Monday, February 18, 2008

On Non-Fiction

CJ tagged me for the non-fiction meme that's been going around, so I guess I'll be using it to *gasp* actually post more than once in a week. Who knows? Maybe it'll become a trend!

I, too, have noticed that non-fiction is a bit of an underloved stepchild in the book blogging world, and I too have underloved it. Last year my non-fiction reading clocked in at only 8 titles of 57 which is kind of shabby. This year is on pace to be a bit better since I've already read one title, I'm reading one now, and a few more are in the immediately to be read stack. But enough structureless blabbering, on to the meme!

1) What issues/topics interest you the most?

If I had to pick my favorite non-fiction genre, I'd have to go with memoirs. I guess I love that sensation of being able to jump inside someone else's head and see what's happened to them and how they've dealt with it and how it felt. Maybe, though, it's because a lot of memoirs read just like fiction, so it's almost cheating.

I love books about countries or places where I've never been and probably never will be. I was an under-traveled international relations major in college - my ultimate focus being economic development of poorer countries. I devour books about micro-credit. Muhammad Yunus's book Banker to the Poor about his "invention" of micro-credit is probably one of my favorite non-fiction books and one that inspired my honors' thesis. I'm really interested in reading books about African and Asian developing countries, the problems they're facing, and how the natives of that country and even outsiders are working to fix those problems. Travel books are fun, too, anything that gives me a good look at someplace I've never been in a readable way.

And history. I love books on history, but not really old history. 19th and 20th century preferred. I'm interested in books on Europe during the World Wars and Russian history and Chinese history (okay, some of this can be a little older) and, and...even some American History with emphasis on the Civil War or the Roaring 20s or even the Great Depression. Ah, history. I was always jealous of the nifty books all my history major friends were reading for class while I was stuck with some obscenely dry tome on comparitive politics or foreign policy - which can be interesting, but not in the books I was reading for college!

Last but not least, I like books about current events or issues facing society, I don't know - like the problems of the juvenile court system, or deforestation, or the overabundance of partisanship in politics that can keep us from solving many of the problems in our country, but at the same time protects us from every moronic whim that sweeps politicians. You name it - if there's a few sides to the story and few ethical dilemmas, I'm all over it.

And that was an obscenely long answer to that question, proving definitively that college really did steal my ability to be reasonably concise...

2) Would you like to review books concerning those?

I'll make up for the last question by saying, "Well, yeah, of course." I have before and I will again, very soon actually.

3) Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

Sure, I'd love to be paid for it. Who wouldn't want to be paid for something that they enjoy doing? That said, however, I wouldn't want paid reviewing to be on a very tight schedule, especially with non-fiction. It often takes me longer to read which makes it hard to review on any sort of schedule at all. I'd hate to take my reading and make it into a chore just to get paid for it. I'm happy to do it as a hobby, too. Especially when it involves free books, but even when it doesn't! Sometimes reading a really excellent book that teaches me something I didn't know, shows me something I haven't seen, or even challenges my opinion or pre-conceived notion of an issue or a person or place is a payment in and of itself.

4) Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

Sure, I'd recommend my favorite non-fiction. I guess maybe it's a little harder because there's so much that falls under non-fiction it's not always easy to find someone who shares my same non-fiction interests. But I don't hesistate to recommend any book that I find to be a worthwhile read if I think it is something someone would enjoy.

5) If you have already done something like this, link it to your post.

Um, like my reviews? Or what? Okay, how about From Ashes To Life or Have You Found Her? I'm sure I've reviewed a couple more on the web, but I'm too tired from answering the first question to bother going to find them.

6) f). Please dont forget to link back here or whoever tags you.

See top.

Still tired from that first question so no tags. You see this? You like? You write! (And you link in comment, so I read!)


  1. It's cool that you are so interested in micro-credit. I think that may be the wave of the future for third-world least I hope so.

  2. You have very diverse nonfiction reading tastes. :-) My taste in history tends to run not so far back either, although there are times something might capture my interest.

    I enjoyed reading your responses to this meme!

  3. Can we get a holler for the ir majors?! lol I guess I was lucky-most of the books we used for my ir classes were really interesting. Except for that one comprehensive, painful theory book-I have no idea where it got to.

    Microcredit is really neat, but I've never read a book on it. Added the one you mentioned to the TBR. :)

  4. So, must I admit that I have no idea what the heck microcredit is? *Sigh* I didn't really need another project, Megan. I helped my niece with a paper and now know more about the USF than I ever wanted to...

    I love your answers. With all those interested, I'd expect to see more non-fiction but like you said - it takes longer to read.

    Thanks so much for playing and I'd love to see you post more than once a week!


  5. Kookiejar, I hope so, too. It's so much smarter to help people help themselves than to encourage them to rely on handouts that probably won't always be available.

    LF, I didn't even realize how diverse my non-fic reading tastes were until I started answering the questions for this meme. Now I need to get reading more of my interests!

    Eva, yeah for IR majors! Now I just wish I was *doing* something with it instead of rotting away in poverty in my hometown. =/ There was some decent IR reading, but gosh, there were some real duds, too!

    CJ, I'm trying to bulk up my NF reading, even though it's a little slower. And hey, I just finished another book, so now I'm gunning for *three* posts this week! ;-D

  6. you are a very busy reader. i love self help books. haven't read a good fiction lately. i love one of those suspense novels you can't put down and you are up all night reading the whole thing!! enjoy.

  7. I have underloved non-fiction as probably less than 5 last year. History and travelogues seem to be dominating my non-fiction reads, since I like to think of them hand in hand. You learn the history of a country and you get going! Well that's the ideal situation of course.