Favorite type of nonfiction

OK, guys, BAND’s on the run!
I just adore that song, and every time I see the new acronym BAND (Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees), the song starts playing in my head. Here it is, so you can hear it, too.

Anyway, BAND’s offering up its first topic for discussion, and it’s a lovely one. It comes to us from Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness:

What is one of your favorite types of nonfiction to read? OR What is one of your favorite nonfiction topics to read about?

I just think I’m not picky about nonfiction. Yeah, I read a lot of it, but a lot of it gets rejected, too. Here are two nonfiction styles that’re sure to grab me.

Narrative nonfiction

If there isn’t a good narrative thread, I just may not stay with it. I’ve gotten particular that way.

Some of my favorites:

All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

The Death of a President, November 20 – November 25, 1963 by William Manchester

Behind-the-scenes stories

These can be journalistic coverage of a topic, autobiographies, or memoirs. I love learning the behind-the-scenes stuff, even if it’s about settings not typically considered juicy, gossipy stuff.

Some of my favorites:

First on the Moon: A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. by Gene Farmer and Dora Jane Hamblin

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

Life by Keith Richards

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffery Toobin

One of the things I love about nonfiction is that the plot twists are not manufactured simply to serve the story; they’re real. It’s not about the author getting all clever with the plot — this stuff happened!
(Oh, I’m so happy right now. Thank all goodness for narrative nonfiction. And thanks, BAND, for the great topic.)

11 thoughts on “Favorite type of nonfiction

  1. Those are two of my favorite kinds of nonfiction too. I'll read about almost anything if the narrative arc is solid and engaging. And I am a sucker for behind the scenes things — I think it's because I'm a journalist and like to think of all the books I could write!

  2. Little Miss Sunshine State — I've heard great things about "Townie."

    Kim — Can't wait till you write one of those potential books — I'll read it! I really like the way journalists write nonfiction books. There's something really engaging about the style.

  3. I almost picked up Game Change at the library last week, but was already fairly loaded up with nonfiction books at that time. I do like the behind-the-scenes books.

  4. Mome Rath

    If you like narrative non-fiction, some good ones include Erik Larson's "The Devil and the White City"; Barbara Demick's "Nothing to Envy"; and Michael Harris' "The Atomic Times". The last one is a bit hard to find, but is one of the best books I read last year.
    I also read Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" last year, and it was a fantastic book.

  5. I'm also a big fan of Behind the Scenes non-fiction, particularly relating to the US political system. The Nine was a great book.

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