Monday, January 22, 2007

A Little Non-Fiction anyone?



I'm very partial to the non-fiction genre but will admit I don't often read as many as I once used to. So when Joy of "Thoughts of Joy" spoke of hosting a "NON-FICTION FIVE CHALLENGE", I couldn't resist (thank you, Joy!). From what I know the challenge will be held from July-September and in that period all you need to do is read 5 non-fiction books. Easy? More details to follow.

Speaking of non-fiction, Sanjay of Karmic Musings has an excellent review of the book "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" by Lawrence Wright (writer for "The New Yorker").

I've also enjoyed reading Jenclair's impressions on Suketu Mehta's "Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found". She has a great review and several updates as she read along.

I am excited about having to pick 5 non-fiction titles for the challenge - knowing me, it will probably include some biographies, travelogues and science history. I am going to start combing book blogs for suggestions.

pic. courtesy: nilgravity.com

40 comments:

ML said...

That sounds like fun! I need more non-fiction reading in my life. Thanks for pointing out that challenge.

Also, I read Sanjay's review. Great review!

Can't wait to see what your five picks are!

Lotus Reads said...

Hey ml! How was the weekend/ Did you get a lot of reading done? I am up to my neck in reading challenges, but I couldn't pass this one up! :)

ML said...

My weekend was good! I just finished reading Bel Canto.

I can see how reading challenges become addicting :-)

Lotus Reads said...

Beloved I am so sorry but I deleted your comment by accident. Here's what you said:

This sounds like something I might really enjoy. I love non-fiction. I could live on Biographies. I think this is a great idea. Thanks for posting this.

Yes, I know! This could be a great opportunity for you to catch up on all those biographies and memoirs you've been wanting to read, Beloved!

Lotus Reads said...

ML Bel Canto! I've heard amazing things about the book. I'm coming right over to see if you have a review up yet!

Sanjay said...

Lotus, Thank you for your kind words and the plug at your place, you are way to generous.
I am up for this me thinks. :)
So do I have to have a list of 5 non-fiction books up at my blog (as will others) and you may or may not pick one from the many options?
Sorry if I sound confused.

Les said...

I'm planning to participate in Joy's challenge, too. Actually, I'm hoping to read at least one non-fiction book every month this year. This month's isn't terribly exciting, though. It's an iPod manual, of all things!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi,Sanjay! I am not entirely sure of the rules myself - I think Joy mentioned she'd have the guidelines up towards the end of the month. Will let you know. I think you might find this challenge right up your alley, so glad you're thinking about doing this! :)


Hi, Les! So glad we're going to be a challenge buddies! I think it's a great idea to read a non-fiction book every month. I was going through my posts and have realized I do read a lot of memoirs and travelogues which are non-fiction, but ideally what I should do is to challenge myself with non-fiction books I don't normally read like history, geography, politics etc. I am going to have to think about my choices very carefully!

I like the idea of an iPod manual being reviewed. I will definitely want to read it and if you've found it helpful, it might be something worth giving my girls (both have iPods, I do not!) :)

Laura said...

May I suggest one of my fave nonfiction books:

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

It will really make your inner anthropologist happy!

Also, one of my most favorite memoirs is:

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

david mcmahon said...

Hi Lotus,
You'll have to pardon me if I don't take part in this challenge! Instead of reading books for the next three months, I'll actually be busy writing one - I hope that's a good enough excuse/cop-out!
David

Asha said...

Hi Lotus,sounds good.I like non-fiction too but not the scary kind but something humorous.I wish I had time to read more and enjoy!Have to wait until few more yrs!:)

pippala leaf said...

Here are a few non-fictions I found interesting(Pardon me if you had already read them):

1. Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir
2. Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Dimond
3. Love and Blessings by Nitya Chaitanya Yati
4. Baghdad Burning by Riverbend
5. An End To Suffering by Pankaj Mishra

booklogged said...

Lotus, I love the picture. It fits so well. I'm glad Joy is not doing this challenge until summer/fall because I want to do it, too. I have 2 suggestions you may want to conside.

Folding Paper Cranes: An Atomic Memoir by Leonard Bird

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

I'm going to investigate some of the others that have been suggested above. Have a good day, Lotus.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Laura! My inner anthropologist thanks you! :)) I've never heard of Anne Fadiman, but I can't wait to go check those books out - thanks so much for the recommendations - so sweet of you! "Tender At the Bone" I have on my bookshelf and have been meaning to get to it, so maybe it will figure on my list! :)

Hahahaa David the best cop-out I've heard so far - it will be hard to top that one! ;) Seriously tho', good luck with the book and let us know when to expect it on the shelves. I will dispatch hubby to pick up my copy of "Vegemite Vindaloo" from my mom's house when he's in Bangalore next (probably March).

