Nonfiction November is finally here! I love Nonfiction November because I get to share my love of nonfiction with the rest of the book blogging community and somehow end up with even more books on my never-ending to-read and to-buy lists.
Week One Prompt
Week 1 kicks off the month with the following prompt hosted by Katie of Doing Dewey:
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions. What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
Even though I only read nonfiction, I didn’t get through as many books this year as I’d hoped. Life really got in the way, but I’m planning on sharing a post on all the books I didn’t finish next month, so stay tuned.
Here is the complete list of books I read since last November:
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
It was much easier for me to choose a favorite last year. Sasha Sagan’s For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World remains the reigning favorite. This year, all of my five-star-rated rated reads ranked pretty close.
The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers by Emily M. Levesque is a super fun book that I lovingly call an astronomemoir. (And that’s canon.) It was so entrancing to see what daily life is really like for astronomers.
The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe V. Wade by Ann Fessler is the book on this list that will really make you cry. It’s essentially full of stories of mothers whose children were ripped away from them. Read it.
Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez explains just how strangely predictable Trump’s 2016 win was after 75 years of his evangelical voting block was groomed to want a “masculine,” politically incorrect tough guy as a leader.
Carl Sagan: A Life by Keay Davidson, while detailed and scientifically jargon-y at times, beautifully and appropriately tells the story of Carl Sagan’s life. I cried at the end, for obvious reasons.
Reproductive Justice: An Introduction by Loretta J. Ross and Rickie Solinger is a self-explanatory must-read for anyone who still thinks that reproductive rights only mean the right to an abortion, or that Roe v. Wade was enough.
Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh tells the story of every scientific achievement that built off the last to get us to our almost-certainty that the Big Bang is the most accurate way to describe the story of the Universe. The book is in no way overly scientific; rather, we meet all of the characters who brought this beautiful theory to life—and those who tried to stop them.
PTL: The Rise and Fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Evangelical Empire by John H. Wigger is the most in-depth and fascinating look into the Bakker/PTL/Heritage USA empire I’ve found anywhere. It’s perfect for anyone intrigued by the televangelist scandals and frauds of the 80s. I don’t have a dedicated book review for this book and the next, because they’re included in a mega-post all about Tammy, Jim, Jessica Hahn, and more.
Tammy: Telling It My Way by Tammy Faye Messner is technically the same story as the last, but it’s Tammy’s memoir from her quirky and scatterbrained point of view. Anyone who enjoyed her recent biopic, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, will love finding out what actually happened.
God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science by James Hannam debunks the common myth in the atheist community (which I’m a part of) that the Middle Ages were the “Dark Ages” because of the Church.
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
I’ve rounded out my collections of the topics I started getting into last year, such as antiracism and feminism. The biggest new addition to my shelf has been a great new section on reproductive justice and abortion rights.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
There are so many, but I would have to say How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. I’ll get a lot deeper into this question in Week 4, Worldview Changers, which I’m hosting!
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
For some reason I keep getting this question mixed up with Jaymi’s Day 1 photo challenge prompt on Instagram of sharing your November TBR. I know I won’t finish all these books this month, but here’s what I have planned. (I’m reading The Turnaway Study now.)
As far as Nonfiction November itself goes, I’m just so thrilled to see everyone talking about nonfiction and recommending great books. I’ve already added so many new books to my draft for Week 5: New to My TBR! It’s been a blast to see everyone’s posts in the linkup, and I already can’t wait to see what everyone shares next week for Book Pairing with Rennie from What’s Nonfiction!