My nonfiction year

Fatal! Had a cup of tea and a bit of a blog browse when work was done for the day and came across (yet another) reading challenge: Nonfiction November. Totally irresistible to this lifelong lover of non-fiction – even though I’ve made a real effort to get back to reading more fiction this last year or so, and have loved doing that too. I posted before on how, for me, I can only conclude that there’s no great divide between fiction and non-fiction.


So, the good bloggers running the challenge set a week one discussion prompt which involves answering a few questions:

What was your favourite nonfiction read of 2014?

That has to be the one I just finished a fortnight ago: Born in the GDR by Hester Vaizey.  But I’ve enjoyed all of my nonfiction reads this year: Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927; Maxim Leo’s Red Love: The Story of an East German Family; Stephen Cherry’s Beyond Busyness; Phil Potter’s Challenge of Change; Michael Mitton’s Travellers of the Heart; Tim Park’s Italian Ways; How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers by Steve Scott (probably need to re-read that one now I’ve actually started my blog!) and The Book of Boaz by Dave Smith. And I’m loving both my current nonfiction reads as well: Brian McLaren’s We Make the Road by Walking and Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Along with many other people (hence the book’s bestseller status), I love to recommend Quiet by Susan Cain.

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

All of them! I have such a long and ever-growing TBR list of nonfiction books and I read across quite a few topic areas so I cover quite a few Dewey Decimal categories anyway. I’d never deliberately exclude any book that looked interesting, but I do still have my favourite topics: biography, social and political analysis, history, travel and other countries, culture and languages, theology – especially church leadership, Christian spirituality, popular psychology . .  . the list goes on!

What do you hope to get out of nonfiction November?

I’d like to see it as an opportunity to focus on reading some of the many nonfiction books I already own but haven’t yet read. I realise I’ve downloaded loads to my kindle but I just always prioritise paper book reading, so the list is growing. And yet when I skim the titles and cover pages, I want to start all of them right now! I suspect, in reality, the main outcome of taking part in the Nonfiction November challenge is that I will simply end up with an even longer list TBR – I’ve already added one new book to the list because it came up on so many readers’ blogs: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

2 thoughts on “My nonfiction year

  1. I keep meaning to read “Quiet”, and haven’t got ’round to it yet. Next on my to-read list is an autobiography by a musician I like a lot. Going to see him talking about the book on Thursday; I should get a chapter or two read before then.

    • As an introvert, I loved Quiet because it contains so much of my own life experience in a mainly extrovert-friendly world. And the author also seriously challenges the status quo and offers practical suggestions to make education, work and so on more introvert-friendly. I hope you enjoy your new read – how wonderful to be able to hear the author speak about it – that should give you a whole new and deeper perspective as you read.

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