Monday, November 16, 2015

NONFICTION NOVEMBER: Nontraditional Nonfiction

Nonfiction November 2015 

This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction. Nonfiction comes in many forms. There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats.  We want to hear all about it this week!  hosted by Rebecca (I’m Lost In Books)

What a perfect topic for me! Looking at my numbers, this year I read 14/15 nonfiction books (so far) that were audiobooks. The only book that wasn't audio was a graphic novel. For me, audiobooks are how I 'read' nonfiction. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but nonfiction books are how I started listening to audiobooks in the first place. Audio isn't my strongest input of information so I didn't know how well I could hold characters in my head. However, nonfiction books are just like listening to CBC radio - little documentaries or stories for 20 minutes to half an hour or more.

Looking back to 2012, the first audiobooks I listened to were If You Ask Me by Betty White and then Bossypants by Tina Fey, reviewed here. Interestingly, I'm still listening to memoirs by comedians this year, including Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, and Martin Short.

The next type of audiobooks I listened to that year were science type books - Annoying by Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman, and Quiet by Susan Cain. Science and memoirs are my two biggest categories of nonfiction books and I'm only limited by my library's selection.

Or am I? I've found a loophole in acquiring audiobooks from my library. Since all the interactions are done online, I asked my sister, who lives in a different province in a larger city, for access to her online library. (I gave her my account number as well.) Now we each have two libraries to choose from. Her library has more choices, but often longer waits for books. Digital books are automatically deleted on the due date, so no overdue fines are possible. Of course, automatic deletions leads to my saddest audiobook adventure - a book being deleted when I only had less than one hour left in the book! So, if your library doesn't have a great selection, find a relative or trusted friend in a large city and trade library cards.

Just browsing the nonfiction audiobook section of my library has led me to listen to some books I may not have considered. Reasons why I pick certain audiobooks - they are available, I recognize the author, they are short, they are available, they are short, I've heard of the title, I am cheap and listen only to audiobooks I can get at  my (or my sister's) library. Libraries like requests so always feel free to ask your library to get a book you'd like to listen to.

Some nonfiction books are the perfect blend of topic and narrator, and don't underestimate the effect a good narrator has on an audiobook. I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and loved it, but I've heard other bloggers rave about the audio version enough to make me think about listening to it. It's no surprise to see Cassandra Campbell as the narrator of that book - she's always great! Some authors read their own books as well, like Malcolm Gladwell and all the comedians.

Great topic this week! Does anyone else listen to nonfiction audiobooks?