BAND August 2011 Discussion – How Did You Get Into NonFiction?
B.A.N.D., Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees, launched in July and is being run by a small group of bloggers as a way to promote the love of nonfiction amount bloggers. Each month a discussion question will be put forward giving everyone and anyone the chance to respond. If you are interested in hosting a month do check out the tumblr site and let us know!
Last month Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness hosted the first discussion, asking What’s your favorite type of nonfiction? I had a lot of fun reading the answers that everyone submitted and they helped lead me to my topic for this month. One of my favorite things about reading is how one book leads to another which leads to another and so on. For a lot of us, nonfiction wasn’t something we always read and it was a specific topic or book that drew us in. And then once we started, we just couldn’t stop. So this month I’d like to know:
How did you get into reading nonfiction? Do you remember your first nonfiction book or subject? If so, do you still read those subjects?
eta: There ARE links in the collection, I don’t know why it is showing 0! Do click through to read them all. Sorry about this!
I have a terrible memory so it is rather odd that I am asking a question to which I can’t come up with a perfect answer myself… I don’t recall reading any (or at least many) nonfiction books while growing up. I would read anything I found in the house, but while looking for books I never consciously picked up nonfiction. It wasn’t until after graduation from university that I really remember searching out nonfiction.
The first nonfiction books that I got into were memoirs from the Middle East, often faith based. I started out with such books as Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi, Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat, I is for Infidel by Kathy Gannon, and others. These books gave me a glimpse into another life and made me see perspectives outside my own and taught me that what we see on the news isn’t always the full picture. They made me want to know more about the world and also about the events we hear about in the news.
What is odd is that while I occasionally read memoirs and books on religions and the Middle East, I’ve largely moved on from those areas. Although I am still interested in these subjects, I seem to never get around to those books, finding myself instead enthralled by whole new subjects. Perhaps I’ll come full circle back to memoirs and religion books set especially around the Middle East, but I can’t see it happening any time soon – there are just too many subjects I want to know more about first!
From those first books I moved on to more of an international politics kick, reading more about the United Nations and international development. I wanted to know why different parts of the world were so different politically and culturally and how we see that / how we interact. From here I started reading more on international health as well, reading about why different people have better or worse options and the ways in which we justify this. This led me to looking at the health care systems closer to home and how class and race (and gender) play such a huge part in North America, which led me to race and gender issues in general.
Phew. It’s been four years, a lot of nonfiction, and a lot of different subjects. I can’t wait to see what I can find to read about in the next four years! I think part of it for me was keeping my brain working after university ;)
So there you have it, a bit about my journey, that I don’t see ending any time soon. What about you?