2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: End of Year Spotlight 

I want to thank all of you who participated in the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge,

There were 52 readers who signed up to the challenge, and while the continued pandemic scuppered some reader’s plans, most of you hung in there!

Over 150 links have been shared via the Linky during the year (and I’m sure there were more books actually read/reviewed that people forgot to add).

Congratulations to those of you who met your goal as a Nipper, a Nibbler or a Know-It-All. You can celebrate your achievement with the Completed Challenge badge.

And even if you didn’t quite make it, congratulations for making the attempt!

The Linky for adding your wrap up post will remain open for another week or so, at which time the challenge post will be archived (under Challenges >Archived Challenges 2021).

I hope you will decide to join me for another year and sign up for the

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge.


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A look back

 

About the challenge 

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #5

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #6

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #7

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #8

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #9

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #10

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #11

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #11

 

Welcome to the Monthly Spotlight for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge!

Each month I’m highlighting some of the reviews shared for the challenge in the linky

Don’t forget to link each book you read as you read during the year!

I encourage you to support all participants who have shared what they are reading for the challenge. Give them a like, leave them a comment, share their posts on Facebook, twitter, or instagram #2021ReadNonFic

Just one month to go!

The challenge wrap up will be posted on 8th January 2022. If you’ve completed your challenge, you can share your accomplishment by clicking HERE, and there is a ‘Completed’ badge you are free to download HERE.

I hope you join us for the  2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge 

SIGN UP HERE

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In November…


[PUBLISHED IN 2021]

“…it is clear that wherever Mary Roach shines her light there will be surprises, there will be new knowledge, and there will be smiles, lots and lots of smiles, covered with copious quantities of laughter.”, writes Will of Coot’s Reviews about Fuzz by Mary Roach

————-

[ESSAYS]

“I enjoyed following Biguenet’s reflections on silence and sound,“ shares Tracey @ Carpe Librium. Silence by John Biguenet, is, “…full of interesting observations …and I highly recommend it.”

—————-

[PUBLISHED IN 2021]

Barbara of Stray Thoughts feels that Ten Words to Live By: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands by Jen Wilkins is one she will revisit regularly. “Jen devotes a chapter to each of the ten commandments. She argues not for a letter-of-the-law merest obedience possible, but for an expansive obedience of the spirit of the law. She employs Jesus’s explanation that the law doesn’t cover just outward action, but our hearts.”,

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[DISEASE]

Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs bY Ina Park is , “an informative, interesting, and often witty examination of the history, science and stigma related to sexually transmitted Infections and sexual health.” Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out recommends it to, “…a range of audiences, from the idly curious to those working with, or raising, teens or young adults.”

—————

[PUBLISHED IN 2021]

Deb Nance at Reader Buzz has high praise for A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders, “As I read A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, I found I am taking a class on the Russian short story, a class on how to write, a class on close reading; a class on the meaning of life. I am in the hands of a master.”

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What will you be reading in December?


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In case you missed it…

 

About the challenge 

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #5

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #6

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #7

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #8

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #9

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #10

 

Nonfiction November Week 5: New to my TBR

 

Well we have come to the end of another Nonfiction November! It was, as always, a wonderful event, and my TBR has swelled yet again.

thank you to the hosts, Rennie @ Whats NonFiction?, Katie @ Doing Dewey, Veronica @ The Thousand Book Project, Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks, and Jaymi @ The OC Book Girl

The book covers below link to the blogger from whom the recommendation came. Thank you to everyone who participated.

 

 







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I only managed to read 6 nonfiction books during the month. Click the covers to read my reviews.



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If you have resolved to read more nonfiction in 2022, consider joining the 2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge

 

 

 

 

Review: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss (Ed.)

 

Title: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

Author: Anita Heiss (Ed)

Published: 16th April 2021, Black Inc

Status: Read November 2021

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My Thoughts:

 

There is no single or simple way to define what it means to grow up Aboriginal in Australia….”

I’m having such a hard time putting together a response to reading Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. I have such a mix of emotions – I am angered, ashamed, sad, enlightened, inspired and hopeful.

Fifty contributors share their diverse experiences of growing up Aboriginal in Australia. They come from all over country, and are of varied ages, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic class.

Yet there are commonalities in their stories -the weight of intergenerational trauma, the burden of stereotypes and racism, the struggle with identity, the desire to understand and embrace their culture, kin and country.

Though the quality of the writing can be uneven, the honesty of the authors stories are affecting and powerful. They are a generous invitation to learn and gain some understanding of what it is like to be a First Nations person growing up in Australia, both then and now.

“….it’s so obvious that underneath the invisible barriers and expectations we have constructed and placed on each other, we are all brothers and sisters; we are all just pink flesh and bone.”

An informative, thought-provoking, and moving anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is essential reading in the journey to create a new dialogue with and about Aboriginal Australians.

