Day 14: A non-fiction book


(I am posting this one day late. I got distracted and didn’t finish the post on time. Oh, well! The beat goes on.)

I’ll begin by saying I am not a big fan of non-fiction books. If I’m going to read for fun, 99% of the time, I’m picking up fiction. But that’s understandable, because fiction is one of the great loves in my life. I write fiction, so of course, I’d want to read fiction as much as possible. You can’t be a writer if you don’t read a lot.

Comedy and humor books fall into a gray area in a lot of ways. I’m talking about George Carlin’s books and essays, Ellen DeGeneres’ books, Dave Barry… I do like that stuff. And I like reading through books on subjects I’m trying to learn about, like genetics, animal behavior, psychology, philosophy. Note the words “reading through.” It’s very rare that I’d ever read an entire book, front to back, on any of those things. Several chapters in a row? Sure. Whole thing? Not likely. Also, I don’t care for memoirs. Maybe if it was someone I really, really admired, but even then, I’d likely only skim it. And I can’t stand emotionally-manipulative books about animals and the way they make their way into people’s lives and changed them for the better, and then at the end, the dog/cat/horse/chimp/elephant dies. Nope. Thanks anyway. I already know first-hand how complicated and beautiful and tragic human/animal friendships are; I don’t need to sit and read about it 100 times. I only get depressed. Not hopeful or inspired. Just depressed.

So, what does that leave for me to read? Well, I think if something is based on a story I am legitimately interested in knowing more about, I could consider that. So, I have some interest in reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and I’ll probably buy it used sometime this year. I just hope it won’t end up sitting on my shelf forever. I hate when I buy books and then forget about them as I read other stuff.

One book I got super-close to finishing was When Elephants Weep. I think I read this in college, and I also bought a copy for my father because I knew he’d like it, too. And he did. (He liked The Hidden Life of Dogs, too… although I recall that I was oddly kind-of “mehhh” about that one for some reason.) It’s a well-researched book about the emotional lives of animals. And it’s highly readable, too. Not too science-y. But it’s not all weepy, either. It’s factual, and philosophical.

I thought I had more to say about non-fiction books. Apparently, I don’t! 🙂


4 responses »

  1. Well, those sound kind of good. I almost bought “Stiff” once, actually. It was after I saw a Discovery Channel special on “the body farm” down in Kentucky, I think… where university scientists leave bodies out in all kinds of conditions to study decomposition and forensics. FASCINATING. I’d half-consider donating my body to something like that.

  2. I second the reco of Stiff and also The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – I own both and looove them. I will shout from the rooftops that everyone should read them! (My favorite part in Stiff is when she describes the mortuary workers sewing up the butthole of the corpse…yikes!).

  3. I read Stiff and really enjoyed it. I am currently reading “Tell Me How You Love The Picture” about a producer in Hollywood. Some interesting back stories to movies I love.

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