nonfiction november

Kicking Off Nonfiction November



While the rest of the country gets ready for Halloween (fine, fine…I’ll celebrate later, too), some of us here in bookland are getting excited for the start of Nonfiction November. I’ve been gathering up some nonfiction by women and hope that I can get through as much as possible over the month. Ideally, I’d like to stick to female authored nonfiction the whole month, but I know I’ll likely need a novel or two to mix things up. I also have a copy of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy on hold through the library and I’m desperate to tackle it the moment it comes in. But, as of now, here are the nonfiction titles I’m hoping to get through this month:

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

The Whites of Their Eyes by Jill Lepore

Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson

The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

Severed by Frances Larson

Our Declaration by Danielle Allen

Are you participating in Nonfiction November? What are you planning to read?


  • kayleigh M

    I can’t wait to read The Secret History of Wonder Woman. I’ve been eyeing it off for ages and now that it’s been released I really need to snap up a copy for myself.

  • Awesome list! I’m reading Lives in Ruins too, plus a book about truth commissions and one about indigenous people in America. And I’m hoping to get at least one more book read in the months — we’ll see.

  • Anita LeBeau

    You’ve got some good choices. I actually have two non fiction books going now, not too deep into Separated @ Birth and The Underground Girls of Kabul. Looking around I have lots of non fiction that I could finish in November.

    • Oh, I’m super curious how Separated at Birth ended up working out for you!

      • Anita LeBeau

        I finished it late last night/early morning and it was good, a bit long in some places as many events of their actual meeting were told by each twin, and semi repetitive. Still a fascinating story. Perhaps I’m more curious being the mother of twins.

  • Kelly TheWellReadRedhead

    What a great list! I really need to start making plans, because I desperately want to participate. I’m hoping to mostly use books off my at-home TBR, in a last ditch effort to whittle that down a little more before the end of the year. 1776 by David McCullough is definitely on the list. And one of the two readalong books. Beyond that, I’m not sure yet.

  • I started The Secret History of Wonder Woman last week. I have a digital copy, and I’m really wishing I had a physical one right now. It’s a little denser than I expected, but very good. And you know how I feel about Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Good stuff!

    • I was surprised by all the details Jill Lepore was going into just on the NPR interview!

      • Anddd now I’m listening to the NPR story.

  • Some Gets in Your Eyes is absolutely fantastic. You’ll love it. That looks like a great stack of books! I added The Secret History of Wonder Woman to my wish list just yesterday! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

  • Love that you’re reading nonfiction by women this month! I didn’t really intend to do that for Nonfiction November, but it turns out that all my picks except one are by women! Without even trying! Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy…Without You, There is No Mercy…My Salinger Year, and a football books written by a guy (of course) to mix things up. I also will need to throw a little fiction in there – maybe Us by David Nicholls or Spoiled Brats.

  • I don’t know if I’m officially participating in Nonfiction November, but I do want to read Lives in Ruins–so I might as well try to read it in November to join the party. I also want to read The Lost Book of Mormon by Avi Steinberg, which is supposed to be a quirky travelogue/consideration of the Book of Mormon not as a religious text but as a novel–not quite sure why, but I’m interested!

  • Yay, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes! It’s so great :)

  • I really look forward to hearing what you think about Lives In Ruins and The Woman Who Would Be King. Happy reading!

  • Lauren

    Fantastic stack, Shannon. So many of those are in my own stack to be read soon (Smoke, Empathy Exams, Lives in Ruins, Severed) I can’t wait to hear what you think of them. Happy reading!

  • Nice list! I’m looking forward to The Secret History of WW myself and finally reading Unbroken.

  • I couldn’t wait for November and just finished “Strings Attached” by Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky — highly recommended. Right now I’m reading “One Summer: America 1927” by Bill Bryson. I also have “It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great White Way” on hand. I’m excited to read more nonfiction!

  • I really enjoyed The Woman Who Would Be King. It’s a time period that always interested me and she did a great job really fleshing out what life was like during that period. It’s not quite like reading fiction but I didn’t find it overly dry either. Your other books are new to me book look interesting. Enjoy Nonfiction November!

  • Oooh The Woman Who Would be King sounds really fascinating! I don’t know very much about ancient Egypt other than what was taught in grade school. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is another one I’ve added to my list.

  • Jill Lepore is fascinating when I hear her talking about history on TV documentaries … though I didn’t realize she had these two books out. thx

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  • Great pile! I loved The Woman Who Would Be King and I’d like to read a bunch of the others books on your to-read list.