The topic for Week 4 of Nonfiction November is Nonfiction Favorites, and the hosting blog is Doing Dewey. Instead of answering the provided questions, I decided to put together a list of my Top Ten Favorite Nonfiction Books to date.
The ten titles I selected easily fit into four overarching categories or types of nonfiction: Sweeping Histories, Atypical Memoirs, Memorable Royal Women and Medical Investigations. I reflected further on why I was drawn to each category and title below. In doing so, I realized that the elements I always look for in nonfiction are:
- Either a book that effectively summarizes a really long span of time, or one that focuses on a really weird and unique experience
- Highly personal writing in either case that always ties back the narrative to individual experience
- Conciseness in the writing – no droning on aimlessly
- To feel that I am learning something new.
Today is also the first official day of the #ThanksgivingReadathon ! If you haven’t published a Sign-Up post yet or posted your reading intentions on social media, make sure to do so today!
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The Week 2 topic for Nonfiction November this year was Nonfiction To Fiction Book Pairings. It’s a review structure that I’ve been dabbling in recently, so I thought I would combine a new set of nonfiction to fiction reviews with links to two earlier ones I posted on the blog in the last few months.
The new reviews for today’s post are for memoir Born A Crime by Trevor Noah and novel Hum If You Don’t Know The Words by Bianca Marais. Both books are set during Apartheid in South Africa, but ultimately only have a few things in common. The most interesting and significant parallel I found between Noah’s true story and that of Marais’ young female white character Robin, are in the spunk and initiative that both show amid extremely trying circumstances. Somehow, Robin’s character felt like it almost had the same level of dogged perseverance as Noah, though they experienced Apartheid with different skin colors and in different decades.
Hope you enjoy my reviews and don’t forget to also check out my two earlier book pairings below.
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Every month, I pick 5 nonfiction and 5 fiction books being released that month that sound like good reads to me, based on my personal preference in topics and genres, as well as advance reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.
In this month’s list, I’m definitely most excited about Prairie Fires on the nonfiction side and Artemis on the fiction side. I’ve already requested both on Net Galley and have reviews scheduled for later in the month. Other picks from this list that are still available for request on Net Galley (for the bloggers out there) are Little Broken Things and The Story Of Arthur Truluv.
Hopefully you find something here that catches your eye!
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Book Of The Month is a subscription service that sends you one hardcover book per month out of five selections for a low monthly subscription fee. You can add 2 more titles to your monthly delivery for $9.99 each, and the price overall is very cheap for full-size hardcovers.
Book Of The Month is not paying me to promote their service. I just love it so much that I’ve turned my monthly deliveries into a feature on my blog 🙂 I do encourage you to try it though, because if you like hardcovers it’s a great deal.
You can use my referral link to sign up if you’re interested in trying it. You’ll get your first three months for just $9.99 each plus a cute tote. And I’ll get a free book when you join. Win, win!
I had a pretty lucky month for my Book Of The Month selections. I ended up with two five star picks (Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips and Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann) and one solid three star pick (The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan). I also ended up with a bonus book (The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healey) because Book Of The Month sent it to me accidentally. Once I let them know, they shipped the correct book out to me asap and let me keep The Sisters Chase as well (great customer service). I ended up not loving it, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Read my full reviews below!
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This post came about through one of those cases in which you read a book that leads you to another title, and then another. After reading Andrew Morton’s biography of Diana this summer (Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words), I realized that as much as Diana was an interesting and polarizing figure, what I really wanted was to learn more about the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
Maybe The Crown also had a little effect on this. It’s startling to watch a TV series set in the 40s and 50s (for Season 1 at least) and realize that the protagonist is still alive today and has lived through 9 decades of history, social change and economic upheavals. My research on biographies of the queen led me to Sally Bedell Smith’s book Elizabeth: The Queen, and when Bedell Smith mentioned Alan Bennett’s novella on the queen – The Uncommon Reader – I knew that I wanted to pick that up as well.
I’m planning more similar fiction to nonfiction book pairings in the future. Hope you enjoy this first take on a new feature on the blog!
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Since there are so many great Summer book lists out there that focus on new releases in the fiction sphere, I thought that I would choose to center this new release post on nonfiction releases only. They’re definitely treated a bit as the ugly stepchild of the book blogging world sometimes, but since they’re my favorite (give me all the memoirs, historical tomes and weird books about scientific phenomena) I’m here to give them some love.
It’ll be hard (or impossible) for me to read all of the 15 books listed below, but I’m definitely planning to get my hands on Into The Gray Zone by Adrian Owen, My Glory Was I Had Such Friends by Amy Silverstein, Unbelievable by Katy Tur, and The People Are Going To Rise Like The Waters Upon Your Shore by Jared Yates Sexton. For the other ones, wish me luck! It’ll be hard to resist picking up Bugged and The Last Castle as well.
If you’re looking for some perfect book lists of fiction picks for the summer, here are links from two of my favorite book blogs that you can consult:
Modern Mrs Darcy’s Summer 2017 Reading Guide
Sarah’s Bookshelves Summer 2017 Reading Guide
For all of the great new nonfiction though, keep reading!
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