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It's the Island Life | Weekly Snapshot

By the time this post is published, we will all be back home, but right this moment, as I type this up, we are enjoying our last day at Daufuskie, a secluded island near Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, GA. We were lucky to score a cottage (without having to break the bank) with front-row access to the beach, something that has always been on my bucket list and that I was thrilled to cross off.  This week has been very refreshing and just what I needed - a getaway, a break from it all, a retreat with family with no thoughts of work, to-do lists, and chores getting in the way. The island sure runs on its own time. The streetlights aren't turned ON at night to avoid attracting turtles too far from their ideal nesting place. There's the alligator crossing time at night when they go from pond to pond visiting friends (and hence tourists are advised to stay home when it's dark). There are very few cars - instead the preferred mode of transportation is via golf carts, which can go o

This Year in Nonfiction | Nonfiction November

November means Nonfiction November! It's one of the few blogging events I follow every year and join if I can. Every year by the end of November, both my TBR and Feedly have exploded and this year is likely going to be no different. I probably don't read as many nonfiction books as I would like to but I find that I've enjoyed almost every nonfiction book I read. For this week, Shelf Aware is hosting the event and here's the prompt - 

Take 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?

By current count, I've read almost 20 books this year that fall into the nonfiction category. They've been a mix of graphic memoirs, essay collections, and historical nonfiction. Over the years, I find that I look for graphic memoirs a lot more than any other category. Something about seeing history and life through colorful illustrated pages makes things pop out way more that plain text. Yet another category of books I at least browse a lot, if not actually finish, is self-improvement. I'm constantly on the lookout for productivity and improvement techniques that I often pick a title, read couple of chapters maybe more, look for the gist of the book, and then be done.

I want to talk about two nonfiction books I've loved from this year. They're both, unsurprisingly, graphic memoirs, and very readable ones too. 

Most Recommended Nonfiction Read of the Year

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui is the author's account of her parents' upbringing and eventual escape from Vietnam during the years of and leading to the Vietnam War. As if the subject wasn't hard enough to read about, the author's parents and their relationships are also irrevocably impacted by their experiences in Vietnam. Like most people, I do find it difficult to read war memoirs - they typically show the worst of humans and also their most vulnerable states. But they also show them at their strongest and most resilient. The Best We Could Do does a great job of demonstrating all that. What I loved most about it though was that we end the book in the same time and phase as where it started but this time with so much more understanding of Thi and her family.

Favorite Nonfiction Read of the Year

One of my favorite books (and also series) from this year is John Lewis' March trilogy. I've been writing my review for months and have finally decided that it may never happen. It's not an easy book (or rather books) to review. It is a must-read, period. There really is no need to say more. This book is even more relevant during this US Election year. The March trilogy spans from Lewis' initiation into the Civil Rights movement, all the way up to the various marches in Alabama. Lewis uses the 2008 Presidential Inauguration as the anchoring event in this book - a moment decades in the making and which is a moment of huge celebration after years of fighting for human rights for African Americans. However, reading this book in 2020, after four years of President Trump and Black Lives Matter protests, I was struck by how much has still not changed. We still see the same fight for human rights, civil rights, and equality continuing to this day. 

Now it's your turn - what's your favorite nonfiction read of this year?