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!