some exciting titles to my nonfiction reading list. Who better to turn to for suggestions than trusted book bloggers?

Visit Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness for this week's link up.

52 comments:

  1. I loved Boys in the Boat - it was my favorite nonfiction of last year! And he did make rowing seem really interesting. I also just finished Without You, There Is No Us and am now interested in reading more about North Korea. It's a weird world over there! I have Escape from Camp 14 on my list and maybe I'll add this one too.

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    1. Sarah - Oh, I hadn't heard of Escape from Camp 14. Definitely another one for my list!

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  2. Yes, I loved Boys in the Boat too!!

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    1. Kathy - Everyone in my book club loved it, too!

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  3. Oh, good, I'll be very interested in your North Korea reading project! It is certainly unsettling to read about that strange and repressive society, so cut-off from the rest of the world. Reading Without You, There Is No Us made me feel tremendously sad for the young people in North Korea . . . I sincerely hope they find a way, somehow, to advocate for a better future.

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    1. Leila - I have so many good intentions when it comes to reading projects. Sure hope I can make this one happen!

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  4. I listened to the short essay This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and really enjoyed it, so should pick up the full collection. The North Korea books both look interesting - happy reading.

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    1. Amy - I'd read a couple of Patchett's essays in other publications, and they were even more impressive collected. Not sure where my interest in North Korea has come from, but I'm ready to go with it!

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  5. I keep seeing Boys in the Boat around and it's not one that I would pick up by the title or cover alone but I can't ignore the praise it's been getting! Yay nonfiction!

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    1. Trish - I would NEVER have chosen The Boys in the Boat on my own... so glad I trusted my blogging friends on that one!

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  6. The Boys in the Boat was fantastic. I love his work! How could a book about rowing be so darn fascinating?? If you haven't read his book about the Donner party (The Indifferent Stars Above) or his book about the Great Hinckley Fire (Under a Flaming Sky) I highly recommend both of those. He is an amazing author, one of my favorites. :D

    I'd really love to know more about North Korea, interesting idea!

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    1. I'd like to read his book about the Donner Party--that's such as fascinating story, in a terrible, train-wreck kind of way. I should add that to my list.

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    2. Jennifer - I have not read any of the authors other books, but will definitely check them out. The Indifferent Stars Above sound particularly interesting. Thanks!

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  7. Nothing to Envy has been on my list for a while, too. If you are looking to include fiction in your North Korea reading project, then I can recommend The Orphan Master's Son.

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    1. MyBookStrings - I forgot about The Orphan Master's Son! Thanks for the reminder. I love reading fiction that complements my nonfiction.

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  8. I have a copy of Nothing to Envy that I've been meaning to read for a long time, too (David Sedaris hand sold it along with his books when I saw him last year).

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    1. Shannon - Nothing to Envy doesn't sound like something Sedaris would hand sell... I'm even more interesting now!

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  9. I've had Nothing to Envy sitting on my shelves unread for a few years now. And I really want to read it, but haven't made the time. Like so many other books. Hope you enjoy all the books you choose to read this month!

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    1. Debi - Isn't it crazy trying to make time for all the books we want to read? I've added a ton to my list already this week.

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  10. I absolutely agree with Boys in the Boat. My book club loved it just as much as I did, and my Ass't Principal's brother took the trip to see the actual boat and acoutrement which accompanied it, he was that inspired by the story. Really, it's a wonderful, wonderful book (and I hardly ever read nonfiction!).

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    1. Bellezza - Boys in the Boat was a huge hit with my book club,too. I'm hoping to check out the author's other books.

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  11. I just started Without You There Is No Us last night--pretty good so far!

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    1. Bookmammalmusings - Glad to hear that! I'll look forward to your final thoughts.

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  12. I enjoyed the Ann Patchett one as well -- on audio.

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    1. Diane - I loved listening to Patchett's narration... it really added a lot to the experience.

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  13. I really enjoy non-fiction as well, and listening to it works for me too. The Boys in the Boat is definitely on my reading list. Looks so interesting.

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    1. JaneGS - I know some people have a hard time listening to nonfiction, but it works well for me. It almost seems like I pay more attention on audio. The audio version of The Boys in the Boat is excellent!

