Nonfiction November: New to my TBR

It’s an embarrassment of riches, the Nonfiction November experience.  
My TBR just grew by a substantial percentage.  
This is not a complaint. 
So, as we finish out this month of nonfiction splendor, here’s this week’s topic, brought to us to Lory of The Emerald City Book Review:
New to My TBR:
It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have
made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who
posted about that book!
Here are some of my new TBR highlights, with thanks to each blogger who made thoughtful personal recommendations and who wrote such compelling reviews that I’m gonna have to read these books.
Recommended because I like police memoirs…
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sherri Fink
A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard
Recommended because I adore airplane books…
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Suggested to me by Citizen Reader
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Suggested to me by Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves

Supreme Court
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
Reviewed by JoAnn of Lakeside Musing, who created a great Supreme Court book list
Amazing Women
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot LEe Shetterly
Reviewed by Katie of Doing Dewey, who made this seriously beautiful display of books about remarkable women 
So, in the wake of Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks for all of these book bloggers and this wonderful community. 
Special thanks to our hosts:

What exciting books are new additions to your TBR?

Nonfiction November: Books about airplanes

Nonfiction November is my new favorite holiday.
This week, we’re hosted by Julie of JulzReads, who gives us this
Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert
Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more
books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert),
you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have
been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books
on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
I seriously love this “Be the Expert” assignment, because it lets
us fly our freak flags. And heaven knows we’ve got ’em. 
I had to decide among my obsessions: Presidents? Space? True
tragedy? The modern West?
It was a dilemma, guys.
But in the end, I went with: Aviation.  [happy sigh]
I’ve been reading about airplanes for years, and I love
airplane books
Here are two of my shelves.

And here’s me flying one of those puppies. 

Today we’re gonna look at the aviation books I’ve read in the past
several years and blogged about. 
We’ll start with…
The memoirs
I love a good aviation memoir, especially when the pilot/author
keeps it real. Here we’ve got two fine examples, one from a fighter pilot and
one from an airline pilot.

And here are two bonus memoirs, because I can’t resist. These
books don’t have blog posts about them, but they’re a couple of my favorites
from years past.
The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh
(3 words: lyrical, modest, triumphant)
The Fun of It by Amelia Earhart
(3 words: sprightly, forthright, conversational)
Next up: a wonderful book by a great nonfiction author, about one
of those days when things went wrong… 

Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson by William Langewiesche

If you’re more into history, check out these books about two guys with the Wright Stuff.
My favorite Wright brothers biography is this one:
For a different approach (ha! pilot pun!) give this one a whirl…

All of these books just make me happy. 
topic do you keep reading about, over and over again?

BEA book blogger reunion!

Remember how I met those amazing bloggers at BEA? 
Back in May, we did that thing where we said, “We’ll have to get together someday soon!” 
And we actually did.
Marisa, Julie, me, and Katie, as photographed by Shortman of the JulzReads universe
And it was fantastic, because these ladies are seriously accomplished.
Julie of JulzReads invited us to her lovely home, a place that is nothing short of amazing, because:
  1. Her house is gorgeously decorated, and she’s only lived there since May. (I’ve been in my house for 19 years, and guess what? It’s not decorated.)
  2. Not only is her house beautiful, but it’s bookish as all heck. She has a for-real library with windows that look out into the treetops, and a cozy reading room with a fireplace, and she even has a Harry Potter themed bathroom. I’m not even kidding.
Then we were talking with Marisa of The Daily Dosage about her new job, which she has been gearing up for during the past year. And she has one of those jobs that makes other work seem really easy, so we were all pretty much in awe of her.
And then it came to light that Katie of Words with Worms not only gardens like a fiend (the woman’s flowers are ridiculously beautiful), but she also decorates 4 (yes, I said 4) Christmas trees at her house every year. And then she rapped some Hamilton and brought down the house.
I was clearly out of my league (and also missed nearly every pop culture reference), but they were kind and pretended not to notice. 
We had a fantastically bookish and blogish conversation, and everyone’s TBR grew (I added Burial Rites and Forty Rooms and… oh my gosh, I thought that was it, but there’s more… Also: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe). 
And then: book geeks party game! We each got to choose a book for Julie to read from her TBR shelves. (I prescribed The Lonely Polygamist.) 
And then Julie and I raved so much about A Gentleman in Moscow that Katie and Marisa said they’d read it (maybe so we’d hush). 
It was a delightful get-together. 
So, dear readers… Who are the people in your real-life world who talk books with you? 

