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Guess what? It’s Nonfiction November! This is a month long event that I first became aware of last year, but really wasn’t in a great place to participate, so I’m excited to be joining in the fun with this year’s organizers, Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves, Julie at Julz Reads (today’s topic/link up), and Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. I’m not a huge nonfiction reader, but one of my goals for 2017 has been to read more of it. Considering I only read one nonfiction book in 2016, reading “more” hasn’t been that difficult. Thus far I’ve read eight nonfiction books and hope to squeeze in a few more by the end of this month. Please join me for a look at my nonfiction year so far.
What was you favorite nonfiction read this year?
That’s so easy because my favorite nonfiction book this year, Daring to Drive by Manal Al-Sharif, is also one of my overall favorites for the year. I absolutely loved Manal’s story and her evolution from radicalized teen to a fierce Muslim woman willing to sacrifice her comfortable life to prove that Saudi women are more than capable of driving. Her journey proved to be much more than expected. I listened to this and the narration by Lameece Issaq was superb. (My Full Review)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Length: 304 pages
What nonfiction have you recommended the most this year?
Another easy question! I actually read Hillbilly Elegy by V.D. Vance last fall, but have recommended it to so many people this year. Vance’s story of growing up poor within a culture in crisis was simply eye-opening. I read it just before the election and afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about how without ever intending to Vance’s book explained a lot. I’ve suggested it to many others who have felt stupefied by events of the last year. (My Full Review)
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Length: 257 pages
What’s one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of?
Since I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, I could have countless answers for this question, but I’m going to settle on memoirs. I’ve really read very few and the ones I have read were mainly of the sort focused on some major event in a person’s life. I have made progress in memoir reading with Daring to Drive and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. (My Full Review) Besides excellent story telling, both delivered portraits of life in cultures so different from my own and I find that fascinating.
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Length: 304 pages
What are you hoping to get out of participating in nonfiction November?
More great reads, obviously! I’m hoping to uncover a few hidden nonfiction gems from checking out what others have to say. Many of the nonfiction books I’ve read were first suggested to me by others (thanks, Sarah). Our collective reading power is a wonderful resource and I plan on tapping into it. Please, take a moment to share your favorite nonfiction recommendations with me. I also have a few nonfiction reviews that I’ve saved for November, so look for those along with my fiction reviews. As the year winds down, I’m loving the focus on this under-appreciated genre.
Are you a nonfiction reader?
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Sarah's Book Shelves says
I love Daring to Drive too! Came close to making my favorites of the year! And I’ve recommended Hillbilly Elegy to tons of people, though not as much lately b/c I feel like everyone has already read it!
I’m glad you liked Daring to Drive. Wasn’t the narration great?
I have Hillbilly Elegy but haven’t read it yet. My favorite nonfiction this year has been The Bright Hour, it was so well written. I just finished Oprah’s new book The Wisdom of Sundays on audio and I loved it. It’s one I’ll listen to again and again. I have it on audible if you think you’d like me to send it to you:)
I read When Breath Becomes Air earlier in the year, so when I saw The Bright Hour I wasn’t quite ready for another book about death. I’m not sure about The Wisdom of Sundays, but I’m happy to hear it worked well for you. Let me think about that one. Hope all is going well.
I haven’t read a ton of nonfiction either, so I’m also hoping to get some good recommendations this month! Looking forward to your nonfiction reviews!
The fiction in my stacks always outweighs the non-fiction, but I was determined to increase it this year. The first and last books on your list were already on my TBR and it seems like our taste is similar, so I’ve added Hillbilly Elegy to my list as well. I remember reading a couple of books set in Appalachia when I was a girl and the region always had a certain mystique and charm and sadness for me (on the page). Enjoy your November reading!
Thank you. Let me know what you think of the books. I listened to Daring to Drive and Born a Crime and the narration on both was excellent. Trevor Noah reads his book.
I liked both Hillbilly Elegy and Daring to Drive — both were excellent — as well as The Glass Castle this year. I like nonfiction but usually read much less of it than fiction. Still I hope to read at least One nonfiction book for this month. Not sure yet what it’ll be. Hmm
Did you read American Fire? It was really good, too. Born a Crime was laugh-out-loud funny!
I actually had to go back and check to see when I actually read Hillbilly Elegy; I can’t believe it’s been so long, because I do still refer to it, and recommend it, so often! I’ve got to get around to Born a Crime; I’ve been waiting for the audio version, through the library, forEVER. I may have to use an Audible credit!
Trevor Noah does an amazing job reading his book. I think you’ll love it!
I LOVED Hillbilly Elegy!! I am from southeastern KY and like the author managed to claw my way out of that hellhole of a place,
Oh, wow! I’d love to know more of your story!
