This week’s portion of Nonfiction November is hosted by Katie over at Doing Dewey Decimal and the prompt is an interesting one:
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.
It’s tempting to click through all the replies and tally everyone’s responses. It would be interesting to see how the majority of people answer this question of “what make one of your nonfiction reads a favorite?”
But before I get to clicking around, I’m better answer myself.
Subject matter is everything. I need a nonfiction book to tackle a subject head on. I want a deep dive. Lots of books spend too much time with clever chapter titles and the like, which can be fun to a degree. But I don’t want to flit about and float through a nonfiction read.
Now please don’t hear me say “text book” when you read the above few sentences. I’m not looking for dry. Another thing I am not looking for is chronological. I enjoy a good timeline in a book and I LOVE when there is a map printed just inside the front and back covers, but very rarely does a nonfiction read benefit from being told in historical sequence. That’s a great way to report the news to point to the truth, but not the best way to weave a story to highlight the truth and give context to the truth.
So if I can stumble upon a nonfiction book that is a topic of interest, isn’t told chronologically and is all about giving context, more than likely, I’m going to read that book. If the book also has some humor sprinkled throughout then it’s just about a certainty.
Having said all that. . . I find myself wondering what books have I read that fit that description? Well, here are three that pop into mind:
- The Everything Store by Brad Stone
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
And I am looking forward to clicking around and reading everyone else’s responses. Nonfiction November is a good time.
I hope everyone in the States had a restful Thanksgiving holiday today and squirreled away some minutes with a good book. And to everyone else I hope you found some reading time too!