SHELF AWARE PODCAST
Nonfiction November Book Bloggers Banter About Books – Roundtable Session
“So how do you know Kim?” The one where we get to talk about books
I was so excited to get to know the other ladies from Nonfiction November! This is THE episode to listen to if you like books, talking about books, finding book-related blogs to follow, want to know if hoarding books really is considered a problem, and the best places to find out upcoming books. Join me and my co-hosts for Nonfiction November, Julie from Julzreads.com, Katie from doingdeweydecimal.com, and Rennie from whatsnonfiction.com while we talk about how Nonfiction November was started (shout-out to the OG, Kim at sophisticateddorkiness.com) and a few “controversial” subjects (well, for readers).
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE
Leann H 0:16
Welcome to Shelf Aware Books podcast! Today I am super excited to be speaking to my co-hosts of Nonfiction November. Today we have Katie at Doing Dewey https://doingdeweydecimal.com , Rennie at What’s Nonfiction https://whatsnonfiction.com/, and Julie at Julzs Reads https://julzreads.com.
Welcome everyone! And I would love to have each of you introduce yourselves to the audience. Katie, why don’t we start with you?
Katie @Doing Dewey 1:04
Thanks, Leanne. I’m Katie and I blog at doing Dewey decimal.com. I’ve been blogging for about 10 years. And while I read pretty eclectically my first love is definitely nonfiction. I read on pretty much any topic if I can get some good narrative nonfiction that’s telling an interesting story about it.
Julie @JulzReads 1:23
Great, thanks, Julie. Hey, it’s Julie from Julz Reads . I am also a very eclectic reader. But past years, I found that nonfiction is about 30% of what I read and I love to talk about it, especially history.
Leann H 1:40
Great, thanks! Rennie?.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 1:42
I’m ready from what’s nonfiction.com and I been blogging for I guess, four years, and I’ve been reading only nonfiction for about 10 years. So like Katie, I really like narrative nonfiction that kind of helped me to transition from being a fiction reader to only nonfiction.
Leann H 2:05
Thanks. And for those of you tuning in the first time, I’m Leann Harris, I blog at shelf aware, I have been probably book blogging for maybe a year or two. But I have been on Instagram for four years now or hashtag bookstagram been reading nonfiction since before I was allowed to check out the nonfiction books from the adult section library, and also a fiction reader if you have time travel or sci fi elements in there. So you get me in there a little bit. But it’s been a while and I specifically read self help psychology, social science based books. So my name my niche is not as eclectic. So I am very interested in learning about the history of Nonfiction November.
Julie @JulzReads 2:59
Nonfiction November started back in 2013, with Kim at sophisticated dorkiness and Leslie at regular rumination. Katie, you joined in 2015 as a co host, and I jumped on the bandwagon in 2016. Although I’d been participating since inception, Ronnie, you joined the team in 2018. And Leanne hopped on board in 2019. So we’ve been doing this together coordinating the four of us for two years, but we’ve all kind of had our hands in the pot for several so it’s been fun getting to know these wonderful women and we we love doing it and we love talking about it.
Katie What was it like to start out Nonfiction November book blogging?
Katie @Doing Dewey 3:47
Um, I mean, I guess it’s always been one of my favorite blogging happenings. You know, I love nonfiction a lot. And I do feel like sometimes it gets a little less attention, you know, broadly among blogs than fiction does. And so, you know, at one Kim was one of the first bloggers that I followed. And so I really admired her blog a lot. And so it just, it was really fun to be able to get in on, you know, being part of hosting this event that I enjoy so much.
Julie @JulzReads 4:13
I have a fascinating tidbit about our originator Kim, back in 2011. I believe it was at BA in New York City. We had book blogger conference, she won the Best nonfiction blog award amongst book bloggers that attended that conference.
Oh, wow. did not know that. Yeah,
Julie @JulzReads 4:38
that was the first time I ever so that was pretty cool.
Rennie, how did you get in on this?
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 4:44
Actually, Katie emailed me and asked me if I wanted to host I think when there was an opening for someone, and I was so glad that she did because I had been booked blogging I guess like two years or so at that point. But I really wasn’t that good at the like social interactive aspects of it. Like even when I started the blog, I was like, I just want to write a little bit and talk about nonfiction because like you said, it doesn’t get that much attention, especially in blogging.
But I just really didn’t know how to like interact with people or how it worked. And it just seemed like there was like, so much so many events and all this kind of stuff. But I had seen the Nonfiction November event and I think maybe done like one post for it one year. But she Katie and I had kind of been like, I guess, like chatting back and forth. And like commenting on each other’s blogs. Like I really had a lot in common with her, I thought reading wise. And yeah, so she asked me to join and I was so thrilled. That’s great.
Katie @Doing Dewey 5:48
Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed reading Ronnie’s blog. And I’m always, I’m always amazed by how quickly you get to the latest new releases like anything, pretty much any nonfiction that’s on my radar, I can count on a review eventually popping up on your blog. And so that’s, I’ve really enjoyed reading it. I can’t believe you’ve only been doing this for a few years.
Julie @JulzReads 6:05
She’s so thorough.
