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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tammy's mini-challenge: A Nod to Nonfiction

Welcome, readathoners!! Hope everyone is having a great time and reading lots of wonderful books.

I love nonfiction and read it as often as, sometimes more often than, I do fiction. So I'd like to know what you think of nonfiction. What is you favorite non-fiction book and why? What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others? If you don't read non-fiction, why not?

Please leave your answers in a comment to this post. The prize is a paperback copy of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and your choice of books from Better World Books, up to $15 $20 (used books can be as low as $3.95, so you could get up to 5!). One winner will be chosen at random, but you must answer the question(s) to be eligible. This challenge is open for 2 hours.


Care said...

My favorite nonfiction is anything by Tracy Kidder. I haven't read everything he's written but House and Mts Beyond Mts are incredible!

Samantha said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why?
My absolute favorite (at the moment) would be Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie. It's about, you guessed it, keeping a nature journal, and it's so inspirational, to read, to look at, to skim through, as a starting point. Really, it's great.

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?
I enjoy history books. Everything about history, doesn's matter what era or subject. As for writers, the only one that comes to mind is John Keay. I have one book from him, and I'd like to read more. He's conscise, thourough and engaging (and yes, I probably spelled all of those words wrong...).

If you don't read non-fiction, why not?
I do read non-fiction, but not very often, mostly because the non-fiction I read for my study is quite enough non-fiction for me. However, I always have several non-fiction books lying around for when the mood strikes me.

Nise' said...

My favorite non-fiction book has to be Marley and Me. I read it 2 months after our beloved yellow lab died unexpectedly (2 years ago) and it helped with healing. I am not a big non-fiction reader but like to read about others lives rather than what I call self-help type books.

Kim said...

I love memoirs--My favorite is The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio.
I also enjoy WWII survivor memoirs and travel memoirs like Bill Bryson. A really funny travel memoir is Sex Lives of Cannibals--which has nothing to do with Sex at all!
Fun mini-challenge!

Book Psmith said...

I love non-fiction as well; it accounts for about half of my reading. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is my fave non-fiction book. My fave genre is biographical/autobios/memoirs. I would definitely recommend Frankl to anyone.

Laura said...

I only recently started reading nonfiction somewhat frequently. I'd have to say memoirs are my favorite type of nonfiction. The Glass Castle was really interesting and memorable...probably my favorite nonfiction read in the last several years.

Joseph said...

I love all kinds of non-fiction. I read books about philosophy, history, science, economics, pretty much what ever I can get my hands on. I wouldn't really say that I have a favorite per se. I mean there are just too many really good nonfiction books that I have read. However, one author I would recommend is Steven Johnson. I have read his books Emergence and The Ghost Map. Both were excellent. He has a new book out, The Invention of Air. I haven't read it yet, but I have heard him speak about it and it sounds very interesting.

Anna said...

I don't read too many nonfiction books, but I'll pick up anything about WWII or Vietnam. I don't have a favorite, though. I tend to read more fiction about WWII than nonfiction.

Thanks for hosting this challenge!

Diary of an Eccentric

melissa said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why? This is a tough one, but one I recently fell in love with was Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas. The movie really inspired me and I read this bio - Wilberforce was amazing!

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?
I generally prefer biographies and stories of other people's lives. I have been reading more junior non-fic, because it is simpler and plainer - I understand events better that way. No particular writers though.

If you don't read non-fiction, why not?
I do, but not as much as I'd like, probably because some of it is really too dense. There need to be more writers of non-fic that are lucid.

Irish said...

for non-fiction I really loved All This Hell by Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee. Its the story of US Army nurses during WWII and was really inspiring. I read this book years ago and its still pretty fresh in my mind and one that I highly recommend to peeps. Last year I also read Daoud Hari's The Translator. That memoir just blew me away. Another inspirational read. I love these glimpses into a world that is different from my daily life.

The genre's I usually read are WWII, memoirs/biographies of famous peeps (and even ones not so famous like Daoud Hari) or books about science.

Can't really recommend specific authors as I don't usually pay attention to the author of a non-fic read....for me its more about the subject inside rather than the person who wrote it.

nfmgirl said...

My favorite non-fiction book is probably Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Hefler or In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall.

I like lots of genres, but I am particular to horror and post-apocalyptic stories. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon are some favorites.

Morph said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why?
Ex Libris by Fadiman. I'm a huge book reader and collector and her book of essays is all about the love of books.

