Nonfiction November begins this week. Each Monday a link-up for the week’s topic will be posted at the host’s blog for you to link your posts throughout the week.
Week 1: (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) The topic is Your Year in Nonfiction, hosted by Julie @ Julz Reads :
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 love reading non-fiction, but it takes me much longer to read than fiction, so it’s only been about 10% percentage of my total reading so far this year. Up to now I have read seven books but I’ve not been very good at writing about them, so I’ve only reviewed three of them, although I have started to write about a fourth book – The Marches by Rory Stewart.
I like to vary my reading but tend to lean towards reading memoirs, biographies and history.
First the books I have not written about:
- Great Britain’s Great War by Jeremy Paxman – The back cover describes it: ‘He tells the story of the war through the experience of those who lived it – nurses, soldiers, politicians, factory workers, journalists and children.’ I began reading this book last year and didn’t finish it until January this year! I borrowed this from the library and had to renew it to finish it.
- Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell – his account of his time in Cyprus, during the 1950s Enosis movement for freedom of the island from British colonial rule. I’ve visited Cyprus several times, but not the area Durrell wrote about in this book – Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus, where he bought a house in the Greek village of Bellapaix. His writing is richly descriptive and made me wish I could have seen Bellapaix in the 1950s.
- A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin – a book that Marina @ Finding Time To Write kindly sent to me. Claire Tomalin writes excellent biographies, so I wondered what she had to say about her own life. She began by saying that writing about herself had not been easy and querying the reliability of memory, which maybe why I found it in places rather impersonal as she related a number of tragedies she had had to cope with.
- The Marches: Border Walks with my Father by Rory Stewart – review to follow. I enjoyed this account of walks along part of Hadrian’s Wall, the Debatable Lands, the Cheviot Border and in the area Stewart calls the ‘Middleland’. The last part of the book is about his father, Brian, who died four days before his 93rd birthday.
The links on the titles below take you to my reviews on the books:
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – a fascinating, but harrowing biography of Henrietta’s life and death.She died of cervical cancer in 1951. Her cancer cells became known as HeLa cells and have formed the basis for much medical research and drug development ever since.
- The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton, subtitled ‘Secrets and Lies in the Golden Age of Crime‘. Maud West was a private investigator with her own detective agency, based in London in the early part of the twentieth century, from 1905 onwards. It is also about the changing society in which Maud lived.
- The Riviera Set: 1920 – 1960: The Golden Years of Glamour and Excess by Mary S Lovell about Maxine Elliott and Chateau de l’Horizon, the house she had built on a promontory between Cannes and Juan-les-Pins and those who peopled it between the years 1930 and 1960.
I’m also reading – very slowly – a biography of D H Lawrence by John Worthen. I began this in April and hope to finish it this year.
I enjoyed all these books for different reasons, but the book that fascinated – and surprised me the most – is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
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.