Mr Books read Hillbilly Elegy & found it very insightful, but my focus has been on Australian non-fiction this year.
One of the memoirs I read last year that I still recommend to everyone is Nadja Speigelman’s I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This (http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2016/09/im-supposed-to-protect-you-from-all.html)
It’s not just one event in one life, it’s Nadja’s mesmerising story of her mother and grandmother and their influence on her as well as each other.
That sounds great, Brona. I’m going to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.
JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing says
I’ve just added Daring to Drive to my audible wish list and already have Born A Crime waiting to be read. Hillbilly Elegy was a favorite last year. Oddly enough, I finished reading it on Election Day!
I finished it just before and really felt it explained a lot! Let me know what you think of Daring to Drive.
I’m like you- it is not my go-to choice for reading. I joined NNF last year and read 2 books (embarrassing). I’m going to give it a go again this year, but am trying to be more realistic and have only chosen 4 books (as opposed to 8 last year!).
I actually read 2 in October, that I’ll review this month. I’m listening to another and if I get one more in, I’ll be fine with it. Like you, my real love is fiction!
Katie @ Doing Dewey says
I’m glad you’re able to join us this year! 8 books after only reading one is great. I’d love to get to Daring to Drive! It sounds fascinating. If you enjoy books about big events in people’s lives, I’d recommend The End of Your Life Book Club, which is about the author keeping his mother company while she undergoes cancer treatments and I think it’s likely to appeal to most book lovers. It also looks like you read a lot of contemporary fiction, so I might recommend Evicted (about families living in poverty, powerful, important, lots of people drama) and Cork Dork (much lighter, fun memoir as the author tries to become a sommelier).
Thanks for the recs, Katie. I actually did read The End of Your Life Book Club a few years ago. you’re right. It was great. I’ll check out Evicted and Cork Dork sounds perfect for this wine lover.
It’s hard for me to imagine many women who wouldn’t love Daring to Drive. Let me know if you get to it.
Kazen @ Always Doing says
Wow, you’ve done a great job increasing the amount of your nonfiction reading this year! Hillbilly Elegy is one of those books that was on my radar when it came out but slipped off – thanks for putting it back in its place. 😉 I’m looking forward to your reviews this month!
Thanks for stopping by, Kazen. Just added one of yours to my growing list!
I really enjoyed Born a Crime too. It was so funny and so human.
For nonfiction books I would recommend, I’m going with My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil, and Word by Word.
Gosh thanks for these recs. Something Beautiful Happened sounds especially good to me. I tend to like WWII stories and this is an angle of the war I’d never heard of. I’ve moved this up very high on my nonfiction TBR list
Kim @ Time2Read says
I’d not heard of Daring To Drive until this week. It sounds like something I’d enjoy reading. I’m adding it to my list.
I listened on audio and the narration was outstanding.
Thank you, Susie, for introducing me to Audibles! As a visual learner, I have avoided listening to books, thinking my mind will bird walk all over the place. Based on your incredible review of Daring to Drive, I made it my first Audible book – I was hooked! Not only did it draw me in, but it kept me interested through my daily 5-6 mile walks. I loved the book and the new process. I followed your lead and listened to Born A Crime – as a commenter noted, it is truly laugh-out-loud funny. Now I decided I liked the narrator to be the author too. I tried Audible fiction and was just not engaged enough….So, back I go to What Happened. I am almost through with it. Regardless of your politics, it is a thorough and humorous account of the election. Hillary seems to be speaking just to me! And my next non-fiction Audible is The Liar’s Club – my book club’s monthly selection. I am pretty sure you have suggested that one before too. So, my goal is to listen to 2 non-fiction books a month and to read (with my eyes!) at least 3 fiction books a month. Thank you for the continued inspiration! Keep the non-fiction recommendations coming!!
Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear that you’ve come to enjoy audiobooks in part because of something I’ve said. A year ago, I wasn’t much of a fan and this year I’ve listened to 20 so far. I agree that fiction is trickier. For me it has a lot to do with the narrator, but I’ve found with the right person I can enjoy listening to fiction as much as nonfiction. (Did you know that Audible will let you return an audio if you’re not enjoying it? I try to listen to an hour or two right after I download a book and if it’s not working for me, I return it for a credit.)
I’m very interested in What Happened but had worried it might be too depressing. Over the last few days though I’ve heard from a couple of others that it’s not. So there’s yet another nonfiction for me!
Kristilyn (Reading In Winter) says
I just got Daring To Drive from the library – it looks really interesting! I love checking out other peoples’ recommended non-fiction reads … I have added so much to my reading list which is great since I just want to read more non-fiction! Good luck this month. 🙂