Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nonfiction November: Nontraditional Nonfiction

This week's prompt is hosted by Rebecca of I'm Lost In Books. Rebecca challenged us to focus on the nontraditional side of nonfiction.

The vast majority of the nonfiction I read is traditional publication - your basic hardcover and paperback print books. But I have tried a number of other formats:

Graphic: I've read a couple of graphic memoirs. In fact, my first ever graphic book (other than the comics I read as a child) was a graphic memoir. It was Marjane Satrapi's Perselopis, though, that helped me really connect with this nontraditional medium.

Audiobook: Ditto with a couple of nonfiction audiobooks, including Sarah Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes. Since I do all of my audiobook listening in the car, this is my least favorite way to "read" a work of nonfiction. It's too hard to focus, you can't stop and look up more information as you come across something you'd like to learn more about, and you miss out on any added pieces of the book, such as addendum. If I listened at home, I might enjoy nonfiction audiobooks more.

Ebooks: This might now be my favorite way to read nonfiction books since it's so easy to hit up the internet for more information as you go, including easy access to pictures. Another of Vowell's books, The Wordy Shipmates was my first Nook nonfiction. In fact, 20% of the books I have downloaded to my Nook are nonfiction reads. I'd love to get to a couple of those yet this month but with the holiday around the corner, I'm likely to get less reading down for the next couple of weeks rather than more.

Nonfiction Collections: For me, this means essays. Essays are something I've never read until the past couple of years. I've pretty much stuck to writers, so far, that had a good record for me before I even picked up their collections, Ann Patchett, Nora Ephron, and Anna Quindlen. Still, it's a type of nonfiction I'm definitely eager to read more of.

Clearly, I don't read enough nonfiction, and absolutely not enough nontraditional nonfiction, to be anything approaching an expert. But I'm dabbling and learning what I like. And while I'm not opposed to pushing myself to try new things, I think a lot of the enjoyment of reading comes from finding books that fall into your sweet spot.


  1. Ann Patchett's and Anna Quindlen's nonfiction collections are both favorites... especially on audio!

  2. I enjoy graphic memoirs. I haven't read too many, but I do like them. I enjoy audio nonfiction only if it is more of a conversational memoir. Anything with facts or too much history and it doesn't work for me.

    I like e-books because I can highlight and bookmark so easily, but there is a part of me that prefers to have a paper copy for my shelves, especially if it is a book I want to reference back to.

  3. I love nonfiction via audio. I'm not certain what it is, but it keeps my focus and I dwell more on what I am hearing. Anything I want to research, I do later when I am at my phone or computer. I don't take notes when reading anything so that is not an issue. I just really love learning about new things via audio.