Nonfiction November Week 3 – Nontraditional Nonfiction

Nonfiction November 2015Welcome to Week 3 of Nonfiction November! This week we’re discussing Nontraditional Nonfiction and your host is Rebecca at I’m Lost in Books, so make sure you head on over to her blog and add your links!

This week’s prompt is:

This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction.  Nonfiction comes in many forms.  There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats.  We want to hear all about it this week!

h is for hawkRecently, I’ve been listening to more and more nonfiction on audio. Part of the reason is that I’m, in general, reading a lot more nonfiction, so it makes sense that my audiobook nonfiction reads would increase as well. But I’ve also just found that I really enjoy nonfiction on audio. I’m a captive audience in my car and I like spending that time learning about something new. The last audiobook I finished, though, I think is the best nonfiction audio I’ve listened to yet.

I’m sure I would have been just as impressed with  H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald if I had read it, but it is one of those books where the audiobook adds to the story. It is a book I listened to because of Nonfiction November. I purchased it a few months ago, but it was near the bottom of my possible choices for audiobooks for this month. All that changed after the first week of Nonfiction November. So many people recommended it and I can’t thank you enough. H is for Hawk is part memoir about the author’s grief after her father’s death and her experiences raising a goshawk, part a history of falconry as a sport, and part biography of the novelist TH White. It’s a book that tries to be many things and somehow succeeds at all, seamlessly weaving these three elements into a stunning book.

What sets H is for Hawk apart as an audiobook is that it is narrated by the author herself. Authors are not actors and it’s not always for the best when they do the narration for their own books. (And, to be fair, it’s not always for the best when famous actors narrate audiobooks. I’m looking at you, awful audiobook version of The Great Gatsby read by Tim Robbins.) But Macdonald is a magnificent narrator and it adds an element to this memoir that I would miss in print. I think I am lacking the vocabulary to explain why this narration feels more powerful than other audiobook memoirs I have listened to in the past, so I apologize if this doesn’t make sense. There is not necessarily any overt display of emotion during the narration, but there are moments when Macdonald reads her own words in a way that it seems no one else could. Though the shifts in her voice and narration are subtle, you feel what she is feeling, and it makes the audiobook feel more personal.

One benefit that print has over audio is the ability to reread particularly beautiful passages and to linger over perfect phrasing. I mostly listen to audiobooks when I’m driving, so it’s difficult to bookmark or go back and relisten to parts of audiobooks. It’s the one thing I wish I could have done listening to H is for Hawk. Not only is this memoir engaging for its story, but it’s beautifully written with evocative prose that I wish I could quote for you here. There are turns of phrase in H is for Hawk that feel wholly original and new that transport you immediately to the forests of England.

I really can’t recommend H is for Hawk enough and I can’t recommend the audiobook enough. I have no doubt that it is one of my favorite books of the year.

 

 

 

Nonfiction November Week 2 Round Up!

Nonfiction November 2015What a great week! Everyone’s posts are incredible and my TBR is officially toppling over from all the amazing recommendations.

This week’s theme was Book Pairings – a fiction book with a nonfiction book – and everyone definitely delivered! I hope that this encourages readers who might not think nonfiction is for them to find a favorite fiction book on this list matched up with a nonfiction book.  I picked one pairing from each blogger or their general theme to list in this round up. Everyone went into detail or included more than one pairing, so don’t forget to read through the other participants this week!

Book Reviews

Next Week

Next week’s theme is nontraditional nonfiction and will be hosted at Rebecca’s I’m Lost in Books:

This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction.  Nonfiction comes in many forms  There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats.  We want to hear all about it this week!

Thank you for another great week of Nonfiction November and we’ll see you next week!

Nonfiction November!

Nonfiction November 2015Excuse me, I just have to brush off some of the dust that has accumulated on Regular Rumination since the beginning of this year. Maybe another day I’ll post about all the things I’ve been doing over the past ten months, but for now I want to talk about my favorite month of the year: November! It’s my birthday month! Thanksgiving! But most importantly…

Nonfiction November!