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?
My favorite genre is Fantasy. Off the top of my head, I recommend Lackey, Eddings, Bishop, Harrison, Harris, Carey.

If you don't read non-fiction, why not?
I prefer fiction, but about 25% of my reading is non-fiction. I'm currently in the middle of The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl by Reid.

Rhinoa said...

I don't read much fiction to be honest, but I did love Tori Amos and Ann Powers book Piece by Piece. It's a kind of random biography of Tori Amos with bits about religion, song writing, her daughter and other randomness. I love Tori's music and she is such a quirky and interesting personality.

I think I prefer scientific books or biographies of people I respect and am interested in like Diablo Cody and Kevin Smith etc.

Shannansbooks said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why? My favorite Non-Fiction book is Act Like a Lady and Think like a man by Steve Harvey

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others? History and Biographies as well as classics as you can tell by my read-a-thon choices.

If you don't read non-fiction, why not? I actually like non-fiction more than fiction sometimes especially the current fiction that is out there no offense to aspiring authors.

Richard said...

Non-fiction is by far my favourite genre. My preference are to do with Russian History, US History and Politics World Wide. I am more likely to peruse the non-section of shops or library's than other sections. I don't have a particular author I like, although I would recommend Winston Churchill's writings on WWII and history,.


infogoddess said...

I am a huge fan of non-fiction and as a matter of fact my next book to read is a collection of essays by Umberto Eco. I generally love history, science and biographies. Non-fiction authors that I have recently read include John Baxter (A Pound of Paper), John Grogan (The Longest Trip Home), Nicholas A. Basbanes (Patience and Fortitude), Paul Collins (Sixpence House) and Lawrence Goldstone (Out of the Flames) - I love books about books

mee said...

My favorite genre for non-fiction is memoir and biography. I also like journalism. Favorite non fiction books so far are probably the graphic novels: Persepolis and Maus, just because they are so different in format and in setting. Favorite author would be hard to answer, because most people write biography/memoir only once. But I love Marjane Satrapi (she also writes another graphic novel apart from Persepolis: Embroideries, which I love almost as much).

jehara said...

i put my answers in my update post.

Amanda said...

Generally, if I read nonfiction it's memoires. I'm terrible at reading nonfiction, and even joined the nonfiction c hallenge this year to help m yself improve. My favorite nonfiction work so far has been Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli, chronicalling the rise of Harry Potter fandom. :)

Thanks for hosting this!

Jess said...

My favorite non-fiction book right now is a toss up between A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown or Girl Bomb by Janet Earlbaum.

My favorite genre of non-fiction is memoirs, and diary like books.

Margot said...

I also love non-fiction. If there is a subject I'm interested in I will go all out with books about the subject. Subjects Non-fiction books I own include knitting, quilting, spiritual/religious, gardening and cookbooks.

My favorite category is Book About Food which is different than cookbooks. They may have recipes in them but generally not. I love books by Ruth Reichl. I recently received a book I'm reading for the Read-a-Thon called American Food Writing that is a collection of essays. They are written by various writers going back to Thomas Jefferson's writing about ice cream. Great fun.

*Margot @ Joyfully Retired

debnance said...

My favorite nonfiction book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It completely changed the way I looked at the world.

That said, I've recommended it to everyone I know and NOT ONE PERSON has ever finished it. So, perhaps I am the only one in the world who loves it very much!

(BTW, Bill Bryson is coming to Houston on Monday! I hope to see him!)

jspeyton said...

I'm a huge fan of nonfiction. Right now, it counts for about half of my reading. I don't really have a favorite nonfiction book. I like a lot of nonfiction books for different reasons. I do really enjoy The Best American Travel Writing series. The writing is always uniformly good.

I a really big fan of travel writing, but I also enjoy reading general nonfiction. Everything from history to linguistics to politics to science.

Right now, I'm reading The Canon by Natalie Angier, which I'd recommend for anyone interested in science at all. It's very easy to read. I'm also a big fan of Bill Bryson, though I've never read the book you're giving away. :) Also, "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond is a great book. It'll change the way you look at the world.

Thanks for hosting this challenge! = D

Blair said...

