Tag Archives: NonFicNov

NonFic November 2020, Wk 4

Week 4 is hosted by Katie @ Doing Dewey

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!

Sheesh, I guess December is coming up next week which means that this is the last week of Nonfiction November. I added a little of this and a little of that to my TBR list, which is just the way I like nonfiction!

  • My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams via Books are My Favorite and Best.
  • The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke via 746 Books.
  • Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent & Sara Vladic via Julz Reads.
  • Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad by David Haward Bain via Lou Lou Reads.

For “Expert Week,” I asked from some sports recommendations. Here are a couple on the top of my virtual TBR!

  • ROAR by Samantha Lane via Book’d Out.
  • The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams by Darcy Frey via Reader Buzz.

NonFic November 2020, Wk 3

Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction is Week 3’s host:

Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 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).

I’m going for all three this week! My subject? Sports! People who knew me in high school or college would probably be surprised to find that I’ve become a player of a sport and a fan of sports.

Three books I’ve read and would recommend:

  • A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton by John McPhee – The other book about a sport I’ve read by John McPhee (aside from this year’s Levels of the Game).
  • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis – I love that sports books are usually about a story but also about a system. Here I learned about baseball and also about the Oakland A’s.
  • The Blind Side by Michael Lewis – I didn’t remember that both Moneyball and The Blind Side were both by Michael Lewis. Obviously, he’s a stand-out in this genre.

Three books I want to read (and all are available at the library right now!):

  • Ultimate Glory: Frisbee, Obsession, and My Wild Youth by David Gessner – This is the sport I play, but I haven’t read this book yet!
  • Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team That Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory by Lydia Reeder – Ladies and the history of basketball (probably my favorite sport to watch)? Yes, please!
  • Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano (trans. Mark Fried) – This one is cheating a little. I’ve read the first few chapters of this book for a Sport & Society class I’m currently taking.

And finally, I’d like some recommendations. I’m especially looking for sports book by women, or sports books for younger readers. Anyone read anything that should go on my TBR?

NonFic November 2020, Wk 2

Julie @ Julz Reads is hosting week 2:

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 2 of NonFic November is always a challenge, but especially since I haven’t read too many magic books this year!

I realized as I finished reading Moby-Dick earlier this year that I’ve become one of those people: I’m going to reread the novel over and over again for the rest of my life and I’ll tell you about it if you ask me. As I reread this last time, I also read Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick by George Cotkin. Cotkin has a chapter for each chapter of Moby-Dick, each riffing on a theme, a piece of history, or (most interestingly to me) how the novel has become a part of pop culture.

This might be a slightly controversial pairing because The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson has come to be considered, let’s say, less than factual. But when I read it in my teens, it was a true, account of a haunting. To some extent, the ambiguity makes it the perfect pairing for Home Before Dark by Riley Sager.


One of the magic books I did read this year was The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanski. Since it’s all about how Houdini has become as much of a character as he was a person, I figured I’d pair that book with one of the many team-ups of the magician with the world’s most famous detective: Sherlock Holmes and The Escape Artist by Fred Thursfield. I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my rainy day TBR list.


NonFic November 2020, Wk 1

Your Year in Nonfiction

NonFiction November! The only good part of October ending…

Leann @ Shelf Aware kicks off week one with:

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? 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?

My nonfiction ratio is a little low this year, thus far (only 25%), but it’s been full of gems. Unsurprisingly, one of my favorites has been Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. It’s been highly recommended now for years and hits on my fascination with deception. More surprisingly, I really enjoyed The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanski. Houdini is not my favorite guy, but because I love magic history I’ve read more about him that I really want to. It was pleasant for an author to have a newer take on Houdini. Along with a basic biography, Posnanski asks, “Why Houdini? Why is he the cultural touchstone that he is?”

I’ve read a few books this year about writing and the writer’s life. I started last December rereading all of Helene Hanff’s books, mostly as comfort reading, but hers is a writing life I envy. I also read Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker, Take Joy by Jane Yolan, and Draft No. 4 by John McPhee.

