"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=========

Monday, October 30, 2017

Nonfiction November 2017...begins today

What a perfect challenge for me: Nonfiction November 2017

As you know I am a round one judge for the Cybils, for the JH/SH Nonfiction category. Since I am reading nonfiction at a ferocious rate, why not join in with others who are also reading a lot of nonfiction?

Here are the particulars: Nonfiction November 2017 is co-hosted this year by Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelf, Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and Julz at Julz Reads. Every week there will be a question to answer or a topic to discuss. Today's topic is:

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?

Number of nonfiction books I've read all or part of so far this year: 31.

My favorite nonfiction read of the year so far:

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
I love learning new things when I read nonfiction and this book was a treasure trove of new information to me about plants, especially tress, and how to operate a scientific experiment. Hope Jahren is also a woman who struggles with aspects of her mental health and this book provided insights into the creative side of the mind while balancing it with good self-care. I thought this would also be the nonfiction book I recommended the most to readers but after I ran through recommending it to my Science-teacher-type friends I haven't told anyone else to read it. (Published in 2016)

I also suspect that my current audiobook: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie will become my favorite nonfiction of the year once I am done with it. It is powerful and moving.

The nonfiction book I've recommended the most:
A Dog in the Cave: Wolves Who Made Us Human by Kay Frydenborg
This book does a fantastic job of summing up all the research on mankind's relationship with wolves and the evolution of wolves into dogs. I learned so much and was so fascinated by all the information she shared about the fossil records of dogs, the possibility that dogs actually allowed us to be human, and current research on dogs, man's best friend, today. I have found myself talking about this book to just about anyone who will listen.

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Secret to Happy Living by Meik Wiking. I didn't especially like the book but I have talked about the concept of hygge endlessly since I finished it. Click the hyperlink if you are curious about it.

What topics haven't I read enough about yet this year?
  • Politics...I am so upset about the state of affairs with our current President, one would think I would read more on the topic to make myself more conversant. Any recommendations?
  • Memoirs...I've read several biographies but not really any memoirs this year
  • The Beatles...ha! I am on a total Beatles kick right now and I have read four books on the Fab Four already, am currently reading another, and have one in the wings. But I am sure that I haven't read enough. It seems to be an insatiable topic for me.
What I hope to get out of participation in Nonfiction November: since I am a Cybils judge for nonfiction I am going to attempt to read at least 50 pages of all of the nominated books, which right now numbers 65. I already had that goal before signing up to join in with Nonfiction November activities but I will keep it as my goal.  Currently I shall attempt to read enough of five books per week to evaluate them properly. Right now I am reading Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure. Next up: Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution. 

I shall close now and will go sign up on the Linky so that others know I am participating and then...back to the books!  Join me.

Upcoming topics: 
Week 2: (Nov. 6 to 10) — Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Shelves — Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.
Week 3: (Nov. 13 to 17) — Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness — Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
Week 4: (Nov. 20 to 24) — Katie @ Doing Dewey — Nonfiction Favorites: We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.
Week 5: (Nov. 27 to Dec. 1) — Lory @ Emerald City Book Review — New to My TBR: It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!


  1. Wow, you have read a lot of nonfiction! I've seen other good reviews for Lab Girl, might have to check that one out! I don't read a lot of political books, but I might go ahead and read Hillary's book.

    1. I will read Bernie's book first and then hope to find my way to some book or another which will help explain the craziness we are experiencing.

  2. I saw Lab Girl mentioned a lot last year and it's on my wishlist still. A Dog in the Cave interests me although I'm wary of dog books that apply wolf theories to our pet dogs. Did you find it made it clear that domestic dogs were far removed from wolves now? My Labrador would definitely fail a wolfiness test!

    1. The book doesn't really talk about the wolves in our dogs or even the changes that dogs have made from their forebears, the wolves. It really was fascinating stuff.

  3. I haven't read that Hygge book, but I did read The Almost Nearly Happy People which was interesting and covered kind of the same concept....except poked holes in it.

  4. So glad you posted this! I've heard of nonfiction November and planned to read mostly NF this month but I didn't realize it was an actual challenge with sign-ups - thanks!

    Wow, 31 nonfiction books SO FAR this year??? I think I have read 2 - Lab Girl (which I loved) and Marie Kondo Magic of Tidying Up book which is mostly just weird.

    But, I have a lot of NF titles lined up for this month!

    Good luck and enjoy your nonfiction!


    Book By Book

  5. I wasn't a fan of The Little Book of Hygge either, but I do love the concept. Glad the book was from the library and not a purchase. My book club read Lab Girl early this summer and I learned a lot, too. The audio book got high praise, but I wish I'd read it instead... her pace was a little too slow for me. A Dog in the Cave sounds really interesting, especially for a dog person like me. Good luck with the Cybils judging!

  6. You have always done a great job reading a lot of non-fiction. I am not as good at it!

  7. Lab Girl is one of those books that keeps popping up for me - glad to hear you liked it! I'm not exactly a science teacher type but I think I'd like it all the same. Here's hoping your judging goes smoothly!

  8. Wow, you have a big job ahead of you with the judging of so many books - are you able to post a list of the nominees or your favourites perhaps? Or are there confidentiality issues?

  9. Ooooh! I loved Lab Girl, too! And the hygge book -- I know what you mean. I keep rambling on about it to anyone who will listen.

  10. I have seen so many recommendations for Lab Girl, I have now finally added it to my tbr list. Huzzah.

    I plan on spending the month continuing to binge on memoirs. Seems to be my theme for 2017. Post here if you're interested: http://www.bookpunks.com/become-obsessed-memoirs/

  11. I keep meaning to read Lab Girl and I've never gotten around to it; so glad to hear you enjoyed it and thank you for the reminder! :)

  12. I've got Lab Girl on my list, but I haven't read it yet. I really really dislike memoirs so I don't read many, but I do enjoy biographies. I never realized there were enough books about the Beatles to make them a category!

    1. OK. You got me. The Beatles aren't a category but I am obsessed with them right now so I will likely read more about them during the month.

  13. I read a lot of non-fiction but I'm not organised enough to take part in this month as well as my one foray into Australian Reading Month, my Thirkell for Undervalued British Novelists next week and my own Iris Murdoch Readalong starting! Have fun with these. Lab Girl does look excellent.

  14. I am so glad that I am not a first round judge; my reading slump would make it super difficult to get through 65 books! I am looking forward to judging round 2 however!

  15. This is the perfect challenge for you right now. I loved Lab Girl, too, and I'm also obsessed with the idea of hygge.


  16. Agghh, I kept meaning to read Lab Girl since last year's event and have not gotten to it yet. (This seems to be a common refrain!) Glad to see another recommendation. I'm sure when I do read it I'll enjoy it.

  17. 31 nonfiction books AND you're a judge for a nf competition?! That's amazing. I'm really hoping I can finish 4 nf books this month.

    I hear you about political nf. I've heard that What Happened is supposed to be incredible, but I'm afraid I would sob through it so am waiting for a future date to read it.

  18. I loved Lab Girl too! I've rarely read a book that combines such beautiful prose with such fascinating science. If you've not yet read The Emperor of All Maladies, I'd recommend it as similarly well written and engaging science nonfiction :)


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