It’s a new week in Non-Fiction November and this time the theme is nonfiction Favorites which is hosted by Leann at Shelf Aware. The challenge:

We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

This was a hard one to think about. I have been reading non-fiction forever and I think I’ve been attracted to the same areas forever, too. My reading journals go back to 1997 (my blog only to 2007) and looking at what I read in 1997 (for yes, I am inputting them all into a spreadsheet), the non-fiction included (I’ve done this from the titles, some might have got missed out). I’m going by the fact that I finished these, therefore I enjoyed them. I didn’t love all of them I’m sure but some I’ve read again since – definitely some authors have appeared several times.

Murphy, Dervla Tales from two cities

Miedzian, Miriam             Boys will be boys

Rushkoff, Douglas            Cyberia life in the trenches of hyperspace

Tressider, Joy     Hugh Grant

Knox Johnson, Robin      Sea and ice

Lau, Evelyn         Runaway diary of a street kid

Wurtzel, Elizabeth            Prozac nation

Desai, Anita        Journey to Ithaca

Ackroyd, Peter  Blake

Crisp, Quentin   Resident alien

Lee, Hermione  The secret self

Sheldon, Dyan   On the road reluctantly

Hanff, Helene    84 Charing Cross Road

Bull, Angela        Noel Streatfeild

Davies, Ray         X-ray

Gilliatt, Mary      The decorating book

Bryson, Bill          Mother tongue

Adair, John         Effective leadership

Argyle, Michael The psychology of interpersonal behaviours

Lewis, Norman  A goddess in the stones

Theroux, Paul    The great railway bazaar

Dodwell, Christina            Travels on horseback through east Turkey

Holt , John          How children learn

Sacks, Oliver       The island of the colour blind

Sutherland, John              Can Jane Eyre be happy

Sutherland, John              Was Heathcliff a murderer

Theroux, Paul    The happy isles of Oceania

Various,                The weirdest ever Notes & Queries

So that’s basically popular culture, management and business, travel (lots of travel!), language, literature, child development, biography and memoir and psychology with a big of tech.

Fast forward to this year so far and the non-fiction has looked like this:

Tirzah Garwood Long Live Great Bardfield

Chrissie Wellington         A Life Without Limits

Bella Mackie       Jog On

Ian Thorpe          This is Me

Malala Yousafzai              I Am Malala

Ziauddin Yousafzai           Let Her Fly

Alys Fowler         Hidden Nature

Simon Parkes     Live at the Brixton Academy

Lisa Tamati          Running Hot

Elizabeth Emens               The Art of Life Admin

Sara Marcus       Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

Nancy Campbell                The Library of Ice

Mary Mackie      Cobwebs and Cream Teas

Caroline Criado Perez     Invisible Women

Simon Armitage Gig

Mark Boyle         The Way Home

David Coles         Chromatopia

Jeremy Mynott Birds in the Ancient World

Gretl Ehrlich        This Cold Heaven

Paul Newman    Lost Gods of Albion

Michael J Benton             The Dinosaurs Rediscovered

Lynne Murphy   The Prodigal Tongue

Vassos Alexander            Don’t Stop me Now

Steve Haywood Narrowboat Dreams

Stephen Rutt     The Seafarers

Harriet Harman A Woman’s Work

Verily Anderson                Spam Tomorrow

Shaun Bythell     Confessions of a Bookseller

Lara Prior-Palmer             Rough Magic

Robert Phillips   Futurekind

Louise Palfreyman           Once Upon a Time in Birmingham: Women Who Dared to Dream

Jason Fox             Battle Scars

Cy Adler               Walking the Hudson

Martin Gayford The Pursuit of Art

Susan Lacke        Running Outside the Comfort Zone

Richard Grant    Dispatches from Pluto

Gavin Knight       The Swordfish and the Star

Amrou Al-Kadhi Unicorn

Jo Brand               Born Lippy

Ros Ball and James Millar              The Gender Agenda

Clara Parkes       Knitlandia

Garth Cartwright              Going for a Song

David Leboff      No Need to Ask

Clair Wills             Lovers and Strangers

Simon Napier-Bell            Ta ra ra Boom de ay

So that’s a larger percentage of my reads, but again, (a bit less) travel, popular culture esp music, more sociology, biography and memoir, sport is a new one, more nature (and much more to come), transport, feminism, language and a bit of tech (or going tech-free). I don’t think I’ve changed much in these 22 years.

A book is good in my eyes if it makes me think and teaches me something new or how it is or was to live in a particular way/time/place. Probably popular science rather than pure science, but teaching me more about the world, sometimes springing from something I know, sometimes not.

I’ve enjoyed comparing Past Me with Present Me and seeing that what I’ve enjoyed has been pretty much the same! Have your non-fiction tastes changed over the years?

Lots of lovely non-fiction on there to come!