I’m so excited to relaunch Regular Rumination by announcing that once again I’ll be co-hosting Nonfiction November along with Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness, Katie of Doing Dewey, and Rebecca of I’m Lost in Books. Nonfiction November is a month full of celebration for all things nonfiction. For the month of November, each week we will discuss a different topic about nonfiction. We’ll also be doing a group readalong of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb, which we’ll discuss at the end of the month. 

Week 1 (November 2-6) – Your Year in Nonfiction hosted by Kim – 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? 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?

Week 2 (November 9-13) – Book Pairing hosted at Regular Rumination – This week, 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. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Week 3 (November 16-20) – Nontraditional Nonfiction hosted by Rebecca – This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction.  Nonfiction comes in many forms  There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats.  We want to hear all about it this week!  

Week 4 (November 21-27) – I Am Malala Read Along Discussion hosted by Katie –This week we’ll be wrapping up Nonfiction November with a discussion of our read-along book, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. Discussion questions will be posted at the beginning of the week on November 23. In your post, you can answer these questions and/or write about your own response to the book. As you read throughout the month, you can share your thoughts on twitter using the hashtag #NonficNov.

Nonfiction Book Swap

Again this year, Bex (An Armchair By the Sea) is hosting a Nonfiction Book Swap to go along with Nonfiction November. The book swap is open internationally and participants should make a nonfiction only wish list. Sign ups are open until November 8, but head over to her blog for all the details!

I’m so excited to be back and I’m so excited for Nonfiction November to kick off! I hope you are too.

Nonfiction November Week 4 – Additions to my TBR

cork w booksI apologize for being a little behind on my Nonfiction November post this week! I’ve been prepping for my Thanksgiving trip and finishing up at work, plus obsessing over a few exciting things that are coming up in the next few weeks. November is always such a busy month, especially this last week!

If you’re in the US, I hope you have safe travels this week for Thanksgiving and that you enjoy your holidays. If you’re not in the US, enjoy this last week in November before the holiday rush!

Nonfiction November was such an amazing experience this time around. Everyone has been so enthusiastic, it’s hard not to let your TBR grow and grow and grow. This week, we’re asking participants to list the books that they’ve added to their TBR, along with a link to the blogger who recommended it. This week’s host is Katie at Doing Dewey, so make sure you head over to her blog with your link.

Good Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel – Recommended by Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum – From Elisabeth’s blog: “I continue to recommend David Finkel’s Thank You For Your Service, one of my favorite books in 2013. Finkel follows the soldiers he profiled in Good Soldiers (also an excellent nonfiction read) after they return home to the U.S. The aftermath of war is no lovelier than war itself, and this is not an easy book to read. But Finkel makes you care passionately for these soldiers and their families. I finished this book and felt changed by the experience of reading it.”

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan  – Recommended by Jennifer at The Relentless Reader – From Jennifer’s blog: “I thought I knew quite a bit about the Dust Bowl. I was wrong. The author combined history with personal narratives to craft an exceptional book that was heartbreaking and incredibly informative.”

The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr – Recommended by Travis at Head Subhead – From Travis’s blog: “The book I’ve recommended most to folks is Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage. It was fascinating. My guess is if you are reading this post then you need to read The Glass Cage. It’s not too long and not hard to understand. But you will look at your computer, phone, car, TV and airplanes in a whole new light after reading this book. So much of our lives and work is automated these days. This shift happened so fast. What are the implications? Does anyone know? Just think about this – the same impulse/feeling you get when you misspell a word, because you know auto-correct will get it, is due to the same mental lull that has been attributed to airline crashes. You need to read this book.”

Black Berry, Sweet Juice by Lawrence Hill – Recommended by Ana at Things Mean A Lot – From Ana’s blog: “I recently finished Lawrence Hill’s Blood: A Biography of the Stuff of Life, which I really enjoyed and hope to review at some point. I especially liked the book’s exploration of racial identity and of the biological myths that still surround our understanding of race, so it only makes sense to go on to read the book Lawrence devoted entirely to the topic.”

Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley – Recommended by Sophie at Paper Breathers –  From Sophie’s blog: “I love Heminsley’s narrative because I think it speaks to many of us who laze around and can’t really muster up the willpower to go running. And even if we do, it’s only that one day a yearmonth when we feel like we’re on top of the world, and then reality hits and we realize that running is painful and difficult and SO FREAKIN’ TIRING. Heminsley had the same problems and complaints, but she also found good things along the way that balanced out the bad – for example, making friends with strangers on the run, or running by the sea, or running with a friend who really needs it emotionally. We’re privy to the painful, joyous, tragic, and triumphant moments of her life as she slowly falls in and out of love with running.”

Nonfiction November Readalong – The Restless Sleep

nonfiction november readalongs

 

Today, for the Nonfiction November readalong, Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) and I will be talking about The Restless Sleep, while Becca (I’m Lost in Books) and Katie (Doing Dewey) will be talking about Cleopatra.

The Restless Sleep is about New York City’s cold case squad and the struggles they face daily to solve long unsolved murders in New York. Horn structures the book by interweaving stories of how the Cold Case Squad came to be and the stories of four long-cold cases and the cops who try to solve them. Horn states early in the book that she is determined to give voices to the people whose lives ended too soon, who didn’t have a chance to leave their mark on the world. She looks at the case of a young couple murdered with possible drug connections, a series of murders associated with the mob, the murder of a young woman from Georgia, recently divorced, and the murder of a young girl in Queens.

This book is essentially a snap shot of what the Cold Case Squad looked like in 2003-2004, just a few short years after 9/11, which was still affecting the day-to-day life of all cops. I’m sure a lot has changed in the years since the book was published and that was hard to ignore. The police politics and the parts of the book that discussed how the Cold Case Squad operated were much less interesting than the parts of the book that covered actual cases and how they’re solved. It was hard to keep each cop straight in the narrative and I found the narrative structure to be jarring. It was difficult to focus on any one part of the story when it would jump from an individual case to talking about police politics to talking about another case.

I struggled with Horn’s tone throughout the book, which starts out as very informal, almost as if she’s mimicking the hard language and tone that she thinks cops have. This eventually fades, or I got used to it as the story went on, but it still stood out to me as I was reading.

The cases Horn picks to illustrate the work the Cold Case Squad were poignant. She approaches the victims with compassion, when other people might not. Many of the cold cases in New York are people who the world has deemed expendable. Many of them are criminals themselves. Horn wants someone to remember them and I think she does a good job painting fair pictures of the victims and their murderers, if they’re known. At the end of the book, two of the cases are solved and two remain cold. It was frustrating not to have that closure on those two cases, but it was a great way to illustrate the real work the Cold Case Squad is doing.

If it weren’t for this readalong, I’m not sure I would have finished The Restless Sleep. The subject is interesting, but I just found the structure of the book and Horn’s tone to be distracting.

So, I have to know, what did you think?? Am I totally wrong here? Or did you run into some of the same issues with The Restless Sleep?

Nonfiction November Week 3 – Diversity in Nonfiction

cork w booksHappy week three of Nonfiction November! This week we are exploring diversity in nonfiction, hosted by Becca at I’m Lost in Books. Be sure to head over to Becca’s blog to add your links for this week’s post. Also, just a reminder that we’ll be posting about our readalong titles tomorrow!

The great thing about reading is that it gives us the opportunity to read about other experiences rather than just what’s familiar, but those books don’t just fall into our laps. We have to actively seek them out and make them a priority.

When it comes to reading diverse nonfiction, one thing that I have noticed is that I’ll pick up a book about a different culture or race or ethnicity and see that the author is white and, often, from the US. Those books, of course, still have value as being an opportunity to learn more about a country or culture, but at the same time, it’s also important to seek out nonfiction written by authors of color.