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Available from Black Inc

Or from your preferred retailer

via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

Review: Strange Bedfellows by Ina Park

 

Title: Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs

Author: Ina Park

Published: 16th February 2021, Flat Iron Books

Read: November 2021

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My Thoughts:

I picked up Strange Bedfellows by sex-positive STD/STI researcher Dr Ina Park purely out of curiosity after reading several enthusiastic reviews, and I’m happy to report that it is an informative, interesting, and often witty examination of the history, science and stigma related to sexually transmitted Infections and sexual health.

Though the subject of STIs is not of personal relevance to me, given I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 31 years, I am the mother of four teens/young adults and thought I could be better informed on the topic to discuss it with them. Park presents her information in a clear and accessible manner, and I definitely feel I now have a more comprehensive understanding of STIs. I was interested to learn about the many issues related to the testing and treatment of herpes, the hazels of pubic hair removal, the complexities of public health tracing in relation to STIs, the dangers of douching, the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV, and more besides. Peppered with personal anecdotes and commentary, Park’s sense of humour ensures the material isn’t dry, but she also writes with sensitivity and respect.

However, I can’t wholeheartedly embrace the author’s rallying cry to #StoptheSTIgma. When I was a teenager unprotected sex was a dangerous gamble – HIV/AIDS was a death sentence, HPV led to cancer, as did Hepatitis B. Even though today people receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS can expect to live a normal life span, HPV immunisation has reduced the risk of cervical cancer by 90%, and Hep B vaccinations in childhood have reduced the risk of developing liver cancer to around 5%, unprotected sex is still a serious health risk. While I’m all for promoting the awareness of, and destigmatising treatment for, STI’s, prevention is still better than a cure. Given the reported decline in condom use, and the rise in STIs, over the last 20 years or so, I’m concerned that what teens and young adults are ‘hearing’ is that STDs are treatable and as such ‘harmless’, and therefore condoms are superfluous (if the risk of unwanted pregnancy has been addressed in heterosexual sexual encounter, or by the use of PrEP to prevent HIV in a homosexual encounter).

Nevertheless, Strange Bedfellows is an educative and engaging read that I think would appeal to a range of audiences, from the idly curious to those working with, or raising, teens or young adults.

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Available from Flat Iron Books

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Amazon

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge #DISEASE

Review: Women to the Front by Heather Sheard & Ruth Lee

 

Title: Women to the Front: Australian Women Doctors of the First World War

Author: Heather Sheard & Ruth Lee

Published: 2nd April 2021, Ebury Press

Status: Read November 2021

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My Thoughts:

 

After the Great War broke out in 1914, Melbourne doctor Helen Sexton was just one of what was to be at least 28 Australian female medical practitioners, aged between 27 and 56 years olds trained primarily in general medicine but also in specialties from pathology to anaesthesiology to surgery, who attempted to enlist as a doctor with the Medical Armed Forces in Australia or Britain. Their offers rebuffed, the Australian women, eager to aid in the war effort, instead reached out to international medical organisations and soon found roles that allowed them to serve in several settings, including within mobile medical units stationed along both the Eastern and Western fronts.

In Women to the Front, authors Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee, draw on available official documents, personal letters, diaries and other material to ensure that these intrepid Australian women doctors are acknowledged, and lauded for their contributions to the war effort. The book is organised in five parts, with a narrative divided by year and then location, detailing the women’s movements across the Allied fronts. There are a lot of names, acronyms and dates which can be difficult to keep track of, but helpfully the authors also include a glossary, individual biographies of each doctor, and a comprehensive index.

Though Sheard and Lee state they had limited information to work from, they have put together compelling accounts of the women’s experiences as wartime doctors. The Australian doctors served in at least twelve countries, working under a wide range of conditions in a variety of roles from 1914 to 1918. Doctors Laura Forster (NSW), and Ethel Baker (QLD), joined the BHF (British Field Hospital for Belgium) which established a 150-bed field hospital in Antwerp in September of 1914. The facility was quickly flooded with wounded soldiers, the women often required to operate through the night. Barely a month later they were forced to evacuate as the German Army advanced. Pathologist Dr Elsie Dalyell (NSW), the first Australian woman to win a Beit Fellowship, offered her skills to the War Office, but when refused joined Lady Cornelia Wimborne’s Serbian Relief Fund field hospital, and headed to Serbian Macedonia on the Eastern Front where she was responsible for the collection and analyse of specimens to detect and diagnose everything from wound infections, to diseases such as Typhus. Dr Agnes Bennett (NSW) volunteered with the French Red Cross and treated the wounded soldiers from the battlefields of Gallipoli who were shipped to Cairo. Sydney (NSW) doctor Marjory Little took charge of the 46th Stationary Hospital’s laboratory. The 46th, in Étaples, France, was an isolation hospital in the largest army base camp ever established overseas by the British, and contained one of the army’s most important laboratories.

