As much as I’d like to imagine that my parents picked my name out of a fiction book full of love and action and magic, they actually found it in a dictionary. Maybe that’s why I spent the majority of my childhood obsessed with science encyclopedias, National Geographic magazines, and craft books aside from the usual Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl… and even now, I’m just as obsessed with non-fiction. I’m excited for the chance to celebrate Nonfiction November, which is hosted by Lu and Kim! Can’t wait to talk, read, and share non-fiction ALL DAY ERRDAY. (Uh, aside from the days when I’ll be reading sci-fi. Ahem.)
This week’s topic is non-fiction favorites, and I have three favorites to share with you!
1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Skloots uses a journalistic approach to present the history behind the HeLa cells that are widely used for cancer research and drug development today. I read this in one go when I was on a train heading home for Thanksgiving a few years ago; I was in college, and too used to looking at biology as something out of a textbook or in a lab… but this book made me CARE about biology. I loved the history, medicine, and biography aspects of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and it really made me think about scientific ethics and the many gray areas in scientific research.
2. Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater. Slater spins odd and disturbing stories about famous psychology experiments. Opening Skinner’s Box is the precursor to my Malcolm Gladwell obsession (yes, I have one) and my fascination with psychology, and if I had read this book earlier, I might’ve gone into psychology instead of what I’m doing now. Darn, missed opportunity…
3. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Foer, a new father, thinks about what he should be feeding his child, and tries to look into his past and industrial farms for the answers. With the surge of books on the American food industry prompted by Michael Pollan and others, Eating Animals stood out to me because of its graphic details and Foer’s stories of his own food history. It’s like Food, Inc (the movie) in book-form! (Oh wait, I think there’s also an actual Food, Inc book…)
I just realized that my favorites all touch upon ethics in some shape or form, which is interesting. I also find that I don’t get OMG EXCITED about non-fiction books like I do about fiction books, probably because I have to stop and think, and thinking always ruins the party
in my head. I guess it’s just a different type of love, like how I love peanut butter (OMG EXCITED) and Starbursts (they are magical). And I kind of want to move out of my non-fiction bubble and try out some memoirs, history, comedy and the like. So please let me know if you have any suggestions!
Do you read non-fiction? If so, what are your favorites?