Hey there, Kazen here, and
welcome back to Always Doing. [♪♪] I am so excited that Nonfiction November is finally,
finally here and I can read the books that I have been staring at on my shelf for a
couple of weeks now. I’m enjoying them so far. And also what a joy to turn to
Booktube and see that Olive over at A Book Olive has started a new tag. It is
the Nonfiction on Booktube Tag. Not only does it give us an opportunity to talk
about our taste in nonfiction and what we love about nonfiction, but hopefully
going forward it will serve as a kind of… repository? index? …of booktubers that love
and talk about nonfiction. I’m grateful that Olive mentioned me in that video.
Thanks to that I have a bunch of new subscribers so I want to say welcome!
I’m so happy that you’re here. I think you’ll find that in addition to nonfiction I
read a whole bunch of other stuff. I do read quite eclectically and diversely,
and actually that ties into the first question so let’s just jump right into
the tag. Question number one: how much nonfiction do you read? And this is a
question where I’m really glad I have data, because my perception of it is off.
I feel like I read one third nonfiction, one third romance, and one third
other fiction that’s not romance. But when I look at my numbers
over the past five years or so I read on average 26 or 27 percent nonfiction.
And it’s actually kind of scary how much it’s always 26 or 27. Except for one year
that was 22 *percent, I’m not sure what was happening there. But even when the number
of books that I read a year changes I’m just right there at 26, 27. Question number two: what kind of nonfiction videos do you make or want to make on Booktube?
Nonfiction is a pretty constant presence on the channel. You’ll usually
find a nonfiction book in almost any wrap up, I mention them in tags. But sometimes
I do make nonfiction a focus. Not only Nonfiction November,
but for example, last May Japan got a new emperor. I live in Japan. And I decided to use that as an opportunity to read a whole bunch of nonfiction about Japan. And looking ahead to the future I will
be judging the Booktube Prize. Linked info down below. I judged it
last year for fiction, and that was the only category. But next year they’re adding a category for nonfiction and I’m so
excited, and I can’t wait. I do vlogs for my judging so you can look forward
to that. Question number three: what is your favorite subgenre of nonfiction? And
this is hard because I love essays, and I love reading some true crime, but I’m
gonna have to go with medical nonfiction. If you don’t know I am a medical
interpreter, which means that I help English-speaking patients and Japanese-
speaking doctors communicate. That’s my job. And I love medicine – it’s a natural fit.
I love doctor memoirs, I love reading about some of the more difficult aspects
of medicine, whether that’s end of life care or ethical dilemmas. I like reading even
a little bit about the history of medicine, transplants, a whole bunch- it’s the
whole, the whole subcategory, this whole subgenre I love.
Question number four: do you have a favorite nonfiction book? And this is
a mean question. I don’t see how I could possibly pick one from my whole life,
so I’m gonna take from the last, I don’t know, four or five years or so. And that would
be A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerrero, translated by Francis Riddle.
The malambo is a dance from Argentina. It requires strength and grace
and endurance. Every year there’s a competition, it’s only really known
within the community, and the prize for winning is that you can never dance the
malambo again. So why are these dancers working so hard to basically end their careers? The writing is beautiful. I loved being introduced to something I didn’t even know
existed, which is something I love about nonfiction. Question
number five: what do you think keeps people from wanting to read more
nonfiction? And like Olive I’m going to place some blame on the educational
system, because I think a lot of people connect nonfiction with learning, which equals study, which becomes work, and not fun. However, if you have a good
nonfiction book learning IS fun, and it doesn’t have to be work. It doesn’t
have to feel like, I don’t know, reading veggies? It can be just as salacious and plot-driven and engrossing as any work of fiction. A great example of that would
be true crime, which, the really good true crime books are like reading
a mystery novel except that everything is true. And it just adds
another layer. Question six: why do you like nonfiction? I love to learn and can
think of no better way to do it than somebody who is maybe an expert in
a field, or at least did a lot of research in a field, explaining it to me an
engaging, interesting way. That’s so much better than going to a lecture or
reading something dry from the encyclopedia. It really brings the
information and the situation and the places and everything to life. And
reading non-fiction books is a great way to be informed. News articles can only
be so long, so when there needs to be an indepth investigation into
something, or there’s a deeper issue that requires more space to examine,
nonfiction books are perfect for that. Not to mention that nonfiction can be
incredibly entertaining. It can make you laugh, it can make you cry, and *it keeps me
riveted to a page. There’s so much to love. Question number seven: what’s a nonfiction
book that you read because of Booktube? And this is completely on the
shoulders of Shawn the Book Maniac. He recommended In Praise of Shadows by
Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, translated by Harper and Seidensticker. It’s almost more of
an essay than a book. I mean, it’s extremely short. But Tanizaki goes into
the Japanese aesthetic, especially pre-electricity, like from the days of his youth. The Japanese worked darkness into their
aesthetic and used it to make things more beautiful. Which kind of strikes as
weird now because you would think if there’s something beautiful you want to flood it
with light. But it was fascinating, incredibly well-written, the translation
is gorgeous, and I’m excited to read more stuff by him now. Question number eight:
what’s the best non-fiction book you’ve read lately? And I’m gonna have to go
with Whose Story is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters by Rebecca Solnit.
