For years I didn’t read non-fiction. There was hardly enough time to read all the novels I wanted to, so why would I waste time on non-fiction?
Well, living with someone who reads non-fiction almost exclusively helped change my mind.
I would pick up a book here and there that he said was well written – a biography or a history. The problem I had found with most non-fiction books was that they weren’t particularly well-written.
It seemed, in the rush to get the story out, the writer (or ghost-writer) forgot about the craft of writing.
Even if you are telling a true story or the story of your life, it’s still a story. It needs a beginning, middle and end, AND a compelling thread to follow. What makes it compelling? The writing.
One of the best examples of this is the book “Manhunt,” about President Lincoln’s assassination and the escape, manhunt, and capture of John Wilkes Booth.
The few facts I knew about the story I’d learned in school but this book was just great – because it read like a thriller, not a dry, narrative account.
Even though I know the ending of the story, it kept me spellbound and wondering how it was going to end. How many times does that happen in non-fiction?
I’m reading more non-fiction now – maybe 25% of my total reading. But only if they are well-written.
I definitely don’t have time to waste on reading bad writing, no matter what the genre.