Rennie at What’s Nonfiction brings us this week’s prompt:
Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it that fiction-like feeling? Does it depend on the topic, the writing, the use of certain literary elements and techniques? What are your favorite nonfiction recommendations that read like fiction? And if your nonfiction picks could never be mistaken for novels, what do you love about the differences?
I do love a nonfiction book that reads like an exciting novel! It isn’t a requirement, though.
Some genres lend themselves to an exciting, novel-like treatment. True crime comes to mind, as well as history books about a specific event. Characters are introduced, a plot is set into motion, and descriptive writing keeps us interested and engaged. One of my favorite books in this vein is Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy. I listened to it on audio and was riveted, finishing the book in a few days.
I don’t require it though. Essay collections by their nature rarely read like fiction, nor books that recommend books like The Novel Cure. And nerd that I am I sometimes dive into straight up textbooks – Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry, I’m looking at you! As much as I enjoy fiction-y nonfiction, it doesn’t work well in all cases.
Narrative nonfiction gets a lot of love so I want to ask you guys – what’s a favorite nonfiction book that doesn’t read like fiction?