Why I Love Reading Nonfiction Books

Published Friday, March 1, 2019

Nonfiction books seem to get a bad rap. Most people see them as boring, scholarly, hard to understand, or too big. For me, nonfiction is my favorite thing to read. Don’t get me wrong, after a whopper of a nonfiction book, I love to get lost in the easy reading of a novel. I just have such a big soft spot for those passed over nonfiction books and don’t understand why they aren’t more popular.

The reasons I love a good nonfiction book are many. For one, I always have an urge to learn something new. That urge is definitely itched by my reading choices. Second, I like to challenge myself. Not all books are well written and that goes for nonfiction too. However, I believe that a really well written piece of nonfiction can read like a novel. I love learning about new people, places, and things, cliché I know. Third, it’s a never ending rabbit hole of topics. For example, I might read a book about slavery. Then pick a book about the civil war, then the founding families of the 13 colonies, then…you see where I’m going with this. Every book provides a gateway into the next.

Reading nonfiction has introduced me to all walks of life, difficult times in the world’s history, happy little accidents, strange and not so strange people and their lives, and inspirational stories. Some people might argue that you can learn all these things from fiction, and you can, I’m not arguing with that. I guess what I’m trying to say is – don’t be afraid to try something new. Challenge yourself to read one non-fiction book and go into it with eyes wide open. You might be surprised at how satisfying it can be.

How to Pick a Nonfiction Book

Here’s how to pick a successful nonfiction title to help ease your way into a whole new world.

  • Try to think of a novel that you really liked and that intrigued you. A novel that made you stop and think “huh, I wonder if this person/event was portrayed truthfully” or “I want to learn more about this time period”.
  • Use your lovely librarians at your local library, Google, Amazon, or Goodreads to find an option.
  • Try to pick a title that isn’t over 300-350 pages so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry, most of those pages in the back are just endnotes and bibliographies, they aren’t as long as you may think.
  • You could also dip your toe into nonfiction by starting with biography/autobiography/memoir of someone who really interests you.
  • Find a quiet place to read with no distractions. When you start reading nonfiction you will notice you can’t read as fast or as much as usual. That’s ok.
  • Take your time. The more you read of this sort of book the better you will become at it and the more enjoyable it will be.

Some of My Favorite Nonfiction Titles

Here are a few nonfiction titles that I have personally read and loved. This was very hard to narrow down and is in no particular order. If you ever want any recommendations or help finding a start, don’t hesitate to stop at the circulation desk and ask for me, Dawn.

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing by Gail Lukasik

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter

For The Thrill Of It: Leopold, Loeb, and The Murder That Shocked Chicago by Simon Baatz

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone

Victoria’s Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich, George Newbern

Gertruda’s Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II by Ram Oren

About the Author

Dawn can be found at the adult circulation desk and has been an avid reader her whole life. She enjoys historical fiction and nonfiction works, but will read just about anything. Helping patrons explore new genres is her specialty!