Monday, February 18, 2008

How's my nonfiction life? A non-fiction meme

All of a sudden it feels like spring in my neighborhood. Here's a pretty vine growing on a cottage nearby.

Iliana tagged me for this non-fiction meme that was created by Gautami. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but I do enjoy it when I find really good or really surprising non-fiction. I just try to pick carefully. So here goes:

* a) What issues/topic interests you most in non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that have nothing to do with novels? Books about food, books that explain scientific topics for general readers, biography, memoir, history, travelogues. I like all kinds of non-fiction, really. I usually don’t read how-to non-fiction unless there’s something really specific that I need to know. I do have a knitting book called Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook that I really like. My favorite non-fiction book last year was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, about a family’s experiment in growing their own food for a year. But I also read a memoir about an architect, a book about teaching 5th grade, a book about the Mayflower, and a book about a woman who tried to cook every recipe in one of Julia Child’s cookbooks.

* b) Would you like to review books concerning those? Sure. I occasionally review some non-fiction on my blog. I counted up last year’s reviews, and I reviewed only 5 works of non-fiction, but they were very varied. I tend to read fiction first, but if I hear about something really fascinating in the non-fiction arena, I read it.

* c) Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose. I review as a hobby, and I guess the reason I’d like to keep it that way is I don’t want to feel like I have to temper my reviews, or tailor them for anyone. Also, my unofficial policy is that I don’t write reviews of things I really dislike, so I wouldn’t want to feel that I absolutely had to review anything!

* d) Would you recommend those to your friends and how? I always recommend things to my friends! They are so sick of my recommendations, I can’t tell you! I also tend to give books to people when I really think they’d like them.

* e) If you have already done something like this, link it to your post. Here are a few of my non-fiction reviews: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, Mayflower.

* f) Please don’t forget to link back here or whoever tags you. Iliana—thanks for the tag, and Gautami, thanks for creating the meme!

Now I’m supposed to tag 10 people. But I think most people I know have already been tagged. So I’m taking the easy way out, and saying that if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. You’re it!


litlove said...

It's always interesting to see what people like to read that's non-fiction. I always end up reading books about books somehow - author's biographies, books on reading, you know the kind of thing. That plant looks absolutely beautiful, by the way - wish something were flowering in my garden!

Literary Feline said...

Happy Tuesday! I've heard good things about Kinsolver's nonfiction book. I am not sure I could ever manage something like that being that I tend to kill everything I try to grow. :-(

J.S. Peyton said...

Oh boy - I just received Kingslover's book from Quality Paperbacks last week. Now I really can't wait to dive into it... Wahoo!

Iliana said...

Thank you for playing! I haven't read Barbara Kingsolver in such a long time. Actually have only read her fiction work so I really should read her essays and see what I think. I get the feeling I'd love them.

Anonymous said...

I have quite varied non-fiction taste as well: some history, some contemporary culture stuff, probably more memoir than anything else. Non-fiction can provide a wonderful break from the intensity of fiction.

I've been wanting to read that Kingsolver book as well!

Stefanie said...

I do enjoy a good non-fiction book. And thanks for reminding me about Kingsolver's book. I keep meaning to pick up a copy and then keep forgetting.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--I forgot to mention that I also read a lot of books on reading--I do know the kind of thing! Re: the plant, spring comes early and fast here in California--all of a sudden I turned around and things were blooming!

literary feline--I was so impressed by what Kingsolver and her family did. I was even inspired to grow a few vegetables in my backyard, but I'll never approach what she does!

j.s.--I think you'll enjoy Kingsolver's book, it's a nice mix of personal and educational.

iliana--thanks for tagging me! This book is the only Kingsolver nonfiction I've read, and I liked her voice in it.

verbivore--I probably like history and memoir best, too, and as litlove reminded me, I also like books about reading. Hope you like the Kingsolver :)

stefanie--you're welcome! Kingsolver's book was one of my non-fiction favorites last year--very readable. Even though it sometimes made me feel guilty, it also inspired me!

Matt said...

My friends can be stuffed with my recommendations as well! It's all about spreading the good right?

I should read more non-fiction because every time I walk through the non-fiction aisles of the bookstore (which is 80% of it) I can't help feeling a void.

Books about books and history are the tips of the iceberg that I'll start.

Gentle Reader said...

matt--Yes, I've found the easiest non-fiction for a fiction lover to read is non-fiction about books, or about the people who write them. Or about the history of a time period of a favorite book! (I remember reading a book about Thomas Hardy's England once...)

heather (errantdreams) said...

mmmmm. food non-fiction. now that's my kind of NF!