Wow, it’s week four of Nonfiction November already and this week, we’re talking Nonfiction Favorites with host Leann at There There, Read This. I’m interested to hear what you all have to say about this one, because I don’t feel like I can define what makes a favorite for me as well as I’d like! Here’s the prompt:
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.
Is the topic pretty much all that matters?
I’ve decided to tackle this question by question, in hopes it will help me figure out for myself what makes a favorite. I’m quite certain topic isn’t the most important thing for me I’ll read a book on pretty much anything if it’s written about in an engaging way. Lately I have had a preference for books where I feel like I’m learning about a topic that matters.
Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love?
My favorites aren’t all narrative nonfiction and I don’t love all narrative nonfiction, but there’s probably a pretty strong correlation there. Even when learning about a dense or difficult topic, I like for an author to tell me a story. That story can be focused on the people involved in the topic they’re discussing – scientists in science nonfiction; historical figures; patients or doctors in medical nonfiction; etc – or on the author themselves. An author making themselves part of the story can be hit or miss, but sometimes makes a story feel more immediate to me. It can really draw me in.
Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone?
Either a serious or humorous tone can work for me, although I think humorous nonfiction is a little more hit or miss. I have found myself drawn to more serious topics lately, but I still appreciate it when an author can be funny about serious topics.
Pulling from the above answers, here are some qualities shared by many of my favorites
- vivid, descriptive writing
- a focus on personal stories
- well cited, well researched, transparent about sources
- about a topic that’s important to me (social justice related, history or geopolitics I think I really should know, etc)
Be sure to share what makes a nonfiction favorite for you with Leann over at There There, Read This