Non-Fiction November & Native American Heritage Month

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It is the start of November which, in the online book world, means the beginning of Non-Fiction November – a month long readathon-type thing that encourages readers to pick up more non-fiction books.

I tend to read a lot of non-fiction anyway so this isn’t going to be a huge leap for me but it’s still fun to see what other people turn to over the next 4 weeks.

November is also Native American Heritage Month. If you’re planning to take part in Non-Fiction November, now would be a good time to honour Native American Heritage Month and learn a few things about native American history and indigenous peoples. And even if you’re not taking part in Non-Fiction November, why not check out some really great native American fiction writers? I’m going to leave some recommendations (non-fic and fic) down at the end of this post.

For now, here’s my tentative Non-Fiction November TBR. On the blogosphere, Non-Fiction November is being hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Julie at JulzReads, Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves, Lory at Emerald City Book Review and Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. As the month goes on, I’ll be responding to whatever those hosts ask us in later blog posts.

Meanwhile, the Booktube hosts, Gemma at NonFic Books and Olive at ABookOlive, have come up with 4 categories (Love, Home, Substance, Scholarship) to try and put your books into. They’ve been left open to interpretation so I’ve tried to fit in what I can from my current TBR pile.

Love

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For almost 20 years, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West wrote letters to each other. The two shared a complicated relationship involving desire, love, idolatry, jealousy and anger. Their affair ended after Woolf’s novel Orlando was published (it was Virginia’s ‘biography’ of Vita) but they remained in contact until Virginia died in 1941. This has been really interesting to read so far and I love a good LGBT love story.

Home

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A bit of an unusual choice but Roald Dahl always reminds me of home. Not only is he a Welsh writer but my childhood was filled with his books so I can’t help but think of home (Wales) when I read his work. Boy is the first of Dahl’s autobiographies and, from what I remember, covers a lot of events in his childhood. I remember reading this in school at around the age of 12 and can remember very little so it’ll be nice to go back and revisit it.

Substance & Scholarship

I’m interpreting Substance and Scholarship in pretty much the same way. I’m hoping that the books I read for these categories are of substance and can teach me a few things.

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Ohitika Woman is the follow-up memoir to Mary Crow Dog’s Lakota Woman, which I read a few months ago. In Lakota Woman, Mary takes us through her childhood, growing up as part of the Lakota people, and joining the American Indian Movement in their political protests in the early 70s. I found it absolutely fascinating and ordered the follow-up as soon as I finished it. I’m really excited to find out what happened to Mary later in life.

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I ordered this a few months back. From what I can gather, this book looks at the relationship between Sitting Bull and his secretary, Catherine Weldon, a white woman artist who left New York in 1889 and travelled to Standing Rock with hopes of painting the warrior’s portrait. She ended up staying and helping Sitting Bull with his efforts to hold onto the land (as he couldn’t read or write English).

They’ve recently turned this story into a yet-to-be-released film with Michael Greyeyes and Jessica Chastain which I’m a little apprehensive about because we all know how much Hollywood loves white saviour stories (and if there’s one thing you don’t do with a man like Sitting Bull, it’s paint him as needing white help). I thought I’d give this book a go first to get the facts and then watch the film knowing the historical background.

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And here is my TBR for Native American Heritage Month:

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This is a YA novel following a teenage boy trying to balance life on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation and his friendships with the local white boys in the 1970s. I’m not usually one for YA but I’ve heard really good things about this. Plus the two main characters are apparently really into The Beatles so I am more than ready for that.

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This is the first novel of James Welch and follows a young man searching for something that will bind him to the land of his ancestors while also being haunted by personal tragedy. I’ve been wanting to read James Welch’s books for the longest time and now is the perfect time to get into them.

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Another James Welch, this time following the clash between the Pikuni Blackfeet people and the American settlers in the 1800s. I’ve read that this is a great piece of writing told from the viewpoint of one of the Blackfoot warriors as opposed to the usual whitewashed junk that’s been put out there.

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This is a modern classic in Native American literature which I’m ashamed not to have read yet. This is the story of a man suffering from PTSD returning home from war to the Laguna Pueblo reservation and trying to find resolution.

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I really like Sherman Alexie’s writing. I wasn’t hugely in love with his YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian like others were but I am a fan of his adult fiction and short story collections. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is his latest book, a memoir, detailing his childhood and the relationship he had with his parents. I’ve been waiting for my library to get this in and, finally, it’s arrived so I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

Further Book Recommendations for Native American Heritage Month:

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3 thoughts on “Non-Fiction November & Native American Heritage Month

  1. I loved Roald Dahl’s Boy! I also read it so long ago that I don’t remember much but I remember loving it. I should totally re-read that one of these days.

    Have you read The Break by Katherena Vermette? She’s an Indigenous author and it’s about an Indigenous family when something bad happens to one of them and how they try and get help but…they are not white so…It’s really great.

    Some great titles on your list!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Non-Fiction November/Native American Heritage Month Wrap-Up | Bookmarks and Postcards

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