It’s week two of Nonfiction November and I’m excited to answer a new discussion question, put together by this week’s host – Rachel at Hibernator’s Library. Today we’ll be talking about how you choose nonfiction to read and what you want to get out of it. Check out my answers below and then be sure to hop over to Rachel’s post if you have your own answers to link up.
What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book?
I’m looking for something to will be entertaining, but which I also know will teach me something. Depending on the topic, I may be looking for something more technical or something meant for a beginner. I’m often looking for a good people story. Even topics I’m not usually excited about can draw me in if the people studying a topic or involved in an activity have interesting stories.
Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to?
Definitely! I started my blog with the goal of reading broadly within the nonfiction genre and I’ve let myself get a bit distracted by the subgenres I like the most. I love reading about biology, science in general, social issues, and interesting women (both historical and contemporary).
Do you have a particular writing style that works best?
I think there are a couple of writing styles I really like. Funny authors, like Mary Roach and AJ Jacobs, are some of my favorites. I also love narrative nonfiction that reads like an adventure (think Mitchell Zuckoff or Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice). Authors who mix their experiences into their narrative often write stories I find particularly engaging, such as Michael Blanding’s The Map Thief. More generally, I like nonfiction authors to be as objective as possible and to be clear about their sources. And, as I mentioned above, authors who focus on people stories, perhaps mixed in with broader historical context, can really win me over.
When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you? If so, share a title or cover which you find striking.
Absolutely! I love nonfiction subtitles. They’re almost informative and can grab my attention with hype or humor. Looking over my nonfiction reads this year, I don’t see any particular pattern in the covers. However, I have noticed that there are some fonts that make me immediately assume the book is going be to narrative nonfiction, probably an adventure. Here’s an example of one:
Here’s one more link to Rachel’s post, where you can all share your answers too 🙂