In Week 1 (Oct 30 to Nov 3), take a look back at your year of nonfiction:
(The titles below link to my thoughts on the book.)
Jen Agg’s I Hear She’s a Real Bitch
Richard Bowen’s Mei Mei Little Sister
Commodore Ajith Boyagoda with Sunila Galappatti’s A Long Watch
Joseph Boyden’s Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography
Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide
Mazo de la Roche’s Ringing the Changes
Shirin Ebadi’s Until We Are Free
Louise Erdrich’s Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country
Negin Farsad’s How to Make White People Laugh
Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s The Urban Bestiary
Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on the Road
B. Denham Jolly’s In the Black
Scaachi Koul’s One Day
We’ll Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
John Lorinc, Ed (and others) How Toronto Got Queer
Kyo Maclear’s Birds Art Life
Javiar Marias’ Written Lives
Paule Marshall’s Triangular Road
Clem and Olivier Martini’s The Unravelling
James Maskalyk’s Life On the Ground Floor
Sylvia Plath’s The Unabridged Journals (edited by Karen V. Kukil)
Gregory Scofield’s Thunder Through My Veins
Bev Sellar’s They Called Me Number One
Drew Hayden Taylor’s Me Funny
Marcelino Truong’s What a Lovely Little War (Trans. David Homel)
Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook
Craig Walzer, Ed. Out of Exile
Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s The Right to Be Cold
…and reflect on the following questions –
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
My favourite non-fiction read of the year so far is one of the volumes in McSweeney’s Witness series, Out of Exile (2008). These stories of dislocation and relocation, inside and outside Sudan, were immediately engaging. Gripping even. And while there are tragic elements, the diverse experiences of the contributors are so varied that you truly want to read on and discover how different or similar the next account might be.
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
I gravitate towards books about books, books about writing, and literary memoirs, like Peter Orner’s Am I Alone Here?, which is the nonfiction book I have most often recommended this year; it’s a bookish collection of essays, about specific works which are meaningful to him (including a lot of short stories and literary fiction) and his way of exploring and revisiting them at key moments throughout his life. (It also inspired me to read some of his fiction and to locate some of the books considered therein.)
What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?
I haven’t read enough memoirs written by people whose life experience is dramatically different than mine. Not only the volume above, about life in Sudan, but others like Shirin Ebadi’s Until We Are Free (about the struggle to further human rights in contemporary Iran under Islamic fundamentalist control) and Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s The Right To Be Cold (about her efforts to draw attention to the devastating effects of climate change on northern peoples’ culture and customs) have reminded me how powerful and inspiring such reading can be.
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
By participating in non-fiction November, I hope to learn about some books and authors I haven’t explored yet and to share some of the non-fiction I’ve discovered and found rewarding. In 2016, I was disappointed by the amount of non-fiction I was reading, and I wanted to make a conscious effort to read it alongside fiction and poetry this year. Last week, when browsing in the library stacks, I found more temptations for this month’s non-fiction reading than novels and short stories to haul home with me. That’s a first!