BAND — Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees — is a group organized to promote the joy of reading nonfiction. We are “advocates for nonfiction as a non-chore,” and we want you to join us. Each month, a member of BAND hosts a discussion on their blog related to nonfiction.
It looks like I’m sneaking my post in for our April BAND discussion is just the nick of time, which is pretty silly since I’m really excited about the topic that Care (Care’s Online Book Club) suggested for this month: quirky nonfiction. Care explains:
How do you define QUIRKY? and do you read it?quirky |ˈkwərkē|
adjective ( quirkier, quirkiest )
characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits : her sense of humor was decidedly quirky.
I like to read nonfiction on odd subjects. I define quirky as a book about a single subject that at first thought might prompt a question of how anyone could find enough stuff to write an entire book?
I love, love, love quirky nonfiction. Whenever people ask what kind of nonfiction I like to read, I almost always respond that I’ll read books on any topic as long as the writing is good.
Since I started blogging, I’ve read quite a few books on what I think are strange topics:
- Plastic rubber ducks — Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn
- The birth of modern computers — The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
- Evolutionary biology as applied to modern neighborhoods — The Neighborhood Project by David Sloan Wilson
- The making of a memory champion — Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer
- The world of candy — Candyfreak by Steve Almond
- The world of competitive Scrabble — Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis
- The world of competitive bird watching — The Big Year by Mark Obamscik
- The world of lobsters — The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson
I think what I love most about quirky nonfiction is that it teaches me about something or someone that I otherwise would never learn about. And more often than not, the people or subjects that become the center of a quirky nonfiction book are people who are pursuing a passion with such relish that I can’t help but cheer for them. I always find those books a lot of fun, and a nice break from nonfiction on more serious topics.
I also have quite a few quirky nonfiction books on my shelves just waiting to be read. Some of the ones I”m most looking forward to are:
- Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky — As the title suggests, a history of salt
- My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs — Testing out lots of weird and random stuff
- Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger — The story behind a three-game baseball series
- Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart — Behind the scenes of the flower industry
- Home by Tracy Kidder — The story of building a house
- Eels by James Prosek — The history and story of freshwater eels
- Running the Books by Avi Steinberg — A memoir of being a prison librarian
So there you have it, some of my favorite quirky reads and some of the possibly-strange topics I want to read about next. What are some of your favorite quirky books to read?
UPDATED TO ADD: This post started to get a ton of spam, so I had to turn comments off. Apologies!