Week 4, 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. Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.
Topic is the main thing, but a book has to be well-written and engaging, or I'll bail. There's nothing worse than a dry 600-page biography. A good story can be told poorly, but a poor story can't be told charmingly. But perhaps most importantly, I must learn something new from my nonfiction. That's the number one reason why I read.
Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love?
I like my nonfiction approachable and engrossing. It needs to have a clear narrative thread (I suppose you'd call that narrative nonfiction) and be well-paced. I don't like gossipy tell-alls, and I won't abide with factual errors. Also, a book must have a new approach to a subject if it's a subject that's been covered a great deal (presidential biographies, for instance).
Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone?
I prefer seriousness in my nonfiction. I think factual information demands that, but I'm not opposed to an author having a sense of humor or a playful approach.