Katie @Doing Dewey 6:09
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 6:10
I and I hate to say it, but part of that was like being under employed for a long time. While I was like building my business, and so it kind of Yeah, I mean, I would love to say it’s something else. Like I’m so motivated, but it was actually that I had the time. And so I wanted to use it for something that I was really passionate about doing. So I was lucky for that it’s definitely suffered this past year. But yeah, we do are we
Julie @JulzReads 6:35
We very much appreciate how comprehensive you are. You provide all those awesome quotes.mean, your style is just it’s, it’s enviable.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 6:45
Oh my gosh, thank you. I was a journalist for a for a newspaper here in Vienna, or when I was in Vienna, and yeah, I did some book reviews then and kind of learned what was Yeah, just that maybe a better way to like incorporate the the author’s own words to make your point and what was important, and I really enjoyed doing that. So I tried to take what I learned from it to, to writing for the blog to see
Julie @JulzReads 7:11
journalism was like the least favorite English major class I took, I hated it, I really
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 7:19
I never took it. I mean, I was also an English major, but in writing, and I was I could not have been less interested in journalism. So it’s funny, I guess the path that life puts you on, I got a job there. And I was completely unqualified for it. So I had to just like, show that I could write at least there was nothing else I had going for me.
So do all the work in the book industry?
Julie @JulzReads 7:43
I don’t, no.
Katie @Doing Dewey 7:45
No, I it sounds like I might be the most oddball of the group. It sounds like you are you are also an English major.
Julie @JulzReads 7:51
I was a with a writing concentration because I decided I didn’t want to be a teacher.
Katie @Doing Dewey 7:56
Mm hmm. Yeah, I’m actually in the sciences. So my undergrad degrees are in computer science and biotech. And so, you know, sometimes that informs what I write about books on subjects. But for the most part, I think I’m I’ve kind of inherited my love of, of books and writing book reviews from my mom, who is also an English major, and then homeschooled us for years.
Julie @JulzReads 8:19
I’m a cross between Katie and Rennie. I work in it by day, and I was a German language major in college, which that didn’t work out. And so doing the the book reviews and everything like that, that’s been eye opening experience in trying to parse out what I think about a book other than I loved it actually found that to be a challenge at the beginning to say something meaningful that would connect with someone who hasn’t read the book, other than me just gushing about the book.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 8:48
Yeah, for sure. I think that it’s actually hardest to write about the books that I love with like, very, very few drawbacks. Because of course, you don’t want to write that just I loved it. It’s so great. That doesn’t mean anything to somebody who hasn’t read it. And when there is some kind of negative I find it’s like much easier to be constructive about it. And when I love it, sometimes I’m at a total loss.
Katie @Doing Dewey 9:12
Yeah, sometimes my feeling is if I could tell you exactly why this was so good. I would also be a best selling author. You know, sometimes you can kind of see the strings that are being pulled that makes something work, but sometimes the best I can do is try to be specific about why I loved it. But sometimes that’s that’s still as general as the writing was wonderful, right? And it’s real hard to, to break it down
Julie @JulzReads 9:36
or being redundant in your same old catchphrases. Like it was so compelling, but then you have to say because
Katie @Doing Dewey 9:45
thoughtful is mine, I use that I pull that word out for everything that I really love. It’s like it really made me think and so I do. Sometimes I’ll even do a Ctrl F for specific phrases within a within a file, you know? Yeah. Yeah.
Julie @JulzReads 9:59
intriguing. intriguing, that’s my my buzz word.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 10:04
If it’s someone yelling at you,
Julie @JulzReads 10:06
I’ve gotten around it by doing self help, because I’m kind of approach it from how useful is this book? Or who would use this book. But if it’s a memoir or biography, I’m lost, like, what do you guys? How do you guys handle that some of the specific genres that you review?
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 10:23
memoir is the hardest. I mean, it just it that is so hard, because, you know, it’s not always necessarily 100% true. I think we’ve talked about that also, in past nonfiction, November events, but you’re going on the basis that the this person, the author wants you to approach the material as if it’s true. So this is someone’s lived experience. And it’s so hard. I mean, I think I’ve talked about this interviews, I think, Katie, you also like mentioned this before a lot. It’s so hard when there’s something that you don’t like, and it’s expressly why you you don’t like the book or don’t want to recommend it. And it’s something that’s so personal to someone, it’s not just a matter of like, the research was bad. The writing was bad. I don’t agree with their thesis. It’s like this person’s life is. That’s the hardest for sure. For me, at least,
Katie @Doing Dewey 11:15
I was just gonna say I am. I feel like with memoir, it’s hard to say, I didn’t like the character, for example, right? What a horrible thing to say like this is a real person, or the plot was boring, right? I mean, you just you can feel it feels very mean. And so it is it’s harder to I guess I try and focus on the, the style of the writing largely in memoirs opposed to criticizing the content for that reason.
It’s a good point.
Julie @JulzReads 11:40
And I am not a big memoir reader, I have a very, it has to be a very particular type of person that interests me, I’d say one out of every 20 nonfiction books that I read is a memoir.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 11:54
Yeah, I definitely love to read it. When there’s a good one. I think it can really connect or be insightful. But they’re by far the hardest, I think, to review, when there’s something off about it, I found that I’ll just stop reading if I don’t like the character as as Katie was saying, because if I know that there’s not going to be anything good to say this is no,
that actually could bring us to our first controversial topic to do not finish, or just finish Anyways, what do you guys do?
Julie @JulzReads 12:26
Ohhhhhhhhh, I feel very strongly about this!
