30 May 2010

A Whole New World

My dad asked me some time ago whether my reading tastes have changed since I was in high school. On the whole, when it comes to fiction, not really. I wrote a post roughly two years ago about what kinds of books I like best. Essentially, I really love a good plot and good characters. I am not a fan of particularly wordy authors, and I like to get straight to the point. This is how I was in high school, and it's pretty much the same today.

Where my tastes have really diverged, or perhaps "blossomed" would be a better word, is in my reading of non-fiction. I didn't read non-fiction in high school. Mostly we studied literature, and therefore read fiction. College really expanded my horizons and I learned that there was a great world of really interesting books out there. Because I like books driven by plot and story-line, my favorite non-fiction books tend to be about people and their experiences. This does not necessarily mean biographies, as many of the books I like are about a specific aspect of or event in a person's life. A few good examples are Left to Tell, Into Thin Air, Alive and Team of Rivals.

But I've also come to love other non-fiction books, as long as they are well-written and interesting. I've always liked to learn about things, and this really feeds my learning fire. Freakonomics blew my mind. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles thoroughly amused me while bombarding me with really interesting facts about the development of Chinese food in America. Some books advocate a specific lifestyle ($20 Per Gallon or The Omnivore's Dilemma), but many do not. I'm really fine either way. I feel like I'm educated enough to read a book, examine the argument and decide whether or not I agree with that argument. I just picked up a book that argues that the new movement toward local foods is actually not as good for the environment and not as healthy for us. I haven't started it yet, but I thought it would be interesting to hear a counterargument to what I've been hearing and reading for the last few years about local foods.

I'm reading a book now by New York Times columnist Gail Collins (though I usually don't read her editorials because I find them irritating) called When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. It is everything I love about a good non-fiction history book. It's well-written and clever. It's organized and the points are clear. She does a fairly good job (so far) of addressing multiple sides of any given issue. And it's about a topic I find truly fascinating.

So, yes, Dad, my reading tastes have changed since high school. I have discovered a massive section of the library called non-fiction. It's broadened my horizons, been endlessly entertaining and given me ample opportunities to feel educated and informed about topics I otherwise would have known nothing about.


P1 Steven said...

My favorite kind of books would be non-fiction as well. One of these is "Peanuts and Crackerjacks". Its a collection of mostly ole time basball stories.

John said...

Expect a response from Dad on this entry via postcard in 5 to 7 business days.
I am all about non-fiction when I get a chance to read. I am almost done with a great book on the founding of our country, I started a book about pioneer children, and a biography on George Washington awaits.

trishtator said...

Can we get a review of the book about women when you finish? I'd like a summary.

bubby69 said...

You'll be also reading preggie books too?? maybe??