If diversity is important to you, you can’t just say it. You have to make a point to choose the books that reflect that. You have to pay attention, whether you want to focus on reading more nonfiction books by authors of a different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender (or all of the above!). I wanted my reading for the second half of Nonfiction November to reflect that priority, so I put together a list of what I’ll be reading over the next two weeks:

 

unnatural selection

Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl – I’m a little bit more than halfway through Unnatural Selection, which focuses on sex selection in Asian countries starting with the cause of the problem (hint: the US had a lot to do with it), current ramifications that we’re already seeing in many of these countries that have had a skewed sex ratio since the 70s, and what it will mean for Asia and the rest of the world going forward. What I love about Unnatural Selection is Hvistendahl’s determined approach to debunking the idea that sex selection is solely based on cultural preference for boys and for calling out organizations for not taking a stand on sex selection because it is a complicated situation tied up in abortion rights. It is a complicated situation, but one that is going to cause more disparity, more unrest, and more problems over the next 20-40 years. Hvistendahl has lived in China for many years and interviews many women and family’s for this book, making it a strong choice if you’re interested in learning more about a complicated problem affecting China, India and other Asian countries.

 

9781594204470

Capital by Rana Dasgupta – Okay, I’ll admit. I was drawn to  Capital on the library shelves because it has such a stunning cover. Then I was hooked when I saw Rana Dasgupta’s name. I read his novel Solo in 2011 and it still stands out to me as one of the more beautifully written novels I’ve read over the past few years. I’m looking forward to see what Dasgupta does with nonfiction. This book focuses on the history of Delhi and the new elite in India, people who made it rich after the opening of India’s economy. Dasgupta accomplishes this by interviewing a range of people in Delhi and combining the history of Delhi with their narratives and his own personal journey. It’s a book that’s garnered amazing reviews and I think it will be next for me to read!

 

9781452107912

No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi – Aasif Madvi has been making the NPR rounds these past few weeks and I was immediately drawn to the way he talks about his experiences and about representation. When he was starting out as an actor, he was often asked to read for parts like the snake charmer or the voice of a terrorist. In fact, he wasn’t even interested in auditioning for The Daily Show because he assumed it was a role like those he had been offered in the past. Instead, it was for the role of Muslim Correspondent and Mandvi nailed the audition. No Land’s Man was described by the interviewer on NPR today as at turns hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking. It sounds like an honest, fascinating memoir from a person I’d really like to know more about. I received a free copy of the audiobook and I can’t wait to listen on my drives this week and next.

Do you have any diverse nonfiction titles you’re hoping to read in the second half of Nonfiction November?

Nonfiction November Week 2 Roundup!

cork w booksWell, Be/Become/Ask the Expert week has come to a close and I’m of course in awe of how widely read and curious all of you are. We had such a wide range of topics this week! Everything from nonfiction on becoming a parent to fairy tales to several takes on food! This was my favorite week last year and this year did not disappoint. Thank you so much for participating, tweeting, sharing, commenting, and chatting about nonfiction this month.

I’ve tried to link to everyone who shared links with us, but I apologize in advance if I missed anyone! If you don’t see your link here or you didn’t get a chance to add it to the linky before today, leave it in the comments or add it to the linky on my previous post.

Before we get into the links:

  • Just a reminder that next week’s topic is all about diversity and nonfiction and will be hosted by the lovely Becca at I’m Lost in Books. Be sure to head over to her blog on Monday to check it out.
  • We’ll also be posting about our readalong this week on 11/19. If you’ve been reading along with either Cleopatra or The Restless Sleep, be sure to check to post next Wednesday.
  • If you’re on Twitter, join us in discussing nonfiction all month using the hashtag #nonficnov!

Expert Lists: Be sure to check out these amazing expert lists to keep your TBR pile growing exponentially!

Lori is the expert in “unconventional biographies” at The Emerald City Book Review.

bookmammal is an expert in oral histories and an expert in books about the Kennedys at Musings from a Bookmammal.

Christina is an expert on food politics and shares eight great books you should read at Ardent Reader.

Julie put together a list of books all about the Tudors at JulzReads.

Sarah also posted about the Kennedys at Sarah’s Bookshelves.

Jay recommended three books by historian Daniel Boorstin and also asked us to recommend great author autobiographies or biographies at Bibliophilopolis.

Heather posted a list of science and medicine books at Based on A True Story.

Trisha of eclectic/eccentric posted a list of books about freak shows and a list about fairy tales.

Trish has an amazing list of nonfiction recommendations for nonfiction beginners at Love, Laughter, & a Touch of Insanity.

