Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BAND August 2011 Discussion – How Did You Get Into NonFiction?

B.A.N.D., Bloggers' Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees, launched in July and is being run by a small group of bloggers as a way to promote the love of nonfiction amongst bloggers. Each month a discussion question will be put forward giving everyone and anyone the chance to respond. This month's discussion is hosted by Amy over at Amy Reads.

I read mostly fiction growing up, but occasionally dabbled in nonfiction. The first nonfiction book I remember reading was a book about making chocolate. I loved that book. It covered everything from growing cacao trees to the finished product, ready to devour. I mean, eat daintily, or something. It was just so cool to learn where chocolate came from and the long process of turning it into the delicious treat that I love. I cannot, for the life of me, remember the title. Seriously – if anyone has amazing google-fu, and can figure it out, you win my undying gratitude.

After that, it was awhile before I remember delving back into non-fiction. I looked to books as an escape, and I associated non-fiction with dry reality. I honestly can’t remember when I started reading nonfiction again – maybe in college? It was in high school or college when my dad finally convinced me to read “The Millionaire Next Door.” (He certainly has high hopes.)

Available from Amazon
After I graduated I read a LOT of nonfiction. I got a job teaching high school world history. I was completely unprepared for that position. My undergrad degree was in political science, with a concentration on domestic affairs. I threw myself into reading whatever I could so that I wouldn't be completely clueless in front of my class.




Buy from an Indie
Now, I read a wide range of nonfiction. I like food books, especially anything by Jeffrey Steingarten. I originally discovered his Vogue column years ago, and have been a fan ever since. I also like biographies, memoirs, history, sociology…you name it, and I’ll give it a try.

12 comments:

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

My first really foray into nonfiction was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I read it in high school and was completely shocked to find a nonfiction book so enthralling. I thought they could only be dry and boring. Since then I've loved everything from Mary Roach to Bill Bryson, from Ernie Pyle to David Sedaris.

MJ said...

@Melissa (Avid Reader)I totally forgot about that book! I loved it - it definitely influenced me to go to Savannah on my honeymoon.

Rayna said...

I've only started reading considerable amounts non-fiction since I graduated college. But in high school I was obsessed with David Sedaris's books, so I guess I did read some non-fiction back then. Since grduating I've tried to broaden my reading tastes, and so far it's working nicely.
I'm enjoying reading your posts!
--Rayna

MJ said...

@RaynaThanks, Rayna! I've yet to read anything by David Sedaris, but I keep hearing good things. I've started to realize that a hazard of book blogging is an ever growing tbr list :-)

Amy said...

A book about making chocolate?! I hope someone can figure it out, sounds incredible! Yummmm. And yikes to your teaching, that would be scary jumping into a class like that - reading would definitely help! On food reading, have you read any Michael Pollan?

MJ said...

Yeah, it was scary. The other class I was teaching was Economics, which I felt much more prepared for. I have read two books by Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Botany of Desire. Both were really interesting. From some reviews I've read, it seems like his new stuff has gotten a bit preachy for my tastes, so I haven't picked any of it up.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I started reading mostly nonfiction (by choice) after college, As a kid, I read almost entirely fiction. I hope someone can help you figure out the chocolate book!

Ash said...

Columns are a great why to find great nonfiction authors. In my experience regular column writers have some of the best books out there.

Joy said...

A book on chocolate is a great way to start any journey, I'm thinking. Cool that teaching history led to reading history.

MJ said...

@Kim: Thanks! I've asked my mom about that book, but she can't remember.

@Ash: I'd love any recommendations :-)

@Joy: Chocolate is always good! And I didn't mean to make it sound like I'd never read any history before teaching, but it certainly showed me where I had some major knowledge gaps. I love learning, and that's one of the things I liked about teaching. I tried to use it as an opportunity to continue to learn.

agoodstoppingpoint said...

Have you ever read Candyfreak by Steve Almond? It's a fun book where Almond visits several candy companies in the United States. It makes you pretty hungry though.

- Christy

MJ said...

@agoodstoppingpoint I have not, but it sounds like something I would certainly enjoy. Thanks for the suggestion!