Currently my favorite non-fiction book is A Brief History of the Celts by Peter Berresford Ellis, because I love history, I love all things Celtic, and Peter Berresford Ellis under his Pseudonym Peter Tremayne is one of my favorite fiction writers. His Sister Fidelma series is so full of history, which is one of the reasons I love that. I would say I'm definately more into history than any other non-fiction genre. I don't really have any recommendations for authors except Ellis, he is a professor of Celtic history and really knows his stuff.

Icedream said...

In the non-fiction catagory I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies more than anything else. I suppose they are more "fictiony" and that's why I enjoy them. I guess I don't read as much non-fiction because I have an assumption that it would be "dry". My favorite non-fiction book is I Love Everybody and Other Atrocious Lies by Laurie Notaro. It had me laughing out loud in public (and people do stare!). I love humor and most of the memoirs I read are in that category. For those who enjoy a good laugh I would highly recommnend Laurie Notaro, Erma Bombeck, Celia Rivenbark and Jen Lancaster.

Drea said...

I think my fav non-fic in the past have always been memoirs or diaries/letters from my favorite authors (like Virginia Woolf). However, I find i don't read much non-fic anymore. I'm trying so desperately to keep w/YA fic for work that I neglect non-fic more than I should!

♔ jessica.marie said...

I love non-fiction, but I kind of have to since I'm a history major ;)

So far my favorite would be The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler because it wasn't dry, which can happen a lot in non-fiction books.

I really enjoy reading non-fiction about European and Japanese history.

Deborah said...

I normally don't read non fiction unless I have to read it for school. I like good history books but most are too academic and get boring for me. A really good NF book I've read is I Loved, I Lost, I ate spaghetti by Giulia Melucci. It's a memoir but it's written like chick lit with a ton of food and recipes. It was a very fast read and I loved all the food.

If I do read NF, I like books about movies or bands, or good biographies on people I like.

Lauren said...

Here's mine -

Scribacchina said...

I do like a good NF every now and then, mostly science. My all time favourite remains Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything. Ian Stewart also is a good author...

Serena said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why?

My favorite Non-Fiction Book that I've read is probably The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel, which has a lot of great tips about making your own makeup and cleansers and about how to choose the best organic products sold in stores and on the Internet.

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?

I really enjoy a wide range of writers and genres. I'm reading a sci-fi/fantasy book right and and love it. Authors I would recommend include Anita Shreve, Natasha Mostert (current book I'm reading is fantastic), Yusef Komenyakaa (poet),Amy Tan, and Tim Obrien.

Laza said...

I'd have to say The Liar's Club by Mary Karr. It is a definitive work of literary memoir and lyrically written. I like memoirs in that vein, and long form journalism such as Jon Krakauer. Although I have strong feelings against Alex McCandless, I LOVE Into the Wild. I would recommend either of these authors or any of the nonfiction authors I've reviewed in the past.

Lexie said...

I read very few non-fiction books but one I really like is called 'Yell-Oh Girls!' edited by Vickie Nam. Its about the emerging culture and growing up Asian-American. I also really like Mo Williems 'You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons' which is a pictoral diary of his year spent backpacking.

As for genres..I prefer either auto-biographies about famous people I admire (like Allison Sweeney or Michael J. Fox) or books about pop culture and its effect on the generations.

Becky said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why?

It depends on if you count Christian nonfiction. I have many of those titles that I'd consider my favorite. Otherwise, I just LOVE a good Holocaust memoir. For example, I love Ruth Mensky Sender's The Cage. And Livia Bitton-Jackson's I Have Lived A Thousand Years.

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?

I enjoy many different historical time periods and subjects. There are a few writers that are so good I'd read their books no matter the subject. Russell Freedman and James Cross Giblin are two authors I'd definitely recommend!

If you don't read non-fiction, why not? I don't read as much as I perhaps should. But I do enjoy a good nonfiction book now and then!

Kathrin said...

For me, it's actually a tie between Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself and Greg Behrend & Liz Tuccillo's He's Just Not That Into You. Bryson just writes wonderfully and made me laugh so many times when I read this book that it has to be there, but Behrend & Tuccillo maybe wrote a book that should have been written years ago! It's hilarious to read, but still I recognized me in quite some of the behavioral problems they described.

I absolutely love mysteries, thrillers, chick lit and romance, but when the time is right I'll read about every genre.

I don't read non-fiction too often just for me right now because I have so many non-fiction books to read for university. Some of the books I still pick up, despite this are non-fiction that are written in an entertaining style or books that I feel might really help me like the one on time management I read last month or the one on ADD I have on Mt TBR for the near future. I also like biographies and memoirs.

