Nonfiction Reading Quotes

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Education...has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
George Macaulay Trevelyan
The child intuitively comprehends that although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue ...
Bruno Bettelheim (The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales)
Read everything. Read fiction and non-fiction, read hot best sellers and the classics you never got around to in college.
Jennifer Weiner
You can no more read the same book again than you can step into the same river.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
I am Not, but the Universe is my Self.
Shih-t'ou
The story you are about to read is a work of fiction. Nothing - and everything - about it is real.
Todd Strasser
Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it's a bad thing. As if "escapist" fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in. If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn't you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real. As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
And I went on reading; and, since if you read enough books you overflow, I eventually became a writer.
Terry Pratchett (A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction)
I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
You don’t discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer them to read. And not everyone has the same taste as you.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Libraries are about Freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Om is the things, Om is the ingredient, Om is the container and the content of this universe.
Banani Ray (Glory of OM: A Journey to Self-Realization)
Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
I don't really care for fiction." "How can you not? The best thing about reading is to escape from your life, to be able to live hundreds or even thousands of different lives. Non-fiction doesn't have that power- it doesn't change you like fiction does." "Change you?" He raises his brow. "Yes, change you. If you aren't affected somehow, even in the slightest bit, you aren't reading the right book. I would like to think that every novel I've read has become a part of me, created who I am, in a sense.
Anna Todd (After We Collided (After, #2))
We are all born as storytellers. Our inner voice tells the first story we ever hear.
Kamand Kojouri
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
I read nonfiction." She reared back as if offended.
Anne Osterlund (Salvation)
Escapism isn't good or bad of itself. What is important is what you are escaping from and where you are escaping to. I write from experience, since in my case I escaped to the idea that books could be really enjoyable, an aspect of reading that teachers had not hitherto suggested.
Terry Pratchett (A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-Fiction)
The only authority my mother recognized was God's. God is love and the Bible is truth--everything else was up for debate. She taught me to challenge authority and question the system. The only way it backfired on her was that I constantly challenged and questioned her.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
I read nonfiction for information, fiction for truth.
Michael M. Thomas
Nonfiction lets us learn more; fiction lets us be more.
G. Kylene Beers (Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading)
No two readers can or will ever read the same book, because the reader builds the book in collaboration with the author.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
I recommend readers to be adventurous and to try things they’ve never heard of or considered reading before. Get out of the comfort zone and discover something new and exciting. If you’d never be caught dead in the mystery section go and read some George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly or many others. If you only read thrillers get deep into the literary fiction aisle and let yourself be seduced. If you only read non-fiction pick up a Ian McDonald novel or a Joyce Carol Oates novel. If you only read comic books, get acquainted with the great Charles Dickens or a certain Monsieur Dumas. Pick up something at random and read a page. Feel the texture of the language, the architecture of the imagery, the perfume of the style… There’s so much beauty, intelligence and excitement to be had between the pages of the books waiting for you at your local bookstore the only thing you need to bring is an open mind and a sense of adventure. Disregard all prejudices, all pre-conceived notions and all the rubbish some people try to make you think. Think for yourself. Regarding books or anything in life. Think for yourself.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Both money and health contribute to happiness mostly in the negative; the lack of them brings much more unhappiness than possessing them brings happiness. p 169
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
There’s a brotherhood of people who read and who care about books.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
people who read literary fiction (as opposed to popular fiction or nonfiction) were better able to detect another person’s emotions, and the theory proposed was that literary fiction engages the reader in a process of decoding the characters’ thoughts and motives in a way that popular fiction and nonfiction, being less complex, do not.
Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
only read nonfiction.” He wants me to feel self-conscious, but the truth is that a man like Steven doesn’t want to immerse himself in someone else’s world. It gives the author too much power. It makes Steven feel small.
Victoria Helen Stone (Jane Doe (Jane Doe, #1))
In truth, Kipling's politics are not mine. But then, it would be a poor sort of world if one were only able to read authors who expressed points of view that one agreed with entirely. It would be a bland sort of world if we could not spend time with people who thought differently, and who saw the world from a different place.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
So many people open a Bible and they are being taught to listen for the voice of God-to try to hear what God is saying to them through their Bible. I will tell you what He is saying to you. 'Put your head down, look at the words and read them'- that's what He is saying!
John F. MacArthur Jr.
The best of fiction, as we know, of course, doesn't tell the truth; it tales the truth.
Criss Jami (Healology)
It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Books are really places, make no mistake about that.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. We have an obligation to use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside. We have an obligation to use the language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
...that part of what I loved about poetry was how the distinction between fiction and nonfiction didn't obtain, how the correspondence between text and world was less important than the intensities of the poem itself, what possibilities of feeling were opened up in the present tense of reading.
Ben Lerner (10:04)
Fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape.
Jonathan Gottschall
When we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to leave us defenseless.
Jonathan Gottschall (The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human)
...arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate. p 84
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Think not of the fragility of life, but of the power of books, when mere words can change our lives simply by being next to each other.
Kamand Kojouri
The writing of solid, instructive stuff fortified by facts and figures is easy enough. There is no trouble in writing a scientific treatise on the folk-lore of Central China, or a statistical enquiry into the declining population of Prince Edward Island. But to write something out of one's own mind, worth reading for its own sake, is an arduous contrivance only to be achieved in fortunate moments, few and far in between. Personally, I would sooner have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopedia Britannica.
Stephen Leacock (Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town)
Writing fiction is not a profession that leaves one well-disposed toward reading fiction. One starts out loving books and stories, and then one becomes jaded and increasingly hard to please. I read less and less fiction these days, finding the buzz and the joy I used to get from fiction in ever stranger works of non-fiction, or poetry.
Neil Gaiman
She might not have read many books. But when she reads a book, she swallows the very words. If you open the books on her shelves, you will find that the front and back covers encase white pages.
Kamand Kojouri
How come you write the way you do?” an apprentice writer in my Johns Hopkins workshop once disingenuously asked Donald Barthelme, who was visiting. Without missing a beat, Don replied, “Because Samuel Beckett was already writing the way he does.” Asked another, smiling but serious, “How can we become better writers than we are?” “Well," DB advised, “for starters, read through the whole history of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics up through last semester. That might help.” “But Coach Barth has already advised us to read all of literature, from Gilgamesh up through last semester...” “That, too,” Donald affirmed, and twinkled that shrewd Amish-farmer-from-West-11th-Street twinkle of his. “You’re probably wasting time on things like eating and sleeping. Cease that, and read all of philosophy and all of literature. Also art. Plus politics and a few other things. The history of everything.
John Barth (Further Fridays: Essays, Lectures, and Other Nonfiction, 1984 - 1994)
I read more than I had in years-novels, short stories, three long nonfiction books about how we had stumbled into the Iraq mess (the short answer appeared to have W for a middle initial and a dick for a Vice President).
Stephen King (Duma Key)
I read every book I could find. I picked up stuff like a Hoover, and remembered it out of the sheer joy of finding out that the universe is stuffed with interest.
Terry Pratchett (A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction)
What makes me want to keep reading a nonfiction text is the encounter with a surprising, well-stocked mind as it takes on the challenge of the next sentence, paragraph,
Phillip Lopate (To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction)
The genres, it is thought, have other designs on us. They want to entertain, as opposed to rubbing our noses in the daily grit produced by the daily grind. Unhappily for realistic novelists, the larger reading public likes being entertained.
Margaret Atwood (In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination)
You know, there was a time when childbirth was possibly the most terrifying thing you could do in your life, and you were literally looking death in the face when you went ahead with it. And so this is a kind of flashback to a time when that's what every woman went through. Not that they got ripped apart, but they had no guarantees about whether they were going to live through it or not. You know, I recently read - and I don't read nonfiction, generally - Becoming Jane Austen. That's the one subject that would get me to go out and read nonfiction. And the author's conclusion was that one of the reason's Jane Austen might not have married when she did have the opportunity...well, she watched her very dear nieces and friends die in childbirth! And it was like a death sentence: You get married and you will have children. You have children and you will die. (Laughs) I mean, it was a terrifying world.