Leann H 12:29
.Apparently, Julie! Yes, tell us!
Julie @JulzReads 12:33
I am a finisher, I can honestly say in the past five years, I have not finished two books. And I have given some very bad reviews. Because I feel like I have to give my opinion from cover to cover, if I’m going to give it a thorough review. So I will suffer through it for my art.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 13:04
I think that’s really fair, I think you should never give a review of something that’s half finished. And it drives me crazy when people do that. Because even if you didn’t think it was going to change by the end, I think that’s so
Julie @JulzReads 13:15
Unfortunately, one of our former co host is guilty of this, and I will not name names.
Katie @Doing Dewey 13:23
Well, and I would say I’m guilty of that, although like I’m actually with Julie in terms of how often I DNF which just say maybe twice in the last 10 years that I’ve been blogging, but I did feel like I mean, at that point, it says the thing about the book, I couldn’t get through it, right. Like I don’t I don’t do enough books. And these are one of them was um, oh my god, it was fan fiction of the Count of Monte Cristo. It was like a, you know, fan written sequel. And it was so bad. I actually threw the book in the trash. When I was done. I was like, I can voice this on no one else. And so I did, I did note that on the goodreads page.
Julie @JulzReads 14:00
I’m willing DNF one, if I’m willing to go back and say, Okay, I’m not gonna give a review, because I don’t like to give fewer than that, like a three star review. You know, that hurts the author’s income. And I try to word them in a way at least if it’s three stars to find or think of who it would be a good fit for. There was one book I read last year, because I get a lot of ARCs, advanced reader copies. We’ll get into that in a minute. And there was one that I guess, wrote back to the publisher, and when the file is fine, I read the book. This is the wrongest wrong book that I’ve ever read. It is inaccurate, untrue and poorly written. Won’t name even where it came from, but just said No, thank you. And that’s the only time I’ve ever gone. No, this is really bad. This No.
The one example I can think of that. I do. did not finish nonfiction. And I am a tutor file. I love reading about the tutors. It was about Henry the Eighth divorce and how the Vatican was involved and I was so tired of reading about what all the Cardinals in Italy thought about Henry the Eighth over in England that I finally just gave up. I think I was halfway through
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 15:26
I think I’m completely the opposite I DNF books all the time. I think I’ve done it twice in the past month. This past year has been really bad just because like my attention span has been all over the place like everybody’s I think, but in general, I just, yeah, I can’t stick to something if I think I made an arbitrary decision one time that I wanted to read this book. And it turns out not to be for me, I don’t feel any obligation to finish that even if it’s an aaRC, if I’ve been given it for review, I’ll give them a note with feedback about why it wasn’t for me, there’s always a reason and not criticizing, you know, the author or the you know, personality if it’s if it’s a memoir, but I have no problem with not finishing a book. I have so many unread books. I don’t have much time.
Katie @Doing Dewey 16:20
Well, I feel like part of the reason that this that this is feels like a controversial question is that I feel like some people maybe are judgmental of DNF thing. And, and I’m almost the opposite, and that I cannot do it. But I highly advocate it right. Like if you’re not, you’re not enjoying a thing, finish it. I think for me, it’s a little bit the sunk cost fallacy. It’s like I’m halfway through this, I might as well just get through it and and write an informed review. And and it’s done.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 16:45
I think I’m a big library reader, like really, really big library users. So for me, that’s not an issue. If it is something that I’ve paid money for, then I am the same way. I’m like, I gotta try and stick this out a little bit more. But I just, I think I’m just such an impatient person. I don’t have the patience. If it’s something that I that I’m not loving.
Julie @JulzReads 17:03
I know the hard fast rule is generally if you’re not feeling it after 50 pages, that’s when you should put it away. But I always feel like oh, you know if I can give it another 50 pages, maybe it’ll turn itself around by then I’m already hundred pages into it. I’ve already gotten this far. I might as well just see it through
Leann H 17:21
Julie, so you’re looking for the Hokey Pokey book?! I mean, it might take more than 50 pages.
Julie @JulzReads 17:28
I try. I try to see the glass is half full.
Maybe it will get better. No, I luckily, so far. I don’t know if I guess jinx myself. It is 2020. I haven’t had to not finish a couple just due to how bad it was. Which brings up a great question other than library books and purchase books? Do you get advanced reader copies? And where’s your preferred source for getting them? For those of you listening? advance reader copies are usually something that book bloggers work hard to get in by work hard. It’s writing reviews being consistent following up with publishers. So the big question is, where do you get your best books from?
