Monday, 30 October 2017

Non-Fiction November



Who knew five years ago when the wonderful hosts of #NonFictionNovember dreamed up their annual celebration of all things non-fiction, that on the other side of world I'd be dreaming up my very #AusReadingMonth for exactly the same month!

Over the five years I have tried to juggle both challenges by highlighting as many Australian non-fiction reads as possible, but things tend to get a little crazy weird by the end of the month!

Undeterred by past blogging madness, I once again embark on two of my favourite reading challenges at once (the other two favourites being Paris in July and Austen in August).

JulzReads is hosting the first week of Nonfiction November and has asked us to complete a few getting to know you type questions.

My Favourite Non-Fiction Reads of the past year:


A lot of my non-fiction this year has been of a political or historical nature.
At home, my reading has mostly been about our inglorious history with the Aboriginal population.





Dark Emu, Black Seeds by Bruce Pascoe


I've also been tempted by Australian design and health books.



The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville


Keeping It Off by Michelle Bridges



In anticipation of my trip to Cuba and Mexico in January 2017, I read some travel stories, histories and oodles of travel guides.

Cuba Diaries by Isadora Tattlin


Travelers' Tales Mexico edited by James O'Reilly & Larry Habegger



My Recommendations:

I would happily recommend all of the above if the topic is of interest to you, but the few that I have been raving about to anyone who will listen are below.

Travels With Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski


This was one of the books I travelled through Cuba and Mexico with.
If you're a traveller, or have a love of Herodotus, or enjoy memoirs by foreign correspondent journalists then you will ADORE this book too.



I love Tim Winton's books, even the ones that don't quite work.
However this gorgeous book of essays was delicious and engaging from start to finish.



A challenging read full of passion and thoughtful writing, Gleeson tackles the vexatious issue of the worldwide refugee crisis and how we in Australia are dealing with it (or not).

Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster


Another Aussie abroad! We're everywhere!
But this one was different.
Dempster attempted the Japanese 88 Temples Pilgrimage a decade ago.
This is her tale.
Immensely readable with lots of great stuff about Japan, Buddhism and personal courage.

Genre I Haven't Read Enough of this Year:

I love memoirs, but haven't been tempted by very many at all this year.
Do you have a favourite you could recommend to me?

My Hopes & Goals:

1. To explode my non-fiction TBR wishlist!
Go on! Tempt me!

2. I'm travelling to Japan in 2018 & would love some suggestions for more reading material.
I've read Neon Pilgrim, Wrong About Japan by Peter Carey & most of the Japan Lonely Planet.

#NonFicNov

35 comments:

  1. I was just going to start to read...now you have reminded me
    post for #NonFicNov 2017 is due!
    Your books ....I'd like to try 'Offshore" and love anything by Tim Winton! I have Gammage's book on my Kindle b/c of your past review...but it is a very long book. Perhaps It could be a read during a very cold winter week. Memoir I'd recommend? Nothing Holds Back the Night by Delphine de Vigan..I know it is on your TBR! It is classic memoir putting emphasis on not the author but another person in her life, her mother. Impact mother-daughter is massive. Another memoir (if you can find it in English, I know it is out there in bookland) is by Fabienne Verdier. French woman in her 20's who went to China for 10 years to learn calligraphy and the philosophy behind this art work. "Passage du Silence" (2004)

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    1. I LOVE books set in China, Nancy - Passage du Silence sounds perfect for me. Perhaps I should put Nothing Holds Back the Night on top of my list for next year's Paris in July.

      Gammage's book is tremendous in topic and girth! It took me three #AusReadingMonth's to complete it.

      And the BIG news is that Tim Winton has a new fiction book due for publication next March! I'm excited.

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  2. Oooh, both Chasing the Sky and The Case Against Fragrance sound interesting; I'm thrilled you are traveling to Cuba and Mexico at the end of the year - what fun! Earlier this year, I read a memoir titled The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy; it is a quick read, yet heartfelt and thoughtful. Hope you have a great start to the week!

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    1. Chasing the Sky was architectural memoir and The Case Against Fragrance was one writer's battle to work out why she got blinding headaches. Both are very easy to read.

      Chasing the Sky also has pages and pages of gorgeous design photography.
      Happy #NonFicNov!

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  3. Oh that's hard to have both your favourite challenges in one month! Bill Drummond's "45" was a great recent memoir read for me.

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    1. Thanks for the book tip Liz :-)

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  4. Neon Pilgrim sounds wonderful. How can I possibly read all the books that are calling out to me? Sigh. Nonfiction November

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    1. I know I know! And I haven't had time to go around and check everyone else's posts yet - Julz's was dangerous enough!

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  5. By the way---the Linky worked for me on Jul's Page if you want to go back and try again.

