Nonfiction November 2022: New to my TBR

Week 5 on Nonfiction (November 28-Dec 2) is all about what’s New to My TBR, and is hosted by Jaymi (The OC Bookgirl). To be honest, I wasn’t going to play along for this week in which we are supposed to list the books that have made it onto our TBRs from those bloggers have been shared over the month. This is because Last year, for example, I listed EIGHT books in my “New to my TBR” post, and have so far read just one, Gabrielle Carey’s Only happiness here (my review). I rest my case …. However …

Newly found on my TBR

In Week 1, two books were recommended to me on my post, that I knew I would want to read. Indeed, they sounded a bit familiar, one in particular. Funny that, because when I returned home from Melbourne in the middle of the month, and looked at the TBR next to my bed – you know, those books that you hope you’ll read soon – there these two were.

The one I was fairly confident I had was recommended by Australian novelist and feminist Sara Dowse, who has herself appeared several times on my blog. The book she recommended was Susan Varga’s Hard joy: Life and writing. I have reviewed a couple of Susan Varga’s books too – her memoir Heddy and me, and her poetry collection, Rupture – so I am confident that with Sara Dowse’s recommendation and my past enjoyment of Varga’s work, that I will also like this.

The other I was less sure about, but had started to suspect I might have it too. It was recommended by another Australian writer who has appeared several times on my blog, Carmel Bird. She recommended an author I’d never read before, but the topic of his book sounded right up my alley, as Carmel Bird knew – books, nature and words. The book is Gregory Day’s Words are eagles: Selected writings on the nature & language of place. Nature, language and place … this book of essays looks perfect for me.

The reason I have both books is that I advanced ordered them from the relatively new publishing company Upswell. Their inventory is so appealing and I’ve ordered/subscribed to several over the two years of their existence, but have not managed to read them because of the backlog of review copies I have. So, here I’m going to say that I’ve decided that I am going to find a better balance in my reading between the review pile – albeit there are many there I want to read – and those books I have bought because I have specifically chosen them. My next twelve months is going to be very busy as I prepare to downsize and sell our family home of the last 25 or so years and move into something smaller, but, after that, I am very hopeful of having MORE time to read. Yay that!

Eyes bigger than …

Otherwise, I must admit that I’ve jotted down very few other bloggers’ nonfiction reads – not because I wasn’t interested but because I knew I could not justify adding them to my list. However …

Melanie (Grab the Lapels) made these recommendations, with comments, on my Stranger than fiction post:

  • Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman’sSounds like Titanic: this one is a hoot
  • Lee Israel’s Can you ever forgive me?: this one made me hang my mouth open
  • Bruce Goldfarb’s 18 tiny deaths: The untold story of Frances Glessner Lee and the invention of modern forensics: this one surprising because I thought there were more forensic pathologists
  • Janice Erlbaum’s Have you found her?: this one I would love to tell you about but do not want to spoil it.

There were several books in the Worldchangers week, in particular, that also grabbed my reluctant attention, but I’ll just bring a couple to your attention:

Symeon Brown’s Get rich or lie trying, which Liz Dexter described as “an exposé of the world of internet influencers, or rather those who try desperately to monetise their lives for various reasons, including hauling themselves out of poverty, and who are used and abused by companies who know their desperation”.

Alone in the kitchen with an eggplant: Confessions of cooking for one and dining alone, a collection of essays edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler, which Lou said “helped me to see cooking and eating alone as a privilege and a mark of independence, not a lonely activity”. Many of us either live alone or could very well one day find ourselves alone … this is a great thing to appreciate.

If you are doing Nonfiction November, I‘ll probably see your recommendations. But, if you’re not, do share if any books recommended by bloggers have grabbed your attention this month.

18 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2022: New to my TBR

  1. Gregory Day has been on radar for a little while – his novels have been longlisted for the Miles Franklin and I think he won the Patrick White award a few years ago too. His first collection of essays around Nature and reading sound interesting….but that TBR!

  2. I have to confess to going AWOL for these November memes…
    But I would say this: readers have told me, and I’ve thought it myself, that sometimes reading a review of a NF title is enough. We get the gist of whatever it is, and we decide that we don’t need the detail. I felt this way about some of the recent feminist issues that have made their way into published books. I’ve already read so much in the media, and listened to Press Club speeches and the like, that I feel well-informed about those issues and given that none of us has time to read everything we want to, would rather read about something I am less informed about that is also important.
    The other thing that happens with my TBR is that I do buy some title that seems pressing at the time but then it doesn’t get read and time goes by and it no longer seems pressing.
    For example: Gillian Triggs, Speaking Up, which I bought after hearing her speak about the Human rights Commission fracas at the NF Festival. In May, after the change of government, it went to recycling.

    • Yes, I think they are fair comments, Lisa, particularly about reviews of nonfiction. You can’t read it all as you say. The ones that I particularly like to read, if I can, are those where there’s both content I want AND a writing quality (as well as a thinking approach) that really appeal. They are the ones most likely to go on the TBR versus those that seem primarily informative. (But even those I want to read can’t all go on the list even then, can they?)

      I take your point re some becoming less pressing over time. That has certainly happened to me too.

  3. I admit that Linda Jaivin’s ‘The Shortest History of China,’ has been beside my bed for 18 months since I heard her speak at Writers Week. I know I’ll enjoy it – one day!
    I blame school assignments for prevarication around non-fiction. Scarred for life.

  4. Best wishes for the downsizing, Madame Gums – a huge undertaking after 25 years! I’ve you have time to sit down and replenish yourself through it, my recommendation still stands. Hard Joy is a wonderful book.

  5. Wow – I’m honoured that one of my reads is among the Few!! I have tried not to amass too many on this post (which I’m posting on Friday as I often pick up a few from other people’s New to my TBR posts) as I also didn’t do much with last year’s selection, so we’re on the same page there, for sure! Happy downsizing, hope it goes well and is not too painful. We have to muck out our top front room to move my husband’s office up there, and that’s where books I’ve read but not distributed pile up and that seems task enough!

    • Haha, Liz … you ARE a glutton for punishment if you are waiting until then. Love it.

      And thanks for the best wishes – it’s not at all easy but it must be done some time so why not now, we think, while we are still (relatively) fit!

  6. Oh I’m glad that I could bring Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant to your attention – it is such a great book and one I still think about often! I have actually managed to read a handful of books from my previous New to my TBR post, and am in the middle of two more, so I feel like I can reasonably justify adding more books to my very long to-read list…

      • When I was open for reviews, every small, self-published goofball on the internet wanted me to read their stuff. Mostly, I just kept sending them to my FAQ page. It’s like being spammed unless you have a relationship with a publisher.

        • I understand, Melanie, I tried to manage it carefully from the start, and mostly it’s worked well. I haven’t received much that I don’t want to read. I guess my reading is narrower than yours so I probably don’t attract many of the “self-published goofballs”!

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