Nonfiction Favorites (Hosted by Leann at There, There, Read This)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.
What Kinds of Nonfiction Do I Like Best?
What makes a nonfiction book a favorite?
To answer this question, I first gathered data. How many books, fiction and nonfiction, have I listed as favorites on Goodreads? 162 How many of my favorite reads are nonfiction? 50
What percentage of my favorite books are nonfiction? 31% What are the common themes in my books?
To figure out the common themes in my nonfiction books, I noted the shelves I'd assigned each book. Then I looked for common themes. The top ten themes I found in my favorite nonfiction are:
Unusual formats/creativity/surprise 15.0%
Happiness/small moments 11.6%
Art/photography/picture books 8.2%
I was surprised to find that 15% of my favorite nonfiction books had an unusual format or a creative focus. I was also surprised to see that over 8% of my books were visual, illustrated with either extensive art or photographs. Over 14% of my favorite nonfiction books dealt with problems and solutions or quests and healing. Almost 12% of my books were some version of a Best-Of book, such as the best children's books to read or the best places to visit in the world. I expected to see that lots of my favorite books would be memoir/biography/history (almost 12%); travel books (10%); science/nature books (7.5%); books with themes of philosophy/spirituality (6%); and books-about books (4%).
Let's be specific here, shall we? You want to see a list of my all-time favorite nonfiction reads, I think. Here goes.
My Absolute Favorite Top Ten Nonfiction Books
(in alphabetical order)
And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman
Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl
Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel
The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan by Alan Booth
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert Pirsig
What sorts of nonfiction do you find yourself drawn toward?
Do you and I have any common themes in our favorite nonfiction?