Stephenie Meyer (The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide)
But nothing has replaced the writer. He or she is still stuck with the same old job of saying something that other people will want to read.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
Those who read only books that only entertain them have no significant advantage over those who can but do not read.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
It turns out that stating a problem clearly often suggests its solution. p 32
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Second Splendid Truth One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to e happy yourself. p 147
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
More than nonfiction, fiction forces us to concentrate in order to find meaning, and therefore deepens our engagement and helps comprehension.
Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook)
I began to write because of love. I wrote to understand what I felt and what I knew.
Kamand Kojouri
The ocean of knowledge is profound and the deeper you dive, the more insight you will gain from it.
Shivanshu K. Srivastava
Well, Montag, take my word for it, I've had to read a few in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say nothing! Nothing you can teach or believe. They're about non-existent people, figments of imagination, if they're fiction. And if they're non-fiction, it's worse, one professor calling another an idiot, one philosopher screaming down another's gullet. All of them running about, putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun. You come away lost.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
You're also finding out something as you read that will be vitally important for making your way in the world. And it's this: THE WORLD DOESN'T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS. THINGS CAN BE DIFFERENT.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
If you write well and honestly, with character rising from background and action springing from character, and if you remain true to your vision of life, then theme will emerge in the reading process. And if you write what you believe, and only what you believe, the theme will inevitably be consistent.
Gary Provost (Make Every Word Count: A Guide to Writing That Works—for Fiction and Nonfiction)
God feels loved when: I pray I read my Bible I ask Him before I do something I say good things about Him I introduce Him to others I want to know more about Him I have faith in Him I make it all about Him
Sunshine Rodgers (God The Father Jesus The Big Brother Holy Spirit The Best Friend)
When we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to leave us defenseless.  
Jonathan Gottschall (The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human)
Nonfiction is at its best an act of putting the world back together - or tearing some piece of it apart to find what's hidden beneath the assumptions or conventions - and in this sense creation and destruction can be akin. The process can be incandescent with excitement, whether from finding some unexpected scrap of information or from recognizing the patterns that begin to arise as the fragments begin to assemble. Something you didn't know well comes into focus, and the world makes sense in a new way, or an old assumption is gutted, and then you try to write it down.
Rebecca Solnit (Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir)
I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing. We
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
When people read, they hear voices and see images in their head. This production is total synesthesia and something close to madness. A great book is an hallucinated IMAX film for one. The author had a feeling, which he turned into words, and the reader gets a feeling from those words—maybe it’s the same feeling; maybe it’s not. As Peter Mendelsund wrote in What We See When We Read, a book is a coproduction. A reader both performs the book and attends the performance. She is conductor, orchestra, and audience. A book, whether nonfiction of fiction, is an “invitation to daydream.
Derek Thompson (Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction)
Q: Do you have any advice for upcoming writers who want to pen weird stories? A: READ, damn it. Fill your brain to the bursting point with the good stuff, starting with writers that you truly enjoy, and then work your way backward and outward, reading those writers who inspired the writers you love best. That was my path as far as Weird/Horror Fiction, starting with Lovecraft, and then working my way backward/outward on the Weird Fiction spiderweb. And don’t limit your reading. Read it all, especially non-fiction and various news outlets. You’d be surprised by how many of my story ideas were born while listening to NPR, perusing a blog, or paging through Vanity Fair. Once you have your fuel squared away, just write what you love, in whatever style and genre. You’ll never have fun being someone you’re not, so be yourself. When a singer opens their mouth, what comes out is what comes out. Also, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to walk away. Writing isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally fine. One doesn’t need to be a writer to enjoy being a reader and overall fan of genre or wider fiction.
T.E. Grau
I’ve never had occasion to use one magnificent tip from a well-known author, but I pass it on anyway: “Keep an eye on the trade press. When an editor moves on, immediately send your precious MS to his or her office, with a covering letter addressed to said departed editor. Say, in the tones of one engaged in a cooperative effort, something like this: ‘Dear X, I was very pleased to receive your encouraging letter indicating your interest in my book, and I have made all the changes you asked for.…’ Of course they won’t find the letter. Publishers can never find anything. But at least someone might panic enough to read the MS.
Terry Pratchett (A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction)
Good writing has an aliveness that keeps the reader reading from one paragraph to the next, and it's not a question of gimmicks to "personalize" the author. It's a question of using the English language in a way that will achieve the greatest clarity and strength.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
I always advise students who like to read that they should read everything form license plates on cars to signs on the highway, fiction, nonfiction, newspapers, magazines—I mean everything. You never know what you might learn or when and where you can use the information.
James Haskins (Rosa Parks: My Story)
When I left, I took everything with me...I reached under my bed where there were two leather-bound journals that had gold lettering on the front covers and that fastened with a flimsy lock. I read the lettering out loud to myself and gingerly placed the books into my backpack. Diary.
Tanya Marquardt (Stray: Memoir of a Runaway)
All reading matter, fiction or nonfiction, inspirational or factual—no matter where the stage is set whether the books were printed a hundred or more years ago or only yesterday, whether or not we like what we read—is a journey for the mind. We find ourselves in strange countries and walk in them with strange people, for a time. Often we do not like what we see and hear and encounter; often we do not comprehend it. It's like arriving someplace at night, and then in the morning looking out of the windows, not understanding what we see. However, whether we travel with pleasure or repulsion, comprehension or bewilderment, these journeys expand the mind and enlarge our grasp of the world that once was or that which is now, or even that which may sometime be.
Faith Baldwin (Evening Star)
from What to Read by Mickey Pearlman - A book for book clubs From chapter -- "How to Read": Rule 1: BAN at the outset any discussion that focuses on "Did you like the book." This is not a popularity contest, any worthwhile piece of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how beloved or detested teaches the reader something.
Mickey Pearlman
Few of us make any serious effort to remember what we read. When I read a book, what do I hope will stay with me a year later? If it’s a work of nonfiction, the thesis, maybe, if the book has one. A few savory details, perhaps. If it’s fiction, the broadest outline of the plot, something about the main characters (at least their names), and an overall critical judgment about the book. Even these are likely to fade. Looking up at my shelves, at the books that have drained so many of my waking hours, is always a dispiriting experience. One Hundred Years of Solitude: I remember magical realism and that I enjoyed it. But that’s about it. I don’t even recall when I read it. About Wuthering Heights I remember exactly two things: that I read it in a high school English class and that there was a character named Heathcliff. I couldn’t say whether I liked the book or not.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
We have to read with a pen in hand, develop ideas on paper and build up an ever-growing pool of externalised thoughts.
Sönke Ahrens (How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers)
Sitting down with a great book means that when you stand up, you will be a completely different person from who you were when you sat down.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Writing is, without dispute, the best facilitator for thinking, reading, learning, understanding and generating ideas we have.
Sönke Ahrens (How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers)
I've read more truth in fiction than in nonfiction, partly because fiction can deal with the numinous, and nonfiction rarely does.
Dean Koontz (Ashley Bell (Ashley Bell, #1))
What is interesting about this?” and everything we read with the question, “What is so relevant about this that it is worth noting down?
Sönke Ahrens (How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers)
We all know the secret of dieting...it's the application that's challenging. p 7
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
As Michel de Montaigne observed, "The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced." p 233
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
this morning, listening to the BBC news, I learned that half of all prisoners in the UK have the reading age of an eleven-year-old, or below. This
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
You must strive to attain self-mastery and educate yourself so you can be of service to your desires and the world in a not so distant future.
Chris Erzfeld
I couldn't open up a magazine, you couldn't read a newspaper, you couldn't turn on the TV without hearing about the obesity epidemic in America.
Morgan Spurlock
Everyone writes the book he or she loves to read. Great authors write the books others love to read.
Chuck Miceli
Marie keeps asking for books about zombies and I keep telling her I can’t read nonfiction for story time, but . . 
Isaac Marion (Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1))
Christmastime was coming. I didn’t even know what that was. I was six years old, and had never had a Christmas.
Russell Vann (Ghetto Bastard: A Memoir (The Ghetto Bastard Series))
Non-fiction is to theory as fiction is to experience.
Joyce Rachelle
Some paint with brushes and others use words.
C.A.A. Savastano
I come to Oklahoma, thinking that it’ll be hard to write about the dead, but it has proven harder to write about the living, about those who’ll have to read themselves through my eyes.
