Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Nonfiction November 2021 Week 1 My Year in Nonfiction #NonficNov

Week 1 (November 1-5): Your Year in Nonfiction
with Rennie at What’s Nonfiction

As I've announced in October (see here), it's Non-Fiction November again and this year, it is hosted by Christopher from Plucked from the Stacks. He has put together a plan that looks highly interesting.


Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions:

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

I have read 24 non-fiction books this year, that makes two per month. Tough to choose the favourites but it is probably "The Truths We Hold. An American Journey" by Kamala Harris closely follwed by "A Promised Land" by Barack Obama. If you didn't know already, you probably have an idea about my political inclinations. If you have followed my blog for a while, you will have heard this story: According to a test on facebook I am "very liberal, as far left as can be before heading into Stalin's backyard". That was at least ten years ago but nothing has changed in my views and I doubt it ever will.

I have also read a few more books about racism and slavery, a topic that can't get talked about often enough and so I could add a number of them to my Anti-Racism post: "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave", "The History of the Jews in Germany", and "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl".

Some good books about travels and other countries were:  "From the Swede who took the train and saw the world with different eyes", "An Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan", "The Silk Roads. A New History oft he World".

And I finished a few great books about general knowledge and science: "The Communist Manifesto", "Science & Islam: a history", "Couchsurfing in China: Encounters and Escapades Beyond the Great Wall" and "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst".

And a book about books by one of my favourite authors, "The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist". They are probably the most important ones from my list.

I think that answers questions one and two. As to the third one, I have recommended my top two books most.

Question 4. Well, last year I found a few new books and authors that I was going to read (and some of them I have read in the meantime) but the main thing was the exchange of opinions with other bloggers. Something I always enjoy, no matter what book but non-fiction books are special, they widen our knowledge so much. It's never too late to learn more.

And here are all my non-fiction books of the year:

Andersson, Per J. "From the Swede who took the train and saw the world with different eyes" (aka Take the train: on the track through history, present and future) (SW: Ta tåget: på spåret genom historien, samtiden och framtiden) - 2019
Binchy, Maeve "The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club" - 2010
Ditfurth, Hoimar von "The mind did not fall from the sky: the evolution of our consciousness" (GE:
Der Geist fiel nicht vom Himmel: Die Evolution unseres Bewußtseins) - 1976
Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" - 1845
Elbogen, Ismar; Sterling, Eleonore "The History of the Jews in Germany" (GE: Die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland) - 1935/66
Elliot, Jason "An Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" - 1999
Frankopan, Peter "The Silk Roads. A New History of the World" - 2015
Gödde, Stefan "Nice to Meet You, Jerusalem. On a Discovery Tour into the Heart of the City" (GE: Nice to Meet You, Jerusalem. Auf Entdeckungstour ins Herz der Stadt) - 2019
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "Italian Journey" (aka Letters from Italy) (GE: Italienische Reise) - 1817
Harris, Kamala "The Truths We Hold. An American Journey" - 2019
Jacobs, Harriet Ann (Linda Brent) "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" - 1861
Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge" - 1993
Kaminer, Wladimir "The Lost Summer. Germany Smokes on the Balcony" (GE: Der verlorene Sommer. Deutschland raucht auf dem Balkon) - 2021
Krug, Nora "
Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home" (GE: Heimat. Ein deutsches Familienalbum) - 2018
Mann, Thomas "A Man and His Dog" (GE: Herr und Hund. Ein Idyll) - 1918
Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich "The Communist Manifesto" (
GE: Das kommunistische Manifest) - 1848
Masood, Ehsan "Science & Islam: a history" - 2009
Obama, Barack "A Promised Land" - 2020
"Of Thee I Sing" - 2010
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in China: Encounters and Escapades Beyond the Great Wall" aka "High Tech and Hot Pot: Revealing Encounters Inside the Real China" (Couchsurfing in China. Durch die Wohnzimmer der neuen Supermacht) - 2019
Pamuk, Orhan "The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist" (TR: Saf ve Düşünceli Romancı) - 2011
Sapolsky, Robert M. "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst" - 2017

Snider, Grant "I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf" - 2020
Dorling Kindersley "Eyewitness Guide Paris" and "Top 10 Paris"

For more information on Nonfiction November check here.


