Non-Fiction November!


Non-Fiction November is hosted by Kim at her blog “Sophisticated Dorkiness,” and I learned of it via Katherine’s excellent blog “The Writerly Reader.” I always beat myself up about not including enough non-fiction in my reading, so maybe participating in this meme will help with my focus. For the first week, this is our directive:

“Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?”

And here are my responses. 🙂

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

Probably Richard Storr’s “The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science” I’ve been trying to write a blog post about is one for six months and each time I keep going off on some related tangent. There was just so much fascinating material in this book, and though I didn’t quite trust the author’s own ‘scientific cred’ I learned for the first time about a lot of (apparently common) belief systems that are really out there. Maybe the most interesting parts to me were the physiological reasons often behind why we act and think the way we do. For the summary of this book click here


What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

I honestly don’t get too many requests from non-fiction readers for reading suggestions. One book I’ve recommended to several friends is Bill Polian’s “The Game Plan.” Polian was the President of the Indianapolis Colts for almost fifteen years and as a fanatical (yes, really) fan of that team I’ve been recommending to my fellow crazies that they read this account of how Polian built several championship teams including my Colts. The Buffalo Bills are his other main success story.


What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?

Probably history or science. I’ve been solicited to review a couple books on our economic future because of a post I wrote some time back about the book “The End of Growth” by Richard Heinberg It was a book about a subject so sobering I’m not sure I want to explore it any further, though. :-). For history, I’ve been chewing on a book about the history of The Ottoman Empire (“Osman’s Dream”) for quite some time now. I just can’t seem to make a sustained effort to stick with it.


What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Just to meet some new book bloggers and to learn about some more great non-fiction books (that will probably also fall victim to my inveterate procrastination)

That’s me. What non-fiction treasures have you encountered in your 2014 reading?

October Reading – The Month Ahead

I’ve been a bit of a reading slacker this year compared to the last three years. I’ll probably even end up a few books short of my unofficial “par score” of fifty books in 2013. Part of this is because my blog’s focus seems to keep slanting more toward short stories, which, honestly, was not my original intent. As a fairly busy person, though, it’s a logical practical decision to read more shorter works. We’ll see if the trend continues into 2014, when I hope to take my annual short story reading project “public” and make it a reading challenge that hopefully other bloggers or readers will participate in. Anyway, back to October 🙂


I am going to revisit Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” as it is the October reading selection of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s  book club. What’s more, I’m supposed to lead the discussion, so I’d better be prepared. It’s an awesome book, though. I could probably just ask one question and let everyone talk for the next hour, but I’ll try to add a little more value than that.


I’m also currently reading a great non-fiction book called “Osman’s Dream.” It’s by Caroline Finkel and is a history of the Ottoman Empire (Osman being the first Sultan of that mysterious – to me, anyway – entity). I’ve learned a lot so far in just the first eighty pages, but look forward to becoming a little more conversant with that corner of world history, which I’ve hitherto neglected.

Bookmama’s bookstore is having a discussion of Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” next week. I’ve read it before, but may revisit in time to drop by and attend. As a kid, I always loved the movie version with James Mason and Pat Boone(!)

(below: James Mason leads his intrepid group of explorers deeper into Carlsbad Caverns… oops, er, I mean The Centre of the Earth!)


I also plan to read Jack London’s novella, “Before Adam.” Recommended by an old college/H.S. classmate of mine, I tried a few pages a couple of weeks ago and the premise is fascinating…


Since it’s October, I’m sure I’ll also squeeze in some ghost or horror stories (I bought a new anthology recently!) and hopefully blog about a few for the R.I.P. Challenge, to which I’ve already contributed a couple posts.

Let’s see, what else… I’ll continue reading stories for my “Project: Deal Me In” annual short story challenge, and there are a couple other books that I’ve read a few pages into but haven’t really officially “started” yet, those being Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale for the Time Being” (which I got far enough into to appreciate that that title doesn’t quite mean what you would think… & It’s also a finalist for the coveted Mann-Booker prize!).


Also there’s James Alexander Thom’s “St. Patrick’s Batallion,” which is much shorter than his other books that I’ve read, so I should be able to knock it out in a few days, right? 🙂


That’s it for my plans, but what about YOU? What are you planning to read this month?