Jax Miller (Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls)
These places tend to have row upon row of neat bookshelves, arranged nicely. They are presented attractively for the same reason that kittens are cute—so that they can draw you in, then pounce on you for the kill. Seriously. Stay away from kittens. Public libraries exist to entice. The Librarians want everyone to read their books—whether those books are deep and poignant works about dead puppies or nonfiction books about made-up topics, like the Pilgrims, penicillin, and France. In fact, the only book they don’t want you to read is the one you’re holding right now.
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1))
A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commision, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
One last thing,” said Beatty. “At least once in his career, every fireman gets an itch. What do the books say, he wonders. Oh, to scratch that itch, eh? Well, Montag, take my word for it, I’ve had to read a few in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say nothing! Nothing you can teach or believe. They’re about nonexistent people, figments of imagination, if they’re fiction. And if they’re nonfiction, it’s worse, one professor calling another an idiot, one philosopher screaming down another’s gullet. All of them running about, putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun. You come away lost.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Reading is not passive. It is only when the reader brings his/her own experiences to the work and breathes life into the author’s words that they consummate the relationship and together bring the story to life.
Chuck Miceli (Amanda's Room)
Read with a vengeance, as if the author’s life is on trial, because nothing will have such an impact and be a better investment than owning, reading, and re-reading books that will change the way you think, write, and speak.
Chris Erzfeld
I read indiscriminately, delightedly, hungrily. Literally hungrily, although my father would sometimes remember to pack me sandwiches, which I would take reluctantly (you are never cool to your children, and I regarded his insistence that I should take sandwiches as an insidious plot to embarrass me), and when I got too hungry I would gulp my sandwiches as quickly as possible in the library car park before diving back into the world of books and shelves.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Reading with a pen in the hand, for example, forces, us to think about what we read and check upon our understanding. It is the simplest test: We tend to think we understand what we read – until we try to rewrite it in our own words.
Sönke Ahrens (How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers)
The postmodernist belief in the relativism of truth, coupled with the clicker culture of mass media, in which attention spans are measured in New York minutes, leaves us with a bewildering array of truth claims packaged in infotainment units. It must be true—I saw it on television, the movies, the Internet. The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, That’s Incredible!, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist, Loose Change, Zeitgeist: The Movie. Mysteries, magic, myths, and monsters. The occult and the supernatural. Conspiracies and cabals. The face on Mars and aliens on Earth. Bigfoot and Loch Ness. ESP and psi. UFOs and ETIs. OBEs and NDEs. JFK, RFK, and MLK Jr.—alphabet conspiracies. Altered states and hypnotic regression. Remote viewing and astroprojection. Ouija boards and tarot cards. Astrology and palm reading. Acupuncture and chiropractic. Repressed memories and false memories. Talking to the dead and listening to your inner child. It’s all an obfuscating amalgam of theory and conjecture, reality and fantasy, nonfiction and science fiction. Cue dramatic music. Darken the backdrop. Cast a shaft of light across the host’s face. Trust no one. The truth is out there. I want to believe.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
Your problems are not by any means unique, which is a good thing. This means whatever hardships you are currently facing, you can get a glimpse of the future by going back in time and read how other people survived and thrived during similar difficulties.
Chris Erzfeld
Good writing has an aliveness that keeps the reader reading from one paragraph to the next, and it’s not a question of gimmicks to “personalize” the author. It’s a question of using the English language in a way that will achieve the greatest clarity and strength.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
In certain fiction, she perceives truths that she rarely finds in nonfiction; therefore, in her quest to better understand the world and the meaning of her life, she reads those novels that suggest a world of wonders, dark and light, forever unfolding for eyes willing to see.
Dean Koontz (The Moonlit Mind (Pendleton, #0.5))
BERLIN, October 29 I’ve been looking into what Germans are reading these dark days. Among novels the three best-sellers are: (1) Gone with the Wind, translated as Vom Winde Verweht—literally “From the Wind Blown About”; (2) Cronin’s Citadel; (3) Beyond Sing the Woods, by Trygve Gulbranssen, a young Norwegian author. Note that all three novels are by foreign authors, one by an Englishman. Most sought-after non-fiction books are: (1) The Coloured Front, an anonymous study of the white-versus-Negro problem; (2) Look Up the Subject of England, a propaganda book about England; (3) Der totale Krieg, Ludendorff’s famous book about the Total War—very timely now; (4) Fifty Years of Germany, by Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer and friend of Hitler; (5) So This is Poland, by von Oertzen, data on Poland, first published in 1928. Three
William L. Shirer (Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-41)
Read non-fiction. History, biology, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology. Get a bodyguard and do fieldwork. Find your inner fish. Don't publish too soon. Not before you have read Thomas Mann in any case. Learn by copying, sentence by sentence some of the masters. Copy Coetzee's or Sebald's sentences and see what happens to your story. Consider creative non-fiction if you want to stay in South Africa. It might be the way to go. Never neglect back and hamstring exercises, otherwise you won't be able to write your novel. One needs one's buttocks to think.
Marlene van Niekerk
How about I tell you what I don't like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be - basically gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful - nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mashups a la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and cross breeding rarely results in anything satisfying... I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred and fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and - I imagine this goes without saying - vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Philippa had absolutely no idea what was going to happen with Zara. She’d never seen movies about lesbian sex, or read books about it. She hadn’t even read books about men and women having sex. She read non-fiction books. Non-fiction books did not prepare a person for casual sex with ten of their coworkers.
Chessela Helm (The Runaround: Finding the Faerie (Runaround #1))
That was something else I owed Teddy White. I and others of my generation, who went from newspaper and magazine reporting to writing books, owed him a far greater debt of gratitude than most people realized. As much as anyone he changed the nature of nonfiction political reporting. By taking the 1960 campaign, a subject about which everyone knew the outcome, and writing a book which proved wondrously exciting to read, he had given a younger generation a marvelous example of the expanded possibilities of writing nonfiction journalism. As I worked on my own book, I remembered his example and tried to write it as a detective novel.
David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest)
There were things I read as a boy that troubled me, but nothing that ever made me want to stop reading. I understood that we discovered what our limits were by going beyond them, and then nervously retreating to our places of comfort once more, and growing, and changing, and becoming someone else. Becoming, eventually, adult.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Herbert George Wells, better known as H. G. Wells, was an English writer best known for such science fiction novels as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau. He was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and produced works in many different genres, including contemporary novels, history, and social commentary. He was also an outspoken socialist. His later works become increasingly political and didactic, and only his early science fiction novels are widely read today. Wells, along with Hugo Gernsback and Jules Verne, is sometimes referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction". Source: Wikipedia
H.G. Wells (The Invisible Man)
The decision to create a book trailer is entirely up to you. I can remember when "video killed the radio star" on MTV and how excited I was with some music videos (the ones that lived up to or exceeded my imagined vision of the song) and the ones I disliked so much, I even stopped listening to the song (the imagery just ruined it for me!) Some people argue that in a visual landscape, a book trailer is a must, while others stand firm that books should be read and not seen; unless of course it gets made into a screenplay and then a film. The most practical advice is to trust your instinct. You know what you want to say with your book and if it aligns congruently with your brand, then for a non-fiction book it may be a strategic move. On the other hand, it may come off as too "salesy" and go in the opposite direction. As you can see, I still have a love / hate relationship with matching someone else's images to my own imagination. No matter what you decide, remember to keep it aligned with your brand.
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek (Book Power: A Platform for Writing, Branding, Positioning & Publishing)
One book will often not change your life so dramatically that nothing will ever be the same again. But if you play the margin game to perfection, where you push the envelope ever so slightly, the right books over a lifetime will determine if you will lead an average life in oblivion; or if you will live a truly wonderful life worth reading about.
Chris Erzfeld
In the summer you could take out ten books at a time, instead of three, and keep them a month, instead of two weeks. Of course you could take only four of the fiction books, which were the best, but Jane liked plays and they were nonfiction, and Katharine liked poetry and that was nonfiction, and Martha was still the age for picture books, and they didn’t count as fiction but were often nearly as good. Mark hadn’t found out yet what kind of nonfiction he liked, but he was still trying. Each month he would carry home his ten books and read the four good fiction ones in the first four days, and then read one page each from the other six, and then give up. Next month he would take them back and try again. The nonfiction books he tried were mostly called things like “When I was a Boy in Greece,” or “Happy Days on the Prairie”—things that made them sound like stories, only they weren’t. They made Mark furious. “It’s being made to learn things not on purpose. It’s unfair,” he said. “It’s sly.” Unfairness and slyness the four children hated above all.
