This next-to-last week of Nonfiction November has come all too quickly, but I’m excited to begin the week with a new discussion prompt. This week, we’re talking about what qualities make you fall in love with nonfiction. I’ll be your host this week, so you’ll find the link-up where you can share your answer to the prompt at the end of this post.
Nonfiction Favorites: We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.
Writing style – Like many readers, I love nonfiction that reads like a story. Humor can be hit or miss for me – it can’t feel forced or be too flip when discussing a serious topic, but done well, it can make me fall in love with a book.
Author involvement – I almost always love when authors incorporate their experience researching their story into their telling of the story. Mary Roach is a good example of an author who does this, sharing information with the reader while describing her experience learning about a topic. I find this makes a story feel like it is happening as I’m reading it and can be very engaging.
Transparency and neutrality – It’s very important to me that an author make it clear when they’re speculating about something or when their is controversy among experts in a field. I’m sure I sometimes miss when an author doesn’t do this, but I always appreciate when authors do. For the most part, I also like an author to be unbiased on a topic. Again, I’m sure their are fields I don’t know enough about and I sometimes miss author bias. There are also subgenres, like memoir, where this doesn’t really apply. For the most part, though, I like to feel an author is reporting facts in a neutral fashion.
Topic – Of course, topic is the main thing that makes me pick up a book, but I think books on any topic can become some of my favorites. Books on social justice issues feel particularly important to me right now and can be extremely moving, but books on much lighter or less timely topics also make my favorites list.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the things that can make for a stellar nonfiction book, so I’m excited to hear from all of you! Link-up your answer to the discussion question below: