I was very excited to see that BAND - Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees has formed! For more info, see here.
I remember when I first started blogging, I had a very difficult time in finding other blogs that reviewed non-fiction. A few years back, I was reading about 75% Non-Fiction (roughly 100 books a year). Since I'd started blogging 1.5 years ago, I had read more fiction than non-fiction... mainly because I read all the fiction reviews from your blogs and ultimately added them to my TBR list!
Each month, BAND will ask a Non-Fiction related question. Then at the end of the month, the moderator will sum it up. I can't wait to hear what everyone else said!
Here's the July question: What’s Your Favorite Type of Nonfiction?
Good question! I haven't given it much thought before. Looking back, I read a lot of memoir (travel, medical, psychological/social, food etc). I also read a lot of real crime like Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury & Aly Sujo or Columbine by Dave Cullen. I enjoy some scientific books like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by by Mary Roach, or business books such as Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath, Dan Heath, Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson and Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag by Michael Tonello (though the latter two were really memoir).
I think, ultimately, my favorite type of non-fiction are memoirs that inspire me. Now, of course, what inspires us are very subjective. I'll briefly explain each of my example:
- Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi - set in WWII in Japan. You see how innocent the children were (even if they were the "enemy"). But most inspiring of all was the headmaster and the way he educated the children
- Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist by Elliot Aronson - I was a psych major, so it was interesting to read how this prominent psychologist stumbled into psychology. Also a great professor
- The Emergency Teacher: The Inspirational Story of a New Teacher in an Inner City School by Christina Asquith - I had wanted to be a teacher, but didn't think I know enough to teach. The author left her well paying job to become an inner city school teacher. Enough said.
- The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls - I kept asking myself "really?" and shaking my head when I read this book. I just couldn't believe the way her parents brought her up. Yet she strives.
- Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs - even more unbelievable. I guess because of my psych background, I liked reading about dysfunctional families...
- Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood by Donovan Campbell. I don't read a lot about war, and this is a memoir from a military perspective (as opposed to the more prevalent civilian's perspective, e.g. the books from Jewish survivor in WWII). I guess when I grew up in Hong Kong and Australia, the military didn't have much of a presence, compared to the US. So this memoir gave me a better understand of what the military had to endured. When we visited Guam last year, I came across more military personnel than I had anywhere else. They were appreciative when I mouthed Thank You to them silently. So I am glad I read this before my Guam trip.
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah - one of the most heartbreaking memoir I'd read. No children should have to go through what he did and be a child soldier.
- Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years by Michael Collins. Since I work in the health care field now, it was beneficial for me to read about what the doctors had to do to get to where they are. I thought of going into medicine when I was younger. Let's just say I am glad my grade wasn't good enough to get into med school :)
- Josie's Story - A Mother's Inspiring Crusade to Make Medical Care Safe by Sorrel King. Because of my job, I really resonate with this book. Any story about losing a child is sad, but Sorrel King really used her tragedy to make a difference.
- Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan - we read many stories about volunteers working in other third world countries. But I think what set this story apart is that the author really took the imitative to make a difference. This book reminded me of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson. I would have listed Three Cups of Tea separately, but due to the controversy, I haven't made up my mind yet about which side I am on...