I admit, I’m not much of a non-fiction reader. I like the escape I get from reading fiction. That’s not to say I haven’t read a few in the past. Funny thing is, I’ve liked every non-fiction book I’ve read so I’m not sure why I don’t read them as a rule. Most of the time I gravitate toward memoirs, the funnier the better.
Last year during the Bloggers Conference at BEA, I received a copy of Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom by Sara Benincasa. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. By the time I arrived back in Utah, I’d finished it and had almost finished reading another book. (Flying to anywhere on the East Coast from Utah requires a five-hour layover in an airport. I am well-acquainted with many of the airports across this nation.) But back to the book. Agorafabulous! is a memoir that is heartbreaking and hilarious in the same breath. In my opinion, the humor was the best vehicle to deliver this tale of one woman’s struggles with mental illness. By showing the humor in situations that would otherwise make one cringe, Benincasa humanized her condition for the reader, making it easier to see the real sane person underneath the conditions she suffers from.
I picked up Stephen King’s book, On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft, as a writing resource and to hopefully help me improve my craft as an editor. It has become my number one writing book recommendation, more because of the insights into Stephen King’s childhood and how it has affected his writing than anything else. He lays bare the conditions of his upbringing and some of his life-changing moments. It’s easy to see where he gets the inspiration for some of his work and how deep the well of his emotional experiences he pulls from is. He also reminds us that there is more to life than art. My favorite quote from the book: “Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”
So do I plan on reading another non-fiction in the near future? I do have several on my bookshelf gathering dust and looking pitiful every time I pass one of them up for a work of fiction. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and Cures for Hunger by Deni Y. Bechard are gaining ground so I might tackle one soon. And Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography looks tempting, but I don’t own that one so it will have to wait until payday or a really great sale.