Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction-November-2015-300x300After taking last year off, I’m pleased to announce my triumphant return to Nonfiction November. Ha ha! I’m baaaaaaaaaack!

Ok, enough of my silliness.  Since I’m feeling tired and lazy, I’m going to rip-off Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness and use her recent post as a template. So let’s get things kicked off by me asking the same question that last year’s Nonfiction November participants were asked: look back on the year and share some thoughts on my reading life:

Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

If I had to describe my reading year, I’d say this is year I finally read so many of those books I’ve been wanting to read for soooo long. Usually, these books end up being featured in my ongoing About Time I Read It series. While some of my readers might be slightly disappointed to read about a book that was published, 2, 5 or even 10 years ago, who cares. A quality book is still a quality book, no matter when it was published!

Again, copying Kim’s template I’m also approaching this week’s topic in survey style:

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

In 2015 I read a ton of terrific nonfiction, probably more than in any previous year. Therefore, it’s going to be difficult to select just one book as my favorite nonfiction book of the year. Right there’s a host of likely candidates up for consideration. There’s Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Anne Applebaum’s Gulag: A History, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Lawrence Wright’s Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David and Doug Saunders’s The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West?  But as fantastic as all those books happen to be, Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan is probably the most outstanding piece of nonfiction I’ve read so far in 2015.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Again, another tough question. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been raving about The Invisible Bridge. Of course, taking a longer view of 2015, I can remember recommending several of my favorites to anyone willing to listen. Keith Lowe’s Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the DarkMichael Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time and Aaron Lansky’s Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books I’m sure have all been mentioned by me at one time or another. There’s probably more than a few other nonfiction books I’ve sung the praises of but right now I just can remember.

What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?

I like to read a lot of history, international relations, comparative religion and memoirs. Read enough of this stuff and you start asking questions not just what or how something happened in history but also why it happened. As part of my quest to know why things happened, in 2016 I see myself reading stuff that could be philosophical, metaphysical, theological and scientific.

I’m also toying with the idea of reading important and notable books that were published in a specific year, like the year I was born or turned 10 years old or graduated from high school. I’m thinking this could end up being a fun little exercise in intellectual nostalgia.

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

Ahh, a good question. One, I wanna get more book recommendations. Not every excellent book gets reviewed in the New York Times, talked about on NPR or featured on Book Riot. There’s a lot of quality stuff that unfortunately stays under the radar. With that in mind, I’m looking to my fellow book bloggers to enlighten me when it comes to great works of nonfiction that aren’t well-known.  Two, I wanna discover new book blogs. I mean come on, the Internet is a pretty big place. I’m sure there’s some great book blogs out there I’ve never visited. Nonfiction November could bring these wonderful blogs to my attention.

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9 responses to “Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction

  1. I also enjoyed Gulag and The Warmth of Other Suns. Have you read The Map Thief? Great book, plus it seems like a natural for a Maphead!

    • Excellent! No I have not, but I want to read it. I almost grabbed it from the library the other day. Next time I will.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! Please visit again!

  2. I’m with you on wanting to find some under the radar reads. I have a bunch on my pile that are big books of the year, but one of my favorite things is to find and champion a book most people haven’t heard of but that is really great.

    • Cool! I love finding under the radar reads. I love a lot when one of those books ends up making my Best of List at the end of the year!
      Thanks for dropping by Kim! Thanks also for all your hard work with helping promote this blogging project!!

  3. Pingback: Nonfiction November – Books I’ve Discovered | JulzReads

  4. Love this post.
    Also loved Gulag (well, as much as you could love a book on the subject); and 2016 is going to be the year I finally get to The Warmth of Other Suns.
    I look forward to seeing any of your Under the Radar picks and new blog discoveries. I really struggle finding blogs, particularly about nonfiction, that I want to keep reading.

    • Thanks!!
      I would also encourage you to read Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder. Applebaum’s later book Iron Curtain is also excellent!
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! I really appreciate it!!

  5. Pingback: Time to Play a Little Year-end Catch-up | Maphead's Book Blog

  6. Pingback: Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward | Maphead's Book Blog

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