Raise a glass to fREADom

Pretty sure Lin-Manuel Miranda would forgive this…

Recently I woke with altered lyrics running through my mind:

“Raise a glass to fREADom
Something they can never take away”

…cuz it’s Banned Books Week, and that always gets me feeling grateful for our freedoms, and also concerned that some people wish to abridge the freedom of others. 

So… if you feel like exercising your freedom to read, here’s a list from the ALA of frequently challenged books. And then there’s the list of banned & challenged classics

See some favorites there? Yeah, me, too.  

What’s your favorite banned or challenged book?


In a shocking turn of events, I Bingo’d early this year!
I’ve been reading up a storm (it’s been heavenly), so maybe that’s enough to do it. 
And the weird thing was that Disaster was my last category to complete, despite the fact that I’m all about the disaster books
Here’re the books I read:
A story that takes you on a thrilling journey
Frost on My Moustache by Tim Moore

A life story in the person’s own words

Beach Read
Easy escapism

A Book Abandoned  
A book you didn’t finish. This is your free square.
Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Children’s Classic
A time-honored book written for young readers

Compelling Review
When you see an enticing blurb on a book jacket or an intriguing comment on GoodReads… this qualifies as a Compelling Review.

When things go wrong — a nervous breakdown or a natural catastrophe or anything in between.
The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

Embarrassed to Admit…
Embarrassed to admit in public that I read this. Or, embarrassed to admit I didn’t read it until now.

Endorsed by an Author
A book recommended by an author you recognize. Recommendation could appear in a review, a blurb, or an interview.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (recommended by Adriana Trigiani)

Everyone’s Reading It
You’ve heard about it, you’ve seen it, it won’t go away–so read it, already.

A book where food is a key ingredient

A book that evokes a historical period or event

Improve Your Life
Self-help, psychology, religion, or how-to. Any book that helps you pursue happiness.

Written by a journalist, or a narrative written in a journalistic style

Law and Order
Mystery, true crime, a lawyer’s memoir, or a book about the Supreme Court. Any book about the making, breaking, or enforcement of the law.
Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt


A book where music matters
It’s a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson

National Book Award
A winner or a nominee, in any category
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Older Than My Mom
A book published before my mom was born
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Presidential election year! A book about a U.S. President or a presidential election, or a book a President has read

A book about espionage or simply a nosy neighbor
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Suburban Ennui
Is that all there is?
The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak

Title Attraction
You love the title of the book.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Dysfunctional families, intertwining storylines, surprising plots, or psychological suspense. Or just a book about knots.
Lexicon by Max Barry

Ugly Cover
Despite its cover, you want to read it, anyway.
The Past by Tessa Hadley
So, my fellow Bingo folks… Any categories that have you stumped? I’d like nothing more than to deal you some books!

My Top 5 Favorite Bookish Podcasts

A short while back, I wrote about my top 5 favorite podcasts, most of which are not particularly bookish. 
(I know: weird.)
But goodness knows I listen to lots of the bookish stuff, too.
Here are my favorite bookish podcasts…

What Should I Read Next?
Oh, my goodness. Anne Bogel is so pleasant and kind and knowledgeable, I wish I were her. She invites a guest for each episode, asks them to tell her 3 books they love, 1 book they hated, and what they’re in the mood to read now. Then she prescribes 3 books for them. I always play along at home, and think of which books I’d suggest. This is pure comfort listening, guys.

Get Booked
Jenn & Amanda are smart & engaging & they love books. Lots of enthusiasm here.

Book Club Appetizer
A great podcast that focuses on a particular book that’s wildly discussable. Sometimes there are spoilers, so if that’s a thing for you, read the book first.

PW Radio
There are some amazing author interviews on this podcast. I cherry-pick the episodes that feature authors I love. (Mary Roach! Nathaniel Philbrick!)

Books on the Nightstand
For years (and I mean years — this puppy ran for 8 full years), this was my bookish podcast of choice. And then it ran its course, and it wrapped earlier this year. Thanks, Michael and Ann, for some good years of bookish conversation. 
I’m aching to know… What are your favorite bookish podcasts?

My top 5 favorite podcasts

So here’s the weird thing about me & podcasts.
While it would be predictable that my favorites would relate to books… they actually don’t.   
So today we’re gonna look at my top 5 favorite podcasts… the ones that I always choose first. Every single time I go for a run, one of these is in my ear at least part of the time.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home and Better Than Before, co-hosts this podcast with her sister. I love everything about it: their rapport, the subject matter, their regular segments (demerit & gold star).

Darren Rowse, you’re making me a better blogger! (I have miles yet to go, but this guy is seriously informative and helpful and inspiring.)