Chris said...

I just started reading non-fiction recently. I like reading history and science. I don't like celebrities or self-help though.

Girl That Reads said...

I love memoirs, but I'll read anything that sparks my interest when it comes to non-fiction. My favorite non-fiction books are Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

A said...

I don't read as much non-ficition as I'd like to but one that I really enjoyed reading Stiff by Mary Roach.

I wouldn't say I'm drawn to any particular genre. I enjoy each genre in it's own way. I tend to read more humor than not. I really enjoy a good laugh.

Chris said...

My favorite non-fiction books are one that deal with mental illness/developmental delays in children. I know that's totally random, lol. But books like What it Takes to Pull me Through, and recently Rupert Isaacson's The Horse Boy read even better than fiction for me! I'm also a huge fan of memoirs. One of my old professors wrote one called Dream Homes. Her name is Joyce Zonana and her book is just fantastic!! For people who say they don't read non-fiction, I'd say find something on a subject that you love and I think you'd be surprised! Great mini-challenge idea :)

Jessica said...

I really enjoy non-fiction, although I tend to read more fiction, generally. My favorite types of non-fiction are history and environmental and science books. I think my recent favorite is The World Without Us by Alan Weisman.

Jennie said...

My answers are here:

Fyrefly said...

Gosh, that's a tough one, there's so many good ones out there. I don't know that I'd exactly call it a favorite, but the one that's influenced me the most is probably Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do by Peter McWilliams... but one that I'm a total evangelist for and is probably of more general interest is Colors: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay.

Eva said...

I love nonfiction! I read a ton of it, so here are my favourite authors: Nick Hornby, Carl Safina, Alberto Manuel, Alain de Botton, Peter Hessler, and Oliver Sacks.

I read a ton of genres too: anything related to 'international stuff', science, history, art, books about books, lately I've gotten more into travel, essays and memoirs...I read quite a bit of nonfic! Basically I look at nonfiction as my chance to take my own 'college classes.' :D

I honestly can't narrow it down to just one nonfiction favourite; it's like picking just one fiction favourite! But my favourite RECENT nonfic read was Shooting the Boh by Tracy Johnston. It's a travelogue, and I titled my review of it "How Nonfiction Can Be More Pageturning Than Fiction."

My mom (Barb-she's also doing the read-a-thon) says that she doesn't read a lot of nonfiction because she'd rather spend her limited reading time with fiction, but her favourite nonfic is Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright, because she really admire and respects Albright as both a mother and a professional.

N.Vasillis said...

My two favorite non-fiction writers are Nick Hornby and Anne Lamott. Both are honest, friendly, and have the ability to engag a readers with their words. One of my favorite reads by Lamott is Traveling Mercies, her memoir abouther childhood, recovering from alcoholism,and being a single mother. My favorite by Hornby is The Polysyllabic Spree. It's his essays about the books he's read during a year period.

Callista said...

Yay something about nonfiction, thank you! That's all I've read for the readathon and mostly what I read and a lot of people assume everyone reads fiction. Anyways...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why? Well I don't know about my absolute favourite but the first one that comes to mind as being awesome is Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?
I love anything that fits under one of these categories: sociology, psychology, women studies, biology, religion studies (specifically Islam and Judaism) and anything like that. With nonfiction, I don't find I read too many authors more than once so no authors to recommend.

vvb32 reads said...

I usually like to ready fiction. The non-fiction that I sometimes read are memoirs or travel-related books.

Marta said...

1. What is you favorite non-fiction book and why?

I don't know that I have a fav non-fiction book. There are just too many really excellent ones out there that I've read.

2. What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?

There are two genre's of non-fiction that I tend to gravitate towards...history and christian. I love John Piper is one major that stands out. I've learned a lot from his books. I also would recommend Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

If you don't read non-fiction, why not?

Amanda said...

I love The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I reread it often. I also REALLY enjoyed The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, which I read a few years back. That one is probably my favorite. It really teaches a lot about three different religions and reminds us all that we are much more alike than we thought.

Thanks for hosting!

Joanne said...

I like a lot of different types of non-fiction. My favorites would be Mary Roachs books Spook and Stiff. Another favorite author is Oliver Sacks - love his books about neurological disorders. I'll read just about any books that are about Nova Scotia (where I'm from). But the most loved non-fic in our house would likely be those books of useless trivia, factoids and quotes - it's something that can be read in a small bites and plus it's great for reading aloud in the car with kids.

wordlily said...