It’s humbling to think of the strength, courage and will these Australian women doctors, and the others noted in this book, possessed. At a time when women had so little agency, and were barely tolerated in the medical profession, they fearlessly entered the theatre of war and proved themselves more than capable. Infuriatingly they were afforded very little official respect from the Australian or British military, either during or after the war. Though sometimes awarded a nominal rank they were denied full military pay rates and benefits. A handful of the women were awarded minor British medals, none received recognition from Australia. Other countries were more generous, Dr Lilian Cooper (QLD), for example, was awarded the Serbian Order of St Sava, the Russian Cross of St George, and the French Red Cross Medal for her services. Astonishingly, when World War II began, the Australian military again refused the enlistment of Australian women doctors despite their outstanding record of service.

Inspiring and informative, Women to the Front is an important book acknowledging the invaluable contributions made by the extraordinary Australian women who selflessly served the Allied Forces as doctors during World War I.

++++++++

Available from Penguin Books Australia or your preferred retailer

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #10

 

Welcome to the Monthly Spotlight for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge!

Each month I’m highlighting some of the reviews shared for the challenge in the linky

Don’t forget to link each book you read as you read during the year!

I encourage you to support all participants who have shared what they are reading for the challenge. Give them a like, leave them a comment, share their posts on Facebook, twitter, or instagram #2021ReadNonFic

===================

In October …

[SELF HELP]

Of ‘Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come’ by Jessica Pan, Curly Geek of The Book Stop wrote, “Pan shares her successes, and some of her failures, but with the perspective that she learns something from each attempt, and at least a few of them lead to real friendships, new hobbies, and greater confidence. Pan has a warm writing style that was engaging and easy to read, so it was a perfect travel/vacation read.”

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[DISEASE]

Journey & Destination says ‘The Body’ by Bill Bryson, “For a nonfiction book on a subject that could perhaps bog down the average lay person, it is very well done. I would almost call it a page turner for a person who has any sort of medical background, like myself, who hasn’t worked in a medical setting for years, but who still has an interest in it.”

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[WARTIME EXPERIENCES]

 

Kathryn J. Atwood has collected several stories of brave women in Women Heroes of WWII: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue. Barbara of Stray Thoughts writes, “I’ve read a lot of books about WWII, fiction and nonfiction…. But Kathryn’s summaries helped me see the bigger picture and taught me a few things I hadn’t known.”

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[PUBLISHED IN 2021]

Denise Newton Writes recommends Living Planet: The Web of Life by David Attenborough. “Attenborough’s fascinating insights into the ways in which organisms, insects, plants, animals, reptiles and birds adapt to the many different environments on our planet drew me in. There is plenty of drama, humour and mystery, told in the author’s infectiously enthusiastic style.”

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[PUBLISHED IN 2021]

Peril [by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa] should be required reading.” writes Laura of Reading Books Again. “The book begins with Biden’s inaugural address where he mentions that we are in a winter of peril. The book ends with the author’s statement “peril remains.” I agree with their assessment but most of the time I push that thought from my mind. It’s just too upsetting.”

 

What will you be reading in November?


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In case you missed it…

 

Join the challenge!

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #5

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #6

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #7

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #8

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #9

Review: A Women’s Place by Deepi Ahluwalia and Jessica Olah

 

Title: A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Changed the World with Food

Author: Deepi Ahluwalia, Jessica Olah

Published: 5th March 2019, Little, Brown and Company

Status: Read November 2021

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My Thoughts:

“If a woman’s place has always been in the kitchen, then why does culinary history read like the guest list of some old boys’ club?”

This is the question that inspired Deepi Ahluwalia and Jessica Olah, who have four decades of experience in the food industry, to author A Woman’s Place aiming to share the stories of more than 80 women who have left a lasting mark on history, and whose contribution to the culinary world is often overlooked.

A Woman’s Place is divided into three sections, headed Innovators, Instigators, and Inventors.  Accompanied by full page illustrations, the biographies of each woman, or group of women, are quite short, no more than a page or two, and highlight their connection to food. Recipes accompany some of the entries.

As I was reading I decided to make a note of the entries that surprised or intrigued me to mention in this review, but the list quickly became very long. Ahluwalia and Olah start with Catherine de’ Medici who introduced both Italian ingredients and the use of the fork to the French in the 1500’s, and ends with the San Antonio Chili Queens who sparked the development of Tex-Mex, a popular and uniquely American cuisine. In between are women from varying countries and cultures, through the ages. It’s a joy that women’s historic contributions are finally being recognised and lauded.

A Woman’s Place can be read in one sitting, or browsed when you have a few spare minutes. It is suitable for a wide range of ages, and should appeal not only to foodies but readers interested in history, culture or feminism.

