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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

Nonfiction November – Week 5

November28

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The 2016 edition of Nonfiction November is wrapping up. This week’s link-up is hosted by Lory at The Emerald City Book Review.

Lory asks: Which of this month’s amazing nonfiction books have made it onto my TBR?

 

NEW TO MY TBR LIST THIS MONTH:

 Field Notes: A City Girl’s Search for Heart and Home in Rural Nova Scotia by Sara Jewell

 photo field notes_zps1xgvqn8y.jpgAmazon: “Field Notes includes forty­-one essays on the differences, both subtle and drastic, between city life and country living. From curious neighbours and unpredictable weather to the reality of roadkill and the wonders of wildlife, award­-winning narrative journalist Sara Jewell strikes the perfect balance between honest self-­examination and humorous observation.” Plus, Jewell lives just an hour down the road from me!

This was recommended by Naomi of Consumed by Ink. I already have it reserved at the library.
 

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

 photo bucolic plague_zpsp8iaqz2l.jpgKilmer-Purcell writes with dramatic flair and trenchant wit, uncovering mirthful metaphors as he plows through their daily experiences, meeting neighbors, signing on caretaker Farmer John, herding goats, canning tomatoes, and digging a garden, as he and his partner fix up their 205-year-old house near the hauntingly beautiful town of Sharon Springs, N.Y.

JoAnn of Lakeside Musing recommended this to me. My library ‘holds’ list now also includes this title.
 

When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins

 photo when in french_zpsu7onyj3w.jpgAmazon: “What does it mean to love someone in a second language? Collins wonders, as her relationship with her French boyfriend Olivier continues to grow entirely in English. Are there things she doesn’t understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue? Does ‘I love you’ even mean the same thing as ‘je t’aime’?”

Language, French – this is for me! I first saw this book on Kathy’s blog at Bermuda Onion, and Kate at Parchment Girl also recommended it to me. I’m so looking forward to this!

 

Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner

 photo am i alone here_zpsyfrnor2q.jpgAmazon: “‘Stories, both my own and those I’ve taken to heart, make up whoever it is that I’ve become,’ Peter Orner writes in this collection of essays about reading, writing, and living. Orner reads—and writes—everywhere he finds himself: a hospital cafeteria, a coffee shop in Albania, or a crowded bus in Haiti. The result is ‘a book of unlearned meditations that stumbles into memoir.'”

This was on one of Deb’s lists at ReaderBuzz.
 

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey photo wild snail_zpsy8vvfj50.jpgWhile an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world.

An Adventure in Reading‘s raider girl told me about this one, which is now also on my library ‘reserved’ list.

 
A couple of great recommendations that also made it to my TBR list came in after I wrote this post but this represents one new book for each fabulous week of Nonfiction November 2016! Are you adding any of these to your TBR list?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog

Nonfiction November – Week 4

November21

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This week’s link-up is hosted by Julz at JulzReads. The prompt for this week’s Nonfiction November entry is expertise.
 

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that I’m choosing to be the expert on moving-and-starting-over a new life in the country.
 

1. Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving from a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse by Michael Korda

 photo country matters_zpsx8tokudv.jpg From Amazon: “With his inimitable sense of humor and storytelling talent, New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda brings us this charming, hilarious, self-deprecating memoir of a city couple’s new life in the country.

At once entertaining, canny, and moving, Country Matters does for Dutchess County, New York, what Under the Tuscan Sun did for Tuscany. This witty memoir, replete with Korda’s own line drawings, reads like a novel, as it chronicles the author’s transformation from city slicker to full-time country gentleman, complete with tractors, horses, and a leaking roof.”

 
2. From Stone Orchard: a Collection of Memories by Timothy Findley

 photo stone orchard_zpsudjll6yr.jpgFrom Amazon: “As they say, if only the walls could talk …

The walls have never talked so eloquently or endearingly as they do in From Stone Orchard, a collection of Timothy Findley’s Harrowsmith columns – revised and expanded – plus new writings, all on life at a 19th-century farm just outside of Cannington, Ontario. Here are tales of the farm’s past, both distant and recent: the comic coincidences leading to the naming of the swimming pool, and why Margaret Laurence would never dip her toe in it. Or the night dinner party guests went outside in the twilight, dressed like royalty, to watch a herd of majestic deer pass through the gardens.”

 
3. Heading Home: On Starting a New Life in a Country Place by Lawrence Scanlan
Heading Home by Lawrence Scanlan photo heading home_zpsvgcqeq7x.jpgFrom Amazon: What harassed and harried city-dweller has not dreamed of escaping to a quiet place in the country? With his wife, Scanlan moved from the city of Kingston to a 19th Century frame house on the Napanee River in the village of Camden East, Ontario (pop. 250).