Hi Asha! I know you really do enjoy reading and I, too, wish you had more time. Perhaps you should consider investing in audio books - that way, you can "read" in the car or when completing your other chores.

Hi, Madhu Great to see you here, it's been ages! Thank you so much for the recommendations. I have the Jared Diamond book down for the "Chunkster Challenge" and I have read "Stolen Lives" but "Baghdad Burning" really interests me. I've never heard of "Love and Blessings" - going to check it out now! Thanks again!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi booklogged "Wild Swans" is an excellent, excellent book! I remember reading it a long while back, but parts of the story haunt me till today. I am interested in the Leonard Bird one - I must check it out. Thanks so much, booklogged!

Maggie said...

Howdy Lotus!
My husband and I watched The Namesake and we loved it! Did you read the book? I wasn't able to search your blog to find anything about it. :(

Milan-zzz said...

I LOVE nonfiction!
The problem is I’m a member of minority here so nonfiction I’m reading is usually not in my mother tongue :( (that means I’m even slower reader).
I’d like to join but … I’m wondering would it be a cheating if I combine this with TBR 2007 Challenge? I have some great nonfiction book on my tbr pile :)

Gosh lotus I shouldn’t read you blog about more challenges (unless you tell me how to resist!)

Praveen G K said...

You must certainly give at shot at this one "The Man who knew infinity" - superb book on Ramanujan

Lotus Reads said...

Hey Maggie

I read "The Namesake" before I started this blog, that's why you don't see a review, but I have a post about the movie...it was good, wasn't it? I so related to Gogol's mom. I have yet to see a Mira Nair movie that I haven't liked!

Hi Milan! Most challenge hosts don't seem to mind if books overlap, sometimes, that's the only way to do it. I would recommend waiting to see what guidelines Joy has for the challenge and we'll take it from there. I hope you can join!

Thanks Praveen! I am enjoying these recommendations. Even if I don't get to read them all for the challenge, they will go on my TBR.

Sanjay said...

I think Joy mentioned she'd have the guidelines up towards the end of the month. Will let you know.
Thanks much! The alphabet tag is complete. :)

Bellezza said...

It's funny how most of us need a little encouragement to get to nonfiction. We even need to hold special contests at school to get the kids to read nonfiction (unless it's an animal book). The only nonfiction books I've ever remotely enjoyed are cookbooks. Of course, the Bible is near and dear to me too, even though some might consider it fiction.

Les said...

I agree with Laura's recommendation for The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. I read it several years ago and it was quite an eye-opener.

beenzzz said...

Hi Lotus, You are very busy indeed! I think it's great that you love to read. I'm trying to pick up the habit again. :) I'll have to check my books and see if I have any good non-fiction stories to recommend. Hmmmmm.

Allison said...

Hi! Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. You probably noticed I added you to mine, too.

I haven't read much nonfiction - it's an interesting idea to try a different genre.

jenclair said...

Well, I originally found the title of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found here on your blog, thanks again! It was a fantastic read. I'm really rolling with the non-fiction this year.

J said...

Hmmm. Non fiction just sucks. OK, I didn't mean that. Do cookbooks count? ;) If you hadn't guessed, I have problems with non fiction, in that it generally puts me to sleep. I'm sure that's a symptom of my lack of imagination and ability to focus, but I'm not sure what to do about it. Can you recommend some of your favorite non fiction books that you've read in the past? Mine have been mostly text books, which I suspect is a large part of the problem. Maybe you could do a post about it, and other folks could comment with theirs, and MAYBE I could get 5 out of there and join in. Or, maybe I could give up while I'm ahead and read another novel. ;)

Lotus Reads said...

Sanjay Thanks for letting me know. The letter 'A" was no picnic, but you did really well.

Bellezza I love reading the Bible! The parables in particular are packed with wisdom and life lessons. Also, to not be familiar with the Bible could be slightly problematic when exploring some of the great works of literature...one would miss the allusions altogether. So, I would say the Bible is an essential read for sure.