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 18:09
I definitely use ARC’s and I started with just the digital ones through websites like net galley and Edelweiss. I think everybody knows these. And it was a huge help, because it kind of gives you a schedule, like when Katie say you know that a new release will be on my blog, it’s because I feel like I have to, I have to stick to the schedule. And it’s really good for forcing you to actually see reviews through whereas if it’s an older book that I own, I sometimes don’t. So I really like it for that. And since I’ve been back in the US, some of the publishers started to send me ones. So it is really useful. It does give you some obligation, I think but it’s it’s worthwhile if you’re going to read it anyway, I think
Katie @Doing Dewey 18:54
Yeah, so my use of review copies has fluctuated a lot over the years. This year, I’d say I’ve been a little more focused on library books and backlist books, as I try to read on specific topics, you know, a bunch of books together, it’s harder to do that with, with whatever new release has happened to be coming out. But I do I do really certainly really enjoy having review copies, especially for those of us who read, you know, over 100 books a year, it’s just I would rather not be spending that much money. And I feel like I’m already supporting the authors by reviewing and promoting their books. So I don’t feel too guilty about about being a little bit Penny pinching about where I get them. And I would say certainly I’ve heard less about in the blogging community is going to the American Library Association meetings. So if you’re able, I can often fly to those, you know, I spend maybe a couple hundred bucks on a flight, maybe a couple hundred bucks on a on a hotel room, and I might come home with 50 books, you know, it’s like $50 to get into the convention center for that. And so I actually even printed up little business cards, I make sure to go up and talk to the people at the publisher. Obviously I’m not actually a librarian, and I do with VA in New York, I know sometimes there were people in the publishing industry who are grumpy about bloggers coming in and taking these review copies kind of indiscriminately. And so I’m just I’m very careful not to be pushy, and to actually talk to the people, you know, and to make sure that I review the books that I take. And so hopefully, that will, you know, at that point where I think we’re still helping the publishers with promotion, and, and, and I am clear about who I am. So they know, they’re not giving it to like, you know, it’s not false pretenses that they’re giving it to a librarian. But it’s a hugely fun experience. And it’s a good way to meet up with other bloggers, you know, and other people who love books too. So I definitely recommend that
Julie @JulzReads 20:37
I was invited to the Amazon Vine program when it was first started in 2009. And this was way before I ever even started thinking about blogging. So that’s been my primary source of arcs. Although in the last two years, their offerings have declined dramatically. So I’m not getting nearly as many books. I’ve attended VA twice, you can make contacts through publishers there other bloggers, like Katie said, you pay 100 bucks for a flight, you pay for a hotel, you pay the entrance fee, and you come home with a suitcase of books, and it’s awesome. I was lucky enough in 2016. It was here in Chicago. So I just took the train over to McCormick Place and met a lot of local bloggers, which was awesome. Another great source is working with tour companies who do online tours, like TLC is a great one. historical fiction virtual book tours is another one. So there are a lot of sources, aside from just cold calling, quote unquote cold calling publishers through emails and asking, because you’re not going to get it if you don’t ask for it.
Katie @Doing Dewey 21:49
I’ve had surprising luck emailing publishers. And and I even just have books show up at this point that I don’t know anything about, you know, theyjust they just come in the mail. And my suspicion is that that because nonfiction gets a little less attention, you know, and blogging. I think it is easier. So, you know, if you happen to be someone who mostly writes young adult book reviews or something, and you’re branching out into nonfiction, and so you’re listening to this for Nonfiction November, I think it’s probably important to keep that in mind. But I think it is a lot easier within nonfiction to get arcs than it is in something competitive. Like why?
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 22:24
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And I I’ve noticed, if you do write about specific topics that they start to seek you out, like, like you said, Katie, something just shows up like I got a copy of the book about the Coronavirus, Apollo’s arrow. And they emailed me and said, yeah, we noticed that you had been writing about it and some posts and would you like the book, and I thought, maybe there’s not that many other people would have wanted it, but I was so excited, you know, and I always write about Russia. So they are contacting me all the time with anything new that comes out about Russia. So but again, like how big is the market for this? It’s really not that many people so I think they’re happy to but if you have that niche, I think that’s the important thing is to have like your corner that’s what you do.
Julie @JulzReads 23:11
I say out of the last 16 solicitations that I sent out just on a whim to ask for the book the three that I actually ended up getting in the mail all three of them were nonfiction.
Leann H 23:22
Yeah, I found the same. I’m the newest blogger the group, but I can tell you the amount of excitement when I realized that the book in my hands the paper copy, I had never asked for it merely by being on net galley. Somebody found my email and my address and sent me a book for review. It’s still like the little kid at Christmas. And of course I’m absolutely like well give me books don’t give me clothes. But to start getting actual physical review copies. I can’t even tell you how excited Iwas.
Julie @JulzReads 23:57
And I have found now once publisher has your address, you’re going to be on a list and you might just get the magical book mail randomly.
Leann H 24:08
Exactly! And when I see uncorrected proof on the cover. I mean, what’s better? So after reviewing the books were your favorite places to review I know each of you have your websites but do you review on Goodreads Do you hit Barnes and Noble is it Amazon or where do you tend not to review and where your favorite places to
Katie @Doing Dewey 24:28
I use the ultimate book blogger plugin on WordPress from Ashley @ Nose Graze www.NoseGraze.com I don’t have I don’t have any of my own services so I’m going to plug hers which are fantastic. She’s also my my web host and the customer service is fantastic. But you know this plugin lets me automatically post to Goodreads. I used to go and copy paste my reviews over and instead they go automatically so that’s probably I should post Amazon more I know that helps authors but for the most part what I’m what I’m just doing is on my blog and then letting it automatically go to Goodreads as well.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 24:59
I really only I only use my blog. I do use Goodreads. But I don’t review everything there. And I definitely don’t put my reviews there because mine are kind of long. So I think nobody would actually read them if they’re on Goodreads. Like an acquired taste. If you read my blog that I’ll sometimes write like just a very quick one to Goodreads almost even just to make a reminder for myself of what I thought about it, because I don’t always review a book immediately after reading it. Yeah, and I’d like Katie, I feel a little bit guilty, because I know it helps the authors if it’s on a lot of platforms. But this point, I’m not quite there yet. I really only use the blog.
