Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nonfiction November 2015 - Week 3

Nontraditional Nonfiction: This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction. Nonfiction comes in many forms. There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats.  We want to hear all about it this week!  
Link up your week three post on Becca's site, Lost in Books.

I'm a very traditional reader when it comes to the form my book takes. My ideal is a good hardcover that I bought. This year I branched out a bit by trying (and loving) audiobooks, but I listen to my books on CD. I've read lots of people say they enjoy audio for nonfiction, but I'm the opposite; I like audio for fiction. I like being told a story. When I'm reading nonfiction, I like to take notes. I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to books this year, but that's not the only place I get my nonfiction.

I love documentaries. I don't spend a lot of time looking for them--I just don't need another thing in my life to divide my time--but every now and then I stumble upon something on PBS that strikes my nerd fancy. Here are three I've watched in the last year or so:

How I loved the hours and hours I spent watching The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, a PBS miniseries by Ken Burns. Covering Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt, I learned a lot and was entertained, too.

Recently, my boss asked me if I'd seen the Walt Disney documentary on PBS. I hadn't, but I was intrigued by her description, so I DVR'd the two-part series and just finished it this week. It was exceptional. Disney was a complex character, creative, driven, and flawed. I love the questions raised as to how Disney defined childhood for generations of children.

I also recently watched The Amish: Shunned on PBS. It seemed very familiar, and I wonder if the producers used material from their American Experience: The Amish (also available on DVD) show put out a couple years ago. At any rate, this one dealt with Amish leaving their homes to live among "the English" and the inevitable shunning of these exiles from the Amish community. Several people were interviewed, some from laxer ordnungs which was interesting, some who returned and left many times before finally making a break. It was heartbreaking to watch people choose between their families and their desire to live a different life.

Do you have any documentaries to suggest? I'd love to hear your suggestions!


  1. I enjoyed The Roosevelts, too! The Amish: Shunned also sounds like one I would like. Thanks :)

    1. I really should send PBS a donation! I've been enjoying them so much this year.

  2. I love a good doco too - a few of the PBS ones make it to Australian TV, but not many. Fortunately our ABC and SBS Tv make great ones here too :-)

    TED Talks and podcasts are also a great way to get a quick fix of non-fiction.

    1. Oh yeah, great idea. I'll have to try those options!