#NonficNov Nonfiction November: Nonfiction Favourites

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This week’s discussion prompt for Nonfiction November is Nonfiction Favorites hosted by Leann of Shelf Aware.

Leann says, ‘We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favourites’.

  • Is the topic pretty much all that matters?
  • Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love?
  • Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone?
  • What qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favourites?

I have to admit I found this week’s question a little difficult to answer as I don’t read that much nonfiction… except in November! However, using my list from the first discussion prompt of this year’s Nonfiction November, I think I can draw some conclusions.

Subject matter is the main thing that draws me to a book and it helps if it has some sort of personal connection. For example, I’m a keen gardener so a book like Where The Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch was always likely to appeal to me although, unlike the authoruthor, I’ve never had to make a new life in another country. Similarly, my political views incline more to the left than the right so the memoirs of a figure such as Alan Johnson, former Home Secretary in the Labour government, naturally pique my interest. Finally, as regular followers of my blog will know, anything about John Buchan is likely to grab my attention.

When it comes to writing styles, I think my choice shows I like the personal touch. For instance, what particularly appealed to me about reading the latest biography of John Buchan was that it was written by his granddaughter, Ursula Buchan. Even though she never met him, her insight as a member of his family offered an unique element.

I read a lot of historical fiction and the Second World War is a favourite period. This carries over to my choice of nonfiction. Often reading about a particular aspect in a work of fiction makes me want to find out more; the fact behind the fiction, if you like. Occasionally it can happen the other way around as well. An example is one of my book pairings from week two of Nonfiction November. Reading Monopoli Blues about the role of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in World War 2 meant Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle caught my eye. Even more so since it is a fictionalized account of the author’s own wartime service with the SOE.

My final thought is there are often features I particularly like in nonfiction books such as photographs, maps, diagrams and extracts from diaries or letters.

What attracts you to a nonfiction book?

My Week in Books – 17th November ‘19

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On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I published my review of Chanel’s Riviera by Anne de Courcy.

Tuesday –  The Top Ten Tuesday topic was Favourite Bookmarks but I took my own route discussing Reasons I Fail At Reading Challenges.  I also shared my review of There’s Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm as part of the blog tour.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just read, what I’m currently reading and what I plan to read next…and have a good nose around to see what other bloggers are reading.

Thursday – I shared some gems from my collection of books about John Buchan for this week’s NonFiction November prompt – Be The Expert.

Friday – I shared my review of Wolf of Wessex by Matthew Harffy.

Saturday – I published my review of dual time historical novel The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins.

As always, thanks to everyone who has liked, commented on or shared my blog posts on social media this week.


New arrivals

The Bermondsey BookshopThe Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson (eARC, courtesy of Head of Zeus and NetGalley)

Bermondsey, 1920s. After her mother’s death Kate is taken in by her father’s sister, the quick-tempered Aunt Sylvie. Already struggling to feed children of her own, Aunt Sylvie treats Kate like an unwanted burden. Although Kate’s father disappeared when she was a child, she still harbours hope that he will one day reappear and release her from this miserable existence. If only she knew why he left and what really happened to her mother…

One day, after a terrible argument, eighteen-year-old Kate is thrown out. Desperate to land on her own two feet she answers an advert for a cleaner at The Bermondsey Bookshop and Reading Room. Little does she know that her life is about to be changed forever…


On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Buchan of the Month: Introducing Augustus by John Buchan
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Blog Tour/Book Review: Entertaining Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift
  • NonFiction November Week 4: Nonfiction Favourites
  • Book Review: The Outrun by Amy Liptrot