I am excited to be hosting Week 2 of Nonfiction November this week. The other hosts for Nonfiction November are fellow bloggers Liz (Adventures in reading, running and working from home), , Heather (Based on a True Story), and Lisa (Hopewell’s Public Library of Life), and Rebekah (She Seeks Nonfiction).
- Week 2Dates: 11/6-11/10
- Host: That would be me, Frances
- Title: Choosing Nonfiction
- Description: What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book? Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to? Do you have a particular writing style that works best? When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you? If so, share a title or cover which you find striking.
Do you find yourself wandering around bookshops – that is if you are lucky enough to have access to a real bookshop these days – thinking that you fancy reading something ‘different’ but you’ve no idea what it is? I used to often feel this way.
We are peddled a relentless diet of best-sellers and known names, books which may or may not answer a need, and nowhere is that feeling stronger than in a high street bookstore. Where is the opportunity for that quirky discovery with the battered binding?
Since I have discovered the blogosphere and all my bookish friends online, I don’t really have a problem in finding books to read any more, quite the opposite. But I do miss just wandering around the shelves and picking up a book here or there just to see.
When browsing, I avoid footballers, celebrities and disgruntled royals. I look for good biography, memoir, art, art history. I mentioned in my post last week the occasional guilt complex at not reading more widely in other categories. Probably in 2024 I will try and address that.
In terms of a favoured cover I’m pretty sold on this one which is from my current read, Jackie Wullschlager’s Biography, Monet: The Restless Vision:
I love colour.
I think human beings are attracted to bright colours. Maybe Monet thought so too. Here is some colour courtesy of the net.
I’m also a fan of the new nature writing, usually a blend of authoritative essay style writing on the natural world, combined with autobiographical details from the life of the author
Little Toller Books have an excellent if a somewhat pricey array of these books. Here are three that have caught my eye.
An allotment is a utopia. It is a green place where anyone can occupy a piece of land, and grow with freedom of expression.
I don’t know whether people that use allotments would agree with that idea, or how you grow with freedom of expression – or without freedom of expression unless you’re entering for Chelsea. I’m not really a gardener in any way shape or form but my brother in law has worked an allotment plus a garden for decades. I never quite understood how anyone manages all that work! I suspect he may not wish to read about the history of them though, so passing swiftly on.
Richard Mabey was maybe one of the first writers to write about mental health and natural world issues combined in his book Nature Cure which I have read. In my review I wrote:
Mabey’s book is an enlightening read, erudite without being dry, honest to the point of bleakness in parts, without being depressing. It was one of the first in the style which came to be known as the new nature writing, along with naturalist and friend Mark Cocker. These are books which entwine stories of the natural world with the writer’s own biographical tales.
Taking far longer than usual to move out of the house in which he grew up, and aided and abetted by a severe bout of depression, Mabey makes his belated escape to the Norfolk fens where he writes about sheets of water, the Wailing Wood, owls, birds, fens, the yellow star-of-bethlehem and orchids in an ‘ethereal shade of rose’. But his particular interest, like the poet John Clare
Mabey has written many, many books including a biography of the naturalist and author Gilbert White whom wiki credits with ‘shaping the modern attitude of respect for nature’ which seems a rather extraordinary claim. I didn’t realise there was a modern attitude of respect for nature judging by the ecology crisis we have on our hands. But I think I will put this one on my TBR.
Does anyone else find themselves drawn to a particular theme or topic? Style of writing? Titles? Covers? They say you can’t tell a book by one, but hey, a good cover certainly helps.
If you are taking part in Nonfiction November Week 2, don’t forget to add your link below. I’ve been so happy to help host this challenge but the only thing I’ve been panicking about is the link party. Despite the kindness of Rebekah at (She Seeks Nonfiction) and others showing me what to do, my link party looks worryingly unlike anyone else’s. Therefore please if you have any problems, just leave the link to your post in the comments below.