Edward Eager (Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1))
The first basis for this statement is that I know you have reached the second chapter of a nonfiction book on a public policy issue, which means you are probably well above average in academic ability—not because getting to the second chapter of this book requires that you be especially bright, but because people with below-average academic ability hardly ever choose to read books like this.
Charles Murray (Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing American Schools Back to Reality)
Despite the rising popularity of the downloadable e-text, I still care about physical books, gravitate to handsome editions and pretty dust jackets, and enjoy seeing rows of hardcovers on my shelves. Many people simply read fiction for pleasure and nonfiction for information. I often do myself. But I also think of some books as my friends and I like to have them around. They brighten my life.
Michael Dirda (Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting and Living with Books)
The library is dangerous— Don’t go in. If you do You know what will happen. It’s like a pet store or a bakery— Every single time you’ll come out of there Holding something in your arms. Those novels with their big eyes. And those no-nonsense, all muscle Greyhounds and Dobermans, All non-fiction and business, Cuddly when they’re young, But then the first page is turned. The doughnut scent of it all, knowledge, The aroma of coffee being made In all those books, something for everyone, The deli offerings of civilization itself. The library is the book of books, Its concrete and wood and glass covers Keeping within them the very big, Very long story of everything. The library is dangerous, full Of answers. If you go inside, You may not come out The same person who went in.
Alberto Alvaro Ríos
Oh, you know for years we’ve been making wonderful things. We make your iPods. We make phones. We make them better than anybody else, but we don’t come up with any of these ideas. You bring us things and then we make them. So we went on a tour of America talking to people at Microsoft, at Google, at Apple, and we asked them a lot of questions about themselves, just the people working there. And we discovered that they all read science fiction when they were teenagers. So we think maybe it’s a good thing.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
The graphic photographs of Emmett Till’s brutalized body after it was retrieved three days later, flashed across the screen,” says Baker. “I sprang off the couch and screamed ‘No!’ It was the immediate and universal anguish every mother feels at the sight of such cruelty to a child. My heart was broken wide open, and from that moment, I began reviewing how, decade by decade, I had unconsciously been consuming racism my whole life. I read and wrote and read and wrote. And that was the beginning of my journey.
Carolyn L. Baker
But apart from these lazinesses of logic, what makes the story so tired is the failure of the writer to reach for anything but the nearest cliche'. "Shouldered his way," "only to be met," "crashing into his face," "waging a lonely war," "corruption that is rife," "sending shock waves," "New York's finest," - these dreary phrases constitute writing at its most banal. We know just what to expect. No surprise awaits us in the form of an unusual word, an oblique look. We are in the hands of a hack, and we know it right away, We stop reading.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
My mother neither encouraged the reading of science fiction nor did she disparage it. She told me later that there was a scheme of things. Young people were first drawn to fiction, but as they grew older they were pulled more and more into nonfiction and biography, because nonfiction is so much more tragic, engrossing, and hilarious than anything else that could be invented. In this grand scheme, comic books and science fiction were just fine. They filled the need for a certain amount of time, and you moved on when that need was no longer filled.
Don Borchert (Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library)
I guess what I feel about that is that that’s a kind of necessity of my own stupidity. You know when I’m trying to write a piece, I’m not able, not capable of deciding beforehand, my angle or some overarching theory. And just personally, when I’m reading reviews or when I’m reading nonfiction, I’m wanting to see somebody thinking, you know? My favorite kind of criticism is of people thinking aloud. And so that’s what I’m trying to aim for. And also probably out of a kind of spirit of autodidacticism, which kind of follows me around, because my own education was kind of basic, and then suddenly very involved. It went from a kind of general state school, two thousand kids. A kind of messy, random education, and then, through what used to be a kind of British meritocracy, no money and you’re passed into a very fine university. But in between those two things, for me there’s like an enormous gap. And that gap is filled with fear of not knowing—of constantly not knowing. So I feel when I’m writing, I’m still in that place. I don’t think you ever completely get out of that place when you feel that you haven’t known.
Zadie Smith
Quadrant II is the important but not urgent. This may be the most important use of your time as an EntreLeader. The things that fall in this category impact the quality of your life and business possibly more than any other area. Examples of what falls into this area are exercise, strategic planning, goal setting, reading nonfiction leadership/business books, taking a class or three, relationship building, prayer, date night with your spouse, a day off devoted to brainstorming, doing your will/estate plan, saving money, and having the oil changed in your car. We can all agree that things that aren’t urgent but are important may be the most important activities we engage in as we look back at our life. The problem is we live in a society where the urge to be in motion, frenetic motion, at all times seems to be the spirit of the age. There is something about a quad II activity that causes you to pause and let a breath out, sigh, then engage in it. Activities like the ones mentioned above are the building blocks of a high-quality life and business, and yet because they are not urgent they seem to be some of the things we avoid the most.
Dave Ramsey (EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches)
Or to put it another way, our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are. They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable. All of these things. And as a country, England will fall behind other developed nations because it will lack a skilled workforce. And while politicians blame the other party for these results, the truth is, we need to teach our children to read and to enjoy reading. We
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
In a lending library you see people's real tastes, not their pretended ones, and one thing that strikes you is how completely the 'classical' English novelists have dropped out of favour. It is simply useless to put Dickens, Thackeray, Jane Austen, Trollope, etc. into the ordinary lending library; nobody takes them out. At the mere sight of a nineteenth-century novel people say, 'Oh, but that's OLD!' and shy away immediately. Yet it is always fairly easy to SELL Dickens, just as it is always easy to sell Shakespeare. Dickens is one of those authors whom people are 'always meaning to' read,
George Orwell (George Orwell Premium Collection: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) - Animal Farm - Burmese Days - Keep the Aspidistra Flying - Homage to Catalonia - The Road to Wigan Pier and Over 50 Amazing Novels, Non-Fiction Books and Essays)
There is an enormous body of literature, fiction and nonfiction, written about the period 1933–1945, so Alan Furst’s recommendations for reading in that era are very specific. He often uses characters who are idealistic intellectuals, particularly French and Russian, who become disillusioned with the Soviet Union but still find themselves caught up in the political warfare of the period. “Among the historical figures who wrote about that time,” Furst says, “Arthur Koestler may well be ‘first among equals.’ ” Furst suggests Koestler’s Darkness at Noon as a classic story of the European intellectual at midcentury.
Alan Furst (Night Soldiers (Night Soldiers, #1))
For all their shared boundaries, the experiences of fiction and nonfiction are fundamentally different. In the traditional short story or novel, a fictive space is opened up that allows you the reader to disappear into the action, even to the point of forgetting you are reading. In the best nonfiction, it seems to me, you’re always made aware that you are being engaged with a supple mind at work. The story line or plot in nonfiction consists of the twists and turns of a thought process working itself out. This is certainly true for the essay, but it is also true, I think, for classic nonfiction in general, be it Thucydides or Pascal or Carlyle, which follows an organizing principle that can be summarized as “tracking the consciousness of the author.” What makes me want to keep reading a nonfiction text is the encounter with a surprising, well-stocked mind as it takes on the challenge of the next sentence, paragraph, and thematic problem it has set for itself. The other element that keeps me reading nonfiction happily is an evolved, entertaining, elegant, or at least highly intentional literary style. The pressure of style should be brought to bear on every passage. “Consciousness plus style equals good nonfiction” is one way of stating the formula.
Phillip Lopate (To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction)
I can’t read fiction any more,’ Sergey said abruptly, looking not at my book, but at his beer. ‘Such a waste of time. I haven’t read a novel in years. There are so many interesting things to read about real life in newspapers and magazines or history books. Why bother reading something that someone made up?’ ‘I used to think like that,’ I said, disappointed by Sergey’s lack of interest. ‘But in the end, if you think about it, fiction is not that different from non-fiction. Non-fiction offers a very partial view of reality. When authors choose what to say and what to leave out, they are already distorting facts. Because the biggest chunk of any story, real or fictional, always remains untold.
