This year is peculiar for me in terms of reading habits. Since I began to track my books in 2008, my nonfiction reading rate has averaged 10% per year. This year, I’m steady at almost 30%. That is a huge jump, and beyond that, my best-of-2015 rankings currently include twice as many nonfiction titles as fiction titles. In all my combined six pre-2015 blog years, only three nonfiction titles made it into my best-of lists, and two of those only as runner-ups. This year? There will be six.
Back in January, I talked about my reading mood swings, and hypothesized that I was on a very short trend toward nonfiction. This is because I’ve never been tempted to read nonfiction for longer than about four to six weeks at a stretch. An extended mood like this one is a brand new experience for me.
And yet, I find that not all titles work for me, and that as usual, I’m super picky about what I choose and finish. This month, at Jason’s suggestion, I tried to read Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. The book didn’t work for me. It was too much like reading a history book. I don’t find history dull…in the right context, and this context is hard to explain. Jason, in suggesting the book, thought it would be a good one for me, because of the cultural and sociological history (which I normally love). But to me, it felt too big-picture, and I couldn’t get hooked into the narrative. Was that because I had no personal connection to the subject, and no personal interest that drove me to the book? Or was it because of the way the author approached the subject and the methodology of the book? No clue. I can’t adequately describe why some nonfiction works and some doesn’t. That makes it really hard to find titles when I’m in this kind of mood!
Still, I’m grateful for what I have come across this year. Some of the books I’ve read have been life-changing on multiple levels, and I feel that I’m starting to understand what does/doesn’t work for me, which hopefully will make it easier to find good nonfiction Manda-books in the future. Maybe next year, I’ll officially participate in Nonfiction November. I was sorely tempted this year!