I was just working on a post about how I have gone on a fiction bender for the last month or so, and how distressed I am that my writing about my nonfiction reading has been lackluster of late (when it has been posted at all). I don't know if it's general emotional and physical fatigue, blog fatigue, or nonfiction fatigue, but lately I just haven't been having strong, writable opinions about nonfiction.
How lucky, then, that other bloggers have been all over the month of November by dedicating it specifically to nonfiction!
First, there's Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. She started off the hosting duties with a post titled "My Year in Nonfiction," explaining what she had been reading, and asking a few basic questions about other people's reading experiences thus far this year. I'm so sorry I haven't participated more in this event--and in coming posts I'll highlight posts from the month's other Nonfiction November hosts--but I wanted to answer her questions (good ones) here:*
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
I just looked at my reading spreadsheet for 2015, and honestly, it's not really been a great year for me and nonfiction. That said, there are a few nonfiction books that made me THINK, even if they didn't make me particularly HAPPY. These were: Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, Catherine Bailey's Black Diamonds: The Downfall of an Aristocratic Dynasty and the Fifty Years that Changed England, Robert Putnam's Our Kids, and John Brockman's What Should We Be Worried About? I probably most enjoyed, on the most basic level, Amber Dusick's humor books Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures and Marriage: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. The best book I read, although, again, it was a major downer, was probably Robert Kolker's Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?
Actually, and I'll talk about this in a future post, I'm a little burned out on nonfiction. What I read the most of are what Mr. CR calls "Downer Books," investigative or historical nonfiction on dreary topics--poverty, crime, war--but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I haven't read enough of that.
Her follow-up post, listing readers' recommendations, was also very enlightening. I can't tell you how much good it did my soul to see that someone recommended Carl Zimmer's superlative science book, Parasite Rex.
Thanks to Kim (and others; hopefully I'll get to post about them later) for hosting Nonfiction November.
*One reason I'm very bad at participating in these things is that my schedule is never really my own, so I never really end up participating in time. Also, although it seems hilarious in view of the fact that I write a blog, I cannot really think in the online environment. Trying to keep track of who is hosting what, what the Twitter tag** is, and what I'm supposed to do where to participate, is actually beyond my current befuddled-by-two-small-children-and-life-in-general brain.
**And I just completely have never figured out Twitter. I never will, it's starting to look like. #WhoTheFuckIsSayingWhatNow?