Julie @JulzReads 25:36
Oh, I’ve got a whole process you guys are gonna think is so weird. I type up my review in word because I’m terrible speller. And I need to, you know, double check myself. And then I copy it into my blog. And then I copy it into Goodreads. And then I copy it into Amazon. And you know, I have all three windows open and it’s like publish, publish, publish, boom, boom, boom,
Leann H 25:59
I’m kind of like Julie. So I actually start mine in NetGalley. So the review that goes back to net galley net, NetGalley has a feature where they will send it if it’s been published to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and you can tweet it. So I use that feature. But then I cut and paste the review at a NetGalley, change it slightly to add more background into my WordPress post. But kind of the same thing when I put it into the WordPress post, I have to remember to go back into I think, NetGalley does good reads as well somehow get them into into good reads. They’re always the one that I tend to forget, though. But because of the point of Amazon reviews, helping authors do book marketing and different promotions, I do try and hit Amazon. But other than the easier ones, I’m really bad about sending it anyplace else.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 26:52
But I feel like when you have a blog and somebody is searching for a book about whether they want to read it or not, they’re going to find the link to it. So it doesn’t have to always be posted 10 places that’s what I tell myself is that it’s helping in some way just by putting it out there.
Katie @Doing Dewey 27:08
I think that also might get to be more true as you’re reading more niche books that people are more likely to, you know, I noticed actually when I searched for, so I do this nonfiction Friday post. And there during this month when I searched for nonfiction to find nonfiction news online, I’m coming out with Nonfiction November stuff. And it’s not uncommon for me to get blog posts when I search for nonfiction things. Whereas for kind of bigger name, releases that I’m more likely to end up at a professional publication or something like that. And so I do think I think that’s probably more true with the sort of books we’re writing about that we can get away with just leaving it on our blog, and people will find it anyway.
Julie @JulzReads 27:47
Yeah, exactly. So speaking of that, because y’all are very serious bloggers, compared to me. I discovered blog hopping, where there are things like a theme of the day, nonfiction Friday, or whatever kind of hashtags someone makes up. Is that where most of you find your other books, or how do you guys participate in the book blogging community,
I’m pretty new, I would say to Instagram, so I’ve been finding connections through there. I’ve been meeting a lot of really neat people. And my I would say my Instagram persona is vastly different than what you’ll see on Facebook. Facebook is for where our parents, you know, troll us and where you keep up with high school people and whatnot. But Instagram, I’m strictly there for the bookstagram community. And I love it. I like the like mindedness and the picture feeds and the lack of pardon me – crap, I, you know, there’s no memes and politics and you know, all the shit you see on Facebook.
Katie @Doing Dewey 28:59
So a good way that I’ve found to find new bloggers to follow is in the comments on other people’s blogs. So just kind of recently, I’ve started checking out, you know, if I follow someone who else follows them that I might be interested in interacting with. And I’ve also found that, you know, certainly even on Twitter, like Facebook, you’re going to deal with a lot of not bookish content. And to an extent, I feel an obligation to keep up with the with the politics as well, right and be involved. But I’ve only just this year started really making use of the use of lists. And so when you’ve had enough 2020, and you want to exclusively bookish content, you know, you can go to a list you’ve curated of people on Twitter. And so I’ve been using that specifically to interact with the same people that I do on their blogs, also on Twitter. And so we might share a little more personal stuff. And so it’s a good way to get connected with, you know, people whose blog content you like in a more personal way.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 29:49
Yeah, Ido it completely differently. I guess I don’t really use social media. I mean, I have an Instagram but it’s not a bookstagram I guess for a long time because I reading more like, digital ersi is so there wasn’t really much to take pictures of. But I use Instagram for it. Yeah, completely different just taking pictures of Yeah, whatever my my day is of like buildings and stuff. So I don’t even know the book community works there It sounds nice. But I use like Katie maybe the the comments on the blog to find other people, maybe because I don’t read fiction. So it’s not as easy to just be like follow this person follow that person and they read like one nonfiction book a year or it’s not really that useful for me to find additional recommendations through that. And so generally, I’d say that people who find my blog and comments on it, and then I kind of explore what they’re reading as well. And I use it like that. And I also don’t use Twitter, it seems like I’m missing out on all of these things. But it’s like, too much.
Julie @JulzReads 30:53
You’re not, I don’t think you are I only have Twitter because my blog feeds that the topic it automatically posts to Twitter. And that’s, that’s the most I use it.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 31:04
But it’s Yeah, I think that’s a good idea, though. Because I do think that’s what a lot of people are using, but I just I can’t bring myself to Instagram is like the limit for me. I like I said it’s because I like pictures of buildings. That’s it.
Leann H 31:18
Yeah, I started out on bookstagram on Instagram just as a fun account, because oh, other people talk about books. Amazing. So I discovered bookstagram. And then I saw book twitter and I’m bad about tweeting, if I have to log in me trying to stay within under 140 characters is impossible. So I stuck on Instagram and I got on Litsy www.litsy.com . I don’t know if you guys use that app. That app was amazing, because it is just books. How is it described, if Instagram, and Goodreads had a baby, it would be let’s see, again, we’re in a mostly fiction world. But I could actually find other people to follow and find other nonfiction books and find other people who were really interested in talking about the latest releases.
