Nonfiction November: New To My TBR

For the past month, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. The second week, Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. The third week, Nov. 11 to Nov. 15, I shared a list of books on a topic that I’d like to read or “become the expert,” as host for the week Katie from the blog Doing Dewey explained the prompt. Last week, Nov. 18 to Nov. 22, I talked about what makes a nonfiction book I’ve read one of my favorites.

This final week, Nov. 25 to Nov. 29, of Nonfiction November, I am sharing what books I have added to my TBR as a result of the reading others’ posts during the event. Initially I had a list of about 30 or more, but then I whittled it down to nine. Since I don’t usually read that many nonfiction in a year, I figured it’s better to be realistic with books that I might actually read, not ones I just think look interesting.

Without further ado, here they are and who recommended them with links to the posts where I first saw the mentions of the books:

  1. Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse by Timothy P. Carney, recommended by both Deb at Readerbuzz and Jean at Howling Frog Books.
  2. Because Internet: How To Be Nice to Yourself by Laura Silberstein-Tirch, recommended by Leann at ThereThereReadThis.com.
  3. The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs, recommended by Katie W at Books are My Favourite and Best.
  4. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, recommended by Jinjer at The Intrepid Arkansawyer.
  5. The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 by Jonathan Rauch, recommended by Jean at Howling Frog Books.
  6. I Think You’re Wrong (but I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Beth A. Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, recommended by Lisa at Lisa notes… (link here to a post she wrote on “3 Reasons You Don’t Like Nonfiction and Why You Should Anyway” and mentioned both books).
  7. A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor, recommended by Alison at The Lowrey Library.
  8. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt, recommended by Lisa at Lisa notes… (link here to initial comment where she recommended this one and the other one to me).
  9. Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, recommended by Stacey at The Unruly Reader.
  10. The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr, recommended by Monica J. Baker.

I know two are by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, but both books intrigued me, and two recommendations are from two bloggers: Jean at Howling Frog Books and Lisa at Lisa notes…, but hey, that’s the way it went. It was not by design, but by happenstance. I already have The Bright Hour on hold on ebook at the Free Library of Philadelphia and purchased The Happiness Curve as a Kindle deal. The others, I might have to purchase at full price, but I’m thinking Christmas gifts for myself. The one I might purchase before that, maybe even this Friday, is A Prayer Journal, because I’m a big Flannery O’Connor fan, especially after having a class in college devoted to her and William Faulkner.

So how about you? If you participated in Nonfiction November, what is/was the one book you now must read that was recommended by another blogger? For me, it is A Prayer Journal, but I’m looking forward to the others as well. If you didn’t participate in Nonfiction November, what is the one nonfiction book that you think me and my readers should read without hesitation?

I want to thank the hosts for Nonfiction November for allowing me to participate in what was my first year for the event: Julie at JulzReads, for Week 1; Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves, Week 2; Katie at Doing Dewey, Week 3; Leann at ThereThereReadThis.com, Week 4; and Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Week 5. All links go to that week’s post for this year’s event.

Nonfiction November: What Makes A Nonfiction Book One of My Favorites

For the past three weeks, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. The second week, Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. Last week, Nov. 11 to Nov. 15, I shared a list of books on a topic that I’d like to read or “become the expert,” as host for the week Katie from the blog Doing Dewey explained the prompt. This week, Nov. 18 to Nov. 22, I talk about what makes a nonfiction book I’ve read one of my favorites.

Over the last six years, according to my Goodreads numbers, I’ve read 39 nonfiction books. Out of those, 16 were biographies/memoirs, 12 were self-help, and 11 were other kinds of nonfiction, including history and other topics. And out of those 39, I counted 18 as “favorites” with 13 of them being autobiographies/memoirs.

So I guess for me what makes a nonfiction book one of my favorites is if it is someone telling the story of his or her own life. I prefer first person and often humorous books, for example, Yes Please by Amy Poehler or Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. However, I don’t restrict myself to humor, hence Hunger by Roxane Gay and Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I think what I prefer above else is authenticity. If a person sounds authentic, I’m in.

I saw one blogger this week mention that she likes to see notes at the end of the book, with citations and bibliographies. I used to like that, I’ll admit, or books that I knew had a lot of research, for example, Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand, which took seven years of research. I have a coworker at the library where I work, who just self-published a book that she did at least five years of research on. I am impressed when someone puts that much time into not only getting the story, but also getting the story right.

