Nonfiction November – My Year in Nonfiction

It’s time for Nonfiction November.

To be perfectly honest, I’m a fairly bad nonfiction reader – a little noncommittal… distracted… That said, I do have a few nonfiction soft spots – genetics, pop-science, the Art Deco era, and memoirs. I really love memoirs (they count, right?).

So despite not much material to work with, I’m aiming to take part in all five weeks of Nonfiction November.

It kicks off with my ‘Year in Nonfiction’, hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Kim has set some questions –

What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year?

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – I had read the first part of this book many years ago (the memoir part) but it was the second part of the book, on ‘logotherapy’ that captured my attention this time. Logotherapy is Frankl’s existential theory about the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful – he states that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Man’s Search for Meaning was closely followed by Lost and Found by neurologist, Jules Montague. The book examines memory, identity and personality and considers whether conditions such as dementia and amnesia change ‘who’ we really are. It’s fascinating and the case studies are particularly interesting.

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

I read a lot of memoirs (but do so every year!). Other than that, my choices have been random.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Lost and Found by Jules Montague for the insights on dementia.

Of the 13 memoirs I’ve read so far this year, I have recommended the audio recording of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run to many people. And for various reasons, I’ve pushed Bri Lee’s Eggshell Skull and Jenny Valentish’s Women of Substances into fellow readers’ hands.

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

Nothing stands out, although I never seem to tire of misery memoirs…

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

Last year, I thought the ‘book pairings’ posts were the best thing since sliced bread. Expect it will be the same this year.


42 responses

    • I usually have a nonfiction book on the go but it has to be something that I can easily pick up and put down. For whatever reason, I usually read NF while eating breakfast… so my reading rate reflects how rushed I am in the morning!

  1. Yes, I’m going to try and do this again this year, and #HappyDance I’m going to the Non Fiction Festival at Geelong again this year so I will have something to contribute from there as well!

  2. Ooh, I have Lost and Found on my Kindle. I’m glad you found it so worthwhile. I spotted a handful of F/NF pairings I’ve made in my reading responses this year, so maybe I’ll pull them together for a post this month 🙂 I read about 40% nonfiction anyway so I’ve never been tempted to participate in this challenge, but I enjoy seeing what others pick.

  3. I listen to a lot of memoirs on audio; they’re easy to listen to in the car since I don’t have to keep track of a plot! Lost and Found sounds fascinating, especially since I’ve had family members deal with dementia.

    • Lost and Found considers questions about memory (and dementia) that other books don’t – worthwhile read.

      I like memoirs on audio if they’re read by the author (although I nearly always end up buying a hard copy as well!). Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive comes to mind as one I loved last year (read by Matt).

  4. I have heard so many great things about Eggshell Skull – I’m hoping a US publisher picks it up so even more people can read it. And huzzah book pairings! It’s always the hardest post for me to come up with so I’m always impressed by what everyone pulls together. Here’s to a great Nonfiction November! 🙂

    • Eggshell Skull speaks of the Australian judicial system in relation to sexual assault – I imagine that much like the US system, it is the victim that is made to feel ‘on trial’ and relatively few convictions are made…. It’s a truly terrible system.

  5. All your recommendations seem so interesting, and perfect to add to my nonfiction listening list for the month. Women of Substances sounds similar to Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering, which I really enjoyed, in that both focus on the gendered dimensions of addiction and treatment. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I used to read almost all nonfiction but now the tables have turned and I read mostly fiction. With my 2 hours of commuting time, I get tons of audio books in. Interestingly, I requested 3 nonfiction title today before finding your post!

    • I tend to mostly read non-fiction as hard backs, mostly so that I can mark paragraphs for later reference. The few that I have listened to a few on audio, I’ve almost always ended up buying a hard copy for future reference!

    • It’s an important issue in my family and I’ve done lots of reading about it – I think this is one of the more interesting books as it focuses on the personality aspects rather than the physiological.

    • I had mixed feeling about Educated – I think I went into it expecting a story about her religious upbringing and her school education. I didn’t expect a story about domestic violence!

  7. Pingback: #NonFicNov wk 5 Thanks for sharing your books! | NancyElin

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