Like fiction, nonfiction isn’t a monolithic term. Just like there are sub-genres or types of fiction (literary, women’s, mystery, thriller, horror, the list goes on), nonfiction has many varieties too. There’s creative nonfiction, essay, travelogue, self-help, biography, memoir, and more. With so many types of nonfiction (as well as topics covered), there are nonfiction options for everyone. With that in mind, this month’s question is a simple one:
What is one of your favorite types of nonfiction to read? OR What is one of your favorite nonfiction topics to read about?
I read a pretty wide variety of non-fiction. When I visit the library or bookstore (and I'm not after a specific title), I always start by skimming the new arrivals in non-fiction to see if there's anything that looks interesting. After that, I make my way to the social science section in the bookstore, or the 300s shelves at the library (300 = social sciences in the Dewey Decimal system). I know that saying "My favorite type of non-fiction is in the 300s section in the library" is a little overly broad, but there it is.
I'm a sociologist at heart, despite my BA in English literature and my soon-to-be Master's in Social Work. This means I like my non-fiction to come with a side of critical thinking, socio-cultural analysis and critique, and, most importantly, address some pressing issue. This is why most of the non-fiction books I find myself enjoying are of a feminist or anti-racist bent (or both). I like for my reading to be at least semi-productive some of the time, and I think that learning about those things will ultimately make me a more positive contributor to society.
When I'm looking to read something a little less serious, though, I either go for stunt memoirs (like Kim described in her entry) or random, quirky histories of everyday things. These satisfy my desire to learn about other people and eventually make millions on Jeopardy!, respectively, and I don't feel like I'm wasting time when I read them because I've learned something new.