Amy Porterfield is an online entrepreneur, and her podcast is designed for others in that field. And even though that’s totally not me, I find her enjoyable to listen to. Also, she’s friendly and encouraging, and I like that, too.

A podcast custom-made for me? This is it. Presented by a Washington Post reporter, and featuring lots of heavy hitters in the presidential biography world, each episode describes one U.S. President and his times.

Those Brian Lamb C-SPAN author interviews? They’re available as a podcast. Often he interviews authors of nonfiction books about politics and history, and those are usually my favorite episodes. 
So that rounds out my top 5. Stay tuned for future posts about the bookish podcasts, the lifelong learning podcasts…   
What I’m saying is: I got lots more to say about podcasts. 

What are the podcasts you can’t get enough of?

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Weeding My Books

I just finished KonMari-ing my house, according to the precepts of Marie Kondo. 
I full-on drank the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Kool-Aid, and I’m happier and lighter and freer for it.
Don’t worry, little ones. You’re not going anywhere.
I kept skipping the part about purging the books.
“I’ll get to it later,” I said.
“I’ll save that for last!” I said.
And finally, this is what I said: “Forget that.”
It’s not because I’m a book hoarder who’s out of control. I occasionally do a sweep through my shelves, land upon the books I know I’m never gonna read, or never gonna read again — the ones that I won’t miss if they’re gone.
And I haul those puppies off to donate to the library.
And then I feel a little bit happier when I look at my shelves, because all of the remaining books have been re-selected anew.
But this idea of pulling all my books off the shelves, picking each one up off the floor, and asking myself whether it sparks joy…  I ain’t doin’ it.
Here’s why:
I get that joy feeling (or not), simply by looking at each book on the shelf. Lots of them — most of them! — spark joy when I merely look at them. End of story.
That ugly green statistics textbook from college? Keeping it. It still sparks joy. (I know: not normal. But I’m ownin’ it: that statistics book makes me intensely happy.)
That single-volume encyclopedia of the Civil War? Keeping it. It still sparks joy. (My Civil War obsession years were delightful, and I stinkin’ love that book.)
My full set of Trixie Belden mysteries? Keeping them. They still spark joy. (I love having them on my shelves, and I’d be sad if they were gone.)
So I’m continuing with my occasional collection weeding ways.
And I’m not alone. Summer Brennan wrote about this phenomenon on Literary Hub. She says, “It’s a useful exercise to clear the cobwebs from one’s bookshelves once in a while, but don’t let anyone talk you into getting rid of your books if you don’t want to, read or unread.”
And I say, Amen. 
So… what’s your take on weeding your shelves?

The push-pull of the classics

“Classic” A book which people praise and don’t read. 
                                                   — Mark Twain

I wouldn’t say I have a love / hate thing with the classics (it’s really not that dramatic), but we could probably call it an aversion / affection thing. 
I confess that I can’t recall the last time I read a classic without some provocation: book club, book bingo, genre study.
Something in me says, “That book… That book is gonna be work.”
And sometimes it is.
But almost always, it’s worth it.
Still, when I saw this completely luscious display of the Word Cloud Classics at Book Expo, I had the usual mixed response: total book lust (they’re such beautiful books!) blended with “Please don’t make me read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!”

And then I feel like a very bad person.
People, here’s the harsh truth of the matter: I’m a lazy reader.
But I’m also all about the self-improvement.  
So when one of the book club ladies suggests we read a classic, I stop myself from doing the knee-jerk groan, and I say, “I’ve also wanted to read that.”
Meaning: I wish it were over, but soon it will be, and then I’ll be enriched by the experience and everyone’ll be happy.

But first: a little bit of inward cringing, because… That book is gonna be work.

Reader confessions

Since we’re among friends here, I’m gonna tell you some things I normally wouldn’t cop to.
Yep, we’re talking shameful, embarrassing reader confessions here today. 
These are things I actually do. (They’re actually things I always do.)
  • I look at the photo sections of nonfiction books before I actually start reading.
    • If there are no photos, I do the severe Unruly internal frown. (Nonfiction books: ya gotta have photos!)
  • I totally judge books by their covers.
  •  I check out a spare audiobook that I know I won’t get to for a while, because what if I don’t like the one I’m listening to first?   [seriously: almost twitching at the thought]
  • I hardly ever buy books for myself, because: libraries!
  • I don’t like receiving books as gifts, because I’m hella picky about what I read.  

So, yeah. Some of that stuff ain’t pretty. 

Anyone else got any bookish weirdness you wanna share on the interwebs?