"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Nonfiction November, first week

Hosted at Sophisticated Dorkiness

Week 1:
My 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?

I have read 24 nonfiction books so far this year, which is about one quarter of my books. I categorize them this way:

  • 10 adult nonfiction books on a variety of subjects but mainly history. I don't think this book was my favorite of the group but I recommended it a lot: The History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage. It looks at the history of mankind through the lens of six beverages: beer, wine, distilled beverages, coffe, tea, and coke. Very interesting. If only all history classes were this fascinating.
  • 8 YA nonfiction books. I really, really enjoyed the Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege on Leningrad by MT Anderson. Unfortunately, it is unlikely this book will be a teen favorite. I just finished this book last week and it is my favorite nonfiction of the year. A close second is The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.
  • 3 graphic biographies. My favorite is Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland.
  • 3 information books fora topical study or daily reading. I taught a class using this book, What's So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey. The class was in April. I've spent the rest of the year talking about it.

I really feel like my nonfiction reading is quite varied, so I don't really think I should do anything differently other than maybe adding in more topic based nonfiction to my reading list.

I hope to highlight my reviews and books during this month of a nonfiction focus. I also hope to finish the two nonfiction books I have currently committed to reading already and see if I have time for the read-along book: I am Malala.

Want to join in? Check out the this link for Nonfiction November.


  1. Sounds like a fun event! I don't read a lot of nonfiction, though I do enjoy memoirs. Did you read any memoirs this year? I noticed you didn't include them as a category. In fact, I've only read 5 nonfiction books so far this year, and I see that all of them were memoirs!

    I look forward to the rest of your Nonfiction posts this month!


    Book By Book

    1. Oddly,the only memoirs I've read this year are graphic ones. I do like well-written memoirs but don't often get to them.

  2. I just spoke to my rep about Symphony for the City of the Dead - it sounds amazing but, yes, I don't many YA readers who will actually read it...so I'm getting it in for the adult History section to see what happens.

    Who is Grace and why is she so amazing? Is it a re-imagining of the hymn or a study of it's origins?

  3. I really like Symphony for the City of the Dead. I hope you find some reader who appreciate it, too.

    It is a play on the title of the song, Amazing Grace, but the song is about the concept of God's gift of grace in our lives, an undeserved gift.

  4. YA nonfiction is a big hole in my reading life. I just don't see a lot of it reviewed or on the shelves at my local library. Where do you find recommendations?

    1. Kim, That is a great question. Where do I hear about good nonfiction books? First, as a high school librarian I am charged to do a bit of research for teachers so I will do topic searches on public library catalogs or book stores (online). Secondly, I pay for Junior Library Guild to send me one book a month in the HS Nonfiction category, among others categories. JLG does the leg work for me and almost always includes really interesting nonfiction books that I add to my collection here. Next, I believe in award books and peruse the lists when they come out. YALSA Nonfiction for Young Adults http://www.ala.org/yalsa/nonfiction-award#current is one such site. Check it out for great teen oriented lists. The National Book Award Committee just announced it's shortlist of books. There is a nonfiction category, though the Young People's category has nonfiction mixed in. http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2015.html#.Vj0JPFIYHkc Lastly, I keep track of my favorite writers who write nonfiction: Krakauer, Eric Larson, David McCullough, Laura Hillenbrand, Timothy Egan. Hope this helps!

  5. Symphony for the City of the Dead sounds so interesting! (And a beautiful cover!)


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