Monday, November 2, 2020

Nonfiction November: My Year in Nonfiction


Week 1: 
(Nov. 2 to Nov. 6) – Your Year in Nonfiction (Leann of Shelf Aware): Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November? 


I have read a total of 27 nonfiction books this year so far. Quite a few are (3)philosophy books, pandemic books(3), and (13)memoirs.

I've recommended They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen,  Stamped by Jason Reynold and Ibram X. Kendi, and Spillover by David Quammen the most this year.

I'm right in the middle of reading a lot of history books. I'm halfway through Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. I'm almost done with Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist. And I just started An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. I'm also planning on reading through Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. I skimmed through it a long time ago and would like to read it more thoroughly. G's history teacher is going to use some of the ideas and material from the book and I'd like to reacquaint myself with it.

I also have a big list of books I added this year on race and racism. I listened to Stacey Abrams' Our Time Is Now which was fantastic. I'm also halfway through Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, which has already been so eye-opening.


I don't have just one favorite nonfiction book this year. I've read some incredible nonfiction this year. Lies My Teacher Told Me, All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson, They Called Us Enemy, and Spillover are probably my top 4. Obama's new book will probably be in my top 5 once I get my hands on it and read it!

Lies was phenomenal because Loewen walks us through real history and how our school textbooks got it wrong and then why they do so and why they continue to do so today. And why it's critical we teach critical thinking skills and learn history from a critical thinking stance.

All Boys Aren't Blue was a truly unique memoir on growing up as a Black and queer boy. His story and his activism are so important to read about for anyone but especially for young queer kids.

They Called Us Enemy was a visceral journey as George Takei describes his years in the Japanese internment camps during World War 2. It's haunting but it's an important story and should be read by everyone.

Spillover was so trippy to read. I started it right when the pandemic hit. He kept talking about how the next pandemic will likely be a coronavirus and how it could be really bad. It was sobering and entertaining and I don't know...I just needed it at the time. Quammen is a fantastic science writer.

I enjoy participating every year because I get to learn about so many other nonfiction books I haven't heard about and I get to add so many more to my ever-growing list! It's also really fun to connect with other nonfiction readers and see what books get them excited.

20 comments:

  1. I have only read a handful of nonfiction this year ... but of those I think you'd like Forty Autumns about a family in the Cold War (both sides of the Wall) ... and She Came to Slay about Harriet Tubman which is quite informative. But I'm looking forward to more titles this month ... The timing of the Quammen book you read was unreal. I hear he's writing one about Covid now. cheers.

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    1. I've heard about Forty Autumns. It's on my list. Glad you also enjoyed it. And She Came to Slay has been on my list for far too long! I can't wait to see his new book.

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  2. Spillover and Lies My Teacher Told Me are both books that I have now added to my TBR. Twenty-seven is a good number of nonfiction reads. I wonder how many I read this year.

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    1. I hope you enjoy them some day. They're so informative. I'd love to see how many nonfiction you've read as well this year! I bet it's a lot.

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  3. I can't wait to read All Boys Aren't Blue

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    1. It's such a fantastic book. I hope you get to it soon!

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  4. Wow that is crazy that you were reading a book about that talked about coronavirus being the next pandemic, when that very pandemic hit. Trippy indeed!

    I have How to be an Antiracist on my list - I need to get to it.

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    1. It was quite a trip! Just like this whole year.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your favourites, Spillover was a prescient choice!
    I’m looking forward to reading your NonFicNov posts.

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  6. So many of these look so good! Spillover catches my attention since I enjoyed my recommendation, Get Well Soon, so much.

    I feel terrible that in a year when so many people are reading so many important anti-racism books, I just can't get in that head space. I'm adding recommendations like yours to my lists for later, when elections and the pandemic aren't eating up so much of my brain capacity. I've mostly read a lot of lightweight books this year. I've had trouble focusing on anything weightier.

    My husband and I literally visited the Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp the weekend before the covid shutdowns started. There aren't a lot of buildings left but knowing how many people were housed in them and how little privacy they had was sobering. It's not terribly far from Death Valley. It was cold and windy the day we were there but I imagine it's like a furnace in the summer. And knowing the families couldn't leave even though they hadn't done anything wrong.... It was sobering to think we as Americans did that.

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    1. I've had to take a lot of breaks with the heavy books, for sure.

      I would like to visit one of the old internment camps. There was one in my state and I never learned about it until I was in my late 20s. Very sobering, our history.

      I hope you are able to enjoy this week and relax a bit!

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  7. They Called Us Enemy was so, so good. All Boys Aren't Blue is on my list - I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I hope you enjoy All Boy Aren't Blue. It was fantastic.

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  8. You've read some great books! I've seen Lies My Teacher Told Me on so many blogs. An eye-opening read for sure. I have Stamped on my TBR list.

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    1. I hope you get to some of these soon. Thanks for stoppng by!

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  9. Your recommended books all sound so good! I recently read a photo-history of Japanese internment camps in the US (Impounded, a collection of Dorothea Lange's photos), so I'm particularly interested in Takei's story.

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    1. Takei's story is eye-opening and so so sad but also full of hope and inspiration. It's a really well-done graphic-novel memoir. One of the best.

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  10. They Called Us Enemy and Lies My Teacher Told Me have been on my list for quite a while now. I keep meaning to read both and forgetting, Thank you for the reminder. All Boys Aren't Blue is a new-to-me book - going to check it out.

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    1. I hope you get to some of these soon! Thanks for stopping by.

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