Nonfiction November 2022 – My Year in Nonfiction

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

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 18 memoirs, and eight other nonfiction titles this year).

Doing Dewey has set some questions:

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

I’ve read three five-star books this year, and all three were memoirs – Rememberings by Sinéad O’Connor, Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood, and Found, Wanting by Natasha Sholl. Each is outstanding.

The other highlight, a book about the importance of rest (with very strong memoir sections) was Katherine May’s Wintering. I keep returning to this book, both personally and professionally, and I’m sure that I will revisit it for years to come.

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

As mentioned, memoir, memoir, memoir. In particular, I read a lot focused on grief. Recently a colleague asked why I read so many grief memoirs, given that my days are filled with it. Quite simply, they are an eloquent reminder that every person’s experience of grief is different, and each story I read or hear adds another perspective.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

I’ve told lots of people to listen to the audiobook version of Sinéad O’Connor’s Rememberings (because she reads it, and that voice…). More recently, I’ve been pressing Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain on people – his narrative nonfiction style is engrossing. And although I’ve only just finished it (and haven’t had time to shout its praises), Cultish by Amanda Montell is fascinating.

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

As always, the ‘book pairings’ posts are my absolute favourite, and usually the happy cause of a growing TBR stack in November. I’ll also be on the look out for memoir recommendations.

10 responses

  1. Thankfully I have wintering close to hand and apparently there’s a podcast too so I’ll be checking that out. Didn’t realise Patricia Lockwood had a memoir out, so that’s straight onto the list. Another memoir I enjoyed was Gabriel Byrnes, but Sinead’s is hard is beat.

  2. I love Book Pairings too, and have just scheduled mine.

    I enjoyed this post of yours, though the only book that really rings a bell with me is Wintering, which I remember thinking I would like to read. But, of course, I haven’t.

    This question – Recently a colleague asked why I read so many grief memoirs, given that my days are filled with it – is interesting. I’m like you. Not that my days are filled with grief, but that often something that my life is full of is just the thing I want to read about. I understand the opposite approach but I don’t think those of us who think this way are weird (are we!?)

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