Nonfiction November is officially underway! Kim kicks it off at Sophisticated Dorkinesswith this week’s topic of conversation:
Your Year in Nonfiction:Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
Since I last visited this question around this time last year, I thought I’d consider my “year” of nonfiction to run from November through October, and see how that impacted my answers.
For the last couple of years I’ve been more excited about, and by, reading nonfiction than fiction, and I’ve been trying to get a handle on why that is. I think one reason for it is that I’ve developed a craving for books that are easily described as being about something, and nonfiction tends to fill that need more readily than fiction. Another is that I learn things from fiction, but I learn with more intention and purpose when I read nonfiction. And after so many decades of reading certain types of fiction, the stories can start feeling too familiar to me; that rarely happens with nonfiction. I like recognizing the arcs and patterns and even tropes of narrative nonfiction, while in fiction all of that sometimes just make me tired now.
As some of you may already know, between melanoma and leukemia, 2015 has been my family’s Year of Cancer, and that’s been the single biggest influence on my nonfiction reading. I’ve been drawn toward books on science and medicine, medical memoirs, and mortality…and that all sounds much more depressing than it’s turned out to be. I think I may have a special category in my Books of the Year recap for two books that I can’t keep from linking, thanks to overlap in their subjects, themes, and effects on me: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancerby Siddhartha Mukherjee and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. I took both of them very personally, and found them both relevant, enlightening, ultimately hopeful reads. I can’t recommend either one highly enough.
The focus on medical reading has shifted me away from some of the more broadly topical and sociological nonfiction I usually go for, but one type of nonfiction I think I’ve really slighted this year is my favorite go-to: celebrity memoir/autobiography in audiobook. I’ve got plenty of it in my Audible collection and on my library hold list, though, and my plan is to focus the bulk of my audio reading for the rest of 2015 right there–I think it’ll be a fun way to wind down what’s been a bit of a heavy year.
Nonfiction November is one of my favorite annual book-blogger events. I love the chance to share what I’ve enjoyed and to build up my wish list with great recommendations from other nonfiction devotees! Have you read some great nonfiction this year?