Nonfiction November 2017 Begins

Nonfiction November 2017

My favorite reading event from last year, Nonfiction November, is back! Nonfiction November was my very first online reading event, and it was a terrific experience. It helped reignite my excitement for blogging and it connected me with several terrific book bloggers. I can’t wait to see what new discoveries are in store this year.

The topic for this first week is Your Year in Nonfiction, so here we go…

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?

Well, after looking back it’s interesting that I only read three nonfiction books this year:

I think I read so few nonfiction books this year because this was the first year I participated in any reading challenges, and I didn’t put any nonfiction books on any of the challenges. I’m actually surprised I ready any nonfiction books, because that meant straying from my hyper-organized list of books to read. So three nonfiction books is pretty good.

I’ve already started looking at next year and I’m definitely going to add nonfiction to my list of books to read. Thanks to last year’s Nonfiction November I already have some great titles to add like The Book: A Cover to Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeff Toobin, and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. I hope to add some more titles to that list after Nonfiction November is over this year. But, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. On to the questions for this week…

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

This one is easy. Hands down, this was The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables by David Bellos. In fact, this book is in the running for my favorite book of the year. I taught Les Misérables to eighth graders for over twenty years, and I wish I would have had this book as a resource. It was everything I wanted the book to be and more. I could go on and on about how great this book is, but instead I’ll point you to my review of the book written several months ago.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

One book that I’m always recommending is the spiritual classic Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, translated by John Beevers. It’s short, it’s powerful, it’s a book everyone needs to read slowly, savoring every word.

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

One type of nonfiction I could never read enough of is spiritual memoirs. I love St. Augustine’s Confessions, St. John XXIII’s Journal of a Soul, and Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain.

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

More books recommendations and more connections with book-minded people, along with motivation to keep writing about books.

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

10 Responses

  1. Brona says:

    Adding Zen in the Art of Writing to my wishlist – have you looked at Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic? I haven’t read it yet, but it’s one that people keep recommending to me when we talk about creativity inspiration.

    I see you’re reading Kristin Lavransdatter’s book as well – it’s on my TBR pile & I have high hopes for it. How are you going with it so far?

    • Deacon Nick says:

      I have not heard of Big Magic, but on a quick glance on Amazon it looks well worth a read. Thanks for the tip. Yes, I am reading Kristin Lavransdatter and loving it. It is extremely long, so I decided to read it one chapter a day. There are 65 chapters so I should be done in mid December some time. It takes about 10-15 minutes a day, which has turned out to be a great way to start my day, right after prayer. I have just finished Part I of Book I. Oddly enough, the writing reminds me a lot of Tolkien’s style. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that reminds me of Tolkien–and I’m sure some of it has to do with Nunally’s translation–but it is beautifully written and moves along well. I’m glad I’m taking my time with it.

      • Brona says:

        That’s like the way I read LOTR recently. It’s such a nice way to read a big epic story. Thanks for the tip that it’s a good way to read this trilogy too 😊

  2. It’s been 20 years since I read the unabridged Les Miserables, but have seen the musical a few times since then. The Novel of the Century sounds like a book I need to read. Hope you get a chance to read The Nine and Just Mercy in 2018… both were favorites the year I read them. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of nonfiction recommendations this month. I’m still working my way through the list I made last year 😉

    • Deacon Nick says:

      I am in the planning stages of hosting a readalong of the unabridged Les Mis for 2018. I learned from Bellos’ book that there are exactly 365 chapters to the book, so I think I will host a chapter-a-day readalong. What do you think? Would you be interested?

      • Sounds like the perfect opportunity, but I’m afraid it will take me at least half of 2018 to finish Trollope’ Palliser series. That will be my first priority as far as classics go. So many books…

  3. Too Fond says:

    I’m a big fan of Victor Hugo’s work and writing style, so I’ll have to give The Novel of the Century a try. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Ooh, The Novel of the Century sounds really good. I didn’t read much nonfiction about books this year and I miss that. The Nine is sounding very intriguing about a subject I know nothing about.

    Just Mercy is definitely a must. One of the few books I would say everyone should read.

    Have a great month!

  5. as you know for visiting my blog, Bellos’s book was also one of my favorites. Seven Storey Mountain is fabulous, well all the books by Merton!

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