Blog Archives

2019 In Non Fiction

The time for vacillation is over. My dilemma whether to join Nonfiction November, was resolved by all the reassurances from bloggers that there’s no expectation to read any more non fiction than normal. So I’m diving in with the first week’s discussion topic.

Julz Reads has given 4 questions all on the theme of Your Year In Non Fiction

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

I’m cheating here by choosing two books. They’re both memoirs which deal with sobering social issues (homelessness and health provision) but do so with a huge dollop of humour.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn . This is a spectacular book which traces the way Raynor and her husband Moth dealt with the loss of their home and business. Just days after Moth received a devastating medical diagnosis the couple embarked on a 630 mile walk along the South West Coast Path. They experienced the kindness of strangers but also hostility.

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay . Who would have thought gynaecology could be so funny? Kay reveals some of the bizarre medical emergencies that confronted him as a junior doctor (read this book and you’ll be astonished the things people manage to insert into their bodies). But this book has a serious message – the unbelievable strains imposed on these doctors through lack of funding and indifference.

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

I’ve read 6 non fiction books this year and will shortly finish another; Becoming by Michelle Obama. They had nothing in common except that all but one of these books was a memoir.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

The Salt Path .

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

There are loads of novels that feature historical figures or episodes I know little about so I’m hoping to get some ideas for non fiction books to help fill in those gaps. Next week’s topic is in fact ‘book pairings’ where the idea is to match a fiction and non fiction book on the same topic. I suspect my wishlist will grow as a result.

Non Fiction November: Can I? Should I? Will I?

Non Fiction November kicks off tomorrow. A month-long celebration of the art of memoirs; travelogs; essays and historical; scientific; technical; political and economic writing.

I joined in last year for the first time. Now I’m in a quandary whether to repeat that experience.

Part of my brain says NO WAY. I already feel over stretched with fictional reading commitments for the next month. Plus I promised myself after failing with #20booksofsummer that I wouldn’t embark on any more projects that involved making a list of books to read. I’m clearly not cut out for such projects.

But another part of my brain is saying YES. Non Fiction November would be a good way to kick me into reading the books that I often buy but seldom seem to read.

I have plenty of choices. At the last count my TBR includes 27 books in the non fiction category. There’s One Woman Walks Wales by Ursula Martin which I started reading back in about February but haven’t picked up for ages. The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, owner of Scotland’s second largest second-hand bookshop is another that I started but haven’t finished.

Then there are at least 2 books on Roman history, 3 on Greek and Roman myths, a couple of biographies and a few books on language and reading. Maybe this will be the year I finally get around to The World is Flat, the book on globalisation by Thomas Friedman or Rachel Carson’s landmark work on the environmental impact of chemical pollution, Silent Spring.

I’m really really tempted. Mainly I suppose because Non Fiction November is simply about reading more non fiction, it’s about discussing non fiction. A new topic each week from “your favourite non fiction book of the year” to ” pairing up non fiction with fiction.”

I see a number of bloggers are already making lists of books to read for this themed month. That way madness lies for me so if I do decide to join in, I’ll take the unplanned approach and read whatever takes my fancy.

NonFiction November starts tomorrow so I don’t have too much time to make up my mind. Watch this space as it were.

%d bloggers like this: