Book Reviews

Nonfiction November: Week 4 Nonfiction Favorites–Why is it a favorite?


Week 4: (Nov. 18 to 22) –Nonfiction Favorites (Leann @ Shelf Aware):  Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.


I did not read much nonfiction this year! So, I’m posting long-time favorites.

What I Love

With rare exceptions, a nonfiction book must read like a novel. It must flow. It must tell the story. Yes, I do want documentation of sources, but I do not have to read a Ph.D. thesis. Enjoyable prose matters. Photographs or illustrations, depending on the time period, matter as well. If it is about a family, then a family tree is a must. I like glossaries of names or a Cast of Characters listing if there are many people to keep straight. I would truly love a timeline ala Genevieve Foster’s George Washington’s World (and the rest of her books), to put historical subjects into a context I can comprehend, but that seems to be asking too much. Now, do all of my favorites have each of these things? Of course not, but I love them when they are there. A final note–American Experience IS my favorite television show, but in every case, I’ve read the book before the show came out.

What I’ve Left Out

    1. I’m skipping all royal books–most of my favorites are in last week’s post. Click here to read it.
    2. I’ve limited myself to ONE David McCullough and ONE Candace Millard, ONE Doris Kearns Goodwin. Brutal.
    3. But what about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books? Love them! Not on here. And what about James Herriott’s All Creatures Great and Small books? Dear, dear, friends but not on here. Nor are Helene Hanff’s wonderful 84 Charing Cross Road and other books. Biographies and Memoirs are tough. I’ve included a few but tried to choose only those about a specific time or place in a life only. I made exceptions for two books. Madeline L’Engle Crosswick Journals I left out because her children regarded them as fiction. I loved them.

Favorite Nonfiction Book of 2019



Favorite Nonfiction Books–History

History is my favorite, so there were way, way too many favorites. If you think one is missing, I probably DID love it, but couldn’t include them all.


Favorite Nonfiction Books–Nature

Favorite Nonfiction Books–Science


Favorite Nonfiction Books–Crime

Favorite Nonfiction Books–Travel

These are different from expatriate or immigrant life memoirs or Peace Corps memoirs



Nonfiction November concludes next week with a discussion of the books we’ve added to our TBRs.


17 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Week 4 Nonfiction Favorites–Why is it a favorite?

  1. You may not have read a lot of nonfiction THIS year, but you’ve still read a lot of nonfiction. So many good choices here. I think The Boys in the Boat is my favorite of the ones you listed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like these choices and “These are different from expatriate or immigrant life memoirs” was a great way of describing how I divide these categories up, too (I’ve never read any Peace Corps memoirs but have read a VSO one – Voluntary Service Overseas, from the UK).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never realised Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was non fiction! Good choice of the Paul Theroux – have your read any of his others? My husband is a huge fan and ranks Dark Star Safari and The Happy Isles of Oceania as his favourites


  4. Awesome list! I want to read pretty much all of them. I also really loved The Lives of a Cell. And I would most like to pick up Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital. The topic sounds fascinating and it’s promising that it was your overall favorite 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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