Banner on purple background: Nonfiction November, Notes in the Margin. Photo of stack of books with the following titles: Hidden Valley Road, Words Are My Matter, The Self Delusion, The Power of Regret, Women in White Coats, The Doctors Blackwell, A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise

This Year I’m Doing Nonfiction November


I had all sorts of good intentions to read more nonfiction during 2022, but here it is November and, according to my spreadsheet, I’ve read exactly one nonfiction work all year (a memoir that wasn’t very good and that I therefore didn’t review). 

I like alliteration and have heard of Nonfiction November, so I decided this should be the year that I jump in. I’m not thinking of this particularly as a reading challenge meme, but rather as an entry point for a project I’m looking into. However, I don’t want to appear to be co-opting a term that other writers, readers, and bloggers have worked hard to develop and promote. From a quick internet search I’ve found a couple of sources for Nonfiction November coverage whose lead I’ll be following:

Nonfiction November on Twitter

  • @NonficNovember
  • #NonfictionNovember

This group is headed by freelance book reviewer Olive Fellows @abookolive , who also presents on YouTube. If you follow this account on Twitter, you’ll find information about how to participate on other social platforms.

Nonfiction November from Doing Dewey

  • #NonFicNov

Doing Dewey is a book blog, the kind of internet writing and discussion I’m most comfortable with.

fancy scroll

I don’t know how closely I’ll follow either of these two accounts, but I’m going to use the graphic prompts from Doing Dewey to get started here.

Infographic for Your Year in Nonfiction: Tale a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions: 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?

I’ve already told you how dismal my year in nonfiction has been. Here are some goals (hopes, really) for Nonfiction November:

  • to catch up on work about life story writing published since I finished my dissertation in 2011
  • to read a couple of recent memoirs (Finding Me by Viola Davis and Scenes From My Life by Michael Kenneth Williams)

Study Notes

Get Ready for Nonfiction November! Here’s How to Celebrate

Emily Martin’s post on BookRiot is a good place to start. She writes about all the ways to celebrate Nonfiction November. She has all the info on how to participate on all major social platforms plus links to all kinds of reading lists if you’re looking for a particular kind of nonfiction (e.g., graphic nonfiction, YA nonfiction, memoirs, audiobooks, even “nonfiction recommendations based on your favorite novels.”

30 of the Best Narrative Nonfiction Books

Here’s a list from BookBub.

Nonfiction November 2022

From Goodreads.

Welcome to National Non-Fiction November

From the Federation of Children’s Book Groups in the U.K.

The 100 best nonfiction books of all time: the full list

From the Guardian.

50 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

From Reader’s Digest.

Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Best Non-Fiction Books

Time’s list, presented by Goodreads.

How About You?

Are you participating in Nonfiction November? If you are, I’d love to follow along with you. Let me know in the comments.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

12 thoughts on “This Year I’m Doing Nonfiction November”

  1. I don’t read much non fiction either – just three so far this year. I looked at that Reader’s Digest list that you linked to. Surprised that Educated by Tara Westover isn’t included – it’s one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read.
    The other thing that struck me about that list – it’s very heavily skewed to US interests. Not many other countries get a look in

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      You’re right. I even hesitated about whether to include the Reader’s Digest link at all. I’ve never gotten over the fact that it used to (does it still?) publish “condensed versions” of novels–utter heresy in my book>

  2. I’ve participated in #NonFicNov for several years now, it’s one of my favourite book blogger community events. If you want some motivation to read more nonfiction I host an annual Nonfiction Reader Challenge, signs up for 2023 will be posted soon.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks for the heads up, ShelleyRae. It IS the season for thinking about next year’s reading plans.

  3. Good luck! I’m participating in Nonfiction November, but I’ll probably only read 2 books. They’re both massive history books and more academic than the stuff I normally read. I’m slowly slogging through them.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks, AJ. Even though I like nonfiction, I often avoid books that look too dry or academic. They can be a big slog.

  4. This is almost exactly how I started with Nonfiction! I saw the Nonfiction November post, participated as much as possible (which wasn’t a lot the first year). Each year has gotten better and better. I hope you continue with NFN!

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks for the encouragement, Molly. I did get sidetracked at the beginning of the month by the Twitter controversy, but I have read a couple of memoirs that I was interested in.

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