State of the Stacks: Nonfiction November Edition

We’re over halfway done with this month, but perhaps my biggest book-focused highlight has been participating in Nonfiction November, which was brought to my attention by Rennie over at What’s Nonfiction. With new topics and discussions each week, it’s been a total celebration of nonfiction titles and their authors. The absolute enthusiasm from writers as they recommend a host of fantastic reads has tempted me into adding several books to my TBR pile—which begs one simple question this week.

If you had to recommend only one nonfiction book to anyone, what would it be?

Feel free to send your recommendations my way and, as always, read on for more bookish updates on this week’s State of the Stacks.


Even though my shelves are currently packed with great reads, there’s always room for more books. Here are a few of my purchases from this past week.

Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop by Hannah Pearl
Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft
Society Girl by Donna Ashcroft
The Christmas Countdown by Alys Murray

Reading About Books

If you’re not reading a book, the next best thing is reading about books. Here’s a selection of bookish news and essays I enjoyed this week:

  • After a story circulated about a patron hiding books critical of President Trump at an Idaho library, author Rick Reilly penned an open letter detailing his plans to deliver ten copies of his own book to the library so he can hide them himself.
  • Tim Dowling explores the magic and frustration of being an audiobook narrator.
  • Two years after flooding destroyed a Salt Lake City library, a renovation team discovered books protected in a surprising place: the walls.

That’s that— the State of the Stacks.


  1. Wow, the question of if I could only recommend one nonfiction book is an incredibly tough one. I need to think about that one. The first one that immediately comes to mind would be Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, though. What would the pick be for you? And I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the event, I’ve loved your posts!!

    That story about hiding books critical of Trump is hilarious/ridiculous. I can’t decide which one it’s more of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! It’s practically an evil question. It’s like picking a favorite—who can possibly stop at one? I’ve somehow never heard of Just Mercy, but I’m adding it to my TBR pile. The one I find myself recommending over and over again is The Woman Who Wasn’t There. I just think it’s one of the best true crime books ever written, and it’s such a fascinating story as it is.

      The book hiding saga is hilariously ridiculous. And I know similar things happen in other libraries, but I appreciate how it’s blown into a major story from this one branch.


      1. The Woman Who Wasn’t There was so good!!! What an absolutely bananas story. I can’t imagine how that shattered their trust, and after already being through so much. The thing that stuck with me from it was how she ridiculed and kicked out other survivors from their network, just further compounding their trauma. There’s a short documentary, I think of the same name, on YouTube if you haven’t seen it already.

        Just Mercy is amazing, one I find myself thinking about a lot. It really changes a lot about how you consider our justice system, even if you think you already know a lot about it. It also made me ugly cry, but the stories are incredible.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! I’ve seen a couple of documentaries about her, and they’re heartbreaking. Reading about the trauma she inflicted was powerful enough, but actually hearing from people who engaged with her was just awful. And I’m 100% with you—it’s the fact that she damaged so many people by trying to negate their experiences. She tried to invalidate so many people—and for what?

        I’m big into books that explore our justice system, but I always know they’re going to tick me off. Just Mercy sounds powerful.


  2. That is a tough question, since we all have different taste! I love Stephen Hawking, but if you are not into science, that is not a great recommendation. I recently finished The Salt Path, which is definitely one of the best nonfiction books, I have read this year. You can see more of my favourites in my Nonfiction November post.

    Liked by 1 person

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