A New Feature: Narrative Nonfiction 5

by Kim on February 25, 2010 · 22 comments

nonfiction five buttonOne goal I set for myself this year is to do more with nonfiction on my blog. One way I’ve decided to do that is through a new semi-weekly feature: Narrative Nonfiction 5. Every few weeks or so, Narrative Nonfiction 5 will feature a list of five nonfiction books on a particular theme.

As the title suggests, I’m focusing specifically on narrative nonfiction. That term can encompass a lot of things, but for me it means nonfiction books that use techniques of fiction — plot, characters, dialogue, symbolism — to tell a good, true, story. Genres that might fall into this category include creative nonfiction, literary journalism, memoirs, personal essays, and more. It does not include things like textbooks, self-help books, how-to books, or other nonfiction that doesn’t even make an attempt at storytelling.

Obviously, these distinctions are fluid and changing and sometimes don’t mean much. The idea with focusing on narrative nonfiction is that I think the genre provides a way for people who don’t like nonfiction or are afraid to read nonfiction to get into the genre easily. Narrative nonfiction can make nonfiction accessible and I hope encourage people to try reading more true stories.

The other thing I’m excited about with Narrative Nonfiction 5 is the chance for reader interaction. If you have a topic you’d like to see a list about, e-mail me your idea and I’ll include for a future list. And if you have a topic you’d like to write a Narrative Nonfiction 5 post about, I would love a guest post on topics I’m not as familiar with.

I’m posting the first Narrative Nonfiction 5 post tomorrow, so stay tuned!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Andi February 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

Can’t wait for this! I’m a huge fan of narrative non-fiction, so this will be an exciting feature for me. I can hear my TBR groaning as we speak (type).

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Andi: I love adding to TBR piles :) I love narrative nonfiction too, so I’m hoping I can find a lot of good books I haven’t read too.

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Lu February 25, 2010 at 10:26 am

Have I ever told you you are my blogging hero? You always have the best ideas and have such well-written posts are generally awesome. So go you!

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Lu: Thanks Lu :) Your comment really cheered me up today.

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Care February 25, 2010 at 11:36 am

Sounds great! I have no suggestions at this time but will come back if I think of something.

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Care: Excellent — I’d love to get requests for lists. I have a few in mind, but certainly not enough.

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katrina February 25, 2010 at 11:39 am

Sounds great I’m always struggling to get into non-fiction but want to read more of it

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

katrina: It can be hard to find good nonfiction, especially when there is so much to choose from. And bad nonfiction can be really frustrating to read.

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Monica (aka monnibo) February 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I love the font on that button! LOL I’m such a design geek.

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Monica: Thanks! I liked it a lot too.

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Florinda February 25, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Great idea – I’ll be following closely, looking for new reading ideas! I’m a big fan of narrative nonfiction.

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Florinda: Awesome, I hope I can find some good new books.

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Julie February 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I love this idea! It’s great! I have really come to enjoy narrative non-fiction and am excited to hear about more great book choices. I particulary enjoy a great memoir. Can’t wait to read your upcoming posts!

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Kim February 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Julie: Memoir is such a tough genre — good ones are so good, but bad memoirs are just terrible. I hate, hate, hate self-indulgent memoirs, but love really well-written and thoughtful memoirs. Very challenging.

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Christy (A Good Stopping Point) February 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I love narrative non-fiction as well. Some themes that might be interesting to see: travel memoirs, the environment, living a life in someone else’s shoes, such as with Nickel and Dimed.

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Kim March 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Christ: Thanks for those suggestions — I’ll put them on my list of topic ideas. I hadn’t thought of those yet.

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softdrink March 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Travel memoirs! Which is actually a poor description. Maybe just travel writing?

Henrietta Lacks has me thinking there’s got to be other good science-based narrative non-fiction, so maybe that could be a topic, too?

Or biographies?

I look forward to your lists! Even though I suspect they’ll be dangerous for my TBR piles.

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Kim March 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm

softdrink: I like travel writing, and science-based narrative. Those will both be awesome! I don’t read a ton of biography, but maybe making a list will help me find some good ones for my own TBR pile :)

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Mary Shafer August 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

What an excellent post! For those looking to add to their TBR piles: While not wanting to seem arrogant, I’d like to suggest that anyone who enjoys tales of true-life weather or disasters might like my book, “Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955″ (see website for details). It’s my first attempt at narrative nonfiction, and has proven successful enough to sell 5,000 copies and is now headed into its second edition — just went to press today. I can also highly recommend Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm,” Erik Larsen’s “Isaac’s Storm” and David Laskin’s “The Children’s Blizzard.” In one way or another, I patterned my book on all of these excellent works.

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