What a fun month nonfiction November is in the blogosphere!
I seem to read more and more nonfiction these days and it’s comforting (and somewhat overwhelming at times!) to know that I will never run out of inspiration. Work got in the way of me actively contributing to week 1 (Your year in nonfiction hosted by Julz Reads), week 2 (nonfiction and fiction book pairings hosted by Sarah’s Book Shelves), week 3 (Be the expert/Ask the expert/Become the expert, hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness) and week 4 (nonfiction favourites hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey).
But this final week’s nonfiction topic is ‘New to my TBR’ and it’s being hosted by Lori over at Emerald City Book Review. As I’ve been following along with as many nonfiction posts as possible, I’ve made quite a few additions to the TBR (although in note form, not book form as Christmas is blimmin’ expensive and books for me are not on the ‘to buy’ list right now).
I decided to limit my list to ten for brevity’s sake. Be grateful – there were MANY more I could have included…
- Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins (recommended by Howling Frog Books). WHY? Because it’s a book about books, and in particular about one family’s experience of living in the mecca of book lovers, Hay-on-Wye.
- The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore (recommended by Angela at Musings of a Literary Wanderer) WHY? Because it tells the story of the forgotten women who worked in America’s radium-dial factories, how these so called ‘shining women’ began to fall mysteriously ill, and how their courage and tenacity in the face of impossible circumstances led to a change in regulations, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
- Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence (recommended by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves) WHY? Because who wouldn’t want to know what a witty librarian with more than a decade of front-line experience thinks about the books in her life?
- Moby Duck: The true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea by Donovan Hohn (recommended by Heather at Based on a True Story) WHY? Because if, like me, you’ve been watching the latest series of BBC1’s incredible Blue Planet and you only just found out about the 28,800 plastic ducks lost at sea, then this book couldn’t have popped up at a better time.
- Playing Dead: A journey through the world of death fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood (recommended by Katie at Doing Dewey) WHY? Because every so often there’ll be a story on the news about someone who faked their own death (remember that canoe guy? and did you know Olivia Newton-John’s ex-partner did it??) and I will find myself going over and over in my head the whys, wherefores and practicalities of such a immense thing.
- Putting the Supernatural in its Place: Folklore, the Hypermodern and the Ethereal by Jeannie Banks Thomas (recommended by Katherine at The Writerly Reader) WHY? Because I have a HUGE obsession with folklore and mythology, which is almost always written about historically. So a book that attempted to look at how folkloric traditions sit in the contemporary world and continue to proliferate really caught my attention.
- The Family Gene by Joselin Linder (recommended by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness) WHY? Because Kim’s write-up really hooked me, and also because this sounded like the perfect blend of science, memoir and thought-provoking ideas.
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder by Richard Louv (recommended by Too Fond) WHY? Because every so often a book comes along that seems to have been written exactly to address a particular issue you’ve been struggling internally with (in this case, how to make sure that my daughter grows up with a passion for nature and not an unhealthy obsession with screens).
- The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Science from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge (recommended by books are my favourite and best) WHY? Because I love everything that Oliver Sacks has ever written and he’s written about a lot of cases where the brain develops stunning new capabilities after traumatic injury. I’d love to read more about that. (Tip: read Sacks’ Musicophilia if you haven’t already)
- Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T J Mitchell (recommended by Always Doing) WHY? Because who doesn’t like peeping behind the scenes of a job that fascinates but you would never, ever, under any circumstances, want to (or be able to) do?
And finally a book that DID make it into my TBR book jar, because I joined the nonfiction November book swap… My lovely swap partner sent me 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building which takes a peek inside New York’s best known and most lusted after real estate, and the people who’ve lived there over the years. I have wanted to read this for AGES!
Finally, you might be interested to know that David Lodge suggested in one of the essays in Lives in Writing that people read more nonfiction as they age. I think it’s probably true for me – a look back through my list of books read suggests I read a lot more nonfiction than I used to. But fiction probably still edges it by a tiny margin.
What do you think? Has anyone else noticed a bias towards nonfiction creeping in with advancing years?!