Guillermo Erades (Back to Moscow)
Books, books, books! We can’t seem to get enough of them. A good book is like a friend waiting for you at home, providing comfort and familiarity alongside excitement and adventure. In contrast to “quick fix” diversions, a book lets the reader inside. You have time to get to know the character—her thoughts and secret yearnings—to live inside of a story, or to master a subject. Through a single book of nonfiction, you can obtain inside knowledge gleaned from a lifetime of experience. And through fiction, you can inhabit another life, another time, even another world. Reading is like travel, allowing you to exit your own life for a bit, and to come back with a renewed, even inspired, perspective.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
What makes me want to keep reading a nonfiction text is the encounter with a surprising, well-stocked mind as it takes on the challenge of the next sentence, paragraph, and thematic problem it has set for itself. The other element that keeps me reading nonfiction happily is an evolved, entertaining, elegant, or at least highly intentional literary style. The pressure of style should be brought to bear on every passage. “Consciousness plus style equals good nonfiction” is one way of stating the formula. For me, the great adventure in reading nonfiction is to follow, as I say, a really interesting, unpredictable mind struggling to entangle and disentangle itself in a thorny problem, or even a frivolous problem that is made complex through engagement with a sophisticated mind.
Phillip Lopate (To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction)
The so-called “scar literature” first appeared in China in the late 1970s, when the men and women who survived the turmoil of Mao’s Cultural Revolution began writing about their experiences in both fiction and nonfiction. Two of the best novels are Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, the story of two young boys—children of the hated intelligentsia—who are sent to a remote mountain village to be reeducated, and Dai Houying’s Stones of the Wall, one of the earliest (and still one of the best) novels about the effects of the Cultural Revolution, which is set in the late 1970s around a group of college professors who are trying to rebuild lives thrown into despair and uncertainty by the cataclysm. (This is a novel I’ve remembered vividly since I first read it in 1985.)
Nancy Pearl (Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason)
Word for word, Galland’s version [of the One Thousand and One Nights] is the worst written, the most fraudulent and the weakest, but it was the most widely read. Readers who grew intimate with it experienced happiness and amazement. Its orientalism, which we now find tame, dazzled the sort of person who inhaled snuff and plotted tragedies in five acts. Twelve exquisite volumes appeared from 1707 to 1717, twelve volumes innumerably read, which passed into many languages, including Hindustani and Arabic. We, mere anachronistic readers of the twentieth century, perceive in these volumes the cloyingly sweet taste of the eighteenth century and not the evanescent oriental aroma that two hundred years ago was their innovation and their glory. No one is to blame for this missed encounter, least of all Galland.
Jorge Luis Borges (Selected Non-Fictions)
First of all, please, please, don´t go publish until you are one hundred percent sure you are doing a great job, the best that you may deliver. For in this publishing media it´s easy to get it all wrong when you are just starting. Secondly, find a good editor, or at least a second opinion. You know, four eyes read better than two. You will regret later on for not having a good editor to go through your writing, or having a great artist to do the best cover for your book. Because if there is something I learned during these years in the publishing market it is to never ever underestimate the power of good editing. And my third piece will be to advice about a good image: the saying “never judge a book by its cover” was created by a lazy author who didn´t give much thought of what really works in the marketing of both fiction and nonfiction.
Ana Claudia Antunes (How to Make a Book (How-To))
Go to your desk on Monday morning and write about some event that’s still vivid in your memory. It doesn’t have to be long—three pages, five pages—but it should have a beginning and an end. Put that episode in a folder and get on with your life. On Tuesday morning, do the same thing. Tuesday’s episode doesn’t have to be related to Monday’s episode. Take whatever memory comes calling; your subconscious mind, having been put to work, will start delivering your past. Keep this up for two months, or three months, or six months. Don’t be impatient to start writing your “memoir”—the one you had in mind before you began. Then, one day, take all your entries out of their folder and spread them on the floor. (The floor is often a writer’s best friend.) Read them through and see what they tell you and what patterns emerge. They will tell you what your memoir is about—and what it’s not about.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
Sexual violence is a difficult topic to think about and even harder to deal with. I understand that a wide range of emotions may have been ignited while reading this book, so I ask you to take care of yourself. Always remember to take care of yourself no matter what, and never stop doing the things you love that bring peace and joy to your life. Whether it is music, art, exercise, cooking, reading, sports, prayer, nature, or any of the other amazing gifts life has to offer: Embrace them. Do what you love to do, embrace all the beauty that exists within yourself and the world around you, and take care of yourself. And of course, reach out to someone if you need help. Talk to a family member or friend, find the right therapist, or seek out a religious or spiritual guide if needed. Life is very difficult to go through it alone, so please talk to someone you love and trust, and one who always has your best interest at heart.
Robert Uttaro
As Psalm 136:5--9 tell us, creation was God’s power expressed in love. By reading and understanding the Bible as a series of love letters to men and women, you begin to recognize the tender and mighty love of God. The Bible is not a rule book for life or a collection of fairy tales; it’s a weapon of mass instruction. It’s a love letter from God to humanity. It’s an introduction to Jesus Christ, who is God in human form. It declares to the world: God is for you, not against you. To me, the Bible is a work of nonfiction broken into three parts: from Genesis to Malachi, it’s about Jesus Christ coming to earth; from Matthew to John, it’s about Jesus’ life on earth; and from Acts to Revelation, it’s about Jesus coming back to earth. It’s all about Jesus and how we can have a relationship with the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, holy, and righteous Almighty. This relationship is more important than simply joining a church or doing a few good things.
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
Soon after you confront the matter of preserving your identity, another question will occur to you: “Who am I writing for?” It’s a fundamental question, and it has a fundamental answer: You are writing for yourself. Don’t try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person. Don’t try to guess what sort of thing editors want to publish or what you think the country is in a mood to read. Editors and readers don’t know what they want to read until they read it. Besides, they’re always looking for something new. Don’t worry about whether the reader will “get it” if you indulge a sudden impulse for humor. If it amuses you in the act of writing, put it in. (It can always be taken out, but only you can put it in.) You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for. If you lose the dullards back in the dust, you don’t want them anyway. This
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
In his book Real Presences, George Steiner asks us to "imagine a society in which all talk about the arts, music and literature is prohibited." In such a society there would be no more essays on whether Hamlet was mad or only pretending to be, no reviews of the latest exhibitions or novels, no profiles of writers or artists. There would be no secondary, or parasitic, discussion - let alone tertiary: commentary on commentary. We would have, instead, a "republic for writers and readers" with no cushion of professional opinion-makers to come between creators and audience. While the Sunday papers presently serve as a substitute for the experiencing of the actual exhibition or book, in Steiner's imagined republic the review pages would be turned into listings:catalogues and guides to what is about to open, be published, or be released. What would this republic be like? Would the arts suffer from the obliteration of this ozone of comment? Certainly not, says Steiner, for each performance of a Mahler symphony is also a critique of that symphony. Unlike the reviewer, however, the performer "invests his own being in the process of interpretation." Such interpretation is automatically responsible because the performer is answerable to the work in a way that even the most scrupulous reviewer is not. Although, most obviously, it is not only the case for drama and music; all art is also criticism. This is most clearly so when a writer or composer quotes or reworks material from another writer or composer. All literature, music, and art "embody an expository reflection which they pertain". In other words it is not only in their letters, essays, or conversation that writers like Henry James reveal themselves also to be the best critics; rather, The Portrait of a Lady is itself, among other things, a commentary on and a critique of Middlemarch. "The best readings of art are art." No sooner has Steiner summoned this imaginary republic into existence than he sighs, "The fantasy I have sketched is only that." Well, it is not. It is a real place and for much of the century it has provided a global home for millions of people. It is a republic with a simple name: jazz.
