Category Archives: Blogging

Nonfiction November: My Year in Nonfiction

I am a huge fan of nonfiction, so am ridiculously excited about Nonfiction November! The event is being hosted by Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Leslie (Regular Rumination), Katie (Doing Dewey), and Rebecca (I’m Lost In Books). The opening meme is being hosted by Kim – go on over and participate!

While I read a variety of types of books, nonfiction usually makes up between 30-40% by year-end. Right now it’s sitting at around 36% of my reading for the year so far. I’ve read 56 nonfiction books so far this year. Of those: 16 male authors, 44 female authors, 2 with trans or genderqueer authors (some were anthologies which contained multiple authors). 15 were by authors of color, another 9 were international (outside of US or Canada), and 14 included LGBTQ authors and topics.  Without really trying, mainly due to my interest in sociology and social justice, my reading tends to fall to at least 25% non-white authors and GLBTQ authors and topics.

New this year, 8 of the nonfiction titles I read were cookbooks or craftbooks. In the past I’ve not read many of these types of books. (Unsurprisingly, they skewed toward female authors, but white and het- cis- authors.) This has been due to my increased time for cooking and crafting. Another 7 could be classified as memoir – most of which I wasn’t a huge fan of (more on this later this month, I’m sure). Three were graphic novels.

Overall, quite a variety. You can see the full list of what I’ve read here.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

I am having a hard time trying to pick just one or even just a couple. I want to list over a dozen here… But let me try to at least keep it only to a dozen! Here they are in order read:

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

As has Kim, I’ve recommended The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison many times! I’ve also recommended A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory From a Prairie Landscape by Candace Savage and Israel / Palestine and the Queer International by Sarah Schulman to various friends.

(I cheated by taking these off of my favourites list and moving them here – they are all also very high on my favourite reads of the year list!)

What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?

Hmmm… to be honest, I think I’ve read fairly widely so far this year. I hope I can just continue that trend!

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

I’m mainly excited to see more bloggers talking about nonfiction – it just doesn’t get nearly enough love! I’m also hoping to help ease myself back into blogging with it.

Readathoning

Good morning, fellow readers! I decided one way to jump back into book blogging was to join the readathon, which I have only done once before, in 2010. I’m not sure how long I’ll last today, but it should be fun while it lasts anyway.

Readathon Books (1) Oct 2014

Opening Meme: 8am EST

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I’m in the lovely city of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Hmm… I’m kind of winging it today, no separate stack from which to read. I did decide to start the day with three short novellas though: Never Again by Flora Nwapa, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, and At the Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? As with a reading stack, I’m winging it here as well. I’ll be searching the house to see what I can find shortly!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! Well, I’m back to blogging, semi-regularly, for the first time in a few years, after taking a few years off because of work and personal reasons. It feels really great to be back!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? It’s been a long time since I last participated in a readathon (2010!) so I’ll probably make all the same mistakes this time. For example, in my wrap up post last time I said I’d plan better with the snacks… Oops 🙂

Happy reading!

Mini-Challenge, Coffee or Tea: 9am EST

Well, an hour in, and I’ve left a few comments, chatted a bit online, and am 50 pages in to Never Again by Flora Nwapa. It’s a short novella by the first woman novelist from Nigeria about the Biafran war in the 1960s. The novella was published in 1975.

For the mini-challenge, I’m obviously always #teamCSLewis – I have a terrible addiction to David’s Tea, with a cupboard full of at least fifteen different types of (mostly non caffeinated) teas! This morning I’m having a cup of Coco Chai Rooibos, which is a delicious chai made with rooibos, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and red peppercorns.

Readathon (2) Oct 2014

(Funny story – there is a kid’s book called My Mother is Weird, by Rachna Gilmore (author) and Brenda Jones (Illustrator) about a kid whose mom is some kind of weird monster until she has her morning coffee. We had it in both French and English when we were growing up! If you are a coffee lover, as my parents were, and have children, they might need this book!)

Quick Update: 10am EST

I’ve finished Never Again by Flora Nwapa (85 pages). It was a great examination of war, and the coercion and propaganda that go along with it. The story is told from the point of view of Kate, a mother and wife, who is realistic and dealing with the realities of being on the losing side in a war, when any realism (as opposed to optimism and patriotism) is treated as sabotage.

Now I’m moving on to The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.

Another Update: 12pm EST

Well, another two hours have passed. I’m still reading The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, and am 43 pages in – really enjoying it so far, as I assumed I would!

During the last two hours I also took a break to return some library books and pick up some new ones (I also couldn’t resist sharing a photo of my beautiful library on instagram), and also made some stops for snacks – the bakery for scones and the grocery store for Halloween treats, hummus, pita bread, and raspberries!

Readathon (3) Oct 2014

 

Another Update: 2pm EST

Time sure flies when you’re having fun! I’ve finished The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, which was fantastic. It is comprised of two essays, one written for his nephew, and another longer one on religion, love, the state of race relations in the United States, and more. Baldwin really was a remarkable man, as his works can attest. Despite all that he saw and all that he lived through, he advocates, in these essays, love for one another and working together, and for both white and black Americans to grow and learn. For African Americans to simply try to be like whites wasn’t, he argues very eloquently, a great aspiration or solution.

I’m now 20 pages in to At the Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid, and so far it is slower reading, but still enjoyable. I’m not sure what I’ll pick up next!

Update: 4pm EST
It has somehow been 8 hours already, and we’re on hour 9! In the last hour I had a lot of fun creating a twitter cheer, and posting a picture of my most prized book possession (a signed first edition of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked). I’ve finished  At the Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid, a collection of short stories which were really more like prose poetry than stories.

I’m now struggling to settle on what to read next, having picked up and set aside a few different books so far. I’m leaning toward The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, as it comes very highly recommended.

Break Time Update: 6:30pm

I’m 62 pages in to The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and really enjoying the tales so far. But, the boyfriend has arrived (he was away for a week) and got super shocked by my new hair colour, and is going to take me for fooooooood glorious food 🙂 Back to reading later!

Mid-Event Survey: 8:30pm EST

Over half-way! Spent the last two hours out eating and socializing, and now I’m back to the reading!

1. What are you reading right now? I’m still working on The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
2. How many books have you read so far? I’ve read three and a half – but all are under 110 pages 🙂
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Hmm… I’m probably going to end up sleeping for a few hours, I hate to admit it. I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’m not looking forward to anything else too much because I suspect I’ll be interrupted by sleep!
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Nothing that I wasn’t expecting!
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Not much!

Throwing in the Towel: 11pm EST

Well, I made it to hour 16, though with a two hour break for food from 6:30-7:30. I read four (short) books: Never Again by Flora Nwapa, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, and At the Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid, and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. Together, these add up to a total of 399 pages. I also chatted a bit on twitter, shared some photos on instagram, and visited some blogs to leave comments. A successful readathon, if I may say so!

To all those with more stamina and late night abilities than I – happy reading!