Nonfiction November:Wk 1 A Year in Nonfiction

I am so excited to be participating in Nonfiction November this year! It’s my first time ever and I am looking forward to this challenge. Our first week is hosted by Julz Reads and our prompt for this week is a look back at our year. I haven’t read all that much this year in the way of nonfiction, just a few, so I am going to just post those titles near the end and slide right into my favorite.

Your Year in Nonfiction (Julz of Julz Reads): Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite 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?

If you ask anyone who knows me, they could answer what my favorite nonfiction read of the year so far has been. Hands down, it was The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.

I picked this up right around New Year’s last year, but it sat on my shelf waiting to be read. Then in February, my aunt passed away. This devastated me and left me heartbroken. My aunt was like a second mother to me my whole life, from childhood on. Everything big or important, she was there. Always. And then she wasn’t anymore. As a reader, reading is an escape. But nothing was working – until I picked this book up. It was perfect for me in my grief, quiet, gentle, slow. A tale of a woman dealing with her own debilitating illness and finding hope and peace in the slow movements and life of a common garden snail that lived in a pot by her bed. This book fascinated me and entranced me. I felt hope and peace, in bits and pieces, inspired by Bailey’s story. I talked about this book to anyone who would listen. My friends know far more about snails than they probably should. Then in June, our family faced heartbreak once again, when my stepdad passed away suddenly. My mom had just lost both of her best friends within a few months, her sister and her husband, and for a week she lived with us, casting about for something as well. I gave her this book and while it didn’t make her grief go away, because nothing can but time, it worked its magic on her as well.

My snail love still is going strong. I had snails off and on all summer, hanging out in our terrarium for a bit before I let them go again in the garden. Then right before fall, one came to me, right to my door practically. We decided to keep this snail around for the winter, safe and warm in our house. We have named him Sampson and he loves apples! I imagine that is why he was hanging out at our house, with all of our apples from our apple tree.

This is by far my most recommended nonfiction book so far this year. I have sung its praises far and wide, asked my book club to read it, and extolled its virtues to my family and friends.

When I read nonfiction lately, it is generally nature nonfiction. I love memoirs and John Lewis Stempel, and in November I have a few nature books lined up to read already. But I feel my nonfiction reading is going to take a bit of a turn as well this month, veering off into food. Maybe it is the holiday at the end of the month, but I feel like reading about pie and foodways in addition to my nature reading. Here are the nonfiction books that I have read this year! Reading nonfiction is relatively new for me, and I am really enjoying it.

I am excited to participate, see what other people are loving and reading. There is always more room on that old TBR list after all!

56 thoughts on “Nonfiction November:Wk 1 A Year in Nonfiction

  1. I think this is my first time too, Erin (hello from Sunday Salon land). And I think based on your recommendation, I have no choice but to look up The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. I’m also interested in the book Cozy. So far, I’m getting a lot of good recommendations to add to my TBR. Hope you do too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello from Sunday Salon land! Lol. I hope if you do you love it as much as I did. Although, I will settle for liked. 🙂 Cozy was ok – I loved the idea of it so much but the author kind of overused the word cozy and sometimes it sounded weird in places she used it. And I can’t believe how long my TBR is getting already!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    I have heard so many good things about The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating! I’m very sorry about your losses, and glad this book gave you some comfort. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating! The most enlightening nonfiction book I read this year was Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram, by Isha Sesay.

    I’m sorry for the losses your family has had this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry for the losses you faced this year. Losing one of those people would have been enough to blow your whole world up – sending lots of love to you and your mom.

    I loved the story that you told about this book and what it did for you when you needed it. I love love love when people find the book they need the moment they need it.

    Welcome to the nonfiction side of reading! I think you’re going to like it here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry for your losses. When one hits right after another it’s just staggering. Anything that can penetrate the fog of grief is something special, and it’s so reassuring when it finds you at a time that you need it. I’m so glad that happened for you, and that you could offer it to your mom as well.

    A book that helped me with grief when I needed it was Gretel Ehrlich’s The Solace of Open Spaces. It doesn’t sound quite like this one, which seems like it helped distract you out of that fog to some extent, but it also has nature writing and she’s working through her own grief and something in it connected for me. It gave me some language to describe what I was feeling where I didn’t have it before. And it started to get me into nature writing, so I’m very excited to see what other recommendations you have! Have you read anything by Annie Dillard? I’m kind of a latecomer to her but I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek last year and it blew me away.

    Thanks for sharing this story. I’m not sure I would’ve considered this book at all if you hadn’t described it like you did and put it in the context of your life when you read it. Now I can’t wait to read it. Sending you a lot of happy thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that fog of grief! That is exactly what it was. And that book kept me going for a bit, in those hours at night when all is quiet and your mind wanders and remembers. I will have to check out the book you recommended. It sounds really good. And no, I haven’t read Annie Dillard but maybe I should!

      Thank you for the happy thoughts! And this book really was so meaningful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know exactly what you mean about those times. Definitely will be reading this one, I love the sound of it! Annie Dillard is pretty incredible if you like nature writing, and although I didn’t like a nature-centric essay collection by Gretel Ehrlich as much, I thought The Solace of Open Spaces was pretty much perfect.

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  6. I read this book last summer. Like you I had it for ages before I opened it. I don’t even remember where I got it. At first, I wasn’t so sure — I thought it might be too much science. But it pulled me in and really captivated me. It’s nice to find a kindred spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great list of NF reads!
    When my mom died, someone recommended th mg novel “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo (one of my fav. authors). It really did help. Books are so often saviours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really are. And I love that book! It really is a good one. Kate DiCamillo is a wonderful author. I am sorry about your mother, although I am glad that you were able to find a book that helped you as well, even if it was just for the time you were reading.

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  8. Susie | Novel Visits

    I love your telling of what The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating did for you. I’ve not heard of it before, but you have me curious. Isn’t it wonderful when we find the perfect book at the perfect time. I’m sorry for your losses.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When we pick up a book that we really need at the time we need it the most, the experience of reading is heightened & the connection strongly felt. I’ve had that reading experience this year with The Wild Remedy: How Nature Heals Us – A Diary by Emma Mitchell. I think you would actually quite enjoy that book yourself too.

    Happy reading this November and I hope you have a fun taking part this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. 😦 Grief is such a hard thing to carry, it never seems far out of reach. 😦

      This book was so gentle and easy and hopeful, that I think it really helped in a time when I was in that thick fog of shock and sadness.

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  10. Pingback: Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week – 03/11/19 #WeeklyRoundUpPost 🔗📆 🔗 #SecretLibraryBookBlog – Secret Library Book Blog

  11. Whenever someone asks me for a book that’s changed my life, I struggle to come up with something, but it sounds like The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating might be one of those books for you. I’m so sorry you and your mom have lost people you love this year.

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  12. So sorry for your losses and how wonderful that you and then your mum could take solace in this book. Of the ones you share here, Cozy just has the best cover! I have seen the Foxes one around, too. I read a fair bit of nature stuff but appear to be all about rewilding at the moment, with a few books on that topic nudging me from the newer end of the TBR …

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