And for today’s second Armchair BEA topic: Non-Fiction — do you read it? do you review it? what types of non-fiction do you prefer?
My reading preference is strongly, strongly, strongly (yes, strongly!) weighted toward fiction — but I do sneak in some non-fiction, here and there, as the mood strikes me.
In order for me to read non-fiction, I have to feel some sort of attraction to the topic, and the writing has to be sharp and flowing. I shy away from how-to books, business-themed books (except those that relate to my real-world career), or anything that strikes me as dry and dusty. Very subjective, I know, but there it is.
I’ve had the best non-fiction reading experiences with memoirs, adventure stories, and books that focus on a particular person or challenge. Another category I enjoy is science — the weirder, the better. Basically, if it reads like fiction — fast-paced, interesting or quirky characters, some suspense or drama — I’ll give it a try.
Favorites from my recent reading history* include:
- Ice Bound by Dr. Jerri Nielson (featured as my Flashback Friday pick today): The memoirs of the South Pole doctor who treated herself for breast cancer while “wintering over” in Antarctica.
- The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure: The experiences of a woman and her obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Seriously!)
- Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. Two very different topics, one amazing writer.
- Life by Keith Richards. Just because.
- The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum.
- The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. Yes, I read a football book. And I liked it.
- Packing for Mars and Stiff by Mary Roach. If you think science can’t be hilariously funny, then you’ve never read Mary Roach.
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
That’s just a smidgen, but you get the idea. I’ll always be a fiction girl at heart, but give me a good, well-written book that surprises me, intrigues me, or keeps me guessing, and I’m in!
*I realize that most of these are books that I read before I was a blogger. I’ve provided links to the two that I’ve actually reviewed here. In theory, I have no problem with reviewing non-fiction books on Bookshelf Fantasies — I just don’t read that much non-fiction; therefore, I don’t review much of it either.
What are your non-fiction tastes? Any favorites to recommend?