Nonfiction November 2017: Nonfiction Favorites
It's time for week four of Nonfiction November! I'm thrilled to be joining in again this year, thanks to hosts Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves, Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and Julz at Julz Reads.
The prompt this week is very appropriate for me, since I have really had to narrow down my nonfiction choices for the month. Topic, writing style, tone - humorous or serious - and author involvement all come into play when determining whether a nonfiction book may be a good fit. Here are a few things that seem to work for me, with recent reads as examples.
I love stories. Full stop. I have two different college degrees in/related to history; a huge part of my job is listening to and extracting information from the stories of those I encounter; and I've discovered that I want more stories and fewer history lessons in my nonfiction.
The Girls of Atomic City is full of wonderful stories and is anchored by particular characters, historical figures, who were involved in the "Project" about which it is written. On numerous occasions I had to remind myself that I was reading nonfiction, as has become the case with Kiernan's most recent release, The Last Castle, my current read.
Code Girls, a well-written and highly researched contribution, was interesting and educational but it was tough for me to stay focused during times when a more entertaining, story-filled, selection would likely have held my attention much more easily.
Memoirs are audio book mainstays and tend to be the bulk of my nonfiction reading/listening throughout the year. I love to listen to memoirs during long runs and on my commute. Two of my favorites this year, Craig & Fred and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, contain my must-have elements:
- Humor, preferably self-deprecating and relatable
- Wisdom, but not what I call "preachy" wisdom (this is a horrible description - ha!)
- Stories that resonate with me and explore the human condition
Finally, I've already mentioned my affinity for World War stories (check out my WWII book pairing here!) but there are some other topics that will always be of immediate interest.
- Medical/end of life (occupational hazard!)
- Sports and sports psychology
- Women's issues, like body image and culture
Even though I spend a good bit of time running, I'm rarely interested in books about running, other than those that help with the mental aspect of the sport or those that provide other resources (see my Be the Expert post, for example); however, I have already preordered a copy of Deena Kastor's upcoming release because she is my running hero!
Which factors help you decide on nonfiction favorites?