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Non-Fiction Favourites

Week four of Non-Fiction November is hosted by Leann @ Shelf_Aware_ on Instagram! This week’s topic is non-fiction favourites, specifically what a non-fiction books needs in order to become a favourite.

Some of my favourite non-fiction books are those that take a topic and make it into a story. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks did this really well, as did The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir. The advantages that these both had is that they’re almost biographies, or autobiographies, but they have a second topic running alongside them that make them a little something more. Having that biographical structure as a basis makes it easy to read like a story, in a linear progressive fashion.

Another thing I look for in a non-fiction favourite is the book’s ability to teach me something I don’t already know, and to do it in an accessible and interesting way. I don’t want to feel like I’m reading a text book. Sometimes personal anecdotes help this along (like in Sofie Hagen’s Happy Fat), other times it just has be well-written and well-researched (like one of my favourites from this year, Vagina: A Re-Education). I try not to read too much around the same topic because it gets tedious, a lot of books on the same topics tend to cover much of the same ground. I end up reading more but not necessarily learning more.

What makes a non-fiction book a favourite for you?

2 thoughts on “Non-Fiction Favourites”

  1. Great list! I keep hearing about The Fact of a Body this month, I should really check that one out. I don’t think I’ve read any of your favorites here, but I definitely agree with you about wanting nonfiction to feel like a story, and preferring to read a range of topics rather than a lot of titles on the same subject!

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