My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November Week 1 Header

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Nonfiction November Week 1 Header

Welcome to Nonfiction November! Our hosts–Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Katie at Doing Dewey, Veronica at The Thousand Book Project, Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks, and Jaymi at The OC Book Girl–have five weeks of fun topics for us to explore. This week I’m writing about my year in nonfiction.

I participated in this event for the first time last year and I had a blast! I added a huge number of books to my TBR that I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise, met lots of new bloggers, and received a lot of personal recommendations! If you ever read nonfiction, or even if you don’t but kind of wish you did, I hope you’ll join in or at least follow along!

To start us off, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction? invites us to reflect on our year of nonfiction reading.

“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?”

I’ve read 34 nonfiction books since November 1, 2020. I’m shocked! I knew I’d been reading more nonfiction but didn’t realize how very much more. For comparison, I only read eleven last year! I’ve come a long way from when I first started blogging in 2009 and thought nonfiction was boring!

Favorite Nonfiction

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward Book Cover

I rarely give out 5-star ratings so Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward is the only book to have that honor this year. What a powerful, beautifully-written memoir of grief, loss, racism, and poverty.

Focus Topic

Links either go to my review or GoodReads

I’m a mood reader so I don’t consciously decide that I want to read about a specific topic. But in looking through the books I’ve read this year, I see a theme of perseverance and diversity. Ada Blackjack, an Iñupiaq woman, was the lone survivor of an Arctic expedition. Stacey Abrams sees unfair, racist voting laws and fights to change them. William Kamkwamba had very little access to education or supplies in his Malawian village, but he built a working windmill. Asian Americans saw injustice in the beating death of Vincent Chin so they founded American Citizens for Justice. Mikki Kendall describes women of many races and nationalities throughout history who furthered women’s rights. Women who were only expected to get married and have babies became code breakers in World War II. A Black man became the 44th President of the United States, where we still struggle with racism to this day. This is just a sampling of the people I “met” in nonfiction books this year, the adversity they faced, and the ways they overcame it.

Most Recommended Book

I don’t think I’ve recommended any book over and over, honestly. I’ve read so many good ones, I’ve spread the love around pretty evenly.

What I Hope to Gain in Nonfiction November

First of all, I’ve been reading so much this year that I haven’t really taken the time to review that many books! I hope this event will prompt me to actually review more of the fabulous nonfiction books I’ve read.

Secondly, I’m hoping for lots of new recommendations. It’s hard for me to keep track of all the good books out there, especially nonfiction! I sometimes feel like there aren’t very many bloggers who review nonfiction.

Third, I’m hoping to meet more of those bloggers who do review nonfiction! I know you’re out there!

I hope you’ll join in with your own post this week, or join us next week when we’ll be pairing fiction and nonfiction books! Be sure to link up with Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. Men We Reaped has been on my list for too long, I really need to get to it! Great to hear that you found it so well done and affecting. Hope you’re enjoying Nonfiction November so far!

  2. 34!!! Kudos to you! I too started blogging with no real interest in NonFiction but I am obsessed now. I was really really into female code breakers last year. I got distracted by other pretty books this year. I LOVED Code Girls!

    Enjoy your NonFiction November!

  3. Isn’t it interesting how our nonfiction reading can center around a theme even when we aren’t consciously trying? Men We Reaped is on my kindle. I picked it up not too long ago as a daily deal… looking forward to reading it!

  4. That’s a really impressive increase in non-fiction books!! I feel like my non-fiction reading has declined this year and last, because a lot of my non-fiction pics are audiobooks, and without a commute I haven’t been listening to as many of them.

  5. Wow. You’ve read an incredible amount of nonfiction so far this year! I’m impressed! Men We Reaped sounds like a powerful, albeit heartbreaking memoir. I’ll look for a copy at my library. Code Girls is another that I’d like to read.

    Good luck and have fun with the challenge!

  6. Men We Reaped was such a great book. Did you read her essay last year on the death of her husband from COVID-19? I think it was in Vanity Fair – completely devastating.

    I’m listening to A Knock at Midnight by Britany K Barnet right now and I suspect it would be right up your alley.

    I agree with you about nonfiction – I always tell people that nonfiction has come a long way since it was just for your dad’s military bios. There’s a nonfiction title for everyone!

  7. You have read a ton of nonfiction this year! I love your unintentional theme. It feels perfect for the challenges of the past few years. I’m really glad you’ll be joining us again this year 🙂

    1. I really don’t know what happened to increase my nonfiction reading so much. And recent events have obviously steered me toward my theme, however unconsciously. I guess I’m trying to educate myself, whether I realize it or not!

  8. I love meeting other bloggers who like nonfiction, too. I agree with you that it seems like there are not as many bloggers who read nonfiction. I think I could be (almost) perfectly happy reading only nonfiction.

  9. I love getting all the nonfiction recommendations that come out during November. I haven’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I’d like so I am ready to hear what everyone is enjoying.

    1. They are! I would have said there was absolutely no rhyme or reason to my nonfiction books so I was surprised when that jumped out at me. I read and enjoyed some science-y books too, but almost everything else could be described as someone persevering.

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