Nonfiction November

Hello!  Just found out that it is Nonfiction November. Thank you Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness and Lu of Regular Rumination!

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This week’s question is about our favorite nonfiction reads. The first book that comes to my mind is Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. No one who knows me and my reading habits will be surprised. Kidder is a big favorite of mine. And after you read Mountains Beyond Mountains, you will understand why.

But this is not the only book of his that I think is terrific. It’s just that it’s been so long since I read the one that earned him a Pulitzer Prize, The Soul of New Machine, that I probably need to read it again. It was startling good, that’s what I remember. It certainly was the first book (nonfiction, I mean) that I recalled reading and loving. Without checking if I’m right, it’s about the start of the computer industry, you know, the late 70s. (I am pretty sure I read it 25 years ago.) But it was the author that captured my attention and so I went on to read House.

What I remember about House was that it was fun. And a bit crazy. House is about what happens what a young couple hires an architect to design their dream home and the couple and the architect hire a builder to build it. They all have to get along and try to interpret what  the others bring to the project. The hopes, the frustration, miscommunications, the reality versus the dream, the desire with the practical, etc. Throw Mr. Kidder in the mix and wonder at his talent for capturing and writing about it. I really need to reread this one.

I’m collecting his books; I have a few more to go. I highly recommend Mountains Beyond Mountains. Highly readable, educational, and emotionally moving.

 mbmbytk tsoanmbytk housebytk

These book covers will click over to…

Looking forward to seeing everyone’s favorite nonfic recommendations!


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27 thoughts on “Nonfiction November

  1. I think I remember you mentioning Kidder before but I haven’t read anything by him and am not familiar at all. I’ll take your word for it, though!! Wish I could join in but I’m doing #Diversiverse instead and with my book club that’s about all I can manage. Love non-fiction and haven’t read any in a while (besides the Stiff audio).

    1. And I really must get to Mary Roach one of these days. I just couldn’t get into the Mars one – not sure if it was mood or other stuff. I did dip into Bonk while subbing one day but wasn’t allowed to bring the book home with me and haven’t yet gotten myself to acquire it.

  2. People have been recommending Kidder to me for years because I enjoy nonfiction. Last month I FINALLY read my first of his books, Among Schoolchildren, it was really interesting. I’m absolutely going to read more of his work.

  3. I read The Soul of a New Machine when Ron had just started working in IT, and found it very revealing. Mountains Beyond Mountains, which I thought was better written, was the common book for one of the colleges I taught at, and it made a deep impression on those of us who read it.

  4. I loved The Soul of a New Machine when I was a baby computer programmer in the early-1980s. I read House, too, but lost track of Kidder after that. I recently had Good Prose checked out but I had to send it back to the library because someone else wanted to read it. Putting Mountains on my TBR!

  5. I’ve had Mountains Beyond Mountains in my TBR stack for years. I’ll definitely get to it soon now! And I’ll write my coming week-end post with my non-fiction recommendations.

  6. Tracy MY HERO MY LOVE Kidder. The first book I read by him was House, then Among Schoolchildren. Then I read Old Friends. Mountains Beyond Mountains and Strength In What Remains, OMG. I haven’t read Home Town or his first book, The Road to Yuba City, but I want to very much!

  7. I have not read any of Tracy Kidder’s books, but Kim mentioned him as a favorite too. Two of my favorite readers? Obviously Kidder is going to the top of the TBR!

  8. I gave Mr Litlove ‘House’ for Christmas last year! He did enjoy it, but struggled a bit with the whole premise of narrative nonfiction (that it reads like a novel but is an account of real events). I’d like to read Tracy Kidder too, but probably one of the other ones you mention. There’s so much wonderful non-fiction out there and I’m such a fan I don’t know where to start. But I love Janet Malcolm’s biography of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, The Silent Woman. I love Vivien Gornick’s memoir of her mother, Fierce Attachments, and I adore Katherine Swift’s glorious account of building a garden, The Morville Hours. So many more I could mention!

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