It’s the final week of the Nonfiction November challenge and this week’s topic – New to my TBR – is being hosted by Katie over at Doing Dewey. Participants are invited to list the new nonfiction books that have been added to their TBR lists during Nonfiction November.
Just as I predicted in my post for Week One of this challenge, one of the main outcomes of joining in with Nonfiction November is that my TBR list is even longer than it already was. I’m afraid I can’t link to the blogs where I first came across these books because I didn’t note them down at the time. Also, with some of these new-to-me books, they are recommendations I’ve come across again and again, so I know they’re books I need to read.
It’s been a great challenge and has reminded me just how much I love reading nonfiction and why. And it’s brought even more possible reads onto my radar than I knew about before. Great challenge – thanks to all who have hosted it and taken part!
Here’s the top ten list of new TBRs I’ve identified for now:
Lingo: A Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe by Gaston Dorren and Alison Edwards. This one is top of my TBR list now. I can’t think of a better read than a book that ‘combines linguistics and cultural history … and takes us on an intriguing tour of the continent’.
Trip of the tongue: Cross-country Travels in Search of America’s Languages by Elizabeth Little. Another take on languages but this time it’s a ‘language-themed road trip across America’ taking in native American languages, the creoles of the Deep South and various of the languages more recent immigrants brought with them.
Secret Classrooms: An Untold Story of the Cold War by Geoffrey Elliott and Harold Shukman. Here we read the story of the Joint Services School for Linguists which pushed 5000 British National Servicemen through intensive training in Russian so as to meet the needs of Britain’s signals intelligence operations. As someone whose own learning of Russian began in the Cold War years, I think this will be a fascinating insight into our recent history.
The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall by Mary Elise Sarotte. This book, written by a prize-winning historian, tells the unlikely story of the unexpected, and certainly unplanned, opening of the Berlin Wall on the night of 9 November 1989.
The Underground Girls of Kabul: The Hidden Lives of Afghan Girls Disguised as Boys by Jenny Nordberg. The title and subtitle say it all here. I’m just fascinated to read the experience of living life in permanent disguise.
A Long Way Gone: The True Story of a Child Soldier by Ishmael Beah. Another true story memoir, but this one is the story of a boy from Sierra Leone in West Africa who fought in the war there as a 12-year-old boy.
First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of an Indian Childhood by Thrity Umrigar. Another childhood on another continent – a girl growing up in 1960s and 1970s Bombay/Mumbai.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and the Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi. This is an Iranian childhood – through the eyes of the author who was 10 at the time of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Social history is another interest for me so I know I’ll enjoy this Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s account of the migration of black citizens from the South who fled to the northern and western cities in search of a better life.
I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling. I’m fascinated by the El Camino experience and would love to walk it myself some day, though back problems make that unlikely. So I’ll settle for this translation of one German man’s pilgrimage across the Pyrenees to the Spanish shrine of St James in Santiago de Compostela.
I can see some common themes in this list that are typical of my reading habits – a fascination with languages and linguistics, an interest in history, spirituality and faith, and a love of real-life memoirs by people from different countries and cultures. It’s a typical list for me, but I would still want to argue that, in the spirit of Week Three of this nonfiction challenge, there’s nevertheless a good bit of diversity in the books that have made my top ten here. I realise it’s more heavily weighted towards female authors. I did have another male childhood memoir – Take this Man by Brando Skyhorse (the fascinating-sounding story of a young boy of Mexican parentage growing up in California under the guise of Native American ancestry) – but it just lost out in the final cut to keep the list down to ten. The full TBR list – out of sight here – still contains this one and many others!
So, these are the top ten nonfiction reads I’ve discovered during Nonfiction November. Any thoughts on this list? Have you read any or all of the books I’ve chosen here? And what do you think I should read when I’ve finished this lot?!