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    1. Thanks I'll pop back.

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    2. I'm mostly looking for temptation this month, too! It's been such a slumpy reading year and I've found that nonfiction (and Trollope) seem to be the perfect antidotes. Lots of titles to look into here... thank you.

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    3. One of the non-fiction books that got me out of slump earlier in the year, and that I forgot to mention here, was Bill Hayes' Insomniac City - it was such a glorious love letter to his partner, Oliver Sacks as well as New York and full of photographs and beautiful writing - I've been recommending it to lots of people.

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    4. Brona - Sounds right up my alley... just added it to my list!

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  6. Neon Pilgrim sounds interesting - your reading has been so diverse, it's really incredible!

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  7. The Case Against Fragrance sounds interesting. Japan isn't as perfume crazy as the West so visiting home sometimes feels like an assault on my nose.

    So happy to hear you'll be visiting next year - I live in Kyoto so if you'd like any tips or recs let me know!

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    1. Thanks Kazen - I'd love to know your favourite places to visit in and around Kyoto - the must-see place, nice/interesting places to stay & eat.

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  8. Oooh, what an interesting list!

    As for memoirs, I recommend Just Kids by Patti Smith to everyone, always. Particularly if you listen to the audio version, her reading voice is enchanting.

    Just posted my own list as well. It's living over here, if you're interested: http://www.bookpunks.com/become-obsessed-memoirs/

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    Replies
    1. Just Kids is one of those memoirs I've been keeping my eye on. It still sells at work after all these years and despite all the shiny new memoirs that come out each year.

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  9. Travels with Herodotus sounds interesting. I noticed I've been intrigued by travel books on people's posts this year. Maybe I need to look more closely at this type of nonfiction.

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    1. Travel books are one of my favourite non-fiction genres - they inspire, the bring back good memories of my own travels and they help me to anticipate my next adventure :-)

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  10. I'm seeing a lot of people who want to read more memoirs...which is funny b/c I feel like that's normally the type of nonfiction people read most!

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    1. Normally that's the case for me, but since I took over editing a general non-fiction page on another blog, I've been trying to read more science/medical, travel, environmental/ecology/design, health/foodie type books to boost the numbers!

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  11. Thanks so much for jumping in even though you're hosting your own event at the same time! I know there are a lot of events I'd like to join in this month too and I'm typically not brave enough to attempt anything other than hosting.

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  12. Neon Pilgrim sounds interesting, I'd love to visit Japan. I don't read that many memoirs but I loved The Last Act of Love, although incredibly sad.

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  13. I just want you to know that I bought those first three for my library. :D

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  14. There are a lot of books you've listed I haven't heard of so I'm very curious about some of these titles. In particular The Case Against Fragrance. Hope you find some amazing reads this month!

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    1. If you've ever had a headache after smelling someone's perfume, or a bad sinus reaction after using cleaning product or if one of those smelly reed stick bottles makes you feel sick, then this book could give you one of those ah-ha moments.

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  15. Travels With Herodotus sounds so fun. I read a lot of Herodotus in college for my Greek and Roman history courses. I'd love to read this one. As memoirs go I'd recommend Hunger by Roxane Gay, my favorite this year.

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    1. If you have a thing for Herodotus, then this book is DEFINITELY for you.

      I'm curious about Roxane Gay's book - there was a local controversy when one of our local media people leaked Gay's requirements about seating, lifts, cars etc. The local person was slammed for her indiscretion and lack of sensitivity but the brohaha left me feeling a bit 'meh' about the whole thing. Which is a shame as well as illogical.

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  16. You've given me lots of great ideas here, more than I could manage in one month but I'm making a good to-read list!

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  17. I've been a bit lacking in memoirs this year too! I felt like something light, so I just grabbed Lauren Graham's memoir at work today.

    I'll share a few memoirs that have stuck with me over the years: "Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him" by Luis Carlos Montalvan; "The World's Strongest Librarian" by Josh Hanagarne; "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty; and "Poor Your Soul" by Mira Ptacin.

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    1. I've had my eye on Doughty's book ever since I heard her talk a year or so ago. You're the second person this week to mention her - perhaps that's a sign?

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  18. You've read so much nonfiction! I am amazed and impressed. Try as I might, it just does not engage me in the same way fiction does.

    Having said that, I did read Bruce Springsteen's memoir, Born to Run, this spring and it was wonderful. I've always loved his lyrics, but was still surprised at how well he writes. I'm pretty sure he narrates the audiobook so that would be a great way to go.

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  19. Ooh, The Case Against Fragrance sounds interesting! I've read both fiction and nonfiction about obsession with perfume, so it would be interesting to get the opposite perspective :)

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