My 2016 in Nonfiction


I wasn’t sure this first Nonfiction November post would see the light of day, but I’m going to try to squeeze it in here before heading to bed and kicking off the rest of a super busy week. I apologize ahead of time for any disasters in the grammar department!

Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Reading this year has been pretty rough all around. I feel like I just never really found my groove, so I’m pretty happy about reading almost as much nonfiction at this point this year (31) as last year (38). About 41% of the books I’ve read this year have been nonfiction, which I’m pretty proud of, though it doesn’t quite surprise me.

Favorite Nonfiction Read

I absolutely loved Lindy West’s Shrill and can’t recommend it enough. I’ll also throw out some love for Pushout by Monique W. Morris and One of Us by Asne Seierstad.

Nonfiction I’ve Recommended the Most

Every year you get to hear me talk about how much I love and recommend Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things! New in 2016, though, I’ve been recommending NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and The Monopolists by Mary Pilon a ton.

Nonfiction I Want to Read More Often

I mentioned wanting to read more hard science at this time last year, but haven’t really worked toward that goal. I’ll keep aiming!

Hopes for Nonfiction November

Nonfiction November is going to be hard for me this year, mostly because I really don’t have the time to dedicate to reading/blogging in general right now, but I’m trying my best! I’m really just hoping I can pop in as much as possible, read at least a few nonfiction titles this month, and discover a new blog or two.

  • Karen

    Thats a phenomenal amount of non fiction reading, especially since you seemed to think it was an off year. I’l be lucky if I read two…..

  • Kailana

    I am hoping to get Shrill in before the year is out. If not next year for sure!

  • Julie Merilatt

    Glad you decided to participate Shannon!

  • I think I added Pushout to my tbr list because of you. Now to actually read it!!

    That’s great that you read so much nonfiction. I would like to get my fiction/nonfiction numbers a little closer, but it just seems so much easier to grab a novel!

  • Tiny Beautiful Things was one of my favorite nonfictions I read this year and will be one of my most recommended over time I think!

    Hope you get in a couple nonfiction reads and posts this month!

    • I’m so glad you ended up reading TBT :) It’s such a wonderful read and I end up revisiting it all the time.

  • I finally read Shrill and it was so wonderful. As soon as I finished it, I walked it over to a coworker for her to read. I suspect that I will be lending that one out a lot. I thought it would enrage me but it ended up making me feel really good. Lindy West is hope. Between the World and Me was so powerful. I loved it but hated that it was necessary to write.
    41% non-fiction reading is incredible. You always have great non-fiction titles on your blog which have greatly enriched my own reading!

  • I’m going to pick up Neurotribes from the library today! I always appreciate your recommendations (I’m sure I read Tiny Beautiful Things because of you).

  • I did like reading The Wright Brothers and The Indifferent Stars Above this year. Lindy’s book was quite a hoot too. Between the World & Me was a strong cup of coffee!

  • Good luck with Nonfiction November. I think 41% nonfiction titles is awesome. I hope I can do that next year.

  • Debbie Rodgers

    Wow – 31 nonfiction books so far this year? That’s astounding.

  • JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    Between the World and Me was my most recommended title last year, and I hope to read Shrill soon. Over 40% nonfiction is amazing!

  • After reading this, I got lost down a Lindy West rabbit hole! Maybe I need to add Shrill to my TBR.

    Also, if you’re looking for hard science books, I’d recommend The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson.

  • Two books come close to my favorite non-fiction books of 2016, Train To Crystal City and The True American:Murder and Mercy in Texas, but the all-time, standout, non-fiction book I am reading now will probably walk off with the prize. It is The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant and is all about clothes–how they make you feel, their history, sexuality through clothes, famous designers and design houses, internationally held feelings and universal feelings about clothes. All brought together in delightful writing and memories of clothes the author owned and loved throughout her life. Even if you don’t like shopping for clothes or care nothing about clothes themselves, you’ll love reading this book which I would rename The Psychology of Clothes. I am enjoying this book immensely.

    • I’ve never heard of The Thoughtful Dresser, but that sounds so great!! I’m definitely going to go digging for that one now.

  • Amanda

    I just finally put Tiny Beautiful Things on hold at the library! I am determined to read it this year. and Shrill – how fabulous was that book?! Happy November!

    • Ahhhhh, how have you not read it??? I’m going to shame you soon.

      • Amanda

        No shame no shame! I just checked it out from the library!

  • Ah, I keep hearing great things about NeuroTribes and Shrill — going to have to move those up on the ol’ TBR list!

  • I added Shrill to my TBR. I am limited with my nonfiction experiences, but looking to expand.

    • It’s a pretty great place to start! It’s basically an essay collection/mostly memoir. REALLY funny, but also touching in many places.

  • Pingback: Nonfiction November Week 1 Wrap-Up | Doing Dewey()

  • I read a book of hard-to-me science, and although I did learn what dark matter is, I feel like a lot of the science was completely wasted on me. So I may just stick with my policy of choosing science nonfiction based on what essays I love best from the Best American Science and Nature Writing. NO REGRETS.

  • Thanks for joining in as much as you can! I really enjoyed reading Neurotribes for our read-along this month and I’d love to get to Shrill. I’ve really been enjoying Lindy West’s columns in The Guardian, so I expect I’d enjoy her book too.