Julie @JulzReads 32:06
I read blogs through bloglovin. And my feed is pretty well curated. So I try to stick to people I either know personally or who write about things that really interests me, I don’t want to overload myself with content.
Katie @Doing Dewey 32:27
Yeah, that’s smart. I know, I think I probably follow somewhere between 50 and 100 blogs in my feed reader. And it is. And I I would say I I tried to comment regularly on most of the blogs that I follow. And so I do drop something if it’s if it’s something I can interact with. So I do I do try to to limit it. But certainly it can get overwhelming to where, you know, if I have a busy week at work like I’ve had this week, I come back and I have 200 or 300 posts, and it’s just, it can feel a little overwhelming.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 33:00
Yeah, I agree. But I will say Katie has the most thoughtful to use your favorite word comments of anybody. And there’s times that I absolutely love somebody review. And I’m like, you know, credit card out immediately to buy this book, like based on their review. And I still can’t really say anything more meaningful than like, wow, this was such a great review, like thanks for you know, telling me about this book, Katie always finds a way to say something that’s just so yeah, just really speaks to something that you’ve written about it or picks out some point that, you know, you think people wouldn’t notice. So I can understand why you wouldn’t want to overwhelm yourself, because I can tell that you always read things very deeply.
Katie @Doing Dewey 33:43
Thanks for any I really appreciate that. I think probably I’m better able to leave comments on your reviews because a lot of times I’m reviewing very similar things. And I’ve been spending a lot of time lately of thinking how can I write reviews that are thoughtful that make someone really stop and engage with this subject? And so I kind of am I’m paying particular attention to how other people manage to do that. So
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 34:04
yeah, it just thanks.
Leann H 34:07
So for Nonfiction November, when we talk about how nonfiction needs love to we don’t have as many people who who talk about nonfiction books, what do you say to people when they ask you “Well, why should I read nonfiction? It’s boring!”
Julie @JulzReads 34:22
Then you’re not reading the right type of nonfiction!
Katie @Doing Dewey 34:27
Yeah, I do kind of feel like there’s something out there for everybody. Like you guys might have seen I kicked off this month with this Beginner’s Guide to nonfiction post that describes if you read this type of fiction, this is the sort of nonfiction that you’ll like. And I do I think people when they think about nonfiction, they maybe even are imagining textbooks, you know, things that are really dry. Whereas it’s very common for me to read nonfiction that has an you know, has spies and adventure and or people getting lost in the Arctic, right. I mean, it’s It’s got a lot of plot, it’s got a lot of, you know, a really strong narrative drive, sometimes it can have really great characters. And so yeah, I mean, this is I’m just saying and along the way, what you said, I think there’s I think there’s nonfiction for everybody. I think they just have to find the right thing, because to me, there’s nonfiction that parallels most fiction genres.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 35:21
That’s that’s a really good point, I completely agree. I think it’s just a matter of not having found the right nonfiction for what appeals to you. And I think it’s why events like this are so helpful, because you can kind of see what those parallels are, or get more ideas beyond also, just what the publishers offer us, because sometimes what gets a lot of promotion, what gets a lot of marketing is not always I think what’s, you know, the the best of what’s available, there’s, there’s still, you know, sales behind this and a push behind this. And it doesn’t always have to do with what’s interesting to maybe other other sectors.
Julie @JulzReads 35:58
And oftentimes, the truth is stranger than fiction. So these real life stories are incredible.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 36:07
Yeah, and it’s so impressive to me to when someone is just like a remarkable writer, in addition to having a story to tell like that, that’s true. It just, it combines like the best of both worlds, to me, like a very good novel, well written and compelling with a story that’s true. And maybe that I’m learning something from, I just, I can’t imagine anything better than that.
Katie @Doing Dewey 36:27
And I love that too. And in fact, when I pick up fiction, a lot of times, it’s likely to be historical fiction for the same reason. And if there’s an author’s note, or they tell me exactly what part of this is true, they get a lot of bonus points for me, because I don’t want to be, I go into historical fiction, assuming some degree of historical accuracy. And if that’s not there, I don’t want to then have lunch in my head, the stuff that I think is true, but in fact, they’ve made up and not bothered to mention. So. Um, so yeah, I really love that combo to where you can get a good story. But you’re also a, I don’t know, I don’t think of reading his work, or is something that has to be done to make you better. Like, I think it’s worth doing just for enjoyment. But I guess I get enjoyment out of knowing that I’m also learning something about the world.
Julie @JulzReads 37:13
I agree with you there. Yeah. And that’s why I enjoy historical fiction as well. I like to pick apart what’s invented and what’s actual, you know, based on fact, and and what you said about reading isn’t work for me, it’s what I love to do. And I’m going to call out my husband here who says, I use my brain all day at work today. So I don’t want to come home and read a book. And I think that’s bullshit. Sorry.
What do you hope folks do with their nonfiction reading throughout the end of 2020,
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 37:45
I hope that people just find things that that they can enjoy in this year, especially, it’s not really the year to say you have to be focused on this topic or that topic or reach this goal. I hope that people can just use it as a kind of escapism, because I’ve also heard that a lot through the past year, like, Oh, I don’t want to read as much nonfiction because I need some escape. And it can offer that I think just as much as as the best fiction, so I hope people find something to uplift or escape a little bit or just to help them in whatever way they need right now.