Les Great to see you endorsing the book as well! I definitely want to check it out. I can't believe it has escaped my attention all these years. Thanks!

beenzzz You know what's funny? I actually thought I'd read less this year and watch more tv/cinema instead..so far things aren't going according to plan. It's great to see you reading, I really look forward to seeing more book reviews from you. You did a great job on the two today!

Allison I love non-fiction. What would be really challenging for me would be a sci-fi or a thriller/mystery challenge. Try as I might, I don't do very well with those genres. Sad, because I'm sure I'm missing out on some really good books.

Jenclair I have noticed! You're doing really well with the non-fiction, you certainly don't need a challenge! :)

J I had the very same question for Joy! I have a cookbook or rather a culinary history that I would love to read and the non-fiction challenge might provide the perfect opportunity to devour it.

I think many of us find non-fiction a strain because it reminds us too much of school. I don't fancy books written with an academic pen (unless it's a subject I really love, like anthropology) but I am very partial to narrative journalism, like Sonia Nazario's "Enrique's Journey"...where certain creative liberties are taken with the facts to make it more readable.

I think you've got a great idea, perhaps I should do a list of my top picks for non-fiction, but who knows when that will be, so don't give up on your novel just yet! ;)

Sai said...

Hey....Mehta's Maximum city is one of my top priority books.
BTW my TBR list is so long. These days I don't have time to read unfortunately.

Shashikiran Mullur said...

"A Natural History of the Senses." I am enjoying Diane Ackerman's lyrical prose at this moment.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Sai Mine, too! Mine, too! I just have to make time to read it!

Hi Shashikiran Diane Ackerman's language is beyond beautiful...I get goosebumps anytime I read her books.

hellomelissa said...

well written nonfiction is often more riveting than a novel! god luck with your challenge!

Joy said...

OH LOTUS!!! I LOVE the NON-FICTION image. When I post guidelines for the challenge, would you mind if I offered it to the participants as a button for their blog? I searched and searched and couldn't find anything I liked. This one is perfect! :) Please let me know. Thank you.

Also, what a great discussion you all had here. I'm glad there is so much excitement surrounding reading non-fiction. Sometimes I think people (in general) really don't understand the vastness of this genre. Hopefully the challenge will challenge some to branch out. :)

iliana said...

Hi Lotus - I've been reading your blog for a while but am finally delurking :) That image is awesome!!

It is one of my reading goals this year to read more non-fiction. I had seen Joy's blog challenge and while I'm a bit challenged out at the moment (doing Classics, Chunkster & From The Stacks) I may feel better by the time that one rolls around.

Anyway nice to meet you :)

Lotus Reads said...

Thanks Melissa! I am really looking forward to the challenge!

Hi Joy That is a great image isn't it? So glad you like it! It is copyrighted to nilgravity.com, so we will have to ask them if we can use it as a button. Alternatively, someone with graphic skills can make something similar. I wish I knew how to do that, I would have been thrilled to help you out! Thank you Joy for initiating this great challenge, I'm excited!

Hi iliana I'm so very glad you stopped by! I have visited your blog and am always awed by your posts. I understand being "challenged out" at the moment. I am so behind on my chunkster challenge...I really need to get cracking on one of those tomes and soon! Will visit you soon.

david mcmahon said...

Thanks, Lotus
I'm writing diligently and am well past the halfway mark of `Muskoka Maharani'. Will let you know when it's finished.
Good to hear your husband will pick up my book in Bangalore. Would love to know what you (and of course all your readers) think of it.
Seems like your husband and I will be in Bangalore at the same time. Keep me posted with dates, etc. If he has time, I can catch up with him for a coffee.
Cheers
David

Lauren said...

I like a good dose of Non-fiction every so often!!
I recently read The Bone Woman by Clea Koff. It was very interesting.
Here's a link to the bookcrossing journal entries: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/3762479

Nicholas said...

I was just vanity googling when I came across you using my nonfiction logo (which is fine by me though send me an email wouldja?).

If you like nonfiction check out notouchingmagazine.com (which I did the cover for the second issue of)

NILgravity.com

Praveen G K said...

you should also try to get hold of "The Man who divided India" by Rafiq Zakaria...Truly an outstanding book!!!!

RC said...

something I recently enjoyed was How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis A. Schaeffer.

Also, I really enjoyed Refer Maddness as well which deals with black markets (drugs, illegal immigration, sex).

Kim said...

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog :0) I am excited about joining this challenge, but I am finding it hard to narrow down the choices! I am looking forward to seeing what you choose!