Non-Fiction November

Thanks to Kim over at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie over at Regular Rumination, and their Non-Fiction November event, I feel like sharing some of my favorite non-fiction reads. Generally speaking, I am a fiction reader, but there is a place in my heart for well written, narrative non-fiction. Instead of discussing my all time favorite non-fiction book, I’ve decided to compile a list of really great non-fiction that has come my way in the last little while. Links go back to my original reviews.

salinger1. Salinger by David Shields and Shane Salerno. I just finished this book last night. I loved it. Aside from providing some fascinating insight into one of the most obscure American writers of our time, it was written in a very unique and effective way. I highly recommend this to those who like either Salinger or a great literary biography.

Juggler's children2. The Juggler’s Children by Carolyn Abraham. This book is short-listed for the Canadian Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction and really deserves to win. At first glance it appears quite simple. Abraham wants to look back into her family history and employs new DNA technology to trace her ancestry. The thing is, she has a wild set of characters from all over the world looming darkly in her past: A Chinese juggler, a roving ship’s captain and a series of strong women. I loved it.

brain on fire3. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. Here is another doozie of a book that got a lot of press when it came out. Cahalan is a young journalist starting her career when she starts loosing her mind. To make matters worse, doctors are not all that sympathetic to her case. As it turned out, she had a rare virus and her brain was literally on fire Great writing, fascinating tale.

There you go, my top three non-fiction reads of the last year.


  1. These are fantastic recommendations. I also have a soft spot in my heart for non-fiction, and I find that if I’m in a reading slump, non-fiction can almost always get me out of it. Example: recently I was making absolutely no headway on my fiction picks, but Julia Child’s My Life in France busted my slump! Woo!

  2. I always love books that involve a bit of science so The Juggler’s Children sounds pretty cool to me 🙂 I also had to just pick some of my recent favorites to share. All time favorites are just too hard to choose!

  3. The Juggler’s Children is canadian, so i don’t know if it is available in the US yet.But keep your eyes open. I thought a story about someone else’s family history would be dull, but this was far from it. Reminded me a bit of Henrietta Lacks, another good sciencey read.

  4. Those all sound good, but I’m fascinated by genealogy these days so I’m going to keep my eye out for The Juggler’s Children. My book club read American Tapestry last year, the story of Michelle Obama’s ancestors — very intriguing.

  5. Now I’m curious about what your “all time favorite non-fiction book” is! 😛 The Juggler’s Children sounds right up my alley since you mentioned that it’s kind of like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and I’ll definitely give it a try if I can find it!

  6. Pingback: Nonfiction November – Week 1 in Review! | Regular Rumination

  7. Brain on Fire was one of my favorite reads last year! I got to meet Susan Cahalan in person at BEA and it was wonderful. She just happened to be standing at the booth while I was walking around during a break (I work at a publishing house and I was working that day) and when I picked up her galley the publicist nudged me and said, “That’s her!” So introduced myself and she was lovely and, fortunately, Thankfully I loved her book, so I can tell this story! The Juggler’s Children sounds AMAZING.

  8. My post for Nonfiction November said a lot of what you’ve said here–I’m definitely more of a fiction reader, but a well-told true story can be just as compelling as any novel. I’ve heard good things about Brain On Fire, so that needs to go on my TBR list!

  9. Pingback: Nonfiction November Week 4 – New Additions to My TBR | Regular Rumination

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