Anyone who knows me and what I like to read is probably rolling on the floor laughing right now because I don’t read nonfiction. Stop it! You’re hurting my feelings. I don’t consciously discriminate against it, but if faced with two books and one is fiction and one is not, I’m going to dive at the fiction. This is scientifically borne out in my reading stats for 2016: Year-to-date only 6% of my reading has been nonfiction. I can give you a few thoughts as to why that’s the case, but they’re not scientific: too reminiscent of being back in school, doesn’t engage my brain the way fiction does so I stop-start and forget, no escapist factor, makes me sleepy.
Why then am I participating in something so far out of my wheelhouse? A couple of reasons. One, I spent October cocooned in Comfort Reading—finishing a grand total of 17 novels on topics as far away from American politics as I could get. It was helpful, but even though there is no end in sight for the nastiness I’m itching to get back into the swing of reading for reviewing. I have a handful of upcoming releases I’m looking forward to, but I feel like I need to stretch a bit and try some nonfiction. Two, I’m still susceptible to peer pressure and Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), has been talking this up for months so I figured I should give it a go. Of course, I’m already running late on this introductory post, so hoping that’s not an omen!
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Thankfully, an easy question to start with! Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry. Details about this outstanding book in the next question.
Followed by one that didn’t get much attention in the U.S.: The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker. It’s the story of one young girl’s decades long battle with anorexia and bulimia and should be required reading for anyone with a teenager in their life. The story was compelling, but Tucker’s poetic prose made it even more powerful.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
Again, Adnan’s Story. Despite being chock full of data and details I could not put this down. Adnan’s case is one of the worst miscarriages of justice I’ve ever heard about. The evidence to support his innocence is staggering as is the malfeasance of the Maryland criminal justice system.
What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?
Hard to say because I read so little nonfiction and unlike fiction, I really need to be invested in it to try it. The challenge is in reading it at all so I’m more likely to lean towards topics that interest me. For that reason, I’ll say food and cooking because I like to eat.
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
To be shamed into reducing my ever-increasing backlist of unread nonfiction and broaden my reading horizons. Plus, it will be fun visiting blogs that might not normally be on my radar.
Here’s a quick peek at the books I’m hoping to tackle this month:
I think six is a reasonable number to read so we’ll see. As mentioned, I’ve got a couple of food related books with Salt Sugar Fat and Extra Virginity. I’m also feeling a need to focus on strong accomplished women so thank you, My Life on the Road and Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Rounding things out is the highly recommended Behind the Beautiful Forevers and, because I need to find a way back to my yoga practice and de-stress, Do Your Om Thing.
Thanks to Katie at Doing Dewey for organizing this event!