November Nonfiction: My Year in Nonfiction #nonficnov

nonfiction november 2014

Nonfiction is one of my favorite genres to read, so I’m thrilled to participate this year in Nonfiction November. I don’t think I’ll be doing the readalongs (too many other reading challenges to complete before December 31), but I do hope to participate in the weekly discussions. This week’s link-up is hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and the questions ask readers to reflect on their year of reading nonfiction:

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?


Favorite nonfiction of the year:

I’ve read several superb graphic novel memoirs this year: Roz Chast’s brutal and hilarious memoir of dealing with her elderly parents, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?; Cece Bell’s memoir of growing up deaf, El Deafo; John Lewis’s memoir of his life and work as a Civil Rights activist, March; Raina Telgemeier’s memoir of a family road trip, Sisters.

I also discovered the excellent Scientists in the Field series this year. While these books are published for young readers, they are equally appealing to grown-ups. My favorites, so far, have been Chasing Cheetahs and The Tapir Scientist, both written by Sy Montgomery and photographed by Nic Bishop.

I have also read over 100 nonfiction picture books this year, thanks to Kid Lit Frenzy’s 2014 Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge, and I have loved most of those books.

Nonfiction book you’ve recommended most:

thank you for your serviceI continue to recommend David Finkel’s Thank You For Your Service, one of my favorite books in 2013. Finkel follows the soldiers he profiled in Good Soldiers (also an excellent nonfiction read) after they return home to the U.S. The aftermath of war is no lovelier than war itself, and this is not an easy book to read. But Finkel makes you care passionately for these soldiers and their families. I finished this book and felt changed by the experience of reading it.

One type of nonfiction I haven’t read enough in 2014:

Books for grown-ups! I have been so focused on my picture book, middle-grade, and young adult reading goals that I have read almost no books published for grown-ups in 2014. I don’t miss adult literary fiction, but I do miss nonfiction and need to make more time for it. I also haven’t read many essays this year (published in print form anyway–I read a lot of essays online).

My goals for Nonfiction November:

I would like to read one or two nonfiction books for grown-ups this month. I’m looking forward to getting lots of great recommendations. And I hope to make some helpful recommendations on my blog as well.






18 responses to “November Nonfiction: My Year in Nonfiction #nonficnov”

  1. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader Avatar

    I’m always on the lookout for new graphic novels to read and I’m paying close attention to the couple you’ve mentioned here. (I really like reading them for the 24 readathons in April and October)

    I don’t believe I’ve heard of those Finkel books and I think you’ve just made my wish list even longer 😉

    Have a great NonFicNov!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Graphic novels are terrific choices for readathons! I’ve never participated in a readathon, but I do enjoy reading about them on other people’s blogs. I’m a little behind on my book total goal for 2014 and I’m sure I’ll be padding my list with some graphic novels in December!

  2. Leila @ Readers' Oasis Avatar

    I’d love to read Roz Chast’s book–like Jennifer just commented, that would be perfect for a readathon! I’ll add it to my list. And I need to read John Lewis’ s memoir at some point, as well.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The Roz Chast book is incredible–so very bleak and yet something you can’t put down. I loved the different look at the Civil Rights movement through Lewis’s memoir–I’m looking forward to volume 2, though I have no idea when it’s coming out.

  3. rivercityreading Avatar

    I’ve been dying to read both Roz Chast’s book and Thank You For Your Service (in fact, I’ve been pushing my book club on that one). Glad to see you’re joining in Nonfiction November!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank You For Your Service would be a terrific choice for a book club. So much to talk about there.

  4. bookmammal Avatar

    I love Roz Chast–I discovered her cartoons in The New Yorker and have read several of her books. I love the way her mind works!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’ve seen many of Chast’s cartoons in The New Yorker too. I also liked her book What I Hate from A-Z. It’s quite neurotic!

  5. Melissa Avatar

    I just heard of El Deafo like last week. I really want to read it. And I also just requested Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Gotta love those graphic memoirs. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I can’t get enough graphic novels either!

  6. janceewright Avatar

    The majority of the nonfiction I read this year was written for kids. I did the YALSA challenge over the summer, so that was a major contributor to my ratio.

  7. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) Avatar

    Thanks for the reminder about Thank You For Your Service. I saw it earlier this year and wanted to read it, but then in slipped off my radar. Thanks, too, for joining us for Nonfiction November!

  8. Lu Avatar

    SO many great recommendations in this post. I put Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and El Deafo on hold at the library and I’m going to have to pick up Finkel’s books. They sound amazing. Thank you for joining in Nonfiction November!

  9. amymckie Avatar

    Wow that is a lot of nonfiction picture books! I should probably investigate those for gifts for my niece 🙂

  10. […] reflection on my year, so far, in reading nonfiction for Nonfiction […]

  11. […] Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel – Recommended by Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum – From Elisabeth’s blog: “I continue to recommend David Finkel’s Thank You For […]

  12. […] Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel – Recommended by Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum – From Elisabeth’s blog: “I continue to recommend David Finkel’s Thank You For […]

  13. dray0308 Avatar

    Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often and commented:
    When you read nonfiction, the entire world becomes your oyster!! Wildlife, politics, self-improvement, architecture, success stories, autobiographies…you name, you can learn about it!!! Check out The Dirigible Plum’s suggestions for nonfiction reads!

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