So, I am totally late with posting this wrap up… specifically, five months too late… But it’s been lying there on my Drafts and it’s such a shame to not share these amazing nonfiction reads with you. So, here are the books I read in Nonfiction November 2019, which I also continued until December as I explored even more nonfiction books. Check out my TBR post here, and each book title leads to my full review on Goodreads of the book. Check out the hosts of this lovely event at What’s Nonfiction, Doing Dewey, Sarah’s Bookshelves, Shelf Aware, and JulzReads. Here are the books!
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I listened to the audiobook and I think I made a good decision in doing so. The narrator was so fluent from the beginning to the end, and really brought us throughout the journey really well. But what excelled the most was of course the writing itself. Kalanithi was able to write so beautifully and eloquently that it’s impossible to stop reading. I loved every second of this book.
The last parts of the book was so heartbreaking but also enlightening at the same time. Paul’s self-awareness is wonderful, and this book felt both like a memoir in the sense that you know from the way he writes that he knows he will die soon and meant for this book to be edited and published after his death, but a the same time it felt a lot like a self-reflection, a diary of some sorts that he is writing only to himself.
Every part of this book was so beautifully written and captivating and interesting and inspiring for everyone, even if you do not have a medical background.
The Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson
This was a short Audible audiobook (more like an essay) about a woman interviewing different types of people who suffered with burnout, a fairly new condition that many people (mostly younger generations) suffer. It’s quite insightful and interesting, but not very memorable. A quick listen if you are interested in the topic.
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
I first heard about this book from Read or Dead, a podcast about thrillers and crime novels. The premise sounds so niche and unique and I was sold immediately.
I loved how the book was a perfect combination of history and interesting historical facts, the author’s personal journey in how he got caught up in this story, and also more about the cast of people involved in this story. It is such a fascinating story that was packaged really well and written cleverly. I really liked how everything unraveled, and the author did a great job of making a more linear timeline to explain the story and make it almost like a “detective” investigation about the story of these stolen feathers.
Highly recommend if you, like me, do not read that many nonfiction books, are interested in nature and natural history, or animals, but also enjoy a crime novel here and there.
The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esme Weijun Wang
I know almost nothing about schizophrenia, except for the things people mention in the movies and general modern media. So learning about how schizophrenics are perceived, and the personal recollections of a person who had various mental disorders related to this illness, was fascinating.
I loved the different essays that Wang writes in this collection. It felt very personal at times, but also quite informative at others. I listened this on audiobook (which was gifted to me through Libro.fm by the people from the Reading Women podcast, for which I am very grateful for!), and unfortunately sometimes it was a little hard for me to differentiate the different essays or sections in the book, or abbreviations because of that. That was probably my only problem with the book.
Overall this was a very touching book, about not only a woman with a mental disorder, but an Asian-American woman living her life, her family, and how a disease does not make a person. I would highly recommend this for Asian Heritage month as well, if you are looking for a good memoir.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Another captivating true crime book in this list! I actually read this over the Christmas holidays but managed to finish it before the new year starts, so I will count it as part of my Nonfiction November read 😉 The investigation that this woman did was immense and to think about the amount of time, effort, passion and heart she put into not only this book but also this pursue for justice and truth, it’s truly remarkable and I sometimes just feel overwhelmed by her hard work that you can really see in between the pages.
It gives you chills, it makes you think, it leaves these very vivid images in your mind that you just cannot shake off, and most of all, it makes you want to live your life differently, even if it’s just in the smaller things. Highly recommend for anyone with a strong stomach and even the slightest interest in the topic.
To wrap up my Nonfiction November 2019, I’m glad to be able to read so many nonfiction books that I actually enjoy. Though I differed slightly from my actual TBR, this event has made me more excited to read more nonfiction books and realize that they are not as intimidating as I thought they were! What are your favourite nonfiction books, and did you enjoy any of the books I read above? Let’s chat in the comments!