Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 2, 2021

Non Fiction November – My Year in Non Fiction

November is a busy, busy time for book memes.  It’s #NovNov Novellas in November hosted by Cathy at 746 Books; Brona is hosting AusReading Month; and it’s Nonfiction November, hosted by What’s Nonfiction?

It’s going to be a bit tricky for me this year, because I’ve read hardly any NF. But here goes anyway…

What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year?

Nope, I can’t limit this to just one:  There were three essay collections that I really liked:

My reviews are here:

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

I read more life stories this year than any other kind of Non Fiction.  Most of these were by Indigenous authors for Indigenous Literature Week, and my favourite of these was Top End Girl, by Miranda Tapsell a Larrakia woman from the Northern Territory and one of Australia’s best-loved actors. But I also really enjoyed Brenda Niall’s biography Judy Cassab, a portrait (2005) which had been on my TBR for far too long.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Like others in the Black Inc Growing Up series, Growing Up Disabled in Australia, edited by Carly Findlay was a book that was illuminating.  For me it shone a light on the triumphs and difficulties of disability and made me more perceptive about the issues that we should all be more knowledgeable about.

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

Umm… more book recommendations, in case I run out of books to read?


  1. I doubt you’ll ever run out of books to read. I’ve thought about reading the book, Growing Up Disabled but as I worked with people with severe to profound disabilities for 37 years and now have retired from that work I am hesitant to dive back into it. There are so many issues that people with disabilities deal with and most people have no idea. It sounds a usable book.


    • I think I recognise that feeling. I used to read anything and everything about education, and now… well, as you say, I am hesitant to dive back into it.
      If I had to rationalise it, I would say that when you’ve given your entire working life to one of the caring professions, you’ve done your time and you can enjoy your retirement.


  2. Running out of books to read? I’d say that’s as likely as the COP26 event making any meaningful and enduring decisions.


    • Oh dear, I can’t laugh at that…


  3. Great start Lisa. Not sure if I’ll do one of these a week, or do a couple of combined posts but I will take part. Love that your favourites are essay collections.


    • I’ll probably fade too… it’s such a busy time of the year.
      But yes, essay collections, unusual for me, because they’re not usually my favourite form of NF.
      I used to like the annual Scribe Best Essays…


  4. Killing Sydney: the fight for a city’s soul, by Elizabeth Farrelly – because I’m interested in urban design, and I detest what has been done to Sydney! I got talking about this book with a marvellous man here who happened to be an architect visiting from Sydney and we got onto how vital foot traffic is for forming a sense of community.

    You should see the soulless suburbs they are building here. When I lived in Seddon, friendships happened organically just through walking to the station, chatting with people sitting on their front porches, visiting the local stores and cafes. People weren’t lonely. Why aren’t we building suburbs like that now? Sorry, this is a hobby horse of mine Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I agree entirely. Where I live, it is just like that, a small pocket of a well-established suburb with a strip shopping centre, lots of parks and a good sense of community. I know about 12 of my neighbours by name, and heaps more by sight, and the dog-walkers are always good for a chat. I hope we can retain it. Some of the houses built in the fifties are a bit run down now, and many of them are being pulled down and replaced with dual-occupancy town houses, which are more sealed off from the street because people drive into their garages and then go into their houses from the garage. They have tiny low-maintenance gardens so we never see these people working in their front gardens, and they seem to go everywhere by car. I don’t object to these developments, only the design of them.
      I used to work in the outer suburbs where there was only one of those soulless shopping developments, beyond walking distance for most of the suburb, and so nobody walked anywhere. The school was the only place people connected with each other at all.


      • The houses all seem to face inwards now Lisa, with an entertainment area at the back. The fronts of the homes are quite blank. I find these new suburbs desolate. There are no parks or village shopping centres. They’re very unwelcoming!


        • And people are paranoid about home security! They’ve all got security cameras…


      • Yes, I think dual-occupancy townhouses in the suburbs are a good way of increasing density, which I think we need to do if people want to live in cities, but I take your point re design. We often don’t see our neighbours – particularly in winter when everyone hunkers down – but we do see each other in the garden, and walking in the reserve that you enter from our street.

        One thing about design is that you really should face the living areas to the north. I hate seeing houses with wonderful front entrances and porches, which usually means the living area is there, too, facing west, or south. And, I do understand people not wanting to entertain out the front. It’s an interesting quandary I think – house and suburb design.


        • The ideal suburb has a mix of house sizes so that you have family homes along with homes for couples and singles and so on. If the time comes when I can’t manage a house and garden by myself, I still want to live in my suburb where I’m used to everything, and I know lots of people.
          So I’m not at all opposed to higher density living, but I think there should be a coherent and aesthetic approach to suburb design, to achieve that mix.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. “more book recommendations, in case I run out of books to read?” If you’re like me, that’s not likely to happen!!!


    • Well, I never imagined that I’d be drawing on my own resources for so long during lockdown!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not into nonfiction so I’m doing some of the novellas instead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • To each his own, I’m choosy about what I read too. As you can imagine, I get pressured to review all kinds of books, and sometimes I think, hang on, why should I read romance, flash fiction, bios of sportmen or whatever, just because someone else likes it? Let s/he who likes it read and review it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Too true! I also get requests to read books not in my genres. Sorry, thanks but… no thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Lisa, so far this year I have read 27 non fiction books. Like you, I don’t have one favourite. But the one that did stand out was Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. On my many walks I saw lots of different fungi and this book was a fascinating read. The Australian one I enjoyed was Heide by Pi O. An epic poem about history, painting, painters, patrons – the people who made modern art happen in Australia. I will never run out of books to read either.


    • *chuckle* My favourite fungi is of course the truffle but we make do with ordinary mushrooms from the greengrocer on toast for Sunday breakfast.
      My favourite fungus in fiction is the one in Alice in Wonderland!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So glad you rated Signs and Wonders so highly. I’ve just started it too.


  9. HAhaha I love how many people here called out your reason for joining the event. *giggles*


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