I haven't done this week's prompt before now because I didn't really think I had a year in nonfiction, besides Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage by Molly Wizenberg, which I just finished, but then I thought a bit about it. I've not really kept track of my reading properly this year as I stopped using Goodreads, and I'm seriously regretting that now that the End of Year surveys are coming around and I have absolutely no clue what I've read, but looking at my favourite books from this year there is one volume of nonfiction on there, and I remember at least three others, plus a couple which I'm not 100% sure whether they were this year or last year. I think the main problem is that I have a huge problem with finishing nonfiction, particularly parenting books but also other things. I just get easily distracted from nonfiction, I'm not sure why. That said, it's not been the case at all with my first pick for Nonfiction November, Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer, which I haven't been able to put down, it's absolutely fascinating!
Anyway, all that said I'm going to try to answer Kim's prompts!
Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?My favourite nonfiction read of the year is a tie between Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross, and Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, which is also the nonfiction book I've recommended most. In all honesty I finished it and immediately shoved it into the hands of my unsuspecting sister, who happened to be staying with us at the time. She devoured it and then passed it on to another of our sisters and I only got it back a couple of months ago! It's an awesome book because it's both really like and really unlike Steinbeck's other writing (East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath being all I've read to compare it to so far!). Basically he's kept all the stuff that makes him great and lost all the bits which bore people, and because the book is just him and his dog, Charley, travelling across America in a van it's full of loads of brilliant, beautiful and well-expressed observations and basically designed to make those of us Brits to whom American road-tripping is the pinnacle of all daydreams fall in love with it.
Simplicity Parenting I personally found brilliant because it's had such an impact on the way that I think about parenting. At the time that I read it I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff we have in our house and the pressure I felt to be constantly doing lots of different activities with my kids all the time to make sure they are learning everything they 'should' be. At first I was sceptical about the idea of taking away most of the toys in the house and scheduling way less of my children's time (my husband was even more so!) but the day after I finished the book I sneakily took about half of the toys out of the toy box and hid them and my son didn't even notice. The next week I halved them again, and again, he didn't notice. Now we have a much smaller collection of things he actually plays with and his attention is way more focused. It's amazing. Such is the power of nonfiction!
As for topics of nonfiction I've not read enough of yet, the list is pretty endless! In terms of what I've read this year, of a grand total of six that I can remember, one was a foodie graphic novel (Relish by Lucy Knisley), one a parenting book (previously mentioned), three memoirs (Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, Travels with Charley & Delancey) and one a collection of essays (At Large and At Small by Anne Fadiman). I got and returned to the library before I could start it Mary Roach's Packing for Mars, but I still really want to read some Mary Roach as I keep hearing great things! So in terms of what I need to read more of.... science, history (especially anything from outside the UK or even within the UK that's not the Tudors, the Victorians and both world wars), feminism, social justice type things. Basically anything that's not travel, memoirs or a book about books! What recommendations do you have for me?
By participating in Nonfiction November I'm hoping to motivate myself to read more nonfiction (already started!), get some awesome recommendations (also already happening!) and chat with some great bloggers plus organising a fantastic nonfiction book swap :-) Come and sign up if you haven't already, details are here.