Excuse the rather broad title, but recently I’ve been drifting away from fiction books, and trying out more non-fiction novels. Whilst non-fiction books are subjective based on what the book covers, I’m finding some of them to be particularly interesting.
The first example of this, which aren’t exactly non-fiction books, are The One-Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson. Whilst the basis of the book is purely fictional, the book also eludes to important historical events and perspectives such as communism and capitalism. Bizarre but hilarious works of fiction, Jonasson’s novels cleverly disguise a ‘non-fiction style’ which enables to me to learn about these things whilst laughing at the same time.
Perhaps it was his books which started it, as I was then quick to buy Alain de Botton’s News: A User’s Manual. Whilst this book didn’t necessarily have story-telling within the non-fiction, as a journalist I was still fascinated by the book and it remains one of the most intriguing non-fiction books I ever read.
However, the latest non-fiction novel I picked up was So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (which I hope to buy when I next visit a bookshop). Upon reading the first few pages as a sample, I was drawn to the ‘fiction’ style of writing. By that, I don’t mean that the story was ‘made up’ – of course not – but the storytelling mimicked the style of fiction novels. Other non-fiction books would be purely factual and wouldn’t have this conversational style.
Admittedly, as a child I was put-off by non-fiction. Despite having a strong love of facts as a kid – which I still had now – I feared that it would just be a book listing all the key points of the topic discussed. But of course, non-fiction has developed and has become more engaging.
But if there’s any way to develop non-fiction further, then it’s through this idea of story-telling in non-fiction. With that in mind, readers put off the style of writing (with my similar belief in mind) will realise that there is more to the intriguing and fascinating genre.
What do you think? Should non-fiction books remain purely factual, or should they contain an element of conversational language common in fiction works? Comment your thoughts below!