If you weren’t picturing me announcing that in my best Kermit impression, complete with wild Muppet arms and a very big YAAAAAAY! there at the end, you’re doing it wrong.
Guess what time it is? Aside from the OHMYGOD, November already?! Yes, it’s November! And that means the return of #NonficNov, where – you guessed it – the big crazy lot of us read nothing but non-fiction for the entire month. (Well, I’m giving myself a pass to enjoy the new Stephen King novel that will be in my hot little hands come Thursday. Which is funny because I think the same thing happened with Revival last November?)
Nonfic November is being hosted by Kim, Becca, Lu, and (other) Katie. Stop by and say hello and tell them how awesome they are for stepping up and diversifying our reading! They’re diversifying mine, at least. I love non-fiction, but it never seems to just fall into my hands. I have to seek it out. I wish I could say I did that more, but only 28 of my 190 books have been non-fiction this year. Last year it was 30 of roughly the same total – and then I added 20 more during November. So I’m very happy to join in the fun again this year!
This week’s theme is Your Year in Non-fiction. So let’s take a gander, shall we?
What was your favorite non-fiction read of the year?
As I’ve said, I’ve read 28 non-fiction books this year. Hands down my favorite has been Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, which was recommended to me by my book twinner, Trish, from over at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity. I was looking for a “Self-Help Book” that I wouldn’t hate for my Read Harder challenge (hosted by the lovlies over at Book Riot). I’d heard a bunch about the book, but I was hesitant. In fact, I would say “outright resistance” might more closely describe my feelings. But Trish knows my book tastes, and I did have to read something, so I tried the free sample. And then immediately ordered the book and took to it with a pen and highlighter. A pen and highlighter, folks. Strayed is my writing goddess. She writes like a motherfucker, but makes it sound like the most beautiful, insightful prose you have ever heard. Plus, she gives awesome advice that always seems to illuminate whatever you’ve been thinking about, even if she’s talking to a mom who can’t get past the death of her child, and you’re wondering if you should switch careers. I read the book straight through twice, back-to-back, word for word.
What non-fiction book have you recommended the most?
I certainly told everyone about Tiny Beautiful Things when I finished, and quite a few people took me up on it. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ timely and deeply affecting Between the World and Me was a close second for favorite read of the year, so that got a lot of play, too. It certainly makes you realize how much privilege – and lack of it – exists and how painfully unaware so many people still are. My dear friend Bert Ashe published his hair manifesto, Twisted, earlier this year. He was my mentor in college and was kind enough to let me in on the journey from the very beginning, and so naturally I bought a dozen copies and made my friends read it. It’s an introspective and comical, at times, glimpse into hair and culture and identity and trying to untangle the chaos where it all tangles up – without accidentally imposing too much suffocating order, ya know? Perfect for book clubs, if you’re looking.
What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?
Gosh. All of it! Um… I’m trying to read a biography of all the presidents (and eventually, first ladies, too), but even though I’ve been working on it for the past two years, I’m only up to Madison. Heh. I don’t read a lot of world history or politics. I tend to gravitate more towards memoirs, biographies, and tales of death, madness and psychology. And cultural history and conflict. Oh, and, big surprise, books about reading.
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
I’d like to get my non-fiction totals back up to a respectable percentage. I’d like to read quite a few of the non-fiction titles on my TBR that I never seem to happen into naturally. I bought a few of them – Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (that I’m reading now); The Mad Bomber of New York; The View on the Way Down; The Wilderness of Ruin; and Falling into the Fire. I’m reading Stiff by the fabulous Mary Roach right now as one of the last few Read Harder challenges I have left. And my hold for Sisters in Law, about the friendship between Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O’Connor, just came in at the library and I’m stoked!!! It’s going to be a good, good reading month!
So there you have it, folks! I hope you’ll join us in our mad literary adventures. There’s really something to be said about bouncing recs and reading ideas off some of the awesomest people you’ll ever meet. Readers – we’re family for sure!