Nonfiction November: Choosing nonfiction

This week’s topic is hosted by Frances of Volatile Rune.

Week 2 (11/6-11/10) Choosing Nonfiction: What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book? Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to? Do you have a particular writing style that works best? When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you? If so, share a title or cover which you find striking.

I’m usually drawn to nonfiction books because I want to learn something that helps me in my life or to understand something else I’m reading or trying to find out about. Pretty much any topic could be made interesting for me, but I’m especially drawn lately to stories of trauma and recovery and to books about methods of healing from trauma.

I get a lot of reading ideas from other bloggers. I became interested in reading Spare only after Lisa said Prince Harry’s “vulnerability connects us all on a human level.” I’m sure I first heard of The Black Count during a past Nonfiction November, but it was a comment by Claire following my read of The Count of Monte Cristo that inspired me to finally pick it up, after reading her review. Not a blogger, but a French-speaking English student encouraged me to read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Aside from other people’s recommendations, the “related books” feature of my e-library has led me to some good reads as I browse the catalog, including Run Towards the Danger.

Covers probably influence me less than with fiction, but I do love a good nonfiction cover! Here are some that I think are especially striking and effective. The books are all fantastic too.

How do you choose your nonfiction readings? Answer in the comments or share the link to your Nonfiction November post below.

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23 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Choosing nonfiction

  1. Mine are mostly picked if a topic interests me–also like you from other blogs or reviews (The Age of Wonder I came across though a newspaper review), scrolling on netgalley or edelweiss. I like reading history, bios, popular science and nature books with with Edelweiss especially I am coming across wider topics which pique my interest and then I pick up the book.

  2. I saw the film of the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It was good but depressing. I’ve read all three of Raynor Winn’s books but enjoyed The Salt Path the most. Also have read Educated. In fact I was just thinking about Tara Westover the other day and wondering whether she has written another. I think Educated was probably a hard act to follow. Thank you so much for taking part in nonfiction November.

  3. I don’t do much nonfiction reading and this is the first time I’ve participated in this challenge, but I’m surprised to see that you have shown the covers of three nonfiction books I’ve actually read, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Educated, and The Library Book!

  4. The Salt Path made it onto my TBR in a past Nonfiction November, partly because of so many glowing reviews, and partly because of the cover. I’m not a crier but I listened to When Breath Becomes Air and it was a battle not to sit in rush hour traffic and ugly cry. So good.

  5. I somehow missed the Nonfiction November announcements this year! I’ve gotten behind in my blog reading. So I’m happy to see you share about it here and at another blogger’s post tonight as I’m catching up. I always add a lot to my to-read list during November (hmm…maybe I should skip it after all? lol). I see several books here that I have already read and enjoyed too tho! Always fun. 🙂

    1. It was very last minute because the former hosts mostly stopped and a new team had to step up. Still going on for the next weeks! I know what you mean about the TBR but I can’t resist participating anyway.

  6. History, philosophy, psychology, popular science, biography – these are the areas I tend to be attracted to in nonfiction and where certainly my reading in recent years has led me when I’m in the mood for something factual. The Arthur Koestler title I looked at this year examined aspects of parapsychology, for example, and the Bruce Chatwin novella for which I’ve scheduled a review is ostensibly a biography but more a tantalising kind of historical fiction.

    1. A fictionalized biography can be great, so long as the author is up front about what they fictionalized.

      1. I’ll leave you to judge how far Chatwin succeeds when my post about The Viceroy of Ouidah is published on Monday 13th November!

  7. Other people’s ravings will sometimes click into my current interests and suddenly, a book becomes a must have for me.

    The Black Count was one of my favorite books! My long obsession with the Count of Monte Cristo has only grown bigger since I read it.

  8. I saw Lisa talking positively about Prince Harry’s book and thought I’d been hacked! lol… Now that my heart rate is back to normal, LOL The Library Book was very interesting. I’m a librarian, but not in public libraries, but have always been drawn to the fabulous big city public libraries–the main or “research collection” branch. That was fascinating. I’ve read and enjoyed a few of the others as well. Thanks for taking part.

    1. I had to read the book after seeing her comment! Yes, The Library Book was also fascinating, though painful to think about the fire.

  9. I would say I choose my nonfiction mostly the first reason you mention – “because I want to learn something that helps me in my life”. The books I’ve read lately have been because I thought “Oh! That’s not just a me thing?” So for me, reading nonfiction is mostly to better understand myself or better understands ways I can improve myself. But I also have a few topics I like to read about just for fun, such as Arctic exploration or the social internet.

    1. I find I’m often reading about the same favorite topics, but I need to push myself to read about something different. Nonfiction November is great for giving me some new ideas that way.

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