This has been a year of absurd and rapid change in just about every way, but here’s something reassuring and familiar: Nonfiction November is back! This, tied with 20 Books of Summer, is my favourite event in the book blogger calendar. I’m coming in a bit late with my first post, and I haven’t had the chance to catch up on anyone else’s yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so. It’s hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction, Julie at Julz Reads, and Leann at Shelf Aware. Leann is hosting this week’s prompt: My Year in Nonfiction.
What was your favourite nonfiction book of the year?
This is a tough one, so I’ve thought about it a lot. In the end, I settled on The Good Mothers by Alex Perry. I keep thinking about this book, recommending that people read it, and bringing it up with my friends. It’s a tale of three women who were Mafia wives and turned state’s evidence to protect their children – a very sad but fascinating read, and one that ends with a note of hope. It covers a whole range of topics, including domestic violence, the Italian legal system, prison reform, social changes in the last twenty years… there’s a lot of ground in there, and I really do recommend it. Though it’s definitely not one for a day when you’re feeling fragile.
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
In both my fiction and non-fiction reading, I’ve found myself drawn to books about the post-WWII era in the UK. I think that’s a reflection of the fact that it’s about recovery from a huge global crisis, but one that’s pretty different from the one we’re currently in. I know that in the US, the 50s were thought of as boom years, but in the UK it was a rather bleak, austere time. There’s still something appealing, though, about seeing people gradually putting themselves together again after an emergency.
I’ll tell you what I haven’t read any of this year, except what’s absolutely necessary for my job: medical or health nonfiction. Nope, no thanks, not this year. I also stopped listening to all but one of my beloved medical history/health research podcasts (and even that one got skipped for several months). A shame, as weird medical history and exciting new therapies tend to be two topics I love reading about, but while I have acquired a lot more medical nonfiction books, I haven’t actually read any of them. Maybe in a year or two.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
I think I’ve recommended Bookworm by Lucy Mangan a great deal – not because it was the best book I’ve read this year, but because I think it will give anyone who grew up loving books a pleasant hit of nostalgia, and don’t we all need that right now? I’m actually currently rereading The Secret Garden because of her abundant enthusiasm for it.
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
What I always get – a chance to talk about some exciting nonfiction with blog friends, old and new, and some good recommendations for the future. I’ve also not really been reading the last few weeks – my brain has been too full of plagues and politics – so I’m hoping to get a little bit of my reading mojo back as well.