I haven’t recommended much this year because I’ve been a little more insular than usual. I don’t know why that would be… So, I’m looking forward to chatting about nonfiction and getting recommendations as well as giving them. From this year’s reading, I want to recommend The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini and the other John McPhee book I read, Levels of the Game, bios (sort of) of Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner as they play first US Open tennis match.

NonFiction November TBR

Here’s what I’d like to read this month:

  • Edison’s Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Wood
  • The Tale of Terror: A Study of the Gothic Romance by Edith Birkhead
  • Strange Cures by Rob Zabrecky
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Nonfiction November 2019 ~ Week 5

Week 5: (Nov. 25 to 30) – New to My TBR

Hosted by Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction:

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!

Oh, man. In week three, I asked for recommendations for true crime & books about true crime and you all OBLIGED. Mostly, I added recs to my TBR that sounded appropriate and were available at one library or another. I’m sure I’ll be returning to that comment section in the future though.

So, lets start off with our host this week, Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction? who suggested Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession by Rachel Monroe (which I immediate put in a hold request for) and The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson.

Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession The Trial of Lizzie Borden Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers

Since it was immediately available, I checked out Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World’s Most Savage Murderers by Scott Bonn suggested by hmsgofita. Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out recommended The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr and If I Tell You . . . I’ll Have to Kill You by Michael Robotham, among a bunch of other books with lots of focus on forensics and writing crime fiction.

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science If I Tell You... I'll Have to Kill You Columbine

Julie @ JulzReads pointed me to her whole expert page from 2016. This sparked off my noticing Columbine by Dave Cullen all over the place (The Lowery Library and Never Enough Novels that I bookmarked, probably others too). I checked it out and am about 50% finished reading it. It’s heavy stuff.

Therefore, I needed some other reading too. Plucked from the Stacks posted about Broadway flops. I am fascinated by behind-the-scenes stories of movies and theater. There are so many people and so many things can go wrong! So, Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History by Glen Berger and Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum are definitely going to be reprieve reading.

Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops

So many good books! It’s been another great Nonfiction November.

Nonfiction November 2019 ~ Week 4

Week 4: (Nov. 18 to 22) – What Makes a Favorite?

Hosted by Leeann at Shelf Aware

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.

I like stories that are told (or topics that are explored) within wider context.

Erik Larson’s books are prime examples of this. In The Devil in the White City, for example, it’s not not just the story of the Chicago World’s Fair or just the story of H. H. Holmes, but the combination of the two—and how one enabled the other.

Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist

Even within my favorite topic, magic history, the best books aren’t the ones about the doings of a single magician. Jim Steinmeyer’s Hiding the Elephant looks at the golden age of magic through the lens of a single trick: Houdini’s disappearing elephant. One of my favorite biographies, The Magician and the Cardsharp by Karl Johnson, is about Dai Vernon and his search for a gambler who could deal cards from the center of a deck of cards.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age

One last example: I’ve read quite a few biographies of Nikola Tesla and some of them are quite good, but my favorite is W. Bernard Carlson’s Tesla: Inventor of the Electric Age, which puts Tesla’s major inventions in the context of the wider political and economical world. It also goes deeper into electrical engineering than I’m comfortable with, but I respect that about it.

Nonfiction November 2019 ~ Week 3

Week 3: (Nov. 11 to 15) – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert

Hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey

Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 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)

I’m going to participate this year in an Ask the Expert fashion.

At the moment, I may or may not be writing a historic true crime book. Since I’m using NaNoWriMo as a effort blitz on back-burner project, I’m very early in the process and don’t quite know what it is yet. But I realized I’d like to learn more about the true crime genre.

I’m not asking for true crime recommendations, per se; it’s more like I’m looking for books that discuss the genre and what true crime fans get out it. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark does this somewhat because it’s also about Michelle McNamara’s involvement as an amateur  investigator. Why do we enjoy books like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, TV shows like Making a Murderer, and podcasts like Serial?

And, heck, if you feel super strongly about a really good true crime book, especially on the historical end, tell me about those too!