Julie @JulzReads 38:19
Escapism is absolutely the word I would use for a why I’m reading a lot of adventure armchair adventure stories. I’m reading about polar exploration and people going into space because it takes me out of my bubble. And it’s, it’s being able to experience things that you never would otherwise through someone’s awesome nonfiction narrative.
Katie @Doing Dewey 38:45
Yeah, I mean, not to get on Marie Kondo, but but finding joy in it is kind of the first phrase that came to my mind as well like I I really do as we’ve kind of just said, I think we all believe strongly that you can find a lot of pleasure in nonfiction that it’s a really enjoyable genre to and so yeah, like you guys, I hope you know, I hope this event has found help people who maybe don’t always read nonfiction finds things they’re excited about that will work for them. And, and yeah, I hope people are reading for for fun.
Julie @JulzReads 39:13
Oh, you mentioned Marie Kondo. So I have to ask, are we hoarders or do we purge?
Katie @Doing Dewey 39:19
I purge so I unless a book is like a five star read for me after I read it, it goes. And that is partially because I think that’s easier for me to do, because an awful lot of the books that I get are either obviously if they’re from the library, they have to go back or their arcs. And so at the point that it’s a review, copy, and I haven’t paid anything for it, you know, I like to be able to hand it on to someone in my book club or to another bloggers or someone else who’s going to get something out of it little free libraries around me things like that. Yeah, I
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 39:49
definitely don’t hold on to books because as I said, I just moved back to the US. So when I was living abroad, I was for sure not holding on to things knowing that I would have to move again and I didn’t want to have to move Books, I think everybody who has done that is like, never again. So I’m the same, I use the little free libraries or pass it along to somebody else that I think can use it or just the regular Library’s best.
Julie @JulzReads 40:13
I am a horrible book hoarder, and I’m proud of it. Um, so my very first office job when I was 21, I worked for a press department, answering the phone and recommending books. So this was long before there was an internet available for this job. All of those uncorrected proofs I carried with me through five states. And it wasn’t until finally four years ago, my husband finally said, Look, I’m not moving these things again, you are going to have to figure out something to do with them. And it ended up being 20 large boxes of books. So when we moved into this house, I actually have room on my shelves. But the original selves we put up fell due to the weight of the books. So my husband had someone come in and build custom shelves out of oak. So that probably shouldn’t happen again, the floor might fall through, but the shelves won’t fall over.
I’m a hoarder! I love my books, and I love shelving them when I’m done. And I love organizing them. And I love looking at them on their shelves, and I love rearranging them sometimes. And I’m a giant nerd. And when we moved four years ago, into our forever home, I was able to create a library of my dreams. I have actually two libraries. Well, technically, I have four libraries. Well, anyway, I have a fiction library and a nonfiction library. So like you, my fiction library is on the second floor, and it might end up on the first floor someday.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 42:02
I think if I had a forever home, I would be the same though. It’s just always been the idea of knowing that it’s it’s temporary that I can make myself not hold on to Yes.
Katie @Doing Dewey 42:13
Did the two of you who keep more books reread?
Julie @JulzReads 42:16
I would say I reread a book or two a year.
Leann H 42:22
Those are my comfort rates because I know exactly what happens. I know how it works out or whatever it is, whatever the problem that the book is trying to address get solved. So yeah, to me, those are my comfort rereads especially the books that were giving me a lot of insights. I’ll go back and reread the same book another year. And it’s like a totally different book. It’s totally different insights, totally different turns of phrase and I never noticed the first time totally reread.
Julie @JulzReads 42:51
You’re a different you’re a different person rereading a book now than you were when you read it 10 years ago.
Leann H 42:57
Katie @Doing Dewey 42:58
Yeah, I think that’s probably part of why I don’t keep them as but I almost never reread. And so it is it feels harder to justify keeping them around. Whereas I was thinking my husband might disagree with me not answering that I’m a hoarder, because I do have dozens of unread books sitting around right so once I read them they go, but I do have the book lovers fear of having nothing to read next. So I do hoard.
Leann H 43:20
Wait, wait, wait, that’s not loading. It’s a TBR. It’s a to be read pile total different thing!.
Katie @Doing Dewey 43:25
Unfortunately, I would say it takes the same amount of space.
Julie @JulzReads 43:33
My TBR takes up three bookcases. Yeah,
Leann H 43:38
Yeah. my TBR is mostly on Kindle. Like I’ll download the samples. And then I’ll say Oh, yeah, yeah, really have to read this book. And then it sits on my Kindle and sits there and sits there. Because the physical books I can see and go oh, yeah, I need to read this. The Kindle management. Um, okay. I almost forgot to ask ereader or paper?
Julie @JulzReads 44:01
Katie @Doing Dewey 44:03
I’ll do either equally. I do if I read too many books in a row, I find that I start to miss the satisfying feeling of finishing one and putting it down. But in terms of reading enjoyment, I like them both about the same.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 44:14
Yes, this it’s the same for me. I read both. But actually, this year is the first year that I’ve really gotten back to reading on paper. For so many years. It was just ebooks because I could also get them for the from the library while it was abroad. And like I said, I didn’t want to accumulate so many physical copies. So it was actually so exciting to go back to reading more on paper when I had only been reading maybe one or two per year like that. It was like one of those unanticipated things that kind of like takes you back in time. So lately I’ve been reading more like that, but it’s both for me
Katie @Doing Dewey 44:50
Talk about how we got into nonfiction and I’m interested in you know, Atlanta, it seems like you mostly read self help. How did you get into that Rennie you exclusively read nonfiction? How did that happen?
