Nonfiction November: New to my TBR list

I have really enjoyed participating in Nonfiction November, thanks to the four wonderful bloggers who hosted it (see below for the weekly topics). I think of myself as a fiction reader and have never particularly sought out non-fiction, although I pick it up when something that looks interesting happens to come my way. This month, by being more focused on non-fiction I discovered three terrific reads — One Summer: America 1927; Empty Mansions; and In the Kingdom of Ice — plus countless more recommendations that sound equally compelling. Top on my list are the following, in more or less the order I found them in posts during the month:

Violins of Hope by James A. Grymes
Through the stories of violins played during the Holocaust, now lovingly restored and exhibited, history and music come together in a story of tragedy and hope.
Recommended at A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
I read and enjoyed Wild last summer but wasn’t particularly interested in Cheryl Strayed’s earlier collection of advice columns, partly put off by the minimalist cover design. Now I know I have to look into it!
Recommended at River City Reading

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Insight into the pre-war Depression years, and a somewhat obscure sport.
Recommended at Musings of a Bookmammal

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
Women and espionage in the American Civil War take center stage in this entertaining yet informative read.
Recommended at Sarah’s Book Shelves

Is That a Fish in Your Ear by David Bellos
The problems and necessity of translation fascinate me, and this book sounds like a wonderful way to learn more about it and “why it’s an essential part of what makes us human.”
Recommended at Wensend 

The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock
Brona recommended this one after I focused on “Unconventional Biographies” in my initial NN post. It sounds extraordinary.
Recommended at Brona’s Books 

Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson
I know very little about the profession of archaeology, but Marilyn Johnson can fix that.
Recommended at Reading the End

The Storyteller’s Daughter by Saira Shah
A British journalist travels to her father’s homeland in Afghanistan, in search of the country found in his stories.
Recommended at Love, Laughter and Insanity

The Color of Water by James McBride
This “black man’s tribute to his white mother” sounds like a portrait of a remarkable individual.
Recommended at I’m Lost in Books

1776 by David McCullough
I should know more about this pivotal year in American history, and McCullough’s style sounds engaging enough to get me through it.
Recommended at The Well-Read Redhead

I know I’ll have a great year with these, and I’m definitely looking forward to next November!

Be sure to check out all the posts being linked this month:

Week One: My Year in Nonfiction
Week Two: Be/Become/Ask the Expert
Week Three: Diversity and Nonfiction
Week Four: New to My TBR List

22 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: New to my TBR list

  1. Hi 🙂 This has been really interesting – I feel as though too often we can focus on fiction and forget the amazing non-fiction reads that are out there. I definitely want to read "Is That A Fish In Your Ear" – translations fascinate me. I'm also commenting to ask if you'd be interesting in joining in with the December Readalong that Kirsty from the Literary Sisters and I are going to do. We're reading Wuthering Heights, hoping to post about it in the first week of January – it would be great if you could join in too! Anyway – hope you have a great week! 🙂


    1. Translations are fascinating, aren't they? Right now I'm working on editing some children's songs that have been translated from Dutch, and they are difficult enough. I can't even imagine trying to translate Shakespeare or Goethe or the like. I'd love to join in your readalong, have commented on your announcement post. Thanks for visiting!


    2. It is exciting! I'm not technically a translator, but I sometimes have to edit a literal translation to try to recapture some of the rhythm and rhyme of the song. It's tricky but also fun, kind of like a puzzle.


  2. What a great list of non-fiction books. I've read The Storyteller's Daughter, which I loved, and also The Color of Water, but I can't wait to check out some of these other non-fiction reads. And I LOVE the Put the Library on Hold button! Very cool. I'm looking forward to January and getting to read and re-read some of my own books. 🙂


  3. It looks like you've got some great books you want to get to! I loved Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy and Tiny Beautiful Things and am just starting Lives in Ruins. I haven't read Is That a Fish in Your Ear or 1776, but they both sound fascinating!


  4. What a great list! The Boys in the Boat is the BEST — my favorite book last year, for sure. It also was the #1 seller at the bookstore where I work. I haven't talked to anyone who hasn't loved it. I also really enjoyed Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy and Tiny Beautiful Things. Have a great Thanksgiving and Stay warm!


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