Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?Themes that cropped up this year have been:
German/Eastern European/Russian history, as usual, with some literature thrown in too. There is not enough time in my life to read all the history I want to, especially for that area. I was particularly excited to read Tacitus, followed by A Most Dangerous Book, followed by Black Earth. And Svetlana Alexievich is always a big deal to me; this year it was Secondhand Time.
Agricola and Germania, by Tacitus
A Most Dangerous Book, by Christopher Krebs
Black Earth: the Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder
Secondhand Time, by Svetlana Alexievich
The Possessed, by Elif Batuman (witty reflections on Russian literature and the people who read it)
Memoirs! Some really amazing memoirs, often kind of literary in nature. Also, a biography or two. I had slightly mixed feelings about the Gorey biography, though it was also excellent in many ways...
Educated, by Tara Westover
Drawn From Memory and Drawn From Life, by E. H. Shepard
The Pendulum, by Julie Lindahl (a memoir about German history, two of my categories at once)
Stet, by Diana Athill
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
Wesley the Owl, by Stacey O' Brien
Born to be Posthumous, by Mark Dery
Such a Strange Lady, by Janet Hitchman
Every Secret Thing, by Patty Hearst
One of my most important books of the year, though, was a new topic for me: Northern Ireland. Say Nothing gave me a lot to think about. The same friend who gave me Say Nothing also told me to watch Derry Girls, which I am now hooked on.
Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
Oddly, conspiracy theory books took up some space too. I had a bit of a Jon Ronson kick with THEM, and then I got hold of Voodoo Histories, which was fascinating, and also meant that I've read the Aaronovitch brothers this year entirely accidentally.
Lost at Sea, by Jon Ronson
THEM, by Jon Ronson
Voodoo Histories, by David Aaronovitch
I also read more about...not exactly politics, but how our current political climate happened, and what to do about it. These were important books to me, and I would recommend them to everyone.
Love Your Enemies, by Arthur C. Brooks
Alienated America, by Timothy P. Carney
How to Think, by Alan Jacobs
Enraged, by Emily Katz Anhalt (about ancient Greece, but completely relevant)
Lastly, we have the RANDOM sign...fun but resistant to categorization!
Underground, by Will Hunt
Babel, by Gaston Dorren
Ganga, by Julian Hollick (I want to read more travel books, but they got a bit shoved aside this year)
The Happiness Curve, by Jonathan Rauch
It's been a great nonfiction reading year; I only wish I could have crammed more in! As for what I'd like to get out of this week...well, my TBR pile doesn't need any help, but who can resist a good-looking title?? I'm always up for more recommendations.