Leann H 45:00
I honestly, I was trying to remember just for this for this episode for this recording, I remember reading it very young, probably the first nonfiction book I read, I found my mother’s pop psychology book, how to talk so kids will listen, and how to listen. So kids will talk. I had run out of books from the library and became desperate. read that book. And I remember actually using some of the techniques in that book, or on my mom with my mom type of thing, and realizing the power of that knowledge can change behavior and change the environment around you and how you experience the world. And that was it. That was my crack. just kept reading for years and years and years and years. And obviously went through the Stephen King, the VC Andrews phase, but kept going back to nonfiction, that Coco the gorilla, totally fascinated.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 45:57
Yeah, I always loved nonfiction. Like alongside fiction, like, I still remember one of the first nonfiction that I read that made such an impression on me, it was Silent Spring. And I have no idea why I would have picked that book from like the middle school library, but it was just like holy shit, like this is it was just so eye opening, even, you know, like decades later into a kid. So I think that was an experience, I kind of always kept with me that this was possible with nonfiction to have that kind of just an impact that I can’t like into anything else. As I always read a mix, but then in 2010, I got a copy of the book, The tiger, which I talk about on my blog, like all the time, like I just I can’t if I could buy a copy of this book for everyone I will. And I remember like picking up the copy from the library and coming home from work. And it was like a Friday night in New York, and I’m on my couch, reading that book, like
glued to it just like this is the most incredible thing I’ve ever read. Like, this is a true story. It was so engrossing. It was so well written, it terrified me, it made me think it was it taught me something, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And the when I was at work the next time I remember I was like telling a colleague about it just like gushing about this book, like it’s so crazy. And this happened this Tiger did this. And he was like, this is a true story. Not like there’s no way and I was like, Yes, yes, way it is. And that’s the that’s like the book that I always hold up as an example of also to go back to what we said earlier, when people say that, you know, nonfiction is not so interesting or it’s textbook it is absolutely not when it’s a story like this, that kind of all these points come together. That’s what I think is just so exceptional about it. And
Julie @JulzReads 47:50
I would actually have to give Philippa Gregory credit for getting me into nonfiction. When I first read the Other Boleyn Girl God, what like a decade and a half ago, I wanted to learn more about the tutors. And so I started reading nonfiction. And that led me to like Alison Weir, and all those authors. And then I started reading about the Romanovs through Robert K. Massey, who is a Russian writing God. And so it brands from historical fiction into reading the actual account of those historical figures.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 48:29
Yeah, the Robert Massey ones are really good. I think if you’re also if you’re kind of new to nonfiction and learning, like what it can do, those are, I think just crazier sometimes, then what you would read in a novel like that, you can’t believe that this isn’t a plot that somebody came up with. Those are a really good example, for sure.
Katie @Doing Dewey 48:49
You all have such good stories. This is great. I guess I was kind of just a pretty geeky kid and I have to I have to give credit to my mom here. Again, I guess that homeschooling she really allowed us to drive the topics that we learned about and so it was a pretty natural extension for me for like when I got interested in genetics, I picked up this Matt Ridley book called genome that that was kind of the first adult nonfiction that I read. And I’d also pick up a bunch of books on animals I went through I want to be a zookeeper face as a kid you know, so like sixth grade I was reading like, I don’t know it’s like the PDFs about cats or whatever. And so I guess that’s that’s when I first got into nonfiction and then I did I kind of went through a fantasy phase through high school and and didn’t read as much in undergrad just because you do so much for class but, um, but since finishing undergrad nonfiction has really been has just really been what I’ve enjoyed.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 49:40
Yeah, I had the same in in college. I think I also only really read fiction mostly. It was kind of like a break from nonfiction. During that time. Maybe I still had the impression that it wasn’t the escapism that I needed.
Julie @JulzReads 49:52
Now I can attest to being an English major and having like literature burnout, so that might have been a driver towards gearing me towards nonfiction for a little while.
Okay, well, I just want to thank all of you for coming on here. This was fun. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. So thanks for chatting with all of us anything you want to say to your readers out there.
I would just like to thank everybody who participated in Nonfiction November and linked up and it was ever so much fun.
Katie @Doing Dewey 50:23
Yeah, I’ll just I’ll just add a third to that. It’s I love seeing how much everyone gets into this event. And it really what makes it one of my favorite events is getting to hear how everyone else experiences nonfiction. And so yeah, I appreciate everyone participating and, and this podcast is great. I’ve loved I’ve loved hearing how you guys enjoy nonfiction as well.
Rennie @What’sNonfiction 50:42
Yeah, thank you so much for participating.
Julie @JulzReads 50:45
And I want to give a shout out to Kim the dork www.sophisticateddorkiness.com because she started all of this for us.
Katie @Doing Dewey 50:49
Leann H 50:52
Thank you, Kim. Thank you guys so much. Take care.
Julie @JulzReads 50:56
Katie @Doing Dewey 50:57
Transcribed by https://otter.ai