Heading Home plots their transition from city to country, with its challenges and comic twists. The book’s twelve chapters, each devoted to one month, chronicle a year in the life of the village. Scanlan points to a wide range of data and interviews dozens of people who have opted out of city life–all to show that a major demographic shift is underway.

As lyrical as it is practical, Heading Home shows the way to a new life beyond the freeways and high-rises. Heading Home is the perfect book for all who have lived in the city but who yearn to start over–in a country place.

 

I could add to this list, but these three provide enough of a foundation for you to know if the country life is really for you.

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog

Nonfiction November – Week 3

November14

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This week’s link-up is hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves. The prompt for this week’s Nonfiction November entry is to make a pairing of a non-fiction book and a related novel.

The best match I can think of is Beginning French: Lessons from a Stone Farmhouse and the Bruno, Chief of Police series. Both are set in the same area of southern France. But I’ve talked about those books before.

So instead I’m going to present some of my reading from last year and suggest
Alan Turing: The Enigma Man by Nigel Cawthorne photo alan turing_zpssuudhnyh.jpg

 

Alan Turing, the Enigma Man by Nigel Cawthorne which supposedly was the book that the movie The Imitation Game was based on.

It’s not the most interesting lifestory I’ve ever read but it’s not bad, and it’s short.

 

 
Blackout by Connie Willis photo blackout_zpsoll3v2g9.jpg

I’d follow that up with Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. Although these are two separate books, they’re not really, being just one long story that had to be divided up for publishing. Both concern time travel from the year 2060 to WWII England – London, Kent, and Bletchfield Park among other locales.

Willis’ time travel is complex but, in the end, it all makes sense. I did so enjoy both of these books.

 
Do you have interesting nonfiction/fiction pairings for me?

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog

Nonfiction November – Week 2

November7

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This week’s link-up is hosted by Rachel at Hibernator’s Library. The prompt for this week’s Nonfiction November entry asks what I look for in nonfiction reading.

Heading Home by Lawrence Scanlan photo heading home_zpsvgcqeq7x.jpg
More than anything, I want to learn from NF. I want to investigate ideas or times or places that I’m not familiar with. And I tell myself I’m particularly interested in anything to do with Canada, some things France, history, country living (especially moving to the country), or things bibliophilic. But what I’ve actually read over the last ten years leans toward food and memoirs. Oops!

 

I know I’m not big into how-to or self-help or business and I want my nonfiction to be narrative. Occasionally, I’ll work hard to take in a topic (and feel better for it) but generally I’d like to skip textbook or reference style NF.

For some reason, although the cover doesn’t seem as important to me as it does with the novels I read, the title does. And oddly, sub-titles have huge appeal for me.

The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik photo table comes first_zps0w1raiv8.jpgSo books like Lawrence Scanlan’s Heading Home: On Starting a New Life in a Country Place (Canadian, country, subtitle) or Adam Gopnik’s The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food (France, food, subtitle!) have huge appeal.

For the record, I’ve read Heading Home more than once and love it, and since I’ve greatly enjoyed at least two of Gopnik’s other NF books (Paris to the Moon and Winter: 5 Windows on the Season) I’m putting The Table Comes First at the top of my TBR list – in fact, I just reserved it at the library.
 

What about you? What do you look for in your non-fiction reading?

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog

Nonfiction November Week 1

October31

Nonfiction November photo Fall-festival-300x300_zpssui2awry.png

Nonfiction November has arrived and this year I’m going to try to join in.

 

Sheet pan suppers photo sheetpan suppers_zpslz7f7n0x.jpgThis week, we’re all looking back at our year of nonfiction, and for me, that’s pretty sad: my favourite NF books were cookbooks. In fact, the majority of nonfiction I perused this year was about food: cooking it (Sheet Pan Suppers, The Fibromyalgia Cookbook, One Pot French, Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Salad in a Jar, Fermented Vegetables), avoiding it (Minimize Me: 10 Diets to Loce 25 Pounds in 50 Days, Eat it Later: Mastering Self-Control and the Slimming Power of Postponement), or digesting it (Gut: the Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ).

 

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Out of the handful of non-cookbooks I read, I most enjoyed The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose.

Rose chose a shelf of (ironically) fiction books in her library and read each of them, reporting on her progress, the history behind the books, and other literary tidbits.

 

 

Beginning French by Les Americains Neumeier photo beginning french_zpsikc9nfv1.jpg

 

However, the book I recommended the most was a short memoir about buying a old farmhouse in southern France and living there part of each year. Beginning French: Lessons from a Stone Farmhouse by Les Americains is charming and includes mouth-watering recipes. (There we go with food again.)

 

 

Although I read two other memoirs (Wildflower by Drew Barrymore and Paris Nights) and a microhistory (Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Secrets of the Franklin Expedition), I missed reading history or biographies that include history. I’m looking forward to getting some great ideas in that area this month from the other participants in Non-Fiction November.

Bring it on!

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog

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