Geoff Dyer (But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz)
Recently, an internationally renowned writer for children commented about the Council [on Interracial Books for Children, Inc.] to me: “Of course, we should all be more tender and understanding toward the aged and we should work to shrive ourselves of racism and sexism, but when you impose guidelines like theirs on writing, you’re strangling the imagination. And that means that you’re limiting the ability of children to imagine. If all books for them were ‘cleansed’ according to these criteria, it would be the equivalent of giving them nothing to eat but white bread.” “To write according to such guidelines,” this story teller continued, “is to take the life out of what you do. Also the complexity, the ambivalence. And thereby the young reader gets no real sense of the wonders and terrors and unpredictabilities of living. Paradoxically, censors like the council clamor for ‘truth’ but are actually working to flatten children’s reading experiences into the most misleading, simplistic kinds of untruth.” ("Any Writer Who Follows Anyone Else's Guidelines Ought to Be in Advertising" (1977), from Beyond Fact: Nonfiction for Children and Young People, 1982)
Nat Hentoff
Books are an absolute necessity. I always have at least two with me wherever I go, to say nothing of my digital collection, and whenever I can get my hands on a delicious new reading piece, I will finish it at a slackened pace, to savour it with all the esteem it deserves, gratulating in its pleasance, deliciating in every word with ardent affection. I have an extensive library that I could never do without, and there are at least four books decorating every surface in my house. A table is not properly set without a book to furnish it. Half of my great collection is non-fiction, mostly science and history books, ranging from the archaeological to the agricultural, and my fiction section is dedicated to the classics, mostly books published before the world forgot about exquisite prose. I have all the greats in hardcover, but I do not read those: hardcover is for smelling and touching only. For all my favourite authors, I have reading copies, which I might take with me anywhere, to read in cafes or to be used as a swatting tool for unwanted visitors, but books are always fashionable even as ornaments; everyone likes a reader, for a good collection of books betrays a intellectualism that is becoming at anytime. Never succumb to the friable wills of those who reject the majesty of books: there is nothing so repelling as willful illiteracy.
Michelle Franklin (I Hate Summer: My tribulations with seasonal depression, anxiety, plumbers, spiders, neighbours, and the world.)
A good book should rewire your brain
Ray Hartley
... I really have no circle of acquaintances outside work. None nonfictional or unrelated to me, anyway. I'm busy. There are a lot of books to read.
H.G. Parry (The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep)
Own the books you read. Also poems, stories, flash fiction, plays, memoirs, movies, creative nonfiction, and all the rest. ... take ownership of your reading. It's yours. It's special. It is exactly like nobody else's in the whole world.
Thomas C. Foster (How to Read Literature Like a Professor)
What makes me want to keep reading a nonfiction text is the encounter with a surprising, well-stocked mind as it takes on the challenge of the next sentence, paragraph, and thematic problem it has set for itself. The other element that keeps me reading nonfiction happily is an evolved, entertaining, elegant, or at least highly intentional literary style. The pressure of style should be brought to bear on every passage. "Consciousness plus style equals good nonfiction" is one way of stating the formula.
Phillip Lopate (To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction)
It can be something of a relief to turn from the slow-moving dreamtime of Thomas Hardy and George Eliot to the faster pace of George Sand's European world, a world, as Marx read it and we still read it today, in revolutionary turmoil. Sand was a shrewd, committed, and radical observer of the half-dozen regimes that rose and fell in France during her lifetime. As Minister (without portfolio) of Propaganda, she played an active political role—greater than any woman before her—in the revolutionary government of 1848. Correspondent of Mazzini, of Gutzkow, of Bakunin, she was in touch with most of radical Europe. In all her work, her fiction and nonfiction, ideology remains a principal excitement, never a bore.
Ellen Moers (George Sand in Her Own Words)
You can’t just recycle your blog material into a book. If it’s already available for free online, why would anyone want to pay $25 to read the same material in book form?
Andy Ross (The Literary Agent's Guide to Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal)
Make a habit of reading what is being written today and what was written by earlier masters. Writing is learned by imitation. If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it. But cultivate the best models.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
E. B. White makes the case cogently in The Elements of Style, a book every writer should read once a year, when he suggests trying to rearrange any phrase that has survived for a century or two, such as Thomas Paine’s “These are the times that try men’s souls”: Times like these try men’s souls. How trying it is to live in these times! These are trying times for men’s souls. Soulwise, these are trying times. Paine’s phrase is like poetry and the other four are like oatmeal—which is the divine mystery of the creative process. Good writers of prose must be part poet, always listening to what they write. E. B. White is one of my favorite stylists because I’m conscious of being with a man who cares about the cadences and sonorities of the language. I relish (in my ear) the pattern his words make as they fall into a sentence. I try to surmise how in rewriting the sentence he reassembled it to end with a phrase that will momentarily linger, or how he chose one word over another because he was after a certain emotional weight. It’s the difference between, say, “serene” and “tranquil”—one so soft, the other strangely disturbing because of the unusual n and q. Such considerations of sound and rhythm should go into everything you write. If all your sentences move at the same plodding gait, which even you recognize as deadly but don’t know how to cure, read them aloud. (I write entirely by ear and read everything aloud before letting it go out into the world.) You’ll begin to hear where the trouble lies. See if you can gain variety by reversing the order of a sentence, or by substituting a word that has freshness or oddity, or by altering the length of your sentences so they don’t all sound as if they came out of the same machine. An occasional short sentence can carry a tremendous punch. It stays in the reader’s ear.
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
You’re also finding out something as you read that will be vitally important for making your way in the world. And it’s this: THE WORLD DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS. THINGS CAN BE DIFFERENT. Fiction
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Reading a non-fiction book is like a religious experience.
Rachel Perry
Reading a non-fiction book feels like a religious experience that forever moves my mind and shifts my heart toward greater knowledge.
Rachel V Perry
Many of the people I write about were deliberately left out of the history books that we were forced to read in school. For me, that history was "written wrong" and needed to be corrected. My intention was to make them visible so they could be role models for others. To show how each, in his or her own way, dribbled gracefully around that obstacle in the narrow corridor.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance)
I still care about physical books, gravitate to handsome editions and pretty dust jackets, and enjoy seeing rows of hardcovers on my shelves. Many people simply read fiction for pleasure and nonfiction for information. I often do myself. But I also think of some books as my friends and I like to have them around. They brighten my life.
Michael Dirda (Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books)
Reading, which had been at the heart of my intellectual and emotional existence, was suddenly beyond my grasp. I was used to reading three or four books a week; now it was impossible. I did not read a serious work of literature or nonfiction, cover to cover, for more than ten years. The frustration and pain of this were immeasurable.
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
I only read nonfiction.” He wants me to feel self-conscious, but the truth is that a man like Steven doesn’t want to immerse himself in someone else’s world. It gives the author too much power. It makes Steven feel small.
Victoria Helen Stone (Jane Doe (Jane Doe, #1))
As someone who read exclusively nonfiction for nearly 15 years, I can tell you two things: It’s not productive to read two fact-based books at the same time (this is one), and fiction is better than sleeping pills for putting the happenings of the day behind you.
Timothy Ferriss (The 4 Hour Workweek, Expanded And Updated: Expanded And Updated, With Over 100 New Pages Of Cutting Edge Content)
I looked at him curiously. ‘I thought you only read non-fiction and Terry Pratchett?’ ‘I ran out of anything to read in the hospital and it was that or a lot of ditsy novels about cupcakes and fairy-wing repair shops by the beach.’ ‘I don’t think I’ve come across the fairy-wing repair shop one,’ I mused. ‘Probably not: I made it up.’ ‘Maybe you should write it?’ I suggested, then reverted back to the subject in hand.
