Monday, August 22, 2011

BAND - Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees. August Discussion - Your First Nonfiction Book or Subject?

A lot of us read only fiction for many years before being drawn to nonfiction by either a specific book or topic. Usually we followed some sort of meandering path to get to our current love of nonfiction (or some of you might still be on your way!). Head over to Amy’s blog (Amy Reads) to leave your link with your response to the question:

How did you get into nonfiction? Do you remember your first nonfiction book or subject? If so, do you still read those subjects?

During college, I wanted to become a geneticist or CSI, but I sucked at biology and chemistry and biochemistry. So I turned into psychology instead, and thought perhaps I could be a forensic scientist or a FBI profiler! I started reading a lot of True Crime & Forensic Science books. My favorite author on the topic was John Douglas (e.g. Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, The Anatomy of Motive : The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals, Journey Into Darkness). I also read true crime books on Jeffrey Dahmer, the Green River Killer, and other scary people. I was just fascinated with how their mind works. The whole nature vs nurture debate was just so interesting. I took a criminology course, but since I wasn't a Bachelor of Arts major, I couldn't take any more classes in that area, which was a shame. 

I also bought a few NF books back then, like Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono (because "thinking books" seemed brilliant), A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (because someone I had a crush on was reading it... and no, nothing ever came out of that - maybe because I didn't finish reading this book? lol), The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James Watson (because my mum heard about this book and she knew I was interested in genetics. My mum also gave me a subscription to a magazine about criminals - how cool is my mum?) I still have read these books, and many other Non-Fiction books I bought, but I haven't read any of them yet! It seems like I always prioritize to read the books I borrow from the library first, because someone else could be waiting to read them and I don't want them to wait any longer! So I end up with a bookshelf of books that I am still very much interested in, and hope I will read them one day (reading YOUR blogs doesn't help as I now have a VERY LONG To-Be-Read list of all the wonderful books you reviewed - non-fiction or otherwise!)

It wasn't until I read Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs that I started getting interested in memoir. This was back in 2007 I think. I wish I remember how I came across this book. Sometimes, reading non-fiction is really stranger than fiction! And memoir has become one of my favorite genres. It makes me think that I live such a boring life though!

Now thinking back, even when I was a child, I did read some memoir in Chinese when I was a kid, like about this kid called Kenny without legs who traveled around on a skateboard or his hands (I don't know what this book is called in English... I tried to find it via google, I wonder if it is Kenny Easterday? For some reason I thought the kid was from Germany, but who knows...), or Toto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window (which I read the English version for the first time recently but hadn't had a chance to review yet). I also read a lot of "Guess who dunnit" type of books - they gave you a little story, and you got to be the detective to guess who the killer was. So I guess, my reading interesting on memoir and crime books went back further than I had remembered.

There is a saying in Chinese that goes something like this - what you were like when you were 3 years old, is what you'd be like when you are 80. Maybe there really is some truth in that.


  1. I love true crime and forensic science books too. I remember I was also really into code breaking when I was a kid too :)

  2. I can't believe how similar we are, I would love to be a Profiling Detective, how cool would that be.

    I love hearing about your thoughts and past memories regarding NF.

  3. @Kim - I wish I am smart enough to decode! I love reading the solution though, then think I'm so dumb :)

    @Marce - maybe you and I should open our own detective agency lol :)

  4. True crime is always a fun one, though I often get freaked out :) Love the quote, and how fun that you were actually reading memoirs so long ago!

  5. @Amy - I think because I read so many true crime before, a lot of fiction didn't freak me out when others said they were too scary / graphic...

  6. Tell me more about the CRIMINAL MAGAZINE! How does this work? I'm FASCINATED.