Nonfiction November, Week 4: Nonfiction Favorites

In Week 4 of Nonfiction November,  Katie @ Doing Dewey brings us Nonfiction Favorites.

She says: 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.


First, can I say I love this question?

Especially since I was recently pondering this very topic. A few weeks ago, while talking about books with the Dear Man, I said something and then realized it was abundantly true: I think narrative voice is the most important element for me as a reader.

It stopped me in my tracks, that’s how true it was.

If I enjoy the writer’s voice, I’ll read nearly anything. Here’s proof:

I’ve read and loved these books, which are about topics I wouldn’t say I enjoy reading about:



Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Over Time by Frank Deford

An Accidental Sportswriter by Robert Lipsyte


Police Life (too gritty for my sensibilities, I always think, but then… these books)

Blue Blood by Edward Conlon 

The Job by Steve Osborne 


I think their lively narrative voice is the reason I dearly adore reading books by journalists. They get right to the point, and they keep it punchy.


So, my fellow nonfiction fanatics… I read for narrative voice. What nonfiction books should I add to my TBR?


Reader, librarian, & happy little geek

11 thoughts on “Nonfiction November, Week 4: Nonfiction Favorites

  1. I listened to The Job on audio – so good!

    If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend Ghettoside by Jill Leovy – gripping narrative nonfiction about murder in Los Angeles, following cops, written by a reporter. Perfect, no? 😉

  2. Definitely, the way a book is written has a huge impact on whether I’ll like a book. If a book is on a topic I enjoy, but it’s dry, I probably won’t like it as much.

  3. Narrative voice is definitely very important. I’ve read some books that are in the ‘science’ field (something I know absolutely about and struggle to understand) that I have really loved because of the way the author has written it. Totally with you on that.

  4. The first book that came to mind when thinking about narrative voice was Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. It’s not so much narrative, I suppose, but her writing voice is wonderful.

  5. I love nonfiction sports books! Since you enjoy narrative nonfiction AND the writing of journalists, I would highly recommend The Stranger in the Woods (if you’ve not already read it); one of my favorites this year!

  6. Pingback: #NonficNov Week 4 Wrap-Up | Doing Dewey

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