One thing that librarians know is that people read for different reasons. One person might read because they want information, another reads for relaxation, while still another reads for inspiration. As for me, I’m your classic escapist reader. Mostly fiction, often science fiction or fantasy or romance, but always, always, something I can get lost in. I rarely stray from my preferred genres. Lately though, I’ve been forcing myself to branch out into some nonfiction for a change, and as much as my favorite novels transport me to other worlds, I’ve been reading some really interesting books that are about worlds so different from mine that they may as well be one of my sci-fi novels. Here are a couple that I’ve been gripped by recently:
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall: There is a tribe of Native Americans called the Tarahumara who live in Mexico, and who are considered some of the best runners in the world. The author sets out to learn more about them and their secret to running hundreds of miles at a time (for fun!). Along the way, he meets a cast of characters that are as compelling as any character I’ve ever read in a novel. Runners will especially love this book, but even non-runners should find this story fascinating.
There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll, by Lisa Robinson: Hotel room parties with Led Zepplin, chats with Mick Jagger or Elton John, and backstage with Kanye: the journalist Lisa Robinson chronicles her career as a rock journalist with stories about some of the stars she’s interviewed or joined on tour. Robinson gives us a “fly on the wall” look at rock and roll history in this memoir.
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary Roach: Haley’s Comet passed into view when I was 9 years old, and a whole generation of kids was suddenly really into space and astronauts (for a while). At least that was true of my third grade class. This book is as close as I’ll come to experiencing life in space, but goes into fascinating detail about what life is like as an as astronaut.
I’m not sure what I’ll read next—I’m really enjoying this nonfiction binge, though. A couple of things I’m considering: Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, by Ted Conover or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. I’ll take any and all recommendations of interesting nonfiction you’ve read recently!
7 responses to “Worlds Apart”
Henrietta Lacks is probably my favourite non-fiction book ever. I really hope you get a chance to read it. :)
Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter by Alison Wearing was also really good.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta is a real eye opener. I am a medical librarian (tho I just left my day job) so I and many of my colleagues and health care providers where I worked read it. It is fascinating, fascinating. It does tend to run a bit long, though, and gets quite complex. I do really love nonfiction, so I’ll have to take a look at your suggestions above. There is so much absolutely amazing nonfiction being written now, and I’m partial to armchair grand adventures….trekking Alaska, etc etc. I enjoy reading your blog!
I almost always prefer fiction, but I highly recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot!
My summer reading goal is to read 5 nonfiction books, because I’m always reading fiction – the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is on my list, too!
Reblogged this on dhandelyon and commented:
“If you only read what everyone else reads, you only know what everyone else knows.”
A really good eye-opener for topics not so often discussed.
I find this post a really good eye-opener because I usually read fiction, but now, I realized that there’s a lot of interesting things in nonfiction books too. Thank you, and I enjoy reading your blog a lot! :)
Read ‘Not without my daughter’ by Betty Mahmoody if you will. It is one of the best non-fictions I ever read.