  1. I read a lot of nonfiction annually on many topics. I've read quite a few memoirs and biographies this year and science related reads too.

    Best nonfiction books read so far this year have included: Rabid (rabies virus), Pandora's Lab, Diagnosis, Lady Killers (women serial killers), The Little Book of Lost Words, and Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era to name a few of the titles.

    1. I know you do, Lisa, that's why we probably found each other. Your titles all sound quite interesting. I think my favourite might be "The Little Book of Lost Words". I love languages and anything connected to them.

    2. Like you, I love languages and almost anything connected to them.

      I hope you enjoy reading "The Little Book of Lost Words". It's a short read, but fun filled and interesting. It also makes for a great coffee table book and conversation starter with guests.

    3. I absolutely love those kind of books, Lisa. Our house is full of them and we get them out as often as we can. Even our German friends who don't speak English (or vice versa) have benn "treated" with them. LOL

      Thanks for introducing it.

  2. You've read A LOT more about American politics and history than I have this year, that's for sure. I need to read both the Obama and Harris books. My husband loved the former, as I think I told you. He says it doesn't matter what your political preferences are, the book is just really interesting in general.

    1. Mmmh, I haven't read all that much about American politics this year, Susan, just the Kamala Harris and the Barack Obama book and two books by and about former slaves.

      However, we have worked with Americans for a long time and have always been interested in American politics, as we all should because it still has a huge influence on the whole world, i.e. on us.

      And I totally agree with your husband, the book is totally interesting. But I guess sworn-in ultra-Republicans wouldn't even want to touch it. They might learn something they don*t want to know about.

  3. I've been meaning to read Orhan Pamuk! Your recommendation adds even more to my incentive.

    1. I absolutely love him. He is not only my favourite Turkish author but one of my favourite authors overall.

      Happy reading, Lory!

  4. Love to read an English translation of the History of the Jews in Germany. Would also like to read Science and Islam and Pamuk's book.

    1. I think we share a lot of interests, Maphead. I see you are just reading "Sovietistan" which I thought was a great account of countries in the former USSR.

      Anyway, you've selected some great books from my list. Unfortunately, the History of the Jews in Germany has not been translated and since it is older, I doubt it ever weill. However, if many people ask for it ... you never know.

      It will be exciting to see what you say to those books you can get.

  5. Your number of nonfiction reads is impressive! Your titles are always interesting and thought provoking, too!

    1. That's what I like, Carol. I know many people like easy reads but they just bore me. Not my thing. And if I can get some people to read something thought-provoking, then my work here is done. ;)

  6. You have already achieved a lot this year with your 24 books. Very interesting they are as well. Like the variety of subjects. I also want to read Ta tåget. Should be a more relaxed way of travelling and will make it easier to see things and talk to people. I am not much for modern politics. Just reading the news every day makes me depressed. Haha, I like your place in politics.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I never pick up a book for it to fit in a certain category, just because they interest me.

      I know what you mean about politics in the news. It gets worse all the time. But that's part of the reason why I want to know more about it, what's behind it all. And I'm glad you like my place in politics. I know quite a few people who don't so it's always great to know someone who shares that idea.

      "Ta tåget", you're probably one of the few people I know who can read the original. Enjoy.

    2. Why do I keep calling you Lisa when you are one of the people who write under their name and to whom I talk outside of blogging generally? Too many Lisas here, I suppose. Sorry.

  7. Such a varied list! I'll be adding Behave to my TBR stack.

    1. Thanks, Kate. That is a great idea. I loved that book. Michelle Obama is such a wonderful person, smart and strong yet immensely kind. Enjoy.

  8. Great year!
    Somehow I had missed your review of The Silk Roads, sounds like a must to me

    1. I know how that goes, Emma. Even if you follow someone's post meticulously, there is always the odd time where you miss it. But you found it in the end, and I'm glad you did.