Monday, November 27, 2017

The "Non-Fiction November" Tag

It's hard to believe that November is drawing to a close, and with it the reading challenge of Non-Fiction November.  As you'll see later this week, November wasn't a particularly prolific reading month, with holiday preparations and other life commitments taking up more of my allocated reading time than so far this year, but I did finish a few non-fiction books.  As a way to reflect back on reading non-fiction as a whole, I present you my responses to the Non-Fiction November Tag.

Why do you read non-fiction?

I read non-fiction because I love learning about the world around me.  It's not that you can't learn from fiction/poetry/etc. but the scholarship involved in non-fiction has a special place in my heart and my reading life.

Where in your home do you read most?

As I read quite equally between physical and digital books, I read most anywhere.  When my partner and I have joint reading time, we usually occupy the reclining sofa in our living room; put on some relaxing music in the background and curl up under some blankets and it's just heavenly.

Share a non-fiction book that is set in -or- is about your home country...

Not just in my home country, but in my home area of Pennsylvania is Slavery & the Underground Railroad in South Central Pennsylvania by Cooper H. Wingert.  It discusses the presence of slavery in America up until the American Civil War, as well as the function of and prominent people involved in the Underground Railroad, the secret organization that spirited enslaved peoples to freedom in the North.

What book on your Non-Fiction November 2017 TBR related to the word "home" are you most excited about?

I had two books on my TBR - Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library by Scott Sherman; and Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson - neither of which did I read in November.  I'm still excited to read them...eventually.

What books do you love to read the most within non-fiction?

I've found my favorite niche of non-fiction are books about food and wine.  I'm no chef or sommelier, but I enjoy reading books written by them.  If the writing is well-crafted, you can't help but be moved by their passion for their craft.

Give a non-fiction recommendation related to the challenge word "love"...

I would really recommend either of the two books on my TBR for the challenge of "love", both of which I finished in November - Devotion by Patti Smith and Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living edited by Manjula Martin.  If you love Patti Smith's previous works and are interested in her creative process, Devotion is a must-read.  If you're interested in peeking behind the curtain to the real world concerns of authors, and why they love what they do, then Scratch should be on your TBR.

Non-fiction is a great way to introduce us to people who inspire us to be better.  Name a person of substance that you've enjoyed reading about...

I absolutely adore Toni Morrison, and find her to be absolutely compelling and brilliant.  In fact, I'm toying with the idea of working my way through her oeuvre in 2018.  I had her recently-published lectures The Origin of Others on my Non-Fiction November TBR, but I don't expect that I'll finish it before the month comes to a close.

What non-fiction book would you recommend that has a lot of substance to it?

There's only one I can think of that fits this description - Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.  This is an almost-600 page tome that tackles the ways that racism have pervaded the culture and society of America from long before it's founding.  Dr. Kendi has indeed written a book with tremendous amounts of substance to it.

What book related to the word "substance" are you most excited for on your non-fiction TBR?

Unfortunately I don't expect that I'll read either of the two books on my TBR - The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison and The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo.  Thankfully, they'll live on my shelves until it's the right time to read them.

Non-fiction can teach us a lot.  What subject or topic have you learned a lot of because of your reading?

In the past two years, I've made it my mission to expand my understanding of the ways that America has (and, more appropriately, has not) dealt with race.  While there are innumerable fiction and poetry works that accomplish this well, I've found a lot of non-fiction books that have been tremendously valuable in opening my eyes.

What non-fiction book would you recommend that teaches something well?

Jolie Kerr's My Boyfriend Barfed in my Handbag...and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha will teach you step-by-step how to deal with real-world messes and keeping your home/clothes/etc. clean.

What book related to the word "scholarship" are you most excited about reading this Non-Fiction November?

I had two books on my Scholarship TBR, and have read one of them - Cork Dork: A Wine Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker.  Therefore I'd say I'm most excited to read the other TBR selection - Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century by Nato Thompson.

So I didn't get to all of the great non-fiction books that I wanted to during November, but that's okay.  Non-fiction isn't just for's for every month!  I try to include some non-fiction reading every month, and I've spent time with some great ones thus far in 2017.  If you're participating in Non-Fiction November, or are curious about reading more non-fiction and want to do this tag, consider yourself tagged.

Librorum annis,