Be Not Afraid...of Nonfiction!
May 20, 2013
I read mostly fiction and really enjoy relaxing with a good mystery or romance book. Of course, every now and then I think I should challenge myself to read something out of my comfort zone.
I realized I enjoy talking about nonfiction books with our customers but don’t usually commit to them myself. A coworker was talking about a class she had taken on "Narrative Nonfiction," nonfiction books that are written in the style of fiction writing. I realized most nonfiction I have enjoyed is in this style of writing. I thought I would suggest some of the titles mentioned from this class that I have read or that I'm am going to add to My List in MCPL’s new catalog for future books.
The hardest thing for most fiction readers is realizing that in nonfiction an author’s books aren’t going to be together but filed by subject. Laura Hillenbrand’s books, Seabiscuit: An American Legend and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, are separated by their Dewey numbers, the 700s for Seabiscuit and the 900s for Unbroken, and they are not as easy to find or even be sure you’ll like the different subject material.
I thought about other books that were not on the list I was looking at but were also very popular in the nonfiction category. Presidential nonfiction books come to mind. Jon Meacham, Doris Kerns Goodwin, and Candace Millard are all writing these books, and they have been best sellers. Memoirs are also great for the beginning nonfiction reader. I’ve enjoyed all of Jen Lancaster’s books, especially her first one Bitter is the New Black. They are fiction, but her nonfiction books are written exactly the same, and you know she is writing about herself from the beginning. In their books, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and Bossypants, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey put their personalities into their writing. Another great memoir is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, an Oprah book club pick.
I’m also interested in Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. I could definitely see a movie from this book. In writing this, I realize how many books I've missed by reading mostly fiction. Be sure to ask for help at your local MCPL branch in picking nonfiction that matches your reading style and interests.
North Oak Branch