Category Archives: Book Column

Week 5: My Full NonFicNov Recap

This week officially wrap’s up Nonfiction November 2017. I had a lot of fun over the past few weeks. I’ve bumped into some very cool bookish folks, found some new blogs to follow and most importantly – found some interesting books to read. I mean Mount TBR is never big enough, you know?

These future reads are what make up the closing week’s writing prompt for #nonficnov, which is being hosted by Lory over at The Emerald City Book Review:

It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

Here are the books, with links to the blog posts mentioning them, that I ran into this month. The topics are all over the map and all had some very cool things said about them.

Thanks to LibraryThing, I have been tracking lots of data about the books on my shelves. Over the past few years I have been tracking not only where I buy a book from, but how I heard about the book. This piece of any reader’s journey fascinates me. How do we find the books we choose to read? A few years ago it was all Twitter for me. Looking at the numbers, I see that, for two years, podcasts were my #1 source for book recommendations.

But this year is shaping up to be mostly books recommended by bloggers I follow or books I stumbled upon while visiting the library. There’s still a month to go and it’s too close to call. But either way, I think I like the way this is trending for me.

I hope you found some interesting reads this past month. If you missed out on the all the fun, you can search for #nonficnov on all the platforms and I bet you’ll bump into someone there talking about good books.

Thanks again to all the organizers of this year’s Nonfiction November.

Little Free Library, a Thanksgiving Find

This past Thanksgiving holiday was a wonder break for us. I hope your holiday was restful as well and I hope you read something good!

I just wanted to share these pics of a Little Free Library that I stumbled upon a few hours south of Birmingham. It’s bright, colorful and a a smart idea to place free books right along the sidewalk of a small downtown area.

The Little Free Library movement is one of the coolest things humanity has going for it these days. Any of you have one of these near where you live or travel to?

Week 4: Nonfiction Favorites #nonficnov

This week’s portion of Nonfiction November is hosted by Katie over at Doing Dewey Decimal and the prompt is an interesting one:

Nonfiction Favorites: We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

It’s tempting to click through all the replies and tally everyone’s responses. It would be interesting to see how the majority of people answer this question of “what make one of your nonfiction reads a favorite?”

But before I get to clicking around, I’m better answer myself.

Subject matter is everything. I need a nonfiction book to tackle a subject head on. I want a deep dive. Lots of books spend too much time with clever chapter titles and the like, which can be fun to a degree. But I don’t want to flit about and float through a nonfiction read.

Now please don’t hear me say “text book” when you read the above few sentences. I’m not looking for dry. Another thing I am not looking for is chronological. I enjoy a good timeline in a book and I LOVE when there is a map printed just inside the front and back covers, but very rarely does a nonfiction read benefit from being told in historical sequence. That’s a great way to report the news to point to the truth, but not the best way to weave a story to highlight the truth and give context to the truth.

So if I can stumble upon a nonfiction book that is a topic of interest, isn’t told chronologically and is all about giving context, more than likely, I’m going to read that book. If the book also has some humor sprinkled throughout then it’s just about a certainty.

Having said all that. . . I find myself wondering what books have I read that fit that description? Well, here are three that pop into mind:

And I am looking forward to clicking around and reading everyone else’s responses. Nonfiction November is a good time.

I hope everyone in the States had a restful Thanksgiving holiday today and squirreled away some minutes with a good book. And to everyone else I hope you found some reading time too!

Bookmarks Magazine

It’s a special day when my issue of Bookmarks magazine arrives in the mailbox every couple of months. It’s one of the few magazine subscriptions that I have held onto over the years and I can say with certainty that I will keep it as long as they stay in print.

I’m always surprised how many bookish friends are unfamiliar with the magazine. Have you heard of it?

It only comes out 6 times a year, but every issue is dripping with bookish info. At their core, they are a book review aggregator. For every book listed in each issue, they offer a brief synopsis, their collection of snippets from well known newspapers and online book sections, and a brief synopsis rolling up all of those  reviews they read and collected.

I have to say it’s been fun reading the reviews over the years and having a sense of how The NY Times and Washington Post and Huffington Post may differ on genre’s or authors or writing techniques. You really start to get a feel for the people behind the reviews, simply by paying attention to the trends over time.

Every issue always features a Book Club. This is always the first thing I turn to in each issue. It’s fun to read how all of the book clubs got started and how long they’ve been together. It’s also neat to read which books worked and did not work for their group discussions.

Bookmarks magazine also runs features each month. These spend a few pages talking about an author and their work as a whole, going title by title. Or (November/December 2017 issue) they’re focusing on “Books for Library Lovers”, which is a topic I will show up for!

If you keep up with the ‘book space’ then you’ll probably recognize 40% of the names, books, stories, etc. in each issue. I mean, all those books and authors are popular for a reason. But the rest of it is made up of reader-submitted lists, collections, recommendations and of course, the aggregated book review list.

It’s so fun. I’m always looking for other Bookmarks readers to converse with.

Do you read Bookmarks magazine?