Nonfiction November – My Year in Nonfiction

It’s time for Nonfiction November, starting with my ‘Year in Nonfiction’, hosted by Julz Reads.

Strictly speaking, I should call it Memoir November (Memvember?!) – doesn’t have quite the same ring but it is more accurate in my case, given that the majority of my nonfiction reading is memoir (specifically, I’ve read 16 memoirs, one biography and four other nonfiction titles this year).

Julz has set some questions:

What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year?

Two books stand out – Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, in which author and therapist, Lori Gottlieb, explores her own therapy experience in parallel with that of her clients. I’m a bit of therapy voyeur, so this was brilliant.

And earlier in the year, there was much reading pleasure to be found in Helen O’Neill’s superbly presented biography of Florence Broadhurst.

I’ve just started reading The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs, and I’m confident that it will be one of my favourites for 2019.

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

Memvember says it all! But drilling down, I am always interested in memoirs that deal with grief.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Small Wrongs by Kate Rossmanith, a book about remorse in both a personal and a legal sense, was really thought-provoking and I have returned to it a couple of times since reading it.

I have pushed The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper into many friends’ hands, as well as The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory by Corey White.

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 – it was the reason my TBR stack grew! I expect the same this year.



47 responses

    • Yes, the mix of personal story with the stories of others was really interesting – it forced the author, in making judgements about others and their remorse, to examine her own.

  1. Ditto with The Arsonist.
    The Florence book looks delicious – this is how it begins. My tbr Wishlist exploding & you’re my very first nonfiction November blog visit!!

    • 😀 The Florence book is gorgeous – it’s one you need in hardback because it’s destined for the coffee table, not the shelf. Also, I hadn’t realised she’d had such a crazy life!

  2. I loved The Bright Hour as well and memoirs are my go-to. Some of my past favorites include Option B, When Breath Becomes Air, Where the Light Gets in: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again, A Mother’s Reckoning: Life in the Aftermath of Tragedy, The Short and Tragic Life of Rober Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved, A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back, and Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving. If you haven’t read any of these, I bet these are ones you would enjoy as well. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The Arsonist is going on my wishlist now though whether i can get it at reasonable cost in the UK remains to be seen.
    I’m drawn to memoirs too it seems – all but one of the NF books I’ve read this year fits into that category.

  4. I absolutely loved Maybe You Should Talk to Someone… the audio version was excellent! I’m not familiar with Florence Broadhurst, but your review of the biography has me interested in learning more!

    • I think The Arsonist was short-changed in terms of literary prizes this year. Small Wrongs as totally overlooked but so interesting in terms of inter-generational trauma.

  5. These all sound so interesting. I really enjoy your non-fiction posts and you’re definitely encouraging me to read more NF. I’m not a poly-reader normally but I’m thinking I might start reading one fiction and one NF, otherwise NF always seems to go to the bottom of the pile…

    • You’ll have no trouble being a poly-reader if it’s one fiction and one NF on the go – different kinds of narratives. I usually choose different formats as well (with my NF reading most often being hardcovers that I can annotate and refer back to easily).

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