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.

300 books on Goodreads since 2014

I used to keep track of my reading via LibraryThing and then a number of other sites and services before landing on Goodreads in 2014. A couple of months ago when I realized that I was approaching 300 books finished, I started drafting this post in anticipation of reaching the number, which I did at the end of October…

…or so I thought.

Then I noticed that while I had factored in The Lord of the Rings as a collection, adding two, and adding one, The Sun Also Rises that I had just finished as part of another collection of four novels by Hemingway, I had forgotten to add in one other collection of two novels: Wind and Pinball by Haruki Murakami – hence the asterisk in the graphic above.

The numbers have gone steadily down in the last six years, as the chart above shows: from the highs of 64 in 2014 and 82 in 2015 to middling numbers with 48 in 2016 and 45 in 2017 and last year with 33 and this year (so far) 29. I’m about on target for what I read last year, if not hopefully a little more than that number.

With this month Nonfiction November, I would also be remiss if I didn’t break down my reading into fiction and nonfiction. Sadly, I have been remiss in my nonfiction reading, with only 39, or 13 percent, of the 300 nonfiction. Also in the low numbers are graphic novels at 17 and poetry at 14. However, in the high numbers are series, especially series related to crime, with 189 out of the 300, or 63 percent, being series and out of those 137 are crime-related. Ironically, one book with “crime” in the title, Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, I did not count as crime-related.

Overall, I had 41 books that I rated five stars; 37, 3 stars, and only 2, 2 stars. Most were better than average, but somehow just short of great. However, an additional 13 that I didn’t give five stars, I still considered favorites despite that missing “something.” I would have made more infographics, but to be honest, just putting together these two, especially the first one was fairly time- and labor-intensive, since I’m not super tech-savvy. That said, I decided to try Piktochart after seeing a post in which Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves used the design website and I’m glad I did.

For my entire list on Goodreads, click my read shelf on Goodreads on the logo below:

Bryan's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

So what do all these numbers mean?

What all these numbers mean is…well, I read a lot of series, mostly crime-related, and not a lot of nonfiction. The good news is that this year out of the 28 books, I’ve read so far, 12 of them have been nonfiction or about 43 percent. Of course, that percentage is bolstered since the numbers overall are down. I attribute that to a number of factors, including stress over thinking about health, work, and politics (although at least one of those is improving for both me and my wife) and an increase in watching streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

Does this mean that I will change anything for the future? I have high hopes to read more nonfiction than I have been, but probably I’ll continue to read mostly crime fiction series and even have a few new-to-me series in my TBR (to-be-read) pile already. Through October, I’ve done pretty well on reading nonfiction for me, with a total of 11, which is a high for me in a year. I have a number of nonfiction books in my TBR too for the next year (or two or three, let’s be honest), many of which I’ll be mentioning in a blog post tomorrow and then next week for Nonfiction November. Stay tuned!

So numbers aside, do you find trends in your own reading? Do you tend to read on one subject or in one genre? Or all you over the place?

Note: I realized that as I ended drafting this post that I neglected to mention young adult books so I went back and added them up for a total of 27 books, if I counted right. I only learned about many of them from book bloggers and without doing a count, I’d say a fair amount of them were among my favorites.

In case you missed the first two Nonfiction November posts, here are the links: Nonfiction November: A Look Back At My Year in Nonfiction and Nonfiction November: A no-brainer fiction/nonfiction pairing. I’ll be back tomorrow for Week 3.