Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction #NonficNov

nonficnovgraphic-e1569211904841-768x768Nonfiction November has commenced – and, yes, I do know it’s still October.

The first of this year’s weekly discussion prompts is Your Year in Nonfiction, hosted by Julz of Julz Reads. Julz asks us to take a look back at our year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions:

  • What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year?
  • Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
  • What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
  • What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

So far this year I’ve read five works of nonfiction – although I’m hoping to add to that during November as you can see from my reading list. My main motivation for taking part this year is to encourage me to read a few of the nonfiction books in my TBR pile and take a temporary break from a diet solely made up of fiction.

Links from the titles will take you to my full review.


Where The Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch – the author reflects on her experience of making a garden in a new country
In My Life: A Music Memoir by Alan Johnson – the author looks back at key events in his personal and political life through the music that has meant the most to him


Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan – a new biography by the granddaughter of John Buchan that argues there was much more to him than just the author of the famous spy thriller
Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anna Pasternak – the author’s attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of the woman for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne of the United Kingdom


Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark and Nick Cook – a search for the truth about Tim Clark’s parents’ wartime service in the SOE


I think to anyone who knows me well my choice of titles won’t come as much of a surprise. To those who don’t, my list reveals my interest in the life and works of John Buchan (witness my ongoing Buchan of the Month reading project), in gardening and in 20th century history, especially the Second World War. A common thread is literary festivals I’ve attended as both Alan Johnson, Beth Lynch and Anna Pasternak have appeared at Henley Literary Festival and Ursula Buchan at Oxford Literary Festival.

Although I’ve published reviews of all these books on my blog, Ursula Buchan’s book appears as a reference source in all my reviews of the John Buchan books I read so I’d have to pick that as the one I’ve recommended most. It’s also my favourite not least because I heard Ursula talk about the book at Oxford Literary Festival and had my copy signed by her afterwards. So, as well as being a fascinating book, that makes it special.

What does your year in nonfiction look like?


19 thoughts on “Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction #NonficNov

  1. When I looked over the list of the books I’ve read so far in 2019, I was surprised to find so many nonfiction books. The one I’ve recommended more than all the others is Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram, by Isha Sesay.

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  2. Since I’ve started participating in Nonfiction November, I find that I read only fiction in October to prepare and by November, I am SO READY for some nonfiction!
    Reading about Wallis Simpson is so interesting! The experience you have really depends on whether the author is sympathetic to her or thinks of her as a Nazi shrew!


  3. These are all new to me titles – I’m interesting in reading more about Where the Hornbeam Grows.

    Happy reading in November! I hope you’re able to make a good dent in your reading list.

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