What’s Your Favorite Nonfiction Category?
Nonfiction November - Week 2

It’s already Week 2 of Nonfiction November? This week we’re talking about how we choose nonfiction books.

Link up your own post November 6-10 with Frances at Volatile Rune.

Choosing Nonfiction

Here are my answers about CHOOSING NONFICTION, one of my favorite topics.

1. What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book?

Bottom line, I want to learn something new from every nonfiction book I read. My favorites also give solid advice on how to put the new knowledge into practice.

It’s a bonus if the material is also entertaining, witty, or poignant, depending on the topic, but those aren’t required if the content is fresh.

2. Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to?

I like to keep an eclectic mix on my nightstand. It chases away any boredom with reading.

I find I return to these themes again and again.

  • Communication/Relationships
  • Spirituality
  • Politics/Social justice
  • Science
  • Psychology/Philosophy
  • Memoirs
  • Writing
  • Productivity

3. Do you have a particular writing style that works best?

I prefer a mix of theory, real-life stories, and practical suggestions. I can take a bit of academic writing if the payoff is worth it. But otherwise, keep it simple and clean. Pertinent charts, graphics, and photos are all worth at least a thousand words each.

I also want the book to stay on the advertised topic. I get frustrated with rabbit trails and tangents.

4. When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you?

Title? Definitely (including the subtitle). It’s everything.

Cover? Not so much. I read a lot of ebooks, so I rarely see the covers. And with paper books, I remove the dust jackets before I read them. (I do put them back on when I’m finished though.)

A bad cover can turn me away more than a good cover can lure me in.

5. If so, share a title or cover which you find striking.

Here are four clever covers of books I’ve recently read.

What nonfiction topics do you most prefer? Does a book’s cover matter to you? Share in the comments.

Read more:

20 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Nonfiction Category?
Nonfiction November - Week 2

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love reading everyone’s choices too. I add way too many books to my tbr list during November, but that’s wonderful. 🙂 Yes, I both imagined and actually read the “Imagine Reading This Book”; it was so fascinating!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Reading to learn great lessons is another thing we have in common, Martha. I’m glad we can learn that from reading fiction too. And just listening to people tell their stories in real life, too!

  1. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    Love those covers, I hadn’t seen them except for the Brené Brown.

    My own nonfiction reading is heavily weighted to narrative nonfiction — memoir, biography, and history. It’s gotten so that fictional stories often seem lacking to me … unless the writing is really outstanding. In terms of the actual story, truth has it over fiction a lot of the time. This is quite a departure from my former reading habits, for which I give Nonfiction November the credit. I’ve found so many great reads since I started participating, and I anticipate that will be the same this year.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love narrative nonfiction as well, Lory. That’s one of the many reasons I’ve enjoyed participating in your Spiritual Memoir challenge; each of the books I’ve read for it have held such interesting life stories. There is something special about reading a fascinating story and knowing it really happened!

  2. Barbara Harper

    A cover might draw me in or turn me off, but it’s not the most important thing. If the title (and subtitle!) or premise sound interesting, I’ll investigate further.

    I agree, I want to learn something from nonfiction–maybe something new, maybe a fuller understanding of something I’m a bit familiar with. But I also want practical suggestions of how to live out the concepts.

    I’m most often drawn to biography or memoir. But I also read a good bit re Bible study, Christian living, productivity, and writing. I also like to read about whatever age or stage of life I am in or approaching. Sometimes I’ll read about health-related issues. But sometimes I’ll read something completely off the wall because someone’s review of it sounded good.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I also love reading about whatever stage of life I’m in (I should have added that to my list!). I remember reading so many parenting books for every age my children went through. Now I read books about what it means to get older myself. 🙂

  3. Lynn

    Those are a wide variety of non-fiction topics you read, Lisa! And that’s so important. I do like a good memoir. They teach me a lot and to consider new perspective’s. The world is a big place and people DO live so differently than we do in North America! So, non-fiction can actually help me be more humble, compassionate, and open-minded.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes to this, Lynn! Reading about other people’s lives has been so crucial in my understanding that everyone isn’t just like me. (Of course I discover that in everyday living too. lol). Reading expands our perspective in so many helpful ways.

  4. Jean Wise

    My prefer genre is Non-fiction. I love the learning – like bullet points and end of chapter summaries. Great quotes. Fun trivia. well written and inspirational stories. I enjoyed reading your answers!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m with you on loving bullet points and end of chapter summaries, Jean. It helps my brain digest and retain the information easier when the author helps me out that way. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      And there’s so much great memoir/biography out there! One in particular that stands out to me this year is Beth Moore’s memoir. She was so vulnerable in telling her story.

  5. Aritha

    I certainly love non-fiction. Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve been reading books, particularly on dealing with stress, mindful living, and the transition into menopause. Is that considered non-fiction?

    A cover matters. But less so than with a novel, I don’t know why. Lisa, I love this blog post. It is so interesting to read. Also the comments.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, those categories certainly count as nonfiction, Aritha. Those are topics I am interested in as well! It’s so comforting to have books to read to help us through tough times and through life’s various seasons.

  6. Frances

    You’ve read some amazing books this year. I haven’t read many of these but the Brene Brown looks very interesting. A powerful cover too. Thank you so much for sharing this post and for taking part in Nonfiction November.

  7. Liz Dexter

    Fascinating, thank you for taking part (hope you enjoy my week on Monday!). You’re so right about needing books to be practical if they’re about changing how one is / trying to change the world – tell me how, please, even if the “how” is just “look at this list of books and do the work”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *