Nonfiction November: Week 1 – Your Year in Nonfiction

This year I’m taking part in Nonfiction November, hosted by Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness, Rennie of What’s Nonfiction, Katie of Doing Dewey, Julz of JulzReads and Sarah of Sarah’s Bookshelves.  Each week, we’ll have a different prompt and a different host looking at different ideas about reading and loving nonfiction.

This week’s topic is: Your Year in Nonfiction

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions:

What was your favourite 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?

I’ve not been reading much nonfiction this year – just 7 books up to now. I’ve read two biographies – Victoria: A Life by A N Wilson, a long and fascinating book that portrays her both as a woman, a wife and mother as well as a queen set against the backdrop of the political scene in Britain and Europe, and Wedlock:  How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match by Wendy Moore, about Mary Eleanor Bowes, who was one of the richest young heiresses in 18th century Britain. I also read Jeremy Paxman’s A Life in Questions mainly about his career with little about his personal life.

The other books I read are on reading – Bookworm: A memoir of childhood reading by Lucy Mangan, on painting – Painting as a Pastime by Winston S. Churchill, on time – Timekeepers by Simon Garfield and on sleep – Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match

They are all so different that it’s hard to choose a favourite, but the one that sticks in my mind most is Wedlock, a biography of Mary Eleanor Bowes, who was one of the richest young heiresses in 18th century Britain. She fell under the spell of a handsome Irish soldier, Andrew Robinson Stoney. Her marriage to Andrew Robinson Stoney was an absolute disaster. He was brutally cruel and treated her with such violence, humiliation, deception and kidnap, that she lived in fear for her life.

The topics I’m attracted to are mainly memoirs, biographies and history, although I do like a variety of subjects. I think Bookworm is a must read for bookworms, it’s full of the joy of books – it’s not just what Lucy Mangan read, it’s also a history of children’s books, details of their authors and a memoir of Lucy’s childhood.

By participating in Nonfiction November I’m hoping this will encourage me to read more nonfiction rather than picking up the next novel to read and I’m looking forward to seeing what others recommend.

13 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Week 1 – Your Year in Nonfiction

  1. What a great idea for a challenge/meme, Margaret! I honestly haven’t been reading as much non-fiction as I would like to/ought to, and this sounds like a way to help focus on that. I’ll be really interested in the different prompts, and what you have to offer.


  2. I must grab Bookworm at some stage as I know I would love it. Also wondering if I should do this Nonfiction November thing as it looks very interesting. I’ve read 18 so far this year so I’d have plenty of choice.


  3. I haven’t read much nonfiction this year either, but taking part in this event is already making me want to read more. I’ve had Bookworm on the TBR for a while and really need to read it soon. Wedlock sounds like a book I would enjoy too.


  4. Thanks for joining us this year! I read a different biography of Queen Victoria by Julia Baird, I think, and really enjoyed it. She’s fascinating, and her reign really does span an important time in the world. Bookworm sounds totally lovely!


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