Nonfiction November – Sunday Salon 99

Posted 2 November, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook / 37 Comments

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Sunday Salon

November!!! A time for Pumpkin Pie! Or if you’re me, pecan pie with bourbon and chocolate filling. Mmmm! Really, I’m not sure how it’s November (I say stuff like this a lot), but I’m partially glad it is because the lovely ladies Kim, Becca, Lu, and Katie are hosting Nonfiction November.

YAY!!nonfiction november

What’s Nonfiction November? Well, Becca has a pretty good introduction on her blog, but basically it’s a celebration of all things nonfiction. Plus there will be readalongs, if you feel so inclined, and weekly discussion topics. For the most part I’ll be likely using my Sunday Salon post or Top Ten Tuesday for the weekly discussions (except the next Sunday Salon, which will be my 100th and a celebration of its own!).

I’m really excited about Nonfiction November because

a) I love nonfiction

b) I haven’t been reading enough of it this year

c) I don’t have anything else planned for this month (yeehaw Free Range Reading)

Your Year in Nonfiction

Week One Discussion is hosted by Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness (she’s also the Nonfiction Blogging Queen)

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? (I’ll post about this later in the week) What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

This year I’ve read 12 nonfiction titles. So amend item (b) up above. I think it feels like I’ve read less than that because half of the nonfiction titles I’ve read have been graphic novels and they’re so quick and delicious that I could gobble them up in a day.

The Graphics:

nonfic graphics

Are You My Mother? | French Milk | Relish| A Song for Swallows | Ethel and Ernest | Stitches
(links to my thoughts on these books)

My favorite graphic memoir this year is Relish by Lucy Knisley. While I wasn’t blown over by French Milk, I loved Knisley’s frank enthusiasm in Relish. It’s one that foodies will adore! My least favorite of the bunch is Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel. After loving Fun Home, this follow-up was a large disappointment.

Incidentally, Kristilyn of Reading in Winter is hosting a Graphic Novel Week from November 24-28 of this month! Grab up some of these graphic memoirs and join the fun. I know I’ll be taking a trip to the library for graphic memoirs I can read during that week.

The “Others”:

nonfiction 2014

In a Sunburned Country |Good Chinese Wife | Quiet | Bad FeministSpirit Boy | Heaven is for Real
(links to my thoughts on these books)

My favorite non-graphic nonfiction read is a toss up between Bad Feminist, Quiet, and In a Sunburned Country. They’re all so incredibly different but entertaining and informative and intriguing in their own ways. Spirit Boy, Apowida’s memoir of growing up in Nigeria is a very worthy read, but neither Good Chinese Wife or Heaven is For Real did much for me. As a side note, three of these books were actually listens. I love listening to nonfiction titles on audio!

What Topic Do I Want to Read More?

History. Absolutely history. I have memoirs and travelogues and randomness pretty well covered, but history is always an area that I skip. In an effort to read more history this month, my first read will be The Crimes of Paris: a True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. It takes place at the turn of the 20th century and so far I’m learning all sorts of sordid details about the Belle Époque. 

nonfiction to read

Other historical nonfiction titles I have on my shelf that I’m interested in reading are 1776 by David McCullough, The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, Stalin’s Children by Owen Matthews, and Old Man River by Paul Schneider. (And yes, I do recognize that these are all by men. Boo hickey on the lack of diversity on my shelves!)

What are my hopes for Nonfiction November?

Weeeeeell, obviously I’d love to get some nonfiction reading accomplished this month! I think that this themed month is a great excuse to listen to Gulp by Mary Roach, and I’m also looking forward to Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I won’t be participating in the readalongs because I have too many books on my own shelves, but I’m looking forward to the weekly discussions. And of course, I’m looking forward to learning about new-t0-me nonfiction titles.

I always get a little bit sad when people say they don’t like to read nonfiction because there are so many great books. Hopefully you’ll join in this month and find some new-to-you nonfiction!

What’s your favorite nonfiction title?






37 Responses to “Nonfiction November – Sunday Salon 99”

  1. Hooray for Nonfiction November! I am excited to participate as well. 1776 is definitely on the docket this month, and Stalin’s Children is great–I read it a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Hope you have a successful month!

  2. Oh, I LOVE Under the Banner of Heaven…be prepared to have your socks knocked off with that one. I think you definitely hit on something with your history books all being by men. When I originally posted about women in nonfiction, I just glanced at my shelves and silently wept…so much of what I own in nonfiction is history focused (both my husband and I were history majors) and it’s just an area really dominated by the dudes.

  3. Why are there so many wonderful challenges in our blogging world?! I just signed up for 30 Days of Gratitude. I am desperately trying to read all 93 of my Cybils nominees (so far 19). And now you share this wonderful challenge! Sigh. I need more lives.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon!

  4. I read Under the Banner years ago and it was fascinating. I’m definitely curious about Crimes of Paris and The Monster of Florence so read those so I can decide if I want to read them! I was very meh about French Milk and so had no interest in trying Relish but you’re making me think I need to reconsider that. Good luck with Nonfiction November!

  5. I don’t mean to make you feel sad but I don’t like to read nonfiction books, but I’m glad that you are enjoying reading them. That said, I did enjoy Under the Banner of Heaven and hope you’ll like it too. Favorite nonfiction? I do have a few. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl? Yeah, let’s go with that today. :)

  6. I tried to count the number of nonfiction books I’ve read this year but someone was talking to me the whole time so I’m not sure my count is accurate. Anyway, I’ve read 20 something nonfiction books.