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#2021ReadNonFic: FOOD

Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction

 

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? 
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?  

Having made a list of the nonfiction I’ve read over the last 12 months I realised I had actually managed to meet my goal of reading at least 2 nonfiction titles a month. Go me! It’s still a bit less than I’d like given my very long WTR list that grows exponentially (especially every November!), but it’s a small victory.

 

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE REVIEWS FOR THE TITLES BELOW

 

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There are a couple of contenders for a favourite nonfiction read this year, but I’m going to select

 The Whale in the Living Room by John Ruthven.

 

 

Not something I’d usually choose, I read it to fulfil the Oceanography category for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge. It’s authored by television producer, John Ruthven, who is in part responsible for the extraordinary footage seen in almost fifty ocean life documentaries, including the groundbreaking series’, Blue Planet and Blue Planet II narrated by David Attenborough. I found Ruthven’s stories to be fascinating, related in a personable tone with flashes of humour. He provides insights not only into the complex logistics of filming, but also the subjects themselves, from cuttlefish to blue whales. Reading the book prompted me to binge on the Blue Planet series with a new appreciation for the superb imagery. A well-written, informative book, I’d recommend it to anyone interested in marine life and ecology, travel, environmental issues, ocean diving, wildlife photography/videography, or television production. The Whale in the Living Room is fascinating reading.

***

The nonfiction title that I feel compelled to recommend is very different

Men Who Hate Women: From Incels to Pickup Artists: The Truth about Extreme Misogyny and How It Affects Us All by Laura Bates.

It’s attracted its fair share of controversy, particularly from the #NotAllMen crowd, but I feel it is an important and informative expose of these types of online groups, how they recruit members, what they believe, and how their rhetoric spills into the real world, inspiring everything from wordless intimidation to mass murders, and even influencing politics. This is a book that will disturb, infuriate, and challenge you, but will hopefully inspire change for the better.

***

As usual, true crime dominated my nonfiction reading, with Written in Bone by Sue Black, Autopsy by Ryan Blumenthal, and The Schoolgirl Strangler by Katherine Kovacic my favourites. I also read three books with quite unique subjects – two memoirs written by strippers, Sunshine by Samantha C Ross and One Last Dance by Emma Jane Holmes; and a biography of a child spy, With My Little Eye by Sandra Hogan.

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I had endeavoured to keep my fiction review schedule for November as clear as possible in anticipation of this event, but I was only semi-successful. I still plan to read as much nonfiction as I can though. I’m hoping to complete my goal for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge, I have five books on that list:

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I also have a handful of nonfiction books I received for review during the past year that I need to cross off my schedule.

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I have no doubt I’ll be adding even more titles to my WTR list over the course of Nonfiction November, and I hope to squeeze a few of those in too.

I’m looking forward to visiting all the participants in Nonfiction November! Feel free to drop your links in the comments.

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #9

 

Welcome to the Monthly Spotlight for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge!

Each month I’m highlighting some of the reviews shared for the challenge in the linky

Don’t forget to link each book you read as you read during the year!

I encourage you to support all participants who have shared what they are reading for the challenge. Give them a like, leave them a comment, share their posts on Facebook, twitter, or instagram #2021ReadNonFic

===================

In September …

{Click on the cover or link to learn more}

[OCEANOGRAPHY]

This month I read The Whale in the Living Room by John Ruthven and found it really fascinating. It’s a well written, informative behind the scenes look at filming ocean  life documentaries, including the groundbreaking series’, Blue Planet and Blue Planet II narrated by David Attenborough.

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[DISEASE]

At Turn The Page, Tina read Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Dr Eric Manheimer, which she notes was the inspiration for the tv series, New Amsterdam. While she felt “Some of the chapters do go on a bit too long…”, her summary states, “Overall I enjoyed reading this book and loved reading about the dedication of the professionals and their various cases.”

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[INVENTIONS]

Described as, ‘A journey through the attempts artists, scientists, and tinkerers have made to imagine and communicate with the otherworldly using various technologies, from cameras to radiowaves.’ Carol of Carols Notebook, would have liked there to have been more to Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal

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[ESSAYS]

Of The Best American Essays 2020 edited by André Aciman, Maphead writes, “My favorites essays in the collection were ones with sharply focused narratives and specific topics in mind, akin to the long form pieces you’d find in Harpers, the New Yorker or Atlantic. While considered essays, they easily could be included in anthologies featuring outstanding writing in the fields of science and nature or crime.”

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[BIOGRAPHY]

Laurel-Rain of Curl Up and Read awarded five stars to The Good Son by Christopher Andersen, which examines the relationship between JFK Jr and his mother Jackie Kennedy Onassis

 

What will you be reading in October?


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In case you missed it…

Join the challenge!

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #1

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #2

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #3

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #4

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #5

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #6

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #7

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #8

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