Nonfiction November 2021 (Week 5): New to my TBR

Here we are, the final week of another incredible month of nonfiction reading. At the beginning of the month, I was struggling with the remnants of a truly heinous reading slump. I’d had two back to back months of so-so reading and was really missing my favourite thing to do! I was hopeful that reading nonfiction all month and connecting with other nonfiction readers was going to kick the slump to the curb for once and for all.

And guess what? It totally did! I managed to finish 13 nonfiction books this month and pretty well all of them were incredible (not The Fact of a Body, I hated that one). Some of them were recommendations from other bloggers this month that I managed to get my hands on right away, so thank you! (I will tell you which ones below.)

So to wrap things up, Jaymi @ The OC Book Girl is hosting and wants to know what books have made it onto your TBR?

This year I added more books to my TBR because of Nonfiction November than I have in any of the other 5+ years I’ve participated. And like I mentioned, I’ve already read some which has never happened before! This year I added:

Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Cherie Diamond thanks to Jaymi @ The OC Book Girl who said it’s the kind of book that’s easy to forget it’s nonfiction. I love books like that!

Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit, and the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz, also came to me from Jamie! She got me talking about how sad it was to read about the kids’ reactions when they realized that their parents didn’t think they could get into the schools on their own. I’ve already read this one and I really enjoyed it. It’s verrrrrry thorough but they did a good job making it about the people in the system and not getting bogged down in legalese.

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede: Carol at Reading Ladies put this one on my radar. She called it one of her favourites of the year and since I’d recently read The Only Plane in the Sky, this seemed like a good companion read. I’ve read this one too, just finished it the other day, and I can see why it was a favourite. I cried through the entire thing – mostly happy tears, but some heartbreak for sure. It’ll reinstate your faith that humanity is essentially good. Or we were, at one time, anyway.

Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary, Resilient, Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig: I found this one on Based on a True Story and since I’m always looking for more books by disabled authors, I was excited to see this. I read this one this month and loved it. It’s a memoir in essay form, about love, sex, education, working, accommodations, how the kindness of strangers often infantilizes and angers her. Definitely recommend this one.

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore: Kate Moore wrote Radium Girls which I loved so when I saw this one on Book’d Out, I barely thought about it before adding it to my list. This is the last one that I’ve already read this month and I loved it so much. SO MUCH. It made me so angry and I cried and I was so proud of Elizabeth and all she accomplished in her life. This one is about Elizabeth Packard, a married mother of 6 who starts questioning the doctrines of her husband’s church (namely she finds that slavery should be abolished) and so her husband puts her in an asylum. He’s completely legally allowed to do so and she has no way to get out. So begins her crusade to not only free herself, but to make it illegal for other husbands and fathers to lock away their ‘troublesome’ wives and daughters.

Shelley Rae @ Book’d Out also put How to Fake Being Tidy by Finella Souter and The Schoolgirl Strangler by Katherine Kovacic on my list.

Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era by Laurence Leamer: Julie @ Julz Reads added this to my list. I read and LOVED Melanie Benjamin’s The Swans of Fifth Avenue and have been looking for the nonfiction counterpart ever since. I’ve read The Kennedy Men and The Kennedy Women by Leamer already so I feel confident that he would have done them justice.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed by Men by Caroline Criado Perez: I’ve seen this one floating around on instagram, but it was Unsolicited Feedback that got it on my actual TBR. This one looks at the harm done to women because of a critical data gap.

Jorwerd: The Death of the Village in the Late Twentieth Century by Geert Mak: I am always on the lookout for books about the Netherlands (I was born there) but they’re not easy to find in English. Marianne @ Let’s Read had this on one of her lists and I hope I can find it here because the story of how this one village in Friesland changed because of how we work and interact together is one I really want to read!

Based on a True Story came through with two more books for my TBR (although of a darker tone than Sitting Pretty was!): Devil in the Grove and Beneath a Ruthless Sun, both by Gilbert King. These ones, about murder, sexual assault and police corruption, should scratch the true crime itch.

