I didn’t expect to have such a hard time getting to this week’s Nonfiction November prompt, but we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy this Thanksgiving break! I also have to admit that I’ve been putting off writing this post a little because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. This week’s prompt is hosted by Rennie at What’s Nonfiction, so be sure to visit her post for the link-up of everyone’s responses to this week’s prompt, which is…
Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it that fiction-like feeling? Does it depend on the topic, the writing, the use of certain literary elements and techniques? What are your favorite nonfiction recommendations that read like fiction? And if your nonfiction picks could never be mistaken for novels, what do you love about the differences?
Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel?
I wish we didn’t have to compare nonfiction to fiction to express that it’s good. I think the fact that we do really encapsulated a lot of the negative opinions people have about nonfiction! That said, I definitely do this too. When I say that nonfiction reads like fiction what I really mean is that it’s well written. Like well written fiction, I think well written nonfiction has: an engaging plot with enough momentum to propel me though the book; fleshed out characters/historical figures who feel real; and detailed descriptions that bring scenes to life. From that perspective, yes, I definitely think it’s important for nonfiction to read like fiction! The only caveat is that as I’m getting more into books that make me think, I’m finding that I might be more willing to work to understand nonfiction, while I might still expect fiction to make it a little easier on me.
Nonfiction that reads like fiction
In the Kingdom of Ice, Forty Autumns, Toms River, Death in the Air, and Bad Blood are some of my recent nonfiction reads that have hooked me the most. I also have a lot of other books I really loved and that are particularly easy reads which I included in my Beginner’s Guide to Nonfiction – I just had to make myself narrow down the list here!