You’ll hear me say from time to time that fiction writers will gain more intellectual mileage out of reading non-fiction than fiction. Especially later in their careers, when you’ve ideally found your voice and have become confident with your own skill set and no longer need exemplars to lead the way. That’s not to say you shouldn’t (or won’t) read fiction — but non-fiction is giving you puzzle pieces whereas fiction is giving you the picture another author has already built with such loose pieces. Reading fiction can be in this way reiterative — you run the risk of treading water in terms of creative input –> output.
Regardless — point is, non-fiction? Good stuff.
My shelves are 75% non-fiction, 25% fiction. A ratio I expect to keep. (Though this is not as true in my e-book space. I buy more fiction in e-book for whatever bizarre-o reason.)
I’ve got books on mythology, warfare, sex, gun repair, culture wars, cooking, travel, Bible studies, fairy tales, medieval weapons, the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, Congress, the President, urban legends, writing, filmmaking, insects, weather, bears, birds, Hell, imaginary places, slang, parasites, and on and on.
What am I reading right now? Adventures Among Ants, by Mark Moffett. Quirky book about a biologist and professor who really loves ants and, well, wants to tell you about it. Chockablock with fascinating information about not just ants, but our natural world — plus, since he has to travel abroad to find exotic species, you visit with other cultures and in and of itself Moffett makes the whole thing one big adventure. With the ants as the star, one supposes. So, my question for you is —
What non-fiction are you reading (or have you read)? Doesn’t have to be geared toward writers.
Share. Spread it around.