Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 4, 2022

Nonfiction November Week 1 – Your Year in Nonfiction

It’s time for Nonfiction November, starting with my ‘Year in Nonfiction’, hosted by Doing Dewey.

(Links go to my reviews.)

Summary

I’ve read 41 books of nonfiction this year, more than last year, mostly life stories, current affairs and history, with some essay collections, cooking, art and travel as well.  30 were by Australian authors, including five First Nations titles; seven were from Britain, two were American and Actions & Travels, how poetry works by Anna Jackson was from New Zealand.

The oldest book I read was Little Britain by Washington Irving from 1819, with three from the 20th century. 15 were published this year (2022) and 12 in 2021.

11 were authored by male authors; five were co-authored by men and women, and 25 were by women authors.  These are the ones by First Nations authors.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

My favourites are literary biographies.  The standard out was The Red Witch, Nathan Hobby’s biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard but I also enjoyed the late Hazel Rowley’s biography of Richard Wright and Della Rowley’s compilation Life as Art, the Biographical Writing of Hazel Rowley

A Paper Inheritance by Dymphna Stella Rees was an interesting look at her parents and their role in Australia’s literary culture., and The Love-charm of Bombs, Restless Lives in the Second World War by Lara Feigel was a group biography of British writers during the war.

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

I read more books of literary criticism than I usually do, just because they came my way.  I really liked Chester Eagle’s The Well in the Shadow, a Writer’s Journey through Australian Literature, but the standout for me was Lohrey, (featuring Amanda Lohrey as the first title released in MUP’s Contemporary Australian Writers by Julianne Lamond series).

The Love-charm of Bombs, Restless Lives in the Second World War by Lara Feigel is a group biography but it included literary criticism, reinforcing my love of books by Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, and Henry Yorke (a.k.a. Henry Green).

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Telltale: Reading, Writing, Remembering by Carmel Bird.

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

I like to reflect on my reading, and mull over my choices, and I like reading everyone else’s posts!


Responses

  1. So many wonderful NF reading suggestions, you’ve had a great NF year!
    The Red Witch is just what I am looking for ….literary biography. I loved Karen Lamb’s book about Thea Astley…now I hope to learn more about Katharine Susannah Prichard.

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  2. Why oh why do I read so little non-fiction? It sounds like fun when others talk about it.

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    • Ah ell, there’s NF and then there’s NF. Some is great and some is like being at school.

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  3. I’m honoured Lisa, thank you! And what an impressive reading list in non-fiction, many of them books I have good intentions to read and a nudge will do me good.

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    • Ha! If you could see my pile of good intentions you wouldn’t be impressed. I just did a major cull of NF books that I bought with good intentions and never got round to reading. I had, for example, Gillian Triggs’ Speaking Up, which I bought (in expensive hardback at the NF Festival in Geelong) because it seemed like such an important book when she was being victimised by the previous government. But it sat there unread because I felt I’d already heard most of what she had to say in the festival talk and in the media I read (needless to say, not Murdoch media). I realised I was never going to read it, and away it went to a better home.
      At least now what I’ve got left fits on the shelves!

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  4. 41 non-fiction books, that is very impressive. I haven’t done half as many, or even a quarter.

    My Non-fiction November Week 1.

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    • Hi Marianne, with NF, the length of the books and the author’s style can vary so much that the number read really doesn’t matter. Some books are really long, and if they’re really dense with complex information (I’m thinking of Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad, for instance) it can take an eternity to read them.

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      • Of course, you are right there, Lisa. My books always tend to be large, fiction or non-fiction, I just prefer that. But yours don’t look like they are all on the small side, either.

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  5. Great post and interesting reading. I don’t think I saw your review of True Tracks at the time; I’ve added that to my wishlist.

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    • Yes, that’s a very important book. I’m really glad I read that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s a lot of love for Telltale – will have to get my hands on it (although I have another of hers in the TBR stack – probably should read that first!).

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    • LOL Kate, if we had to read everything in the TBR first, we’d never buy another book again!

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  7. […] Terri Janker – “True Tracks: Respecting Indigenous Knowledge and Culture” from ANZ LitLovers’ Week 1 post […]

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