Nontraditional Nonfiction: This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction. Nonfiction comes in many forms. There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats.
This week’s Nonfiction November discussion approaches the subject from a different, nontradtional perspective.
The question directly addresses unusual book formats, but my first thoughts in response to it went toward nontraditional forms of nonfiction, and I really don’t read those very much. My tastes lean toward the narrative varieties of nonfiction–memoir, biography and autobiography, journalism, history and current events. I’m really not drawn to the dryly informational, and I tend to avoid books that approach the “self-help” genre. (That’s not to imply that I don’t need self-help–I just prefer to obtain it in small, article-sized doses rather than in books.)
One exception to this preference for storyline is essay collections–not the increasingly popular memoir/essay hybrid, but proper topical, not entirely personal writing. This is a type of nonfiction I find I want to read more than I end up doing–there are quite a few of these collections languishing in TBR Purgatory at the moment–and considering that it’s also where my own writing interests lie, I’d really like to make a bigger commitment to reading these.
I tend to read most nonfiction in audiobook or ebook. Since the largest block of potential reading time I regularly get comes during my daily work commute, audiobooks have become my preferred nonfiction format, and in many of the nonfiction audiobooks I’ve read, the narrators even include the footnotes. Also, since a lot of topical nonfiction tends to run to high page counts, it’s just more comfortable and convenient to read it in a format other than traditional print.
The exception to this preference is, once again, essay collections. I like them in print and don’t mind them in ebook, but I find they don’t work very well for me in audio. It’s not usually necessary to read essay collections straight through, in order, without interruption, but that’s exactly how I read audiobooks–for me, it’s just not a great fit. The only two audiobooks I’ve read and never discussed on the blog were essay collections.
What types of nontraditional nonfiction are you into?