Non-Fiction November 2018 Week Five (Summary)

Non-Fiction November is hosted this year by Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Julie (JulzReads), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Katie (Doing Dewey) and Rennie (What’s Nonfiction).

It’s a month-long celebration of everything nonfiction with a different prompt and a different host each week.

The final week is hosted by Katie @ Doing Dewey: “It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR?”

But before we finish the month, there is one more outstanding non-fiction read I’m itching to mention: Jamil Jivani’s Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity (2018).

One concept gleaned from this book, which I have used countless times in recent weeks, is Arjun Appadurai’s explanation of the contrast between “wishful thinking” and “thoughtful wishing”, which is important in terms of how one views the world, filled with frustration or possibility.

Wishful thinking (according to this New York University anthropologist) occurs when you want a better life but you don’t know how to plan for it, whereas thoughtful wishing occurs when you know the specific and attainable steps to get that better life.

When young men do not have the opportunity to thoughtfully wish in their everyday lives, radicalization can seem to offer alternatives where none exist elsewhere.

And there are a lot of interesting statistics and theories in Jamil Javani’s book for sure.

Did you know that 40% of job seekers from ethnic minorities across North America “whiten” their resumes to bypass biased screeners in the hiring chain? Or that black families represent 41% of the families in Toronto’s child welfare system which is about five times more than their representation in the city’s population overall?

Jamil Javani is based in Toronto, where 140 languages are spoken, with more than 200 ethnic groups in residence, and he writes openly and forthrightly about his personal experiences here in the city and shares the experiences of a handful of other young men.

The combination of personal narrative with international scholarship (emphasizing North American studies and trends) makes this both readable and enlightening.



  1. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) December 2, 2018 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Great suggestions! I want to finish Good and Mad before the end of the year, but we’ll see what happens!

    • Buried In Print December 4, 2018 at 10:20 am - Reply

      That sounds like an essential read: I’d like to get to it in 2019. (Already planning for that. Of course! Heheh)

  2. BookerTalk November 27, 2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Interesting to hear of that distinction between wishful thinking and thoughtful wishing. The data you shared is disturbing, it’s sad to think people have to hide their identity and origin in order to even be considered for a job

    • Buried In Print November 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      And I found it doubly disturbing because this is a city in which more than half of the population was born elsewhere, so that people in the position to hire should have had ample opportunity to learn to see past their own prejudices (and, yet, seemingly have not). Imagine the bias in a city in which the population is less diverse, so there are even fewer reasons/opportunities for people to rethink/unlearn!

  3. Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis November 27, 2018 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    I talked about, and blogged about, and read about nonfiction this month, but I didn’t actually read any. I did add a number of nf titles to my TBR list though – including this one, Why Young Men. The statistic you quoted about the proportion of black families in the child welfare system relative to the population of Toronto is staggering.

    • Buried In Print November 28, 2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      The situation is also imbalanced for indigenous families although I don’t have a current statistic to share for that. There are a lot of great books discussed each November – enough to keep us reading until the next year’s event if we choose!

  4. Andrew Blackman November 27, 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

    This does sound interesting! I like the distinction between wishful thinking and thoughtful wishing. I missed non-fiction November, but I’ll explore some of the posts now 🙂

    • Buried In Print November 28, 2018 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Now that I’ve read it, I’m amazed how often “wishful thinking” comes up in conversation and how often “thoughtful wishing” has a place in the same conversation. (I lurked for years during the event before finally participating for the first time last year. You can start planning now for next November!)

  5. whisperinggums November 26, 2018 at 7:10 am - Reply

    That Jivani books sounds interesting and timely. It seems to me that “we” are too quick to criticise without “seeing” the truths behind these young men’s lives. I was trying to explain it to someone the other day, such as that these young men are so often bullied in school that they quickly feel unaccepted and alienated, and it just goes downhill from there. I’d be interested to read this.

    • Buried In Print November 26, 2018 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      The amount of detail included here for the various young men certainly puts any generic assumptions aside: there are lot of different situations and experiences described, even if the same racist assumptions and social structures are consistently unpinning – and undermining – those stories. I doubt this would be available overseas but it’s a major publisher so maybe something else of his will have a wider reach (in terms of publication rights, I mean).

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