Trisha Ashley (The House of Hopes and Dreams)
At least once in his career, every fireman gets an itch. What do the books say, he wonders. Oh, to scratch that itch, eh? Well, Montag, take my word for it, I’ve had to read a few in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say nothing! Nothing you can teach or believe. They’re about nonexistent people, figments of imagination, if they’re fiction. And if they’re nonfiction, it’s worse, one professor calling another an idiot, one philosopher screaming down another’s gullet. All of them running about, putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun. You come away lost.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
When you write, and especially when you write narrative, you create a sequential intellectual and emotional experience for the reader. From your perspective as the writer you are doing other things: describing an event, creating a record, imparting information, explaining that information’s source, or doing what my high school teachers called “showing your work”—as in “Solve this problem, show your work.” But whatever else you are doing, the fact remains: Your readers will have an intellectual and emotional experience as they read your work. If that experience isn’t pleasurable or exciting, they will stop reading. To
Mark Kramer (Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University)
Like,” he repeats with distaste. “How about I tell you what I don’t like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children’s books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires. I rarely stock debuts, chick lit, poetry, or translations. I would prefer not to stock series, but the demands of my pocketbook require me to. For your part, you needn’t tell me about the ‘next big series’ until it is ensconced on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Above all, Ms. Loman, I find slim literary memoirs about little old men whose little old wives have died from cancer to be absolutely intolerable. No matter how well written the sales rep claims they are. No matter how many copies you promise I’ll sell on Mother’s Day.” Amelia blushes, though she is angry more than embarrassed. She agrees with some of what A.J. has said, but his manner is unnecessarily insulting. Knightley Press doesn’t even sell half of that stuff anyway. She studies him. He is older than Amelia but not by much, not by more than ten years. He is too young to like so little. “What do you like?” she asks. “Everything else,” he says. “I will also admit to an occasional weakness for short-story collections. Customers never want to buy them though.” There is only one short-story collection on Amelia’s list, a debut. Amelia hasn’t read the whole thing, and time dictates that she probably won’t, but she liked the first story. An American sixth-grade class and an Indian sixth-grade class participate in an international pen pal program. The narrator is an Indian kid in the American class who keeps feeding comical misinformation about Indian culture to the Americans. She clears her throat, which is still terribly dry. “The Year Bombay Became Mumbai. I think it will have special int—” “No,” he says. “I haven’t even told you what it’s about yet.” “Just no.” “But why?” “If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you’re only telling me about it because I’m partially Indian and you think this will be my special interest. Am I right?” Amelia imagines smashing the ancient computer over his head. “I’m telling you about this because you said you liked short stories! And it’s the only one on my list. And for the record”—here, she lies—“it’s completely wonderful from start to finish. Even if it is a debut. “And do you know what else? I love debuts. I love discovering something new. It’s part of the whole reason I do this job.” Amelia rises. Her head is pounding. Maybe she does drink too much? Her head is pounding and her heart is, too. “Do you want my opinion?” “Not particularly,” he says. “What are you, twenty-five?” “Mr. Fikry, this is a lovely store, but if you continue in this this this”—as a child, she stuttered and it occasionally returns when she is upset; she clears her throat—“this backward way of thinking, there won’t be an Island Books before too long.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Rationally, factory farming is so obviously wrong, in so many ways. In all of my reading and conversations, I've yet to find a credible defense of it. But food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, and identity.
Jonathan Safran Foer
The meanness that first bothered me, though, when I encountered it a decade ago, long before I was married, was in a short story in Pigeon Feathers in which a young husband returns with hamburgers and eats them happily with his family in front of the fire, and thinks lovingly of his wife’s Joyceanly “smackwarm” thighs, and then, in the next paragraph, says as narrator (the “you” directed at the narrator’s wife), “In the morning, to my relief, you are ugly.… The skin between your breasts is a sad yellow.” And a little later, “Seven years have worn this woman.” This hit me as inexcusably brutal when I read it. I couldn’t imagine Updike’s real, nonfictional wife reading that paragraph and not being made very unhappy. You never know, though; the internal mechanics of marriages are shielded from us, and maybe in the months after that story came out the two of them enjoyed a wry private joke whenever they went to a party and she wore a dress with a high neckline and they noticed some interlocutor’s gaze drop to her breasts and they saw together the little knowing look cross his unpleasantly salacious features as he thought to himself, Ho ho: high neckline to cover up all that canary-yellow, eh? Updike knows that people are going to assume that the fictional wife of an Updike-like male character corresponds closely with Updike’s own real-life wife — after all, Updike himself angered Nabokov by suggesting that Ada was Vera. How can Updike have the whatever, the disempathy, I used frequently to ask myself, and ask myself right now, to put in print that his wife appeared ugly to him that morning, especially in so vivid a way? It just oughtn’t to be done! It makes us readers imagine her speculating as she read it: “Which morning was he thinking that? He sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast and thinking I was ugly and worn! And I had no idea.
Nicholson Baker (U and I)
We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. We have an obligation to use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
A pensive personal essay or any other form of narrative nonfiction presents a writer’s viewpoint either as a participant or as a meticulous observer. As a voluble eyewitness, the autobiographer serves as a historian. A writer’s comments will also reflect his view of society and prevailing cultural trends. Each writer whom bases a story on his or her personal feelings is unable to serve as an unbiased historian. Writing about personal feelings and documenting firsthand experiences does not require a person to divorce oneself from all prejudices, assumptions, and strained interpretations. Oftentimes what make reading someone’s journalistic writing enjoyable are their bold, cynical, and derisive opinions, colored by congenital biases, laced with ironic or sardonic commentary.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
My uncle is still refusing to take cases, by the by, because I "need some proper looking-after." He has thrown himself headfirst into my "education," where we at first worked through the syllabi for several graduate-level humanities courses, reading a number of quite interesting nonfiction texts and novels and some poetry and of course the relevant associated cultural criticism, but after a week or so of this my uncle chucked the whole thing over to make me watch television with him at night. Bad television. According to Leander, my father entirely overlooked my "social and emotional education" in favor of his "uselessly specific curriculum," making me into some kind of "automaton who actually enjoys reading Heidegger-Good God, Charlotte, who enjoys that? Or Camus? Were you just reading Camus and laughing?" Apparently the only way to rectify this is to watch loads of old Doctor Who while eating Thai peanut chicken crisps on the couch. I am working through the Heidegger on my own.
Brittany Cavallaro (The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes, #3))
I believe that everything you need to know you can find in a book. People have always received life-guiding wisdom from certain types of nonfiction, often from "self-help" books . . . . But I have found that all sorts of books can carry this kind of wisdom; a random sentence in a thriller will give me an unexpected insight. (If I hadn't read Killing Floor, the masterful 1997 novel that introduced the world to Jack Reacher, a former military cop turned vagrant, I never would have learned this valuable piece of wisdom, which still guides me in work and life" Waiting is a skill like anything else.")
Will Schwalbe (Books for Living)
She read everything. Russian epics, French confections, American noir, English tabloids had at one time or another taken their place in a wobbly pile beside the bed. Nonfiction was too much like school, she said. Experimental literature left her cold and annoyed and despairing for the so-called modern craft. She had lost count of how many times she had read Wuthering Heights.
C.S. Richardson (The End of the Alphabet)
Facebook is one of the most widely read books in the world today, yet you can’t find it in any bookshop or library. You can’t borrow or lend it. It has no beginning or end. It’s neither fiction nor non-fiction. It’s not divided into chapters. The pages are not numbered. It’s neither revised nor reprinted. It has no spine. And it doesn’t have an ISBN. A truly unique and fascinating book! ~Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu
Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu
Read the books: sometimes you can catch sight of us in there. We look like gods and fools and bards and queens, singing worlds into existence, conjuring something from nothing, juggling worlds into all the patterns of night.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Kevin Hearne is a bad man, and you should read his books.)
Bridget McGovern (Rocket Fuel: Some of the Best From Tor.com Non-Fiction)
What these books and their like have done for me is tap into some roaming tendency of the mind; I know that I could never have done what these writers have done, been where they have been, pursued the interests they have pursued, but I want to know what it is like. We go to fiction to extend experience, to get beyond our own, For me, this kind of non-fiction writer is furnishing the same need--taking me out of my own comfortable expectations and showing me how it might be elsewhere. Armchair travel? Not quite. I have never believed that travel broadens the mind, having known some well-travelled minds that were nicely atrophied. Rather, these are books--experiences--that encourage a leap of the imagination.
