How I Jumped into Non-Fiction

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Skyler Boudreau
Reviewer/Editorial Contributor

When I think of a nonfiction book, I picture a massive hardback with single-spaced lines and a tiny font size. Walking through the nonfiction section at the bookstore, the bookcases are always stuffed to capacity. Not only do they take up a ton of shelf space, but they can take a long time to read as well.

As a kid, I flew through any novel I could get my hands on. Reading is something that I loved and could do for hours. Reading nonfiction specifically, however, was a different story. I would read what I had to in school, but during my free time, it was always a fantasy story I reached for. I didn’t have much interest in nonfiction until after I graduated high school. As I wasn’t taking classes anymore, I had to find another way to continue learning new things.

Nonfiction can take an in-depth look at an incredibly specific topic, or it can be a little vaguer and offer a more general overview. Like fiction, there is a wide range of subgenres to cover any interest you may have. My initial introduction to nonfiction came through longform journalism. The pieces I was reading got longer and longer until eventually I hit book length. From there, I started exploring books written by authors outside of journalism. Like with any genre that I’m brand new to, I had to ease myself into it. Currently, my main areas of interest are politics and pirates. Right now, I’m reading Under the Black Flag: The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly.

Nonfiction still isn’t my favorite genre. It’s too broad of a category. I enjoy the books that teach more about the subjects I’m already interested in. I don’t tend to pick up any that cover topics I don’t have any prior knowledge on. That’s something I’d like to be a little better about. If I keep reading about the same topics over and over again, eventually it will grow repetitive and I’ll start to dislike them.

One of my goals for next year is going to be to read at least one nonfiction book a month. Two that I’m really looking forward to are Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson and The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. They’ve been sitting in my To Be Read pile for at least a year (probably longer, if I’m being honest).

Do you have any nonfiction books you want to read, but are still a little intimidated by?

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