  7. I loved In a Sunburned Country and Monster of Florence – hope you enjoy those! I also want to read Bad Feminist at some point and Quiet…I’ve actually been meaning to read that one for quite a while. Maybe I’ll add that to my nonfiction reads this month :)

    Looking forward to participating in Nonfiction November with you – my intro post will be up tomorrow morning!

  8. I am snagging a few of your recommendations from the library so thank you for that. Under the Banner of Heaven is a book I am constantly recommending. It stuck with me and I learned a lot. I hope you enjoy it.

  9. What a great question to kick off Nonfiction November! I think I might have to play along at some point this month.

    I get sad when people badmouth nonfiction too. I think nonfiction forces you to read in a different way than reading a novel does and anything that stretches the brain is a good thing!

  10. I don’t think I’ll officially join the event but I’m going to keep it in mind when choosing books this month. I did end up reading two nonfics from my TBR during RIP and it felt really good (it probably didn’t hurt that they both were fun reads).

  11. I’m not a non-fiction reader. But as you know.. I do love graphic novels so I am going to look into joining that event. I need to get back into comics so that might just be perfect for me. I can’t believe it’s November either. In a couple weeks we head to TX to visit family. Hopefully the weather holds up.

  12. I am not a pumpkin person, but pecan pie.. yummm … yumm.. so yummy! Your books all look good. I am a big fan of narrative nonfiction, especially on true incidents. I mostly listen to nonfiction, and this year I’ve listened to tons. Looks like there are some more on your list that I need to check out soon.

  13. Under the Banner of Heaven is such a great read. It was one of those books where I just kept thinking, “You have to be kidding me!” And Mary Roach is always a lot of fun. I don’t read a ton of history either, unless it’s narrative history (straight history books tend to bore me). I’m glad you’ll be participating in Nonfiction November!

  14. I have read ONE–exactly ONE–nonfiction title this year! Um, oops. And my degrees are in history. But novels are where my heart is and so those are what I read for pleasure! Still, I’ll try to get a few more nonfiction titles in before the end of the year. I’m looking forward to Lives in Ruins.

    And I echo everyone else on Under the Banner of Heaven–absolutely great read!

  15. I don’t read much non-fiction and that’s totally a like of desire on my part. But I make exceptions for certain things.

    I recently read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Ben Franklin as a warmup to Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography (which I haven’t started yet). I’m a sucker for colonial history AND Ben Franklin. I love that guy. McCullough’s 1776 is on my list as well for similar reasons.

    Also, I’m interested in early internet/tech history like Dealers of Lightning about the early days of the Xerox-PARC facility in Palo Alto in the 70s that created like 90% of the tech we use today. It’s a fascinating read. I’d also love to read Puzzle Palace which is a history of the NSA.

    Oh, and I have a soft spot for rock biographies like Motley Crue’s The Dirt, David Lee Roth’s Crazy from the Heat and Slash’s own autobiography.

    I’ll usually give that stuff a try, but I’m rarely in the mood for it. I usually have to force myself to do it and then I’m glad I did.

    I guess I like it more than I thought but I just never want to read it for some reason.

  16. Have you read Palestine by Joe Sacco? It was my favourite graphic novel non-fiction read this year. Are You My Mother? is on my tbr pile from the library right now, so hopefully I like it as much as you! Bad Feminist is also on my pile to read :)

  17. I should definitely look at the library catalogue and see if they have some graphic memoirs (I doubt it since it’s a small town library, but who knows?) It would make for some wonderful reads this month. I also really want to read Bad Feminist someday.

    And can I just add in here that your comment was very welcome. You’ve been so allround kind about my pregnancy/mother doubts, thank you!

  18. Farin

    The Monster of Florence is really excellent. Not to mention, it caused Douglas Preston to be banned from Florence…

  19. I’m loving all this love for non-fiction!

    You have some great books on your list (the Bill Bryson would qualify as an Australian book for AusReading month – also this month!)

    I will have to get organised & make an Aussie non-fiction post :-)

  20. I really enjoyed Relish–it just missed making my top NF list this week. And Under The Banner Of Heaven is on my TBR list–but now I’m thinking I need to move it up nearer to the top of the list after reading all the comments here!

  21. Historical nonfiction is my JAM. ;) Love, love, love learning about things that way. That’s my fave thing about nonfiction, the learning.

    I have heard such good things about Relish and French Milk. I really need to get my hands on those! I’ve heard quite a few folks say the same about Are You My Mother. What a bummer.

    Have a happy nonficnov!

  22. I was saying on Lu’s blog that I didn’t even realize graphic nonfiction existed. I’m hoping to read more graphic novels in the future and will definitely add some of your picks to the list.

  23. Lu

    I loved loved loved A Game for Swallows. Such an amazing reading! Thank you for being so so enthusiastic about Nonfiction November this year. Your tweets have been wonderful!

  24. Thanks for sharing the link to Graphic Novels Week!! :) I have Relish on my list, too … I’ve heard it’s really good!

    And I loved Heaven is For Real. Very moving book!

    Love your PicMonkey graphic … they have such cool stuff!

  25. I wish I weren’t in the middle of two books with two more waiting to be read later this month. I love the idea of an entire month devoted to nonfiction. I’ve only read five books from that category this year and they were all memoirs. I need to read more history! Or shall I say, listen to more history, which is how I tend to appreciate those more detailed works (such as Unbroken, which was very good). My favorite nonfiction? Off the top of my head, Little Princes by Conor Grennan and Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper. Adding Under the Banner of Heaven to my list.