Nonfiction November, Week 4

I've missed two weeks, but I'm back for the 4th week of Nonfiction November!  This week is hosted by Doing Dewey, and the question is:

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.

I like a nonfiction book to be pretty serious, but not too serious.  It's helpful to have interesting anecdotes or witty comments!  I've read some books that were just heavy theory all the way through, and they're quite difficult to read without some leavening.  There is a line, though; if an author is spending too much time on frivolous asides, fluffy filler, or self-analysis, I'm out. 

The current style in non-fiction is to be pretty exhaustive.  Few respectable non-fiction books come in at under 400 pages, it seems, and there is always lots of background provided: history, biographical information, and so forth.  All well and good, but it all too often turns into unfocused filler.  I would really like to see more concision in non-fiction!

As for topics, I have many favorites!  History, textiles, social issues, women's history/issues, travel, biography/memoir, literary analysis, religion, science.... I love 'em all and will read anything that catches my eye. 


  1. I missed weeks 2 and 3 of NonFiction November too! Life happens! My list for next weeks post is growing with so many good books I've been introduced to this month.

  2. "There is a line, though; if an author is spending too much time on frivolous asides, fluffy filler, or self-analysis, I'm out." - Yes! Dear god, this! I'm completely with you there. I wish more writers would just stick to the point. I've read way too many that lose focus and, as a result, my interest.

  3. Fluffy filler, get ye hence. I do feel nonfiction writers feel they have to achieve a certain page count to be taken seriously, and that can be a problem.


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