Finally, Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction? really went out of her way to beef up my TBR this year:

First, she added the food memoirs, Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl and The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty in Week 3.

Then, last week, she convinced me to add The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vailiant, about a cannibalistic tiger in Siberia, something I never thought I would want to read about. But she didn’t stop there. She also had Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs by Greg King and Penny Wilson and Stealing Sisi’s Star by Jennifer Bowers Bahney ready for me. We have since discovered that we are both fascinated with (borderline obsessed by) Empress Sisi and our mission is to bring her story to the North American masses. Truly, read about her, you won’t be disappointed!

So that’s a wrap on Nonfiction Novemer 2021, I guess! Thanks to our hosts, Katie @ Doing Dewey and Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction are back as hosts and three new hosts are joining: Veronica @ The Thousand Book Project, Christopher @ Plucked From the Stacks, and Jaymi @ The OC Book Girl for doing such an amazing job running this event this year! And thanks to all of you for sharing your favourite nonfiction reads this year!

See you all in 2022?

16 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2021 (Week 5): New to my TBR

  1. Oh no, why did you hate The Fact of a Body?? I don’t actually remember it all that well and what I do remember is SUPER disturbing but I liked it overall.

    I’m glad this month kicked you out of your reading slump at least! That’s always a relief. And that I could overstuff your reading list with recommendations, especially Sisi-related ones!!! Yes, we must continue our mission of Sisi awareness outside of Europe, it’s the least she deserves!!! Also Jorwerd sounds super interesting and I can wholeheartedly second that recommendation for Invisible Women – it’s AMAZING. I think of things I learned from that book all the time.

    I hope you like The Tiger! The titular tiger isn’t actually a cannibal, he eats people (not sure which sounds worse, honestly). The local Siberians use the term “going cannibal” to describe when tigers switch to eating people because in the belief system of the region, humans and tigers are so similar (that book is full of fun info like that!) It’s really a fascinating and thrilling read, I promise!

    • The Fact of a Body – it was way more graphic than I thought it would be. The descriptions of what she experienced were horrific and I was not at all prepared for that. And it just felt like it never got to the point? Or even had a point? It was a strange way to write a book. I thought at first that the murder was related to her life somehow, but it wasn’t. I could never really figure out the connection. Why are these stories being told together??

      • I remember that it was horrific. I don’t remember that I was confused by why they were told together and normally I can’t STAND that because the memoir crossed with true crime genre is not my favorite at all and I’m bugged that it’s become so popular with so few peoples’ stories ever having anything to do with the cases! It’s part of why I hardly read true crime anymore, like it always just ends up being someone’s memoir that they really wanted to write. I don’t know why this one didn’t bother me!

        I remember she was working for the anti-death penalty group and I think they were working on the murderer’s case, right? And that’s how she learned about it? I think I took her abuse story as serving the purpose of showing why she understood the desire to see child abusers punished to the fullest extent, because she had that personal perspective. But it’s hard to remember now…I might have just loved the writing and overlooked the flimsy connection!

  2. Outstanding! I only managed to finish three books this month. One was super long and then we hosted my three siblings and their families for Thanksgiving, so I pretty much lost a week of reading while they were in town. I’m going to continue reading nonfiction for the remainder of the year and hope to finish everything I had planned to read for the challenge.

    • Considering the subject matter, it’s incredible what an uplifting book it turned out to be! So many examples of the best of humanity. The Only Plane in the Sky is definitely one you have to be ready to take on. It’s very, very well done but it broke me a bit.

  3. Thanks so much for joining us last month! This is an awesome round-up and I’m incredibly impressed that you’ve already read several of these. I typically take quite a long time to get to books on my to-read list. I’m also glad to hear that the month helped with your reading slump! I find that I’m still reading a little less than I used to (in exchange for reading more news, volunteering more, and playing computer games with my little brother), but the event did help me get back into reading nonfiction that I’m really excited about 🙂

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