This response is from Sevedra,

(she posted it at the Read-a-thon site, and I'm posting it for her.)

I wanted to enter this at Tammy's site, but I do not have the right kind of account. If she checks here at all, this is my response to her Non-Fiction question:

I read a LOT of non-fiction. I love history and biographies. I am majoring in history in college and I just can't get enough! Right now, my favorite non-fiction is Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe by Daniel Hoffman. I am on a small obssessive thing about Poe. I just got Poe by Peter Ackroyd and can't wait to read it too!

alisonwonderland said...

Good questions! I've posted my responses on my blog here.

Valerie said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why?

I don't know if I have *one* favorite non-fiction book! I will say that I really liked the one I read today as part of the read-a-thon: "Three Cups of Tea"!

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?

I enjoy reading history and biographies--for Europe, I would recommend the authors Antonia and Flora Fraser and Alison Weir. I also enjoy reading about different cultures.

Fran said...

What is you favorite non-fiction book and why? ~~ I don't have any particular non-fiction book that's a favorite but I love reading anything about Egypt, terrorism (too much 24 and CSI stuff).

What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others? ~~ I prefer historical, travel, biographical genres.

Trish said...

LOL--can I make a BIG PLUG for the Non-Fiction Five challenge that I'm hosting?? :D

I LOVE non-fiction--just finished one for the read-a-thon and am reading one right now (Catch Me If You Can and Fun Home). I really like memoirs--some of my favorites are The Glass Castle, Tender at the Bone, and A Rumor of War.

tanabata said...

I don't read a lot of non-fiction but when I do it's usually some aspect of history or social analysis. Since I've been living in Japan, I'm mostly interested in reading about Japan's history and people. One of my favourites from last year was 'Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation' by Michael Zielenziger.

Plus I also enjoy reading NF about books, like Nick Hornby's essays on what he's been reading. 'The Polysyllabic Spree' and others.

Thanks for hosting this mini-challenge!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE NONFICTION! So glad to have found a kindred spirit. :) I'll send you to my feeder so we can keep in touch. Now, as for your questions:

1) What is you favorite non-fiction book and why? Let's go with the first that comes to mind: King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. Superbly written history-as-a-novel detailing this Belgian king's ravage of the people and resources of the Congo. Moving, eye-opening, engaging. Loved it!

2) What genre(s) do you enjoy and are there particular writers that you would recommend to others?

a)tons of theology-like books and Christian-living sort of books | lots of John Piper, Philip Yancey, C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer

b) lots of language and grammar books

c) lots of history and life accounts/biographies

Memory said...

My favourite is undoubtedly MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL by John Berendt. I devoured it as quickly as any piece of fiction, and I loved every minute of it.

I love travel writing and social history, and I especially like scholarly work that still approaches the material from a personable angle. If I can tell that the author is excited about their subject, I'm far more likely to share their enthusiasm.

I haven't read much by him yet, but I'd definitely recommend Simon Winchester. His THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING was fantastic, and I can't wait to read more of his work.

Anonymous said...

Cookbooks hands down. When I'm hungry, anyway. When I'm I seem to be on a kick for Bible interpretations other than the traditional Christian. So Everett Fox's Five Books of Moses, somebody's The Book of J, somebody else's Five Books of Miriam, Asimov's Guide to the Bible...

Lissa said...

I have never been much of a non-fiction reader, but in the past year or so i have discovered autobiographies. I tend to like the ones by famous people. i only read one every couple of months, and have Kirk Cameron and Barbara Walters waiting in the wings right now... =D

Karen Beth said...

*My favorite non-fiction book is Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Good Wives, which is about Early New England women from about 1650-1750*Even though it's non-fiction, she writes beautifully and tells impeccably researched stories about these women's lives. It's a good read, although sometimes slow going.
*I love fiction and drama, and although I am often pleasantly suprised by poetry and non-fiction, I still rarely read it unless it is for one of my graduate seminars. However, I do read non-fiction biographies and histories for my research for my literature degree. :)

Scott Snyder said...

I nkow you are talking about non-fiction now but check out this book on terrorism. You'll love it's descriptions of real spots in the middle east as well as other parts of the world.
The GH-4 Effect by Scott Snyder