This week’s #NonFicNov prompt is hosted by Rennie at What’s Nonfiction, and it’s a very good place to start. My year in nonfiction has been pretty good, with a third of the books I’ve read qualifying. I’ve struggled with various reading slumps (or more realistically, stress and depression) in 2021, and sometimes I can convince myself that reading something “real” is more… worthwhile? Grounding? The juicier the better, and I read a few doozies this year. Let’s check out Rennie’s prompts!
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Pardon me for copping out with a top three, but each book was quite different in subject and tone and I can’t choose!
- In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado: Telling the story of an abusive relationship, and the story of all relationships, which are mostly stories we tell ourselves. With a twist ending!
- The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen: Telling the story of childhood trauma and adult addiction, in a world that’s mostly alien to me, but creating a few blazing, recognizable moments I will never forget.
- Nishga by Jordan Abel: Telling the story of residential schools and the intergenerational trauma they wreak on people and families, through classic literature, poetry, photography, art, court records, transcripts, and more. At once intimate and vulnerable; and sweeping in ambition and scope.
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
Here are topics I read about more than once this year:
- Royalty: I read The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives, and The Last Royal Rebel by Anna Keay.
- Technology: I read The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour, A World Without Email by Cal Newport, and An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang.
- Memoirs of relationship breakdown: I read In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, and I Got the Dog by Amanda Boyden.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
In the sense that I recommended it once, and the person actually read it, and we had a video chat about it? In the Dream House. Two sisters agree that it’s riveting, original, and if you’ve ever been in any kind of abusive relationship, you will feel the shock of recognition.
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
I tend to focus on fiction in my reviews and posts, but I’ve always read about 25% or more nonfiction. So I hope to correct a pretty big blind spot in my blogging this year. As far as reading goes, I hope to get a final push towards becoming a true Franzen completist – I’ve read all six novels, but have a couple of essays in Farther Away, plus his translations in The Kraus Project, to go.