Friday, August 24, 2012

#21: Read Non-Fiction

As a graduate of an English literature program, I never learned to appreciate the art of non-fiction. The first non-fiction book I ever read, however, converted me. While I was in treatment, I read an exciting and engrossing account of cancer treatment - Emperor of All Maladies

Siddhartha Mukherjee's 'a biography of cancer' is a history of cancer treatment and advocacy. Learning about the long, winding history that gave my doctors the tools to treat me and make me better, in an accessible, comprehensive account, was nothing short of fascinating. The most important thing that I took away from the book, which Mukherjee is able to describes with simplicity and ease, is the process of gene mutation. Yes, the book taught me how genes mutate to create cancer. He also taught me about the 'accelerator' and the 'brakes', which you'll have to read the book to find out more about.

Fiction hasn't been doing it for me this summer, so I went back to non-fiction. Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw has taken my appreciation of non-fiction to a whole new level. Not only can it be informative and enlightening, it can be eloquent, comprehensive, and inspiring to an aspiring writer like me. I am nothing short of fascinated with Gladwell's ability to make dry topics like social policy so intriguing.

The question now is, what can I read next that will continue to support my new found faith in non-fiction works?  


  1. The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein) is a good read, if you like Naomi Klein.

  2. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey, an autobiography - true... but seriously she's hilarious and my hero... you won't regret reading it!! Gladwell's Tipping Point is really awesome if you haven't already read it.

  3. Those are two excellent suggestions, thank you!

  4. I really want to read Emperor of All Maladies. May i also suggest Jon Krakauer as an excellent nonfiction writer... Into Thin Air was one of the best books i read last year. Just incredible.