Week 1: (November 1-5) – Your Year in Nonfiction with Rennie at What’s 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? 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?
MY NONFICTION READS THIS LAST YEAR
What an absolutely random assortment of books, am I right? But, when I look back through my stack what I see the most is that I was reaching out for connection. As we continued through the heavier stages of the Pandemic I missed the connection of human beings and books were there for me. I spent time with so many wonderful people this year through their books and stories that the loneliness just faded through to the background. And, when my reading failed me mid-year (back to back slumps!!) The Power of Ritual helped me find it again.
MY FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOKS
All four of the NonFiction graphic novels I read were amazing. I am loving how many more NonFiction books are being presented in this format. The Black Panther Party, When Stars are Scattered, and The Disability Experience were all amazing. I also managed to keep indoor plants alive longer thanks to Growing Food.
As mentioned, The Power of Ritual really helped me see that I needed to create a system for things and people that mattered to me and repeat them. This was a larger endeavor than my previous Habit obsession and worth it. This book helped me celebrate who and what was important to me and brought reading back into my everyday life.
You can see too that I was struggling to sink into books and stories as reflected by the short-story style of many of my NonFiction reads. Is It Just Me by Miranda Hart was hilarious allowed me to dip in and out for humorous anecdotes. Similarly, Songteller was a journey through Dolly Parton’s life through her music. I cannot recommend it enough. Even if you aren’t a Dolly Parton fan (this is unfathomable to me), as a woman she is a master class is holding your own. 50 Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy is Tim Hartford and all his books are a wonder. This one was especially useful when I was struggling to read for longer periods of time as I could read one invention and move on with my day.
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You taught me that AI is a lot farther from controlling my world than I feared and American Contagion focused my understanding of how the law responds to pandemics. Both made me feel better. Weirdly.
The holiday books I read last year were a trio of fun but, as you can see, the season got to me and I had to add Mindfulness for the Frazzled into the mix. Hah! Our stacks can be a true revelation on our mindset of the time can’t they?
The only real low-points in my NonFiction reading this year were Mend it, Wear it, Love it, Talking to Strangers, and Breath. Mend it, Wear it, Love it is a book about fashion sustainability. When the shops were all closed here, and even afterwards when I didn’t want to shop with people, I started thinking about where my clothes were made and the impact on the people who made them as well as environmental sustainability. I want to be more sustainable and ethical in my choices. Sadly, this book was about how to patch your clothes in ways that would make me look….unkempt is the nicest way I can put it.
Talking to Strangers and Breath were the final straw in my pseudo-science reading. Both books proffer theories and then dig up facts to prove their thesis. There is probably a lot of actual science in both but I am tired of listening to people’s opinions formatted to sound like irrefutable facts. I am trying to read more books by experts in their field rather than people who are researching the topic as they go along.
Make it Stick though, oh, I loved this book. I despise when I read something interesting and wonderful and I can’t talk about it because I can’t remember what I read. Make it Stick has dramatically changed the way I approach my reading and learning.
If you only read one self help book this year, let it be Poe for Your Problems. This sarcastic nugget of a book is part biography and part commentary on how we can use Poe’s success to format our own life strategies. The first couple of chapters are a little uneven but don’t quit, it is too much fun.
MY NONFICTION HOPES
Every year I am in awe of the other participants in NonFiction November. More than anything I would love to pick a topic and stick with it but, I must follow my joy with reading. My biggest goal will be to stack my TBR for next year!
Tell me, please! How was your NonFiction reading this year?