Nonfiction November 2019 – Week 4

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Week 4: (Nov. 18 to 22) – Nonfiction Favorites (Leann of Shelf Aware): We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

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This is a difficult question that I don’t know the answer to. So let’s explore what I like about specific books. One book I really liked last year was American Overdose. It’s about the root causes of the opioid epidemic. This book did seem to jump around a bit in topic (something I don’t appreciate much) but it made up for that by covering each topic with a lot of heartbreaking and eye-opening details. It was the fantastic research, the topic, the newness, and the incorporation of personal stories of real people that made this book so great.

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Crazy, by Pete Earley is another nonfiction book that I really loved. It’s about the failure of the mental health system, and the use of prisons as places to lock up mentally ill people. This book, too, had eye-opening and heartbreaking detail. But this one was partly memoir partly investigative journalism. I loved the way Earley incorporated the story of his son into the beginning and end of the narrative. It made the story pop because it was so personal.

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Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson is another fantastic piece of non-fiction. Since this is memoir and not investigative journalism, there weren’t any eye-opening and heartbreaking details (which I apparently enjoy), but it was really funny. And I could relate to the mental illness aspect of the book, having bipolar disorder.

So: eye-opening & heartbreaking details, good journalism (if it’s journalistic), a personal touch, humor.

 

2 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2019 – Week 4

  1. I missed your post in the link-up, but I did see it here in my reader since I already follow your blog. Furiously Happy is one of my favorites too, and I did see it had quite a few mentions for this week’s topic. I should read American Overdose, being in the middle of an area (well besides the whole country) that overdoses are prevalent, but I’ll be honest that I don’t know if I will. I’m having a hard time focusing on serious nonfiction lately as I’ve probably mentioned in the recent past.

    Like

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