Frances is this week's host for Nonfiction November. She blogs about the books she has read at Volatile Rune and is a published poet, reviewer, sometime storyteller and novelist. Thank you so much for hosting and keeping this challenge alive. This week has a few interesting questions on how we choose which nonfiction to read.
Week 2 (11/6-11/10) Choosing Nonfiction: What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book? Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to? Do you have a particular writing style that works best? When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you? If so, share a title or cover which you find striking. (Frances)
What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book?
It has to be a subject that is interesting. If the back cover text is inspirational, I can go outside my comfort, or interest, zone.
Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to?
My interests lie mostly with history, biographies of interesting persons, the evolution, human behaviour etc.
Do you have a particular writing style that works best?
Not exactly, however, I like when a nonfiction is written almost like a fiction. Modern historians seem to write their facts in a very thrilling and easygoing way, which make their books interesting to read. Some academia is ok, but not too much.
When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you?
I think the title often is a guide to the subject of the nonfiction book. So that is important. I love a good cover, but if I find the subject interesting I would read it even if the cover is not so good.
If so, share a title or cover which you find striking.
I love a good cover, but can't think of any in a haste. I took a look on my bookshelves and found these, three, favourite books, which I find striking.
Jag tänker på Linné, Han som såg allt by Karin Berglund (I am thinking of Linné, He who saw everything by Karin Berglund
The Brontës by Juliet Barker
The Mitford Girls, The Biography of an Extraordinary Family by Mary S. Lovell
Since I visited my parents (250 km from where I live) I took the opportunity to listen to a nonfiction. I am not much for listening to books, but it worked very well with this book. When you sit in a car you can't do much else either, so a win-win situation. I listened to Kampen om Romarriket (The struggle for the Roman Empire, my translation.) by Eva Queckfeldt.
She looks at the power play and intrigues that characterised Rome's political elite between 100 BC to 20 BC. It is a dirty story where power hungry men did not stop at anything. There were bribery, murder, betrayal and love. We meet some of the most famous men in Roman history. It is interesting and intriguing, and I was drawn into this eventful years of the 2nd century BC, the last years of the Republic.
I liked it so much, I downloaded another book by her, about Women in the Roman Empire, which I am listening to. Women, as we know, are not very visible in historical sources, and even less so in the 2nd century BC. There is always Cleopatra of course, but very few others. As we come into the first century AD, during the Empirical time in Rome, there are more written sources on women. Not there yet.
I am also reading The Classic World - An Epic History of Greece and Rome by Robin Lane Fox. So much into the Greek and Roman worlds for the time being.
Have you stayed more in tune with our own times? Or what are you reading.