Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Non-Fiction Five Challenge completed

I tend not to read a lot of non-fiction, although I usually end up enjoying it when I do, so the Non-Fiction Five Challenge was a great little motivator for me, both last year and again this year. The goal was to read 5 books and I ended up reading 6 non-fiction books over the last 5 months, 3 of which were from my original list of possibilites.

I really enjoyed all of the books I read this year. As usual, some of my reading had a Japanese focus, from the account of life at one of the Japanese internment camps in the US during WWII, to learning about the hikikomori and some of the problems facing modern Japanese society, and to admiring the beauty and tradition of becoming a geisha in Kyoto. I also was moved to read a different account of the Holocaust, and about the terrible genocide taking place in Darfur. And I even had a little spiritual training as I learned how a British woman became a celebrated practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. So all in all, I think it was a pretty successful challenge!

Books completed:
(click on the title to read my review)
Farewell to Manzanar - Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston
Shutting Out the Sun - Michael Zielenziger
Maus I & II - Art Spiegelman
Cave in the Snow - Vicki MacKenzie
A Geisha's Journey - Komomo (& Naoyuki Ogino)
The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur - Daoud Hari (with Dennis Michael Burke & Megan M. McKenna)

Best book(s) I read for the challenge?
They were all very good but I think Maus I & II and The Translator would come out on top. They were both such moving stories and I predict the images from them will stay with me for a long time.

Book(s) I could have done without?
None. They were all interesting and I'm glad to have read them.

Any new authors? Will I read them again?
They were all new to me! A couple had never published before so in that case it's not very surprising. They have all made me want to read more on their respective topics, but I would certainly consider reading something else in the future by any of these authors as well.

Best thing about the challenge? What did I learn?
That even though I usually read fiction, I do enjoy reading non-fiction when I get around to it. (Yup, I just looked and I said something very similar last year!) I really should try to read more of it on my own.
Thanks so much for hosting again Joy!


  1. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    BTW, I took the day off of the film festival today and did a bit of catch up on my blog. I nominated you for an award.

  2. Like you I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I've been interested in reading The Translator.

    I just read the second haiku you left in the comments over at the Japanese Literature Challenge blog. I really like it! A lot!

  3. On annother subject,

    Ilove your header and the orange theme :}Nice pumkin!

  4. Woo Hoo, Tanabata! Congratulations on finishing the challenge! Isn't that funny - we all seem to really enjoy our non-fiction books, but don't take the time to read them outside of challenges (or any other type of nudge).

  5. Congrats on completing your challenge! I really want to read The Translator - that's high on my list.

    I had wanted to participate in this challenge but didn't quite get around to it - there's always next year :)

  6. Teddy Rose- Thank you! :)
    I hope you've been able to see some great films!

    Terri B.- LOL. Glad you liked it!
    And The Translator is quite slim so even though it's a difficult topic, it's a fairly quick read. Definitely worth reading.

    Madeleine- Thanks. I decided it was time for something more seasonal. :)

    Joy- Well thanks for being the nudge to encourage me to read some NF again this year. :)

    Iliana- The Translator is definitely a worthwhile read.
    And yes, too many challenges.. not enough time! ;)


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