Caro, as a PhD student herself, posted a list of books about science at A Girl that Likes Books.

Katherine posted a truly fascinating list of books about exposing fraudulent mediums at A Writerly Reader. I’ve researched the Spiritualist movement for a novel, too, and all of these books are going on my list!

Andi at Estella’s Revenge shared a list of books about the Victorian era.

Sherry at Semicolon asked us to recommend books about the US Presidents and books about Africa for two of her ongoing reading projects. Any suggestions?

Sophie shared a list of books about animals at Paper Breathers.

TJ posted a list of books that make you glad to be where you are at My Book Strings.

Travis at Head Subhead listed three books about book covers. Such a cool list!

Melissa posted a list of books about abortion at Feminist Texican Reads.

Jancee shared books about geeky nonfiction reads, including books about gaming and fandom at Jancee Reads.

Monika at A Lovely Bookshelf posted all about language learning. There were definitely a few I wanted to add to my TBR!

Shannon posted an amazing list of books about making the choice to become a parent or not at River City Reading.

Holly and Amanda shared books about 20th Century American History at A Gun in Act One.

Leila shared a list of memoirs by Iranian women at Reader’s Oasis.

April put is an expert on books about buddhism and wants to become an expert on historical events and people at Bookishly Speaking.

Bex shared her favorite books about food and self-sufficiency at An Armchair by the Sea.

Olduvai also posted a list about food at Oludvai Reads. This is a popular topic, but each blog has had such different picks!

Ann was inspired by Veterans Day and posted a list of books about WWI at her blog Books on the Table.

Jess posted a list of books about the Salem Witch Trials at A Book Hoarder. So fascinating!

Guiltless Reading has a list all about food and puts the call out for recommendations from readers.

Kelly asked for recommendations on American Politics, a topic I’m really interested in, too! Check out all the recommendations and recommend your own favorites at A Well-Read Redhead.

Jennifer shared a list of books about lost places at The Leaning Stack of Books and it’s absolutely fascinating. I definitely want to read all of these books!

Kristin posted a list of books about 20th and 21st century war at my little heart melodies.

Florinda shared a list of nonfiction about television, which I’m definitely going to be reading closely! Check it out at The Three Rs Blog.

Ellie is the expert on modern technology and wants to become the expert on whales and dolphins (me too!) at Book Addicted Blonde.

Carrie shared a list of WWII books she has read and is planning on reading at Other Women’s Stories.

CJ posted a list of books about Shakespeare at ebookclassics.

Brona shared her Year in Nonfiction survey and her list of books about the Holocaust at Brona’s Books.

Elisabeth posted books about creativity at The Dirigible Plum.

Amelia shared a list of books about Jane Austen and her fans at Little Thoughts About Books.

Sarah at The Everyday Reader requested recommendations for nonfiction about WWI. There are a few lists you will definitely want to check out, Sarah!

Caroline posted a list of books about the Berlin Wall and life in the GDR at More Thoughts, Vicar?

Co-host Becca shared a difficult, but important topic: human trafficking. Read more at her blog I’m Lost in Books.

Co-host Kim posted a list of football books at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Even though I have no interest in football, some of these books sound great!

Reviews!

The Lost Book of Mormon by Avi Steinberg (Reader’s Oasis)
Lost in Tibet by Richard Starks and Miriam Marcutt (JulzReads)
The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi and Our Declaration by Danielle Allen (River City Reading)
Does Santa Exist? by Eric Kaplan (Jancee Reads)
Magic & Mystery (The Writerly Reader)
Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley (Paper Breathers)
The Story of Ain’t by David Skinner (Melissa F)
The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (Readers’ Oasis)
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E Frankl (James Reads Books)
As You Wish by Cary Elwes (Based On A True Story…)
Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson (Reading the End)
Sarah shared her all-time favorite nonfiction reads (Sarah’s Bookshelves)
Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim (Sarah’s Bookshelves)
French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon (Olduvai Reads)

Thanks again for making this week so great! I hope you get a chance to visit a few (or all!) of the blog post and leave a quick comment. I know that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend!