It's the first week of Nonfiction November! This is a project to celebrate great nonfiction books and to encourage book lovers to read nonfiction during the month of November, co-hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Katie at Doing Dewey, and Becca at I'm Lost in Books. I hemmed and hawed about participating, but you know what . . . I've already been commenting on other blogs about this, so I'm kinda involved. I might as well officially participate and link something to the Week 1 topic. Ok, so here goes . . .
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
I have been commenting all over the blogosphere that I only read ONE single, solitary nonfiction book this year . . . but looking back over my Goodreads account (good thing for that), I did read a few others. Um, whew. It turns out I read a whopping FOUR nonfiction books so far this year. I know, I know--you are blown away!! I will pause and let you recover.
Alright, so my favorite nonfiction read of this year, out of that overwhelming and impressive number, is the one I have just completed ....
And that would be Suki Kim's memoir of her year teaching in North Korea, Without You, There Is No Us. I just posted my review of this book yesterday, which you can find right here.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
The nonfiction book I've recommended most over the past few years is probably Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken--although I think everyone in the entire world has read it now, so I can stop recommending it! Hooray, my work is done.
What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven't read enough of yet?
I'd like to read more nonfiction about topics I don't know as much about--science, for example. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a great example of a nonfiction book about science that allowed me, as a non-scientist, to learn something new and push me out of my comfort zone as a reader. I'd love to hear some recommendations for other science books that I might try. I've heard many great things about On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss, so that ought to go on my list.
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
Well, primarily, to read a few more nonfiction books! Although I mostly read novels now, for pleasure and entertainment, I used to read plenty of academic history books. My degrees are in history, and long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I taught American history at the college level. I still enjoy reading history, but sometimes I have issues with history books written for popular audiences that aren't adequately researched or sourced, or that include too much speculation or conjecture (it's hard to let go of that professional training! No joke--it's like a curse).
Right now, I am reading Avi Steinberg's The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri. Steinberg, a non-Mormon, traveled to the landscapes associated with the Book of Mormon, searching for clues about the Mormon holy books, and makes an argument for considering the Book of Mormon as an influential work of American literature. It's about as quirky as it sounds, and so far I'm enjoying it.
Two other nonfiction books I'd like to read soon are Jenny Nordberg's The Underground Girls of Kabul and Lives in Ruins: Archeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson. I'm in the queue at my library for these, so we'll see when I can get my hands on them, but they both sound terrific.
Thanks to Kim, Katie, and Becca for organizing Nonfiction November! I will look forward to reading many interesting posts over the next few weeks, and adding to my Toppling Tower of TBR.