My Year in Nonfiction 2020: #NonficNov

November 2, 2020

My Year in Nonfiction 2020: #NonficNov

Nonfic Nov (Image: a list of hosts and dates on a background of vibrantly colored fall leaves)

I’m eager to participate in Nonfiction November this year hosted by Doing Dewey, Julz Reads, What’s Nonfiction, and Shelf-Aware. During the month of November, you will notice one nonfiction focused post each week:

Weekly Topics:

My Year in Nonfiction: From November 2019 to November 2020 (today’s post)

Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings

Be the Expert

Nonfiction TBR

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Year in Nonfiction: Nov 2019-Nov 2020

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to reflect on the year, to celebrate and appreciate nonfiction, and to share recommendations.

While my sixteen nonfiction reads fall below my year’s goal of twenty, it’s the quality and enjoyment and not the quantity that creates a successful and meaningful reading year! In one other way, sixteen seems like a low number to me: I read a majority of historical fiction, so I’m frequently immersed in history and spend time googling various events. Does anyone else feel like they’re reading nonfiction when reading well-researched histfic? This must count in some way, right?! It certainly feels like it does!

From November to November!

For this post, I am counting my nonfiction reads from the beginning of November and December of 2019 because those nonfiction reads were not represented in last year’s post. So my nomfiction year will be from November to November!

Please join me for Nonfiction November!

“Just like the Grinch couldn’t stop Christmas from coming, the tire fire that is 2020 can’t stop Nonfiction November.”
~Rennie, What’s Nonfiction

Today’s host is Leann @ Shelf Aware.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links or links to my blog reviews.

Memoir is always my most-read category!

Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, An American Daughter (memoir)

Between Inca Walls: A Peace Corps Memoir (memoir)

The Salt Path (memoir)

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (memoir)

Hey Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction (YA memoir)

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed (memoir)

The Girl With Seven Names: Escape From North Korea (memoir)

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, An Earthquake, and the Making of a Family (memoir)

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit (historical event)

Historical Event

The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff (cover)

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 (historical event)


Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart For Racial Reconciliation (racism, spiritual)

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs (feminism)

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (spiritual)

Don’t Overthink It: Making Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life (self-help, essay)

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (racism)

Books About Books

Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson (cover) Image: a reading chair surrounded by piles of books and bookshelves

Book Girl (book about books, essays)


  1. What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
    This is the most difficult question! So I’ll give a complicated answer!
    Born a Crime is my favorite memoir about racism.
    Finding Chika is a favorite memoir because it is the most emotional and heartfelt.
    The Girl With Seven Names is a standout because it’s the most compelling and suspenseful.
    The Only Plane in the Sky is an important book that everyone should read!
    These are the standouts!
  2. What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
    See answers to number one!
  3. What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?
    I don’t think I can ever read enough fascinating, thoughtful memoirs!
  4. What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
    I’m eager to read posts from other bloggers and add inspiring nonfiction titles to my 2020 TBR!


I would love to hear all about your favorite nonfiction reads in the comments! If you could recommend ONE NF title for me, what would you recommend?

If you are participating in NonficNov, please leave a link to your post in comments.

Happy Reading Book Friends!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



    • Girl With Seven Names is not the most beautifully written but it’s a captivating and memorable story of escape! Enjoy! I’m hopping over to check out your post now.

  1. You have lots of books on your list that I have read and loved including The Only Plane in the Sky, Liturgy of the Ordinary, and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. You also have lots that I have now added to my nonfiction TBR.

    • I’m happy to hear we’ve enjoyed some of the same books! Hope you find more you love! Happy reading! And thanks for commenting!

  2. I’m currently listening to A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett. The subtitle is A Story of Hope, Justice and Freedom. It’s quite compelling, especially if you’re interested in racial and justice issues; although, at times the issues surrounding drugs and incarceration are hard to hear. I will say that listening critically you may note that the author of this memoir has a tiny bit of a chip on her shoulder, but there are good reasons for it so she can be forgiven. Highly recommend.
    A few other nf titles I liked this year were Love Does by Bob Goff, The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, What is Stephen Harper Reading by Yann Martel, and The Matriarch by Susan Page about Barbara Bush.v

  3. I loved Born a Crime! It’s been on my list since several NFNs ago and I finally read it. Also Maybe You Should Talk To Someone was so good.

    This year I’m recommending The Body Keeps the Score as an important book that everyone should read. And I guess on that note I should read The Only Plane in the Sky. Thanks for all the great recs.

    • I’m happy to heat you enjoyed Born a Crime and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Yes…I think Only Plane in the Sky is a must read. Thanks for the Body Keeps the Score rec! And thanks for commenting!

  4. Carol, I’m laughing so hard about you sharing my quote! 😂I’m glad you enjoyed that!

    I really liked The Girl With Seven Names, I agree with you it’s not the most elegantly written but it’s a story that’s stuck with me. And I loved Born a Crime! The Only Plane in the Sky and Caste are ones I know I need to read.

    I hope you find lots of great memoirs through Nonfiction November this year!!

    • Thanks for commenting and supplying me with a great quote! 😂😂😂 I’m happy to hear we’ve enjoyed some of the same books! The Only Plane is an important and emotional read. I had to take it in chunks and read something lighter in between. Happy November reading!

      • That’s how I figured I’d have to read it as well. Good to know. You too, Carol, hope you have lots of wonderful Nonfiction November reads! 🙂

    • It was an interesting read but I thought it became too political and I wondered what her motive was in writing it. I did like seeing how a person can overcome a mental health challenge to maintain a career.

  5. I love reading historical fiction for many of the same reasons I love nonfiction 🙂 I’ve been wanting to read The Only Plane in the Sky since last Nonfiction November, so hopefully everyone mentioning it this year will help me finally get to it!

  6. Great list Carol. I think The Only Plane in the Sky and Malibu Burning were two that I really enjoyed. For memoirs, this year I listened to Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews Edwards, which I loved but probably because I love Julie Andrews. I still have Seven Names on my list to read this year, I hope I get to it.

  7. So many good books here. I’m going to be TBR’ing quite a bit. I am hoping to read Only Plane in the Sky this month but with the election and everything else, this month has already started out slow. So let’s see.

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