Wooohoooo, look, it’s a new feature! One of my reading goals is to create 49+ discussion posts this year. That ends up being about one per week. This week, I want to talk about non-fiction, and why so many of us avoid non-fiction books.
Although I do not read nearly as many as I do fiction books, I love a good non-fiction book, and I’ve read some great ones! Last year I read 8 non-fiction books, which isn’t a huge number considering I read 120 books in total, but I still think that’s pretty good.
I think the biggest reason why people read less non-fiction nowadays is because of the accessibility of information on the internet.
When I was a kid, if I wanted to learn something or needed information for a school assignment, I had to look it up in an encyclopedia or read a book about the subject.
Yes, sadly, I’m aware that I sounded like an old lady shaking her finger and scolding youths, “Back in my day…” Let’s ignore that. I’m already developing a complex because I turn 30 this year.
Now, we can Google virtually anything and the answers are at our fingertips in a split second. I don’t think we are spending less time reading educational content (I realize fiction can be educational too!!!), we just access it in a different way now.
I think another reason many people don’t read non-fiction is because they are intimidated. Non-fiction books are often perceived as “hard” or “boring.”
Let’s be real, there are a lot of non-fiction books out there that are full of complex language, vocabulary, and topics that you just can’t devour as quickly as easily as a fun, fluffy novel. No one wants to read an entire chapter and then have no idea what they just read.
Who wants to feel like they’re reading a textbook when they’re reading for pleasure? Not many people I’m guessing!
HOWEVER, if you think non-fiction is boring or confusing, you’re probably just not reading the right kind of books! Look for books about topics, people, and places you find interesting.
Or maybe you need to try a different format! My favorite kind of non-fiction are memoirs by comedians, and I LOVE getting the audiobook versions because they are read by the authors. Audiobooks narrated by the author give authors the amazing opportunity to read the book in their own voice. You hear the dialogue, anecdotes, and jokes delivered exactly as they intended when they wrote the book. And I love that!
Audiobooks are also great for those non-fiction books with really difficult subject matter. Sometimes it’s just easier to understand something when someone is reading it to you. Plus you can listen while doing other things, so you won’t be as bored if the subject matter is dry.
Now that I’ve told you how great non-fiction is, you need some recommendations, right?
Yes, I DID have to include a One Direction gif in here somewhere, thanks for asking.
Here are some great non-fiction books I’ve enjoyed. I’ve included both physical books and audiobooks!
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (I read this short book during the 24 hour readathon last year!)
Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (I read this one during a readathon too)
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (he also narrates the audiobook)
For Hearing People Only by Matthew S. Moore & Linda Levitan (This is one of those books that will probably only interest you if you’re interested in learning about Deaf culture, but it’s my favorite book on the subject so I wanted to include it. It’s in Q&A form so it’s super easy to read too)
The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America by Erik Sass, Will Pearson, & Mangesh Hattikudur (This is more of a coffee table book rather than one you’d want to pick up and read straight through, but I’ve been slowly perusing through it over the past couple years and it’s hilarious and really interesting. )
The Tipping Point : How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (I’ve read a couple of his books but this was my first. I highly recommend if you’re at all interested in sociology. I’ve heard the audiobook versions are really good too.)
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley
All of these are narrated by the authors!
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Let’s Talk! Why do you or don’t you read non-fiction? How often do you read non-fiction compared to fiction books? Recommend me some of your favorites!