Non-fiction books, unlike fiction, are based on facts. Non-fiction includes memoirs, biographies, essays, documentaries, self-help and textbooks. Non-fiction covers a wide range of information and material. Whatever your interest, there’s sure to be a book about it.
Like fiction, non-fiction entertains and stimulates . Sometimes, an author intends to educate and instruct us. Non-fiction provides information, expands the reader’s vocabulary and improves the memory. For more good reasons to read a book, see my recent blog.
Four main types of non-fiction books
- Narrative writing, which tells a true story about a person or event or place. Examples are histories, memoirs (like my book, Other People’s Country) and biographies.
- Expository writing explains and informs the reader about a topic such as photography, gardening, cooking, etc.
- In persuasive writing the writer argues strongly that his or her position on an issue is right. Examples include publications such as Quarterly Essay. (Newspaper opinion pieces are excellent examples of persuasive writing.)
- Descriptive non-fiction uses sensory language, details and figurative language. Some forms of travel books fit into this category.
Benefits of reading non-fiction books
- Reading non-fiction books increases our knowledge about a wide range of new topics.
- Through non-fiction, we can deepen and broaden existing knowledge about subjects we are already interested in.
- We can learn at our own pace, because we can go back to a chapter or section we want to understand better.
- Learning new information, facts and skills through reading boosts our self-confidence. Think how useful the knowledge we acquire could be at a quiz night!
- Our ability to socialise and engage in conversation can improve as a result of reading non-fiction.
- Reading memoirs and biographies deepens our understanding of the human condition.
- Through life-writing, we come to an understanding of how other people live or have lived. We read how they overcame problems and dealt with conflict. This improves our ability, also, in these areas.
- Self-help books, a special type of non-fiction, cover much ground. We can improve our skills and performance through reading them. There’s probably at least one book, if not shelves of them, about any skill we want to learn.
- Using self-help books can also increase our ability to manage problems.
- Through non-fiction books, we can learn to make better decisions in life.
- Reading non-fiction helps to combat loneliness and boredom.