- And we’re off. The first week of Nonfiction November our host is Heather from Based on a True Story
- Dates: 10/30-11/3
- Host: Heather from Based on a True Story
- Title: Your Year in Nonfiction
- Description: Celebrate your year of nonfiction. What books have you read? What were your favorites? Have you had a favorite topic? Is there a topic you want to read about more? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
This year I have reviewed twelve non-fiction titles although I have read a few more than this. With me, it’s usually about art and music; art collections, artists lives (including poets, writers, musicians), influence of art and music on the human condition, etc.
At this point in the year I have to give a shout out to Patrick Bringley’s All the Beauty in the World as probably my favourite book of 2023, about which I wrote:
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a Museum Guard, standing there for hours and hours with crowds streaming past, constantly on the lookout for some idiot using flash photography, or damaging the paintings or climbing over barriers that are evidently there not to be climbed over? I suppose my answer to my own question is that if I had wondered what it was like, I would have assumed it would be quite boring. Patrick Bringley will answer this question. In fact, Patrick Bringley will answer most people’s questions about everything in this wonderful book All the Beauty in the World : A Museum Guard’s Adventures in Life, Loss and Art. (Vintage)
I’m currently about to embark on Jackie Wullschläger’s biography of Monet. It was only while researching her that I discovered she has also written a biography of Marc Chagall so that one is definitely for me too.
Although for some reason I’m much less keen on fictional works based on real artists, such as Tracy Chevalier’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I was fortunate enough to get to Amsterdam this year to see the Vermeers. Wow! But the biggest crowd was around Mistress Pearl Earring, which, yes, but I’m sure its because Colin Firth made the film! There is a place for those too of course, just not in this post.
Also featured on my blog this year have been books on libraries and collections, most notably written by Alberto Manguel – I’ve read three of his works in 2023. I hang on his every word. Not only is he beyond erudite but he writes so beautifully about timeless ideas – I don’t think you would find Manguel owning or talking about the latest bestsellers. I admire him for that immensely.
Below are links to some of my favourite non-fiction finds of 2023.
This is my first year helping to host Nonfiction November and I am thrilled to be taking part. I think it’s a great challenge and felt it was important to step up and help now that I’ve been blogging quite a few years.
Also, I’m looking for more and more great books for the old TBR.
There are times when I feel that there are so many subject categories out there, that maybe I don’t read widely enough in those other subjects. For example, I haven’t read much science or history in 2023, while previously, only the occasional autobiographical work by a whistlelower would count as politics. But then many quite savage political treatises appear in the lists as fiction. For example, Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead skewered the opioid scandal in the US and the corporate causes and cynicism behind it.
Looking back over my list, Tom Bullough’s Sarn Helen would come under environmental issues.
So work still to do, but on the whole I’m happy with my nonfiction year. And there is still a couple of months left.
If you’re taking part in this challenge don’t forget to head over to Heather and add your link to the link party for Week One.