So how about you? What holds your interest in a nonfiction book? Please share in the comments.

Nonfiction November: A list of books on a topic I’d like to read

For the past two weeks, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. Last week, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. This week, I am sharing a list of books on a topic that I’d like to read or “become the expert,” as host for the week Katie from the blog Doing Dewey explains the prompt.

However, I’d like to start with a caveat because the topic that I’d like to read more of than I have is race in America. As a white male, who admittedly lives in a county that is 97 percent white, and without being in a dialogue with a person of another race, I don’t believe I can become an expert. I do hope to gain knowledge of other races, specifically African American and/or black, depending on the preference of wording or to what group is being referred, and maybe through this knowledge, learn how not only to not be a racist, but also to be, as author Ibram X. Kendi puts it, an “antriracist.”

With that caveat, the first book on my list is Kendi’s book, How To Be An Antiracist, which I recently checked out of our local library, where I work. I have two others on hold on ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia: So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper.

The other nine I already have on my Kindle, two through Prime Reading, and seven that I own are pictured below.

The two from Prime are:

  1. Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northrup
  2. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois.

The other seven are:

  1. The Defender: How The Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaels
  2. Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dysom
  3. What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America, also by Dyson
  4. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  5. When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matters Memoir by Patrice Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandela
  6. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
  7. The Sun Does Shine Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton.

In keeping with the theme for this week’s Nonfiction November, and Katie’s prompt: What topic based on what you have read do you consider yourself an expert? If so, share the books we must read on the topic. What would you like to be an expert on? Maybe some of the other commenters here will have ideas for you too.

Author’s Note: I already have read Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In fact, that is somewhat what prompted my interest in the subject.

Nonfiction November: A no-brainer fiction/nonfiction pairing

Last week I joined in for Week 1 of the event Nonfiction November, with the prompt to look back at your year in nonfiction. This week, I am joining in again, with the prompt to 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,” according to host Sarah of the blog Sarah’s Bookshelves (click to see Sarah’s post – and a linkup of other bloggers- on the topic).

This was an easy one for me since I just read them last month during Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume. I purchased a Hemingway collection earlier in the month from our library’s bookstore that includes The Sun Also Rises, and then as I was preparing my readathon stack, I remembered that I had purchased as a Kindle deal last year Everybody Behaves Badly about the “making of” the book. It was a no-brainer for me to pair the two together for the readathon, and now after I’ve read them both, a no-brainer for me to use them both as my choice for nonfiction/fiction pairing for this event.

I had read The Sun Also Rises, back in high school or in college or maybe both, and remembered enjoying but I didn’t remember the story specifically. So it was good to revisit the book and become reacquainted with why I liked Hemingway in the first place: his quick, back-and-forth dialogue, on the one hand, and his almost stream-of-consciousness descriptions, on the other hand.

I was less acquainted –and by that, I mean, not at all– with the story behind the book. I didn’t realize that he had based all of the main characters off people he knew and the story off one specific trip to Pamplona with that group of people. In fact, when the novel was originally published, some thought of it as more of very good journalism than a very good first novel since Hemingway was a newspaper reporter at the time. While that part of the story about the real people behind the characters was good, I think the parts about the other people, especially those in the publishing world, enhanced the book. For example, Hemingway “hung out” with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Sherwood Anderson, just to name a few authors of the time.

Whether or not you’re participating or not in Nonfiction November, I’ll leave you with a question, based on this week’s prompt: Can you think of any books fiction and nonfiction that pair well together?

Author’s Note: I was going to try to pair an alcohol with the book too, but then after looking around online, most notably this post that listed every drink in the book and this post that included a map of everywhere the characters drank and what and how much they drank, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one alcohol.

Next week (Nov. 11 to 15) Katie from the blog Doing Dewey will be hosting Week 3 of Nonfiction November with Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert, where: 1.) You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), 2.) You can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or 3.) you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 

The following week (Nov. 18 to Nov. 22) Leann from the Instagram account Shelf Aware will be hosting (for the first time) with the topic of what makes a nonfiction book 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?

The final week (Nov. 25 to 29) Rennie from the blog What’s Nonfiction will finish up Nonfiction November with the topic of what new nonfiction books you added to your TBR (to-be-read) after reading other participants’ posts.