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  14. These all sound really interesting - especially the book on North Korea. I really wasn't aware there were books regarding life in modern day North Korea. I'm not participating in Non-Fiction November but I'm really looking forward to seeing the books everyone reads and what they think of them. I'm going to be living vicariously through you for this one!

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    1. Katherine - I've added so many books to my wish list already and we're barely one week into the month. I'll have suggestions to last for years!

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  15. I was lucky enough to have recorded NOTHING TO ENVY. It is a wonderful book, well researched (Demick was has been a reporter in Asia for the LA Times for many years), and her storytelling is compelling, not at all dry.
    My favorite non fiction to narrate this past year was LIAR, TEMPTRESS, SOLDIER, SPY by Karen Abbott. It tells the story of 4 women who made a difference in the American Civil War (2 on each side) but I'd never heard of any of them before reading the book.

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    1. Hi Karen,
      I love listening to nonfiction and will almost certainly go that route for Nothing to Envy. It's been on my audible wish list for too long now!

      Liar,Temptress, Soldier, Spy sounds fascinating and is a newer addition to my list. I'm glad to know you narrated that one... makes my decision to listen a cinch!

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  16. "The Boys in the Boat" seems to be everywhere this year. You sum up my thoughts every time I've seen the cover "Who would expect a book about crew to be so exciting?" Maybe I just need to get over myself and trust what everyone is saying and just give it a go. Thanks for sharing your list!

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    1. Trav - The Boys in the Boat was such a pleasant surprise for me. Definitely give it a go!

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  17. I had to go back and look if I'd read any non-fiction this year! A couple of food related memoirs. The Boys in the Boat certainly sounds good!

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    1. Holly - I love food-related memoirs. Do you have one to recommend?

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  18. I have had Nothing to Envy on my list for a long time, too! I was hoping to read it as a companion to The Orphan Master's Son but ... just haven't gotten to it YET. I tried Boys in the Boat but couldn't get Herman Munster out of my head and it was too much like Unbroken - just couldn't get into it.

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    1. Care - I still need to read The Orphan Master's Son. It intimidates me a little, so I keep putting it off...

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  19. I loooooved The Boys in the Boat. It was one of my favorites last year. And all of the books on North Korea you mentioned are great. Thanks for joining us!

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    1. Kim - The Boys in the Boat seems to be a hug hit among bloggers. Thanks so much for hosting Nonfiction November!

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  20. I would love to get my hands on the Nothing to Envy book. I've heard so many good things about that book! I don't think I have read the other two either though the Ann Patchett book certainly looks interesting.

    I have had a good nonfiction book year too, mainly because of how many books I've listened to in the car this year. The Boys in the Boat is one that I am eyeing on audio.

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    1. Athira - I really love nonfiction on audio! Hope you decide to listen to The Boys in the Boat. Unbroken is excellent on audio, too, if you haven't listened to it already.

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  21. I see the rowing book has appeared on so many American non-fic favourite lists...until this week I had never heard of it :-/

    And I'm delighted to hear about the success of the Patchett audio - I'll look into asap.

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    1. Brona - Hope you can listen to Patchett's book. She does a wonderful job narrating.

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  22. I need to look at my nonfiction for this year - I'm sure the Patchett would be at the top of my list, too.

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    1. Lisa - This is the Story of a Happy Marriage was such a great audiobook. I wouldn't mind listening to it again... something I rarely do.

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  23. One day I'll be organized enough to actually count how much nonfiction I've read this year -- I loved In the Kingdom of Ice, The Ugly Renaissance, Edible, .... I can't think of what else I read!

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    1. Beth F - The Ugly Renaissance and Edible re already on my list, but I'm going to check out Kingdom of Ice,

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  24. I read so little non-fiction, but when I do it seems to be mostly biographies. I am just beginning what looks to be an excellent one on Nancy Mitford by Selina Hastings. Thanks so much for letting us know your non-fiction choices for the year so far!

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    1. Sunday - Every so often I get the urge to binge unliterary biographies. The Brontes or Edith Wharton will probably be next for me, and I've had a bookmark in one on Edna St. Vincent Millay for over a year. My favorite is A Tragic Honesty, a Richard Yates biography by Blake Bailey.

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  25. Nothing to envy is a fantastic book! Really eye opening and very well written too.

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    1. Charlotte - I'm so glad to know you enjoyed Nothing to Envy! I doubt I'll get to it before the end of the year, but will surely read it in 2015.

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