Nonfiction November – Week 1 – My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November 2015

Happy Nonfiction November!! This week, we’re discussing how 2015 has been for our nonfiction reading, hosted by the wonderful Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Don’t forget to head over to Kim’s blog to add your link!

This has been an unusual reading year for me. Now that I don’t live in the city and I don’t commute for work, I’ve lost a big chunk of my reading time. A typical day for me in 2014 involved almost two hours of uninterrupted reading time a day on the subway. Now that my commute is from my bedroom to my home office, I’m having a hard time carving out the same amount of time to read! I’ve only read 44 books so far this year. A typical year for me has usually been well over one hundred. I don’t mind that I’ll probably only get to just over 50 books read for the year, but let me just say, it makes me so much pickier about what I read. And so much more upset when I read a book I didn’t like!

Now, reduction in reading aside, I’ve actually read more nonfiction so far this year than any year before. I definitely attribute this to Nonfiction November’s influence! I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks and I’ve found that I really enjoy nonfiction on audio. Here is what I’ve read or listened to so far in 2015:

2015 Nonfiction

  1. brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  2. El Deafo by Cece Bell
  3. Liar Temptress Soldier Spy by Karen Abbott
  4. Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
  5. Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow
  6. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  7. On Immunity by Eula Biss
  8. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  9. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

What is your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

I was absolutely blown away by brown girl dreaming, Jaqueline Woodson’s memoir in verse. It’s a beautiful book of poetry, memoir, and shows that nonfiction can be more than just prose. It’s a powerful piece of writing.

Being Mortal by Atul Gwande is also a powerful book about death and dying in the United States in three parts. I have to admit, this was a difficult book to listen to in some parts. The first section is all about the human body and the aging process. The second focuses on problems in the nursing home and assisted living industry and what can be done to increase quality of life in the last stage of life. Finally, GaMwande analyzes the ways medicine has failed the dying, especially those suffering from terminal illnesses. While Being Mortal was not always the easiest book to listen to, it’s the most important nonfiction books I read this year.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

If we’re not just talking about books I’ve read this year, I’d say Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer. It always, weirdly, seems to come up in conversations. Parasites are everywhere!

What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of?

So much!! But this year, especially, there seems to be a lack of comics nonfiction in my reading. Unfortunately, my new library system is really lacking in the comics department. I usually read quite a few, but this year just one: El Deafo by Cece Bell. I also really want to read more biographies and history books.

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Reading more nonfiction, of course, but also reading all of your blog posts! You always recommend such great nonfiction and I can’t wait to add to my ever-growing TBR. I’m currently reading And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts and up next on the TBR is I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai for our readalong discussion. I’ve also downloaded The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (a book I found out about through Nonfiction November), H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor, and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott on audiobook. I doubt I’ll get to all four of those, but I do have quite a bit of work driving this month, so I should at least get through two.

What about you? I can’t wait to read through your Nonfiction November posts this week! Be sure to stop by Sophisticated Dorkiness to add your link to the list so we don’t miss out.

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18 thoughts on “Nonfiction November – Week 1 – My Year in Nonfiction

  1. You’ve reminded me of a few I know I want to read and introduced me to some I don’t yet know about! AND we shared a couple reads (and tbrs) – Happy November!

  2. I feel like lots of people are reading Being Mortal this year! I have a copy sitting by my bed, but doubt I’ll be able to get to it this month. I also loved Liar, Temptress last year and Fire Shut Up in my Bones has been on my TBR for awhile now.

  3. I loved Being Mortal, and On Immunity is on my TBR e-pile. I’m a big fan of audiobook nonfiction too, but like you I’m about to lose a huge chunk of reading time. 😒

  4. I also like to listen to non-fiction, but I haven’t done so for years – like you a change in routine/work/living arrangements means that I don’t drive long distances as often as I used to.

    I have Being Mortal on my TBR pile – I really must get into it soon.

  5. Oh! Are you liking And the Band Played On so far? Isn’t it riveting? I read it in college, and it was one of the first grown-up nonfiction books I read that I truly loved. It just made me realize so much of what nonfiction’s capable of doing, and of course, as a grown lady, I am exceptionally fond of reading wonderful nonfiction. All (well, partly) due to Randy Shilts!

  6. Totally forgot about Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy; I keep saying I’m going to read that one and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Being Mortal sounds absolutely fascinating; I work in a hospital and have been on a team of palliative care physicians in the past. We have a lot of work to do in that area, and I feel like the U.S. is a bit behind other countries; I need to read this one! Thanks so much and I’m looking forward to participating for the first time this year.

  7. I’m glad you’ve been having so much fun with nonfiction audiobooks! I really enjoyed Brown Girl Dreaming too, and Liar, Temptress, Soldier Spy. On Immunity sounds really interesting too and I’m hoping to pick it up this month 🙂

  8. So much to comment on! I grabbed Fire Shut Up in My Bones at BEA last year and haven’t read it yet, definitely want to. And I always mean to grab And the Band Played On (I even bought a copy this year!), but the size intimidates me. Chris Taylor’s Star Wars book is a total delight, I think you’ll like that one.

  9. This is my first time participating in Nonfiction November and I’m really excited! So many good NF books that I’m discovering. I’ve been listening to audio samples of the books you’ve listed. They sound great! I should be mad, not excited—because my I’m going over my book budget this month!! (phffttt — this month? It’s every month, truth be told)

  10. I really want to read Brown Girl Dreaming! I have to check out a few others from your list as well. I haven’t heard of Parasite Rex – sounds kind of grossly fascinating!

  11. Being Mortal is my most recommended nonfiction of the year. You and Trish (along with a couple of others) have convinced me to read Brown Girl Dreaming. And today I finished Between the World and Me.. totally blown away. SO GOOD!!

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