I received this as an advance copy from Haymarket Books. Every year they put out
a collection of her essays and so this is from the past year or so. So expect
essays on #MeToo, lots of stuff about gender equality as well as other issues.
Solnit stretches my thinking, gives me new ways of looking at things, as well as
gives me hope in these turbulent times. Question number nine: what are some of
your nonfiction reading goals? And personally just- I’m a mood reader,
and so I shy away from hard goals in pretty much everything. I don’t make
TBRs, I call them Piles of Possibilities because that gives me more leeway. As soon as I make a set list or a set goal of some sort my brain rails against it
and doesn’t want to do it anymore. So I don’t have a list I want to check off
or something concrete that I want to do, necessarily. But something
I’ve been trying to do this past year and I want to continue is looking at
backlist nonfiction. Books that are considered kind of classic, like modern
classics, maybe some underhyped, underappreciated books that have dropped
off the radar but were loved in their time. Those are the things I want to be reading.
And I have a couple on my list for this month so hopefully I’ll be able
to wrap up some of those for you soon. Question number ten: what is your advice
for incorporating more nonfiction into your reading diet? And I’d say the most
important thing to remember is that nonfiction doesn’t have to feel like work.
Sometimes it does, the same way that a really old classic that’s super thick that
can feel like work and still be enjoyable. Nonfiction can be the same way,
but it doesn’t have to be. And I think that when you’re starting it’s
good to go for books that are in a field or an area that you’re already
interested in. Maybe you have a recommendation from a friend or somebody
that you’re watching on booktube. If you can get to a library or a bookstore have
a roam around. Look at the end caps at the end of the aisle, look at the tables
where the booksellers have picked out books, look for recommendations. Sometimes
in bookstores especially there will be shelf talkers, little pieces of
paper where a staff member has handwritten why they love a particular book.
Go for something that moves you. Don’t get something because you THINK
you should read it, get something because it really pulls you in and looks like fun.
And there’s a bonus question: give some recommendations of some nonfiction
booktube channels that you love. Gladly. Let’s start with Nashwa S over at The Neon Page. She reads both fiction and nonfiction but
when she gets on a nonfiction kick, lookout! She’s doing Nonfiction November
and lately she’s really been into celebrity memoirs. I love her reviews
they’re always sharp and on point. Next is Amy over at Amy Gets Lit.
She reads a bunch of nonfiction about social issues and justice and things about the Middle East, memoirs. If you want to hear some super, super thoughtful
reviews she does them as voiceover which I love. Check her out. There’s Jen over at Remembered Reads.
She reads a really wide variety of nonfiction and fiction, as well.
What is most characteristic about her channel, I think, is more than a
particular subgenre, is that she reads iwith a really international perspective.
She reads several languages and she’s lived in whole bunches of
places that gives her a unique perspective on what she’s reading. One more for you guys – Alba over at Seriela. She reads almost exclusively nonfiction
and again, a wide range. But a lot of it is focused on Puerto Rico, where she
lives, and she is Puerto Rican, and the history of her island and so many
interesting things that I would have had no idea about if I didn’t watch her channel.
She’s always recommending books that I had no clue existed and I love
that I’ve learned so much from her. And now it’s time to tag people, so I tag
those four lovely ladies that I’ve already mentioned – Nashwa, Amy, Alba,
and Jen. I would love to see your guys’ versions of this tag. I hope you’ve
enjoyed the video. I would love to know what nonfiction book have you read and
loved lately – let me know down in the comments below. And if you’d like to
follow my reading this Nonfiction November and beyond feel free
to follow me. If you follow me on Goodreads that’s the most up to date
information about exactly what I’m reading and my reviews as they’re
finished. Instagram is great if you’d like to see not only my bookish life but
also a little bit about life in Japan. And if you like just a little bit of everything, random, bookish, not so bookish, Twitter is
the perfect place for that. Thank you for watching, subscribe if you’re new, and I
will see you in the next video. Bye! [♪♪]
Thanks for watching! And for all of you who got to the
very end of the captions, give me a wave in the comments! 👋🏻🌊🏄🏻♀️
Thank you so much for sticking around.