It's time for another blog chain and that's no joke (yep, that's it for my obligatory nod to April Fools Day - a holiday that I kind of hate). Sandra is kicking of the chain with this question:
We all know it's important to read fiction if you want to write fiction, but what about reading non-fiction? How much non-fiction do you read? What kinds of non-fiction books do you read, and why? Has reading non-fiction influenced your fiction writing style?
Okay, so this question makes me feel a little guilty, because my non-fiction reading has been nearly non-existent lately. Memoirs (more on the creative end of non-fiction, I know) used to be a large part of my to-be-read pile, but the last one I read was Jeannette Walls' THE GLASS CASTLE. I've also really enjoyed Jon Krakauer's INTO THIN AIR and INTO THE WILD and Michael Pollan's THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA, and have been meaning to read one of Malcolm Gladwell's books that look to be in a similar vein. But I haven't yet.
The reason I haven't been reading more non-fiction isn't due to lack of interest, but rather lack of time. I squeeze reading in during doctor's appointments and at the end of the day in the space between climbing into bed and turning of the lights (although, this is actually a terrible time for me to read, because I inevitably get sucked into my book and hours pass before the lights go out and then I am very cranky the next morning).
Still, I feel that non-fiction is important and while I may not have time for a book, I do get some into my word diet in other ways.
Number one is through the news. I listen to the news on NPR and follow a lot of their online coverage as well - like this recent story through Planet Money about the surprising rise of disability. I get my local paper on the weekend. And everyday The New York Times is kind enough to send me an email with a listing of their top stories. I tend to read the human interest stories and political stories that feel important like last weeks Supreme Court hearings.
Number two is through NPR podcasts (yes, I know, I do love me some NPR). I download This American Life, RadioLab, and Pop Culture Happy Hour onto my iPod and then listen during my commute to work or the grocery store or wherever. Yes, I do often end up sitting in my car, long after I've reached my destination because I want to keep listening, but that is a small price to pay.
And number three is...
Okay, I don't have a number three. Or I didn't, but now I do - I am putting Outliers: The Story of Success onto my 'want to read' list. It's there and I am going to read it... one of these days...
How do the rest of the blog-chainers get their non-fiction fix? You'll have to keep following the chain to find out, and that means checking out Sandra's blog tomorrow.