Bookish Life,  Reading

My Year in Nonfiction – Nonfiction November

Week 1: (Oct 30 to Nov 3) – Julie @ JulzReads: 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?

I LOVE Nonfiction November!  I definitely think that nonfiction books don’t get enough love.

One thing that I notice when I do my monthly wrap ups is that when I read fiction it is overwhelmingly by female authors and about 1/3 POC authors.  My numbers change a lot when I’ve been reading nonfiction books though.

Here’s what I mean for the books I’ve read in 2017.

POC Female Authors (3 East Asian, 2 Black, 1 Middle Eastern, 1 South Asian)

POC Male Authors (1 Middle Eastern, 1 South Asian, 1 African-American)

White Female Authors

White Male Authors

See what I mean? It is way off balance.

I’m not saying that these books by white men aren’t good. Most of them were outstanding and I’d highly recommend them.  But, I’m not getting the variety I like.

So, for this month my challenge will be to read nonfiction only by authors who aren’t white males. 

In memoirs this is pretty simple but it gets more challenging when you are looking at history and social science books.  I’ve updated my Diverse Nonfiction page if anyone else is looking for recommendations but even there a lot of the books especially about racial issues are written by white people .

Since I started this post I’ve picked up some nonfiction books that I couldn’t wait until November to read.  It’s a start.

16 Comments

  • colorfulbookreviews

    I feel like I read more books by women in general, but haven’t closely examined my statistics. Usually if I’m reading something by a white male (outside of work) it’s because he’s disadvantaged in other ways, for example this year I read several autism memoirs.

    Some good books that I didn’t see on your list (but could have missed as I skimmed quickly) – The History of White People, Chasing Space, Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s books about space, Life in Motion, Brown Girl Dreaming. You have an excellent list which I’ll have to return to – I can already tell this challenge is going to double my TBR!

  • Kristilyn

    Lately I’ve been looking for a lot more non-fiction by women or POC … I think the only white male one I feel inclined to read is Neil Gaiman’s because I love his work. I have a few of your picks on my ereader right now and they look really good. Good luck this month!

  • DoingDewey

    I agree nonfiction doesn’t get enough love! Interesting, the last time I tracked my stats in 2015, I read more nonfiction by women than men and I think I’m on track to do the same thing this year. I think I’m doing a much worse job of reading nonfiction byauthors who are diverse in other ways though, so hopefully I can improve on that in the next year!

  • Kim@Time2Read

    That is an interesting statistic though to be honest, I couldn’t tell you whether the authors I read are white or not. I do know I tend to read more female authors but I’ve never really tracked, or taken time to read the bios, to know the ethnicity of the authors I read. Maybe I should?

    • heather

      I track ethnicity of authors monthly as a way to remind myself to read more diversely. I’ve found a lot of wonderful authors who I don’t think I would have stumbled across if I wasn’t looking for authors from a certain group. It adds new perspectives to my reading that I might have missed before.

  • Sarah's Book Shelves

    I loved Daring to Drive and Who Thought This Was a Good Idea. And interesting point about your diverse reading disparity in fiction vs. nonfiction. I have no idea what mine is, but now I’m curious!

  • nikki @bookpunks

    It was really interesting to read that reading nonfiction skewed your reading toward white male authors! Reading nonfiction this year has skewed me toward female authors (mostly white from a quick glance, though more diversity there than in my usual fiction reading all the same).

    Also, your list just added waaaaay too many things to my tbr. 🙂 Much obliged. I think.

    I just posted my first nonfiction november post over here if you’re interested: http://www.bookpunks.com/become-obsessed-memoirs/

  • Kazen

    I love that you’re leaving books written by white men out of your Nonfiction November! Here’s some diverse nonfiction that I’ve enjoyed, and I think I’ve reviewed all of them on my blog:

    Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson – a “sermon” about race addressed to white America
    The South Side by Natalie Y. Moore – a look at contemporary segregation in Chicago
    A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero – translated nonfiction(!) from Argentina and one of my favorite reads last year
    Whipping Girl by Julia Serano – a breakdown of trans/gender theory, written by a trans woman
    Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales – an account of a 1989 plane crash in Sioux City, Iowa

    I’m looking forward to following your reading this month. Best of luck to you!

  • Brona

    Because I’m a part of an Australian Women Writers challenge, I do consciously read quite a bit of women writers non-fiction. But I’m very Australian-centric.

    The length of your 2017 list, though, is very impressive whichever POV you have!
    The Third Plate sounds interesting and the Diary of a Tokyo Teen might be good to read before my trip to Japan next year?

  • lakesidemusing

    Hmm, I see what you mean. I’ve read some great nonfiction by women and POC, but in general nonfiction does seem to skew more toward white men. I applaud your efforts this month and now need to take a look at your Diverse Nonfiction page.

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