Nonfiction November – My Year in Nonfiction

NonfictionNovember-e1506979820517Week one is here, huzzah!  First up is a look at our 2017 nonfiction reading.  Out of the 88 books I’ve read so far this year 22 have been nonfiction, an even (…ly odd) 25%.  Despite the low numbers three out of my four five star books have been nonfiction!  Now to share some of them with you:

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

30347690I adore A Simple Story by Leila Guerriero.  It’s the rarest of the rare, translated nonfiction (well done rendering it in English, Frances Riddle!), and is a fascinating look at an Argentinian dance competition.  People practice for years in order to be the best malambo dancer, which includes the “honor” of never being able to complete again. Why do they train so hard to effectively end their careers?  Superbly written and unforgettable.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

29875902300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso.  It has a pull, and after seeing a couple of the aphorisms you just have to read the whole book.

“Worry is impatience for the next horror.”

“The first beautiful songs you hear tend to stay beautiful because better than beauty, which is everywhere, is the memory of first discovering beauty.”

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

I usually find a way to talk myself out of biographies – too long, too boring-looking, too old….

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

This is my first year doing Nonfiction November and I’m excited just to be participating!  I hope to meet a bunch of nonfiction lovers and have great conversations about books while growing my TBR.

36 thoughts on “Nonfiction November – My Year in Nonfiction

  1. Wow, Kazen! 300 Arguments sounds amazing! This is completely new to me, so I’m definitely going to look for a copy. I hope you enjoy participating in Nonfiction November; I think this is my third year and it always gives me something to look forward to. Hope you have a great start to the week!

    1. I hope you get a chance to read it! I’m currently on the hunt for another book by Manguso… part of me wants to devour them, but she has so few books I may want to savor them slowly. And yes I haven’t had breakfast yet, how could you tell. 😉 Can’t wait to see what you read this month!

    1. I had a peak at the nomination list and holy cow, you’re being kept busy! I don’t read a lot of YA nonfiction so I’m interested to see how the finalists shake out – may your decision be painless and unanimous. 😉

  2. I just want you to know that biographies are not boring! I am AGHAST that you would think so. There are loads of them that are. But there are so many that are amazing. Some of them are so GOSSIPY (which might totally not be your thing) that they are so fun!

    So weird when the stats work out so perfectly. A whole quarter of your reading – pretty damn good!

    1. They’re not all boring, but it’s so hard to tell from the covers and descriptions sometimes. And I’ll admit that school may have left some scars! Recommendations are most welcome! 🙂

      1. What interests you? Royals, film stars, politicians, writers? The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine is really fun. Anything by Julia P Gelardi is excellent. Also J Randy Tarraborrelli has great bios on the Kennedy women, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.

  3. Both of these books are new to me, and 300 Arguments sounds really good. I’m guessing you’ll get a lot of biography recommendations this month… lots of other nonfiction recommendations, too!

    1. Yup, the TBR will be massive, I’m sure! It’s nice to hear about books that may have been overlooked by the internet at large. Best of luck with your nonfiction reading this month!

    1. Australian nonfiction sounds awesome – heading over to your blog posthaste! If my favorite books sound like your thing you obviously have good taste. 😉

  4. Your comment about not gravitating towards biographies got me thinking. I had this huge biography obsession when I was in the fifth grade, as there was a section of the library that was just this one series of them, and my friend and I tried to read every single in, in a sort of who can read the most competition. But since then I haven’t read too many of them. Something about the way they are written is often a bit of a turn off. And of course there is the fact that most lives don’t follow a neat, page turning narrative line throughout. (Though I would argue a good biographer can shape the story so that it becomes one.)

    But at the same time, I love memoirs and autobiographies. Funny, that. Maybe people are just better at telling their own stories. Or maybe it is the deep personal insight that makes me like them, and that can only come from confession rather than reporting.

    Most of my nonfiction reading this year has been memoir. Just posted about it over here, if you’re interested.

    1. Glad to hear I’m not alone. If there’s a difference between autobiography and memoir that’s where I am – I like reading about a part of a person’s life, or as it’s viewed through a particular lens, but don’t care for the cradle to (nearly) grave thing. I’ll gravitate towards someone talking about their job or a trip someone took or an examination of a difficult time via the books they were reading. I’m sure there are biographies out there for me so I’m grateful for the recs I’m getting ’cause I know I would have trouble finding them on my own!

      Speaking of memoirs – have you gotten to Smoke Gets In Your Eyes? I see that you mentioned it as a possible read in a past post. I recently read and loved it – the whole holds up to the punch of the opening.

  5. Your recommendations have been added to my TBR! Again these are books I would never have discovered ..on my own.
    I saw on ‘Sarah’s Shelves’ comments that you enjoyed Ghettoside….I did too.
    What a great journalistic style by Jill Levoy.
    Have you read Blood in the Water by Heather Thompson (audio book)?
    It won the Pulitzer Prize this year for History. It was powerful!

    1. I haven’t read Blood in the Water… yet! Every once in a while I run across a challenge for prize winning books and that sounds perfect. Thanks for the rec!

  6. Susie | Novel Visits

    A Simple Story sounds fascinating and in a subject matter I know NOTHING about. I always like that. I’m adding it to my TBR list

  7. 300 Arguments looks excellent–highly original and lots of food for thought.

    What is it about biographies? I’m not into them either. I haven’t seen Hamilton, so maybe I’d get it if I did, but I am just floored that so many people are reading a bio of Alexander Hamilton.

    1. If you’re into musical theatre at all I highly recommend listening to the soundtrack – there’s nothing biographically boring about it! I’m with you about the book, though. Maybe knowing the basic outline of someone’s life, like through the musical, makes it easier or more interesting to read 700+ pages about them?

  8. It’s my first NFN, and my first visit to your blog. It’s nice to get out and about and meet some new bloggers. Translated nonfiction is super rare isn’t it? A Simple Story sounds intriguing.

    1. Yea, I’m so glad you’re joining us for Nonfiction November! It’s my first, as well. There needs to be more translated nonfiction in the world; I’m so glad New Directions put A Simple Story into print.

  9. Woooo….you read a lot! I have not been able to read 88 books this year but I read whenever I can. This is also my first year joining in with NonFiction November. Looking forward to seeing what people read and recommend.

    1. Yeaa, another firstie! There are those out there that finish many more books than me – I’m just happy whenever I get a chance to read. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Nonfiction November – Sharing Introductions | JulzReads

  11. A Simple Story sounds wonderful. It sounds kind of like the movie Strictly Ballroom- only they didn’t have to quit afterwards. I think it is a fascinating subject- graceful but incredibly difficult.

    Congrats on 22 nonfiction books! I don’t think I’ve ver read that many in one year- which is why I’m doing this this year. Reading is an escape for me so fiction is my drug.

    1. So glad you’re joining Nonfic November this year! It’s my first time and I’m really enjoying it. I’m not crazy enough to go all nonfiction, though – some escapist fiction is carefully sprinkled throughout all the facts. 😉

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