Nonfiction November is one of my favorite blogging events on the year, both because it’s hosted by some of my favorite book bloggers but also because I just love good nonfiction. I always get great recommendations and inspiration from taking part in this event. Week One asks us to look back at our year in nonfiction reading 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 favorite nonfiction read of the year is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Noah’s biographical account of growing up in South Africa is fascinating, managing to be heartbreaking, funny, and inspiring all at the same time. I learned a lot about a time and place that I had only really studied in history classes. I found it particularly interesting how Noah describes the different groups that exist in Johannesburg based on class and racial segregation and how he ultimately has to choose where he belongs because he doesn’t really fit in anywhere. This is also the book that I have recommended the most!
Looking back, all of the nonfiction I’ve read so far this year are autobiographies. This wasn’t a conscious choice on my part, but I’ve noticed that I tend to read this type of nonfiction cover to cover, whereas with other types of nonfiction I might just skim or skip around in. For this reason, those books might not show up on my ‘read’ shelf even if I read some of them this year.
One type of non-fiction that I would like to read more of is self-help (because I clearly need it, ha!) Seriously, I have an interest in exploring different aspects of Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness. I’m currently reading Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright and I’m finding is very useful and interesting.
I look forward to reading everyone else’s responses and talking more about nonfiction next week.
I’ve heard so many great things about Born a Crime; I’ve been waiting for the audio version from my library, but I may cave and buy a copy – ha! Your current read sounds very interesting, too; I’ll be curious to hear what you think of it. Hope you have a great week!
Yea for meditation! I’m a beginner myself and loved the book Modern Mindfulness by Rohan Gunatillake. His approach feels like common sense to me, and many of the meditations he covers don’t require closed eyes or focusing on the breath. That’s big for me, as I usually need to find a little peace in stolen moments at work. I’m looking forward to seeing what you read this month!
Thanks for the recommendation!
I’ve been eyeing of Why is Buddhism True too – I’m keen to hear your thoughts on it. I’ve just finished a book of Basho’s haiku which has been a lovely way to get some Zen 🙂
Have you ever read any of Lama Surya Das’ books? I found his approach and writing style very accessible and useful at the time. What other meditation/mindful books can you recommend? I’m always interested to find something new.
I’ve put Lama Surya Das on my to-read pile. I haven’t read a lot of other mindfulness books, although I’ve read some of the Dalai Lama’s works and I’ve been trying out a few meditation apps (Calm and Headspace). I’ve done yoga for several years and meditation feels like a natural next step.
I love Basho. 🙂
I love Basho too – I’m reading more about him lately in prep for our trip to Japan next year.
Stephen Cope also has some interesting books in yoga & mindfulness.
Great–I’ll add him to my list. Thanks!
Ahight, I have now seen enough recommendations of Born a Crime that it is going onto me list. 🙂 Looks pretty awesome, though I think senior thesis burn out made me avoid South African lit and nonfiction for a long long time. But maybe I’m ready to go back in that direction.
Lately I have tended toward autobiography/memoir as well. (Hey is there actually a difference between those two terms? Hmm. To the dictionary!) Just posted about it over here if you’re interested: http://www.bookpunks.com/become-obsessed-memoirs/
I’ve been wondering the same thing, since most people are using the term ‘memoir’. Interested to know what you find! 🙂
I really liked Born a Crime – the audio version was great – and it was one of my most recommended books for the year!
And – I was wondering the same thing about the difference between memoir and autobiography…I imagine they mean the same thing? But, I feel like I hear memoir much more these days.
The audio version of Born a Crime is downloaded and ready to go on my phone… hoping to get to it this month. I’ve read a few good memoirs this year. Don’t know exactly what the difference is between memoir and autobiography either, but you don’t hear autobiography used as often.
I don’t know a lot about Buddhism, but I have Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living, and it might be a book you would like. The little I’ve read from it looks very helpful and interesting.
You are the second person today who has recommended Born a Crime. I don’t usually enjoy memoirs, but I do like biography, so I may just give this one a try.
I hope you enjoy it!
I hadn’t heard of Trevor Noah so this is the sort of post that introduces me to new authors and subjects, perfect!
I’m not a follower of Trevor Noah, do you think I’d still enjoy Born a Crime? I’ve heard good things about it. I do find him funny, I just don’t seem to catch his show. I like memoir and biography too.
I’ve never seen the show so don’t know much about him, but I enjoyed his humor and insight. He definitely has a distinct “voice” in telling his story, so you’d be able to tell from the first few pages if you would appreciate it.
I really need to check out the audio of Born a Crime–I’ve seen such high praises for it! I know you saw my post, but I have to recommend The Gratitude Diaries for mindfulness/self-help reads. They’re not usually my first reading choice, but I have been finding that one helpful for being more in-the-moment.
Thank you for the recommendation!
Alright, I’ve heard SO MANY THINGS about Born a Crime, I think I need to put it on my library wishlist. I never actually knew what it was about but it sounds really good! Good luck this month. 🙂
I would like to learn more about Buddhism. The Book of Joy was one of my favorite NF reads last year and I’ve been trying some of the practices described.
Pingback: Nonfiction November – Sharing Introductions | JulzReads
I’ve had Born a Crime on my TBR for several months now. I’m seriously gonna read it! I’ve heard that the audio is terrific, so I just need to clear the deck…
Born a Crime is on my TBR, I’ve seen it around a lot!
I’ve seen “Born a Crime” recommended so many times that I’ve finally decided to add it to my to-read list! It didn’t really catch my eye when it came out because I’ve never seen his show, but I’ve been swayed!
I need to read Trevor’s book- so many people have said great things about it!
One of my favorite meditation books is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go There You Are. It is so straightforward and realistic, but really helps.
I agree with you, I read more memoirs and biographies all the way through. Born a Crime needed to become priority for me, I’ve heard good things from many!
I’d like to read more self-help too! I really love good self-help, with practical suggestions and some evidence to support those suggestions. I find it hard to tell in advance which self-help books will be like that though and which will feel more wishy-washy. I think that’s part of why I don’t read as much self-help as I’d like.