Nonfiction November 2021: New additions to my TBR

Week 5 of Nonfiction November … whew, made it to the end, and it wasn’t so hard!

Nonfiction November, as of course you know, is hosted by several bloggers, with week 5 hosted by Jaymi at The OCBookGirl:

It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto YOUR TBR? Do we have any of the same ones?

Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

I wrote in my first Nonfiction November post that I wasn’t looking to add to my TBR, but of course it can’t help but happen. Over the month I’ve seen many, many books that appealed to me and that I’d love to read, but I really can’t add increase my TBR. However, I couldn’t call myself a keen reader if I didn’t add just a couple, so here are a few that REALLY tempted me:

Book cover
  • Graphic nonfiction: I commented on Words and Peace Emma’s post that I am not much of a graphic fiction reader, let alone graphic nonfiction, but some of the books she listed did grab my attention, like Grant Snider’s I will judge you by your bookshelf. What reader doesn’t sneakily do this from time to time?
  • Literary biography: I do love literary biography, and a few came up this month. Mallika (Literary Potpourri) gave me Paula Byrne’s The adventures of Barbara Pym; Brona (This Reading Life) gave me one I already had in my sights, Gabrielle Carey’s Only happiness here (on Elizabeth von Arnim); and didn’t someone share Bernadette Brennan’s Leaping into waterfalls about Gillian Mears? If not, they should have, because I want to read it, so I’m including it here.
  • Nature writing – Trees: With a name like Whispering Gums I have to be a bit of a sucker for trees, so I did love Readerbuzz Deb’s Be the expert post on trees. Every book in her list appealed, from forest bathing to books discussing famous trees.
  • More nature writing: Brona also gave me (in the previously-linked post) a book that deviates somewhat from my usual reading, but that I thought might capture my reading group’s attention for our schedule next year. It didn’t, but I’ll keep it on my list: Raynor Winn’s The salt path. And, Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest) reminded me that I still want to read Rebecca Giggs’ Fathoms (about whales).
  • Social issues/Race: Liz (Adventures in reading, running and working from home) shared two books that provoked much thought for her (and for others whom I know have read them): Robin DiAngelo’s White fragility and Layla F. Saad’s Me and white supremacy.

A small list, I know, but more than I intended, to which I owe a big thanks (I think) to the 5 hosts of Nonfiction November 2021 – and all the bloggers who took part and shared your reading. It’s been fun, and edifying!

And now, I’d love to hear whether you added any books to your TBR pile from our blogosphere Nonfiction November month?

34 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2021: New additions to my TBR

  1. “Only happiness here (on Elizabeth von Arnim)” – isn’t that the writer of the glorious “The Enchanted April” ? If so, the title’s really appropriate ! 🙂
    “I will judge you by your bookshelf. What reader doesn’t sneakily do this from time to time?” What person can possibly not do this ?
    But no; you’re far too highbrow for me. [grin]

    • It is, M-R … and I’ve just last night talked my reading group into doing another of her novels. I’ve read a few of her fiction and nonfiction books, and really love her writing

      Me? Highbrow? As Mr Gums would say, “give me a break”!

  2. In a remarkable month of restraint, I have added only one NF title: Death of a Notary, which Janine reviewed on her blog, prompting me to chase up a second-hand copy from the US…
    (Of fiction additions, we shall say nothing except that I am performing a public service in keeping my local booksellers happy.)

  3. I do like graphic novels, but I have come across some really interesting graphic non-fiction as well. Probably the most excellent was a biography of Anne Frank’s father that I bought at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. He was a remarkable man and it was done so well!

    • Ah, interesting Tinted! I’ve heard a little about him, but would love to read more. What does graphic nonfiction add. That’s probably a silly question, but thinking about biographies in general it feels to me that graphic versions could not convey the “facts” that prose ones do?

      • I think it’s all in the curation, the storytelling and the imagery. I find reading plain facts a bit tedious (unless it’s about legislation haha!) so I really enjoy narrative non-fiction (e.g. The Hare With Amber Eyes, H is for Hawk) or podcasts (e.g. Stuff the British Stole). Graphic non-fiction helps bring the story/humanity to the forefront while also giving great visual support to understand the context. e.g. Maus, a very stylised biography of the author’s father surviving the Holocaust, cast Jews as mice and Nazis as cats, but also brought 1940s Europe to life. Persepolis, a graphic autobiography about a girl who grows up in Iran, presents the political situation in 1980s Tehran in a really personal way (especially the life of women inside the home vs in the streets) and then juxtaposes it against the author’s wildly different (and not necessarily better) experience in Vienna.

        • Thanks Tinted for this wonderful response. I really like narrative nonfiction too. But I am challenged with reading text and images and marrying them together in my mind as I go! You have encouraged me to consider Persepolis, for a start, though!

  4. I recently got into graphic non-fiction too. I loved Persepolis, and recently I gifted the graphic novel version of Sapiens to my daughter, and both of us loved it (maybe better than the original version of the book).

  5. Hi Sue, who doesn’t love nature, and especially trees. I have mentioned it before but Underland by Robert MacFarlane is my favourite non fiction on nature. I have added Cold Enough For Snow by Jessica Au to my non fiction list. In November, I read 3 non fiction books. One was The Four Engines Have Failed by Betty Tootell, and I don’t know if I will fly again. And, Leaping into Waterfalls, is a startling read. Now reading a delightful non fiction book Felix the Railway Cat by Kate Moore.

    • Thanks Meg. Cold enough for snow does sound good. I forgot that I’d liked the sound of it.

      Haha re Four engines … we regularly watch Air Crash Investigations (when it’s on) though sometimes I wonder why! I do want, of course to read the book about Mears.

      Felix the railway cat sounds interesting – for cat lovers?

  6. The only nonfiction book I read in November was Crying in H-Mart, which is on all the best-of lists right now in the U.S. The audiobook is read by the author, and I really need to get on with writing my review.

    Fun fact: last night the answer to Final Jeopardy! was Canberra. I immediately shouted, “I have to tell Sue!” to which my husband replied, “Who??” and I answered, “AUSTRALIAN Sue!”

  7. I could have sworn I left a comment on this post during the week! Says more about my week or my ability to comment on my phone perhaps (except I cannot insert shrug emoji here!!)

    So glad you have added the Armin book to your TBR – Joyce Morgan’s bio is also very good. The Eve Langley bio is really, really good and it was me who probably told you about the Gillian Mears bio. It was incredible – a real who’s who of the Aust literary world of the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s. I think you should put it on your Christmas wishlist.

    • I know what you mean Brona … I’ve decided that I sometimes must compose responses in my head and never put them to paper (well, screen).

      The thing about von Arnim is that I already have on my TBR the biography published in 2013 which I bought back then because I love von Arnim. I really should read that first. I think it is a more academic, thorough biography. But I want to read the others too.

      I know you mentioned Mears, but I was sure I’d read a review of it, and that was the one I wanted to link to. I actually checked your blog for a review because I thought it was you, but I couldn’t find one?

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