Penelope Lively (Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time)
This is not a conventional “how-to” book. It contains no exercises, and it has few formulas saying “first do this, then do that.” This is intentional. As we’ll see later, eros doesn’t like to be told what to do. If you set a goal, your sexual mind will be happy to reject it. It’s kind of childish and brilliant that way. You also won’t find much about sexual biology or neurochemistry on these pages. Sex books these days tend to be full of advice for “boosting your dopamine”—or your oxytocin, or some other such nonsense. In all my 30 years as a sex therapist, I’ve yet to see a dopamine molecule walk into my office. We’ll stick with things you can see and feel yourself, without needing a laboratory. I’ll also spare you the body diagrams. You already know what a penis and vagina look like, right? And we won’t discuss how many neurons are concentrated in your clitoris. It’s an impressive number, but who really cares? There are a few great sex books already out there, and I’ll point them out to you as we go along. But reading most of the others is like gnawing on dry bones. As my friend and colleague Paul Joannides, the author of Guide to Getting it On (one of the aforementioned great ones), has accurately noted, “the trouble with most books on sex is they don’t get anyone hard or wet.” This book is not intended to get you hard or wet. But it’s meant not to get in your way either. The chapters are short, so you can read them even if you get a little distracted. Hey, I hope you get a little distracted. There are no lists to memorize, and there won’t be a test afterwards. We’re dealing with a part of the human mind that hasn’t gone to school yet, and never will. Any questions? OK, let’s get started . . . Adapted from LOVE WORTH MAKING by Stephen Snyder, M.D. Copyright © 2018 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
Stephen Snyder
Sometimes fiction can help bring the authentic feeling of a personal encounter to history in ways that are tough to manage in historical non-fiction. I like both genres, but I've definitely read non-fiction that reads like a snake's shed skin while purporting to describe the living, moving snake.
James Goldberg
If you don't know what to do with your life, you should start right where you're at... right now. Get involved in a local church. Start praying for people around you. Begin reading Scriptures and ask God to show you His purpose for your life. It may seem like a large task to begin, but just look at life as picking up one piece after another until you start to see something brand new.
Sunshine Rodgers (God The Father Jesus The Big Brother Holy Spirit The Best Friend)
Aune had a theory that killers didn’t read, or, if they did, only non-fiction.
Jo Nesbø (Knife (Harry Hole, #12))
Read fiction to open your mind to greater possibilities and read non-fiction to learn the constraints of dreams and the facts that might guide you to attain one.
C.A.A. Savastano
The Library of Fictional Volumes.” Ahead of us, silhouetted against a brilliant orange sunset, was a tall, rectangular stone building with banks and banks of windows. “Fictional volumes?” echoed Cole. “You mean novels and short stories? But why would they keep the ship’s logbooks there? Aren’t logbooks nonfiction?” Andre said, “It’s not a fiction library. It’s a fictional library of fictional books. Some are fictional fiction and some are fictional nonfiction.” “Isn’t all fiction fictional? Isn’t that what the word means?” Cole objected. “And what’s fictional nonfiction? That doesn’t mean anything.” Dr. Rust explained, “The Spectral Library is where we keep books that only exist in books. Like . . . What’s a good example, someone?” “The Mad Trist of Sir Launcelot Canning,” suggested Andre. “Exactly! The Mad Trist of Sir Launcelot Canning is a work of fiction—it’s a medieval romance. But it only exists in the Poe story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ The narrator reads The Mad Trist to his crazy friend. You can’t find it in any ordinary library, but we have a copy here in our library of fictional books. It’s fictional fiction.
Polly Shulman (The Poe Estate (The Grimm Legacy, #3))
To set the scene: Madzy Brender à Brandis was a young mother with two small children, trying to survive through years of hardship and danger – and some unexpected pleasures. In May 1942, after her husband was suddenly taken prisoner and sent to a German camp, she began writing a diary to record the details of her life – for her husband to read when he returned, if he returned. She called it “this faithful book.” Here are some passages: 28 October 1944 [when the electricity was cut off because of lack of fuel for the generating plants]: “We have to use the daylight to its utmost, and we figure this out already in the morning. [At the end of the afternoon] We flew faster and faster to use the last bits of daylight, lay the table, lay everything ready so that at 5:30 we could eat in the dusk until we couldn’t find our mouths any more. Blackout and one candle, finished eating and washed the dishes. Read to children in pyjamas and then they to bed. Then unraveled a knitted baby blanket [so that the yarn could be used to knit other things] and at 9:00 blew out the candle and continued by moonlight. But now I’m going to bed, tired but satisfied with my efforts, though very sad about all the misery.” 1 November 1944 [after a threat of having the house demolished]: “Well, our house is still standing. I filled a laundry bag with many things, and everything is standing ready [in case there was a need to evacuate]. Because there is much flying again. At one moment an Allied fighter plane flew over very low; just then three German soldiers were walking past our house and one, “as a joke,” shot his gun at the plane. Tje! What a scare we had!” 24 December 1944 [addressing her husband, still in the camp]: “The whole house is in wonderful peace and I’m sitting by the fire, which gives me just enough light to write this. [The upper door of the small heater, when opened, gave a bit of light.] My Dicks, I don’t have to tell you how very much I miss you on this evening. It is a gnawing sense of longing. But beyond that there is a sorrow in me, a despair about everything, that pervades my whole being. Besides that, however, I’ve already for days seen the light of Christ coming closer and in these days that gives me hope. So does the waxing moon, the hard frost, the bright sun – in a word, all the light in nature after that endless series of misty, rainy, dark days. And so I sit close to my unsteady little light, that constantly abandons me, and think of you. It’s as though you are very close to me. I’m so grateful for everything that I have: your love, the two children, and everything around me.” 12 February 1945 [during the “Hunger Winter” of 1944-45, after one of her trips to forage for food]: “Today I went to Rika in Renswoude: 1¼ hours cycling there, 2½ hours walking back pushing a broken-down bicycle and with 25 pounds of rye [the whole grain, not flour] through streaming rain, while there was constant booming of artillery and bombing in the distance.
Marianne Brandis (This Faithful Book: A Diary from World War Two in the Netherlands)
The way to learn to think is to be a curious, introspective and observant person. Then, retreat to a cabin in the woods for a couple of years reading plenty of classic literature, philosophy, modern non-fiction, etc etc.
Anonymous
Editorial Review: “Practical, positive money management strategies blend with bankruptcy-specific insights to give consumers a clear picture about how the process of financial recovery works. Anyone considering, in the midst of, or grappling with the aftermath of a bankruptcy should place Bankruptcy Didn't Break Me at the top of their reading list. It goes above and beyond most other guides on the topic, pairing the emotional with business angles in a manner that makes the subject digestible and thoroughly understandable.” . Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Kassondra R. Lewis (Bankruptcy Didn't Break Me!: How to Learn the Keys to Success to increase your credit scores)
If we write, it is more likely that we understand what we read, remember what we learn and that our thoughts make sense.
Sönke Ahrens (How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers)
LONGER NONFICTION: RECOMMENDED READING Allison, Dorothy. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. New York: Dutton, 1995. Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. Thorndike, ME: G.K. Hall, 1999. Burroughs, Augusten. Dry. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003. Coetzee, J.M. Boyhood: Scenes From Provincial Life. New York: Viking, 1997. Eighner, Lars. Travels With Lizbeth. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. Hamper, Ben. Rivethead: Tales From the Assembly Line. New York: Warner Books, 1991. Knipfel, Jim. Quitting the Nairobi Trio. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2000. Lewis, Mindy. Life Inside: A Memoir. New York: Atria Books, 2002. Millett, Kate. The Loony-Bin Trip. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000. Rose, Phyllis. The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time. New York: Scribner, 1997.
The New York Writers Workshop (The Portable MFA in Creative Writing (New York Writers Workshop))
have the power to change it. To me, learning is adventurous and enjoyable and must be never-ending. Be intellectually curious always. Learn by osmosis. Learn by doing as well as by studying, by yourself and with other people. Learn how to learn. Ask intelligent questions. Your thoughts are essentially internal conversations or a series of questions and answers by your inner voice. How can you ask good questions and be able to come up with sound answers if you haven’t learned? Leaders are readers and listeners. Read good books, especially nonfiction ones to help nourish your mind, heart, and soul. Listening to audiobooks (which is a huge growing trend) is often just as effective as
Jason L. Ma (Young Leaders 3.0: Stories, Insights, and Tips for Next-Generation Achievers)
...I read the Bible steadily...Even the long, monotonous lists. Even the really weird stuff, most of it so unbelievable as to only be true. I have to say I found it the most compelling piece of creative non-fiction I had ever read. If I sat around for thousands of years, I could never come up with what it proposes, let alone with how intricately Genesis unfolds toward Revelation.
Carolyn Weber (Surprised by Oxford)
Students choose topic groups and do focused studies of bees, apple production, compost, greenhouses. They write, draw diagrams, make models, read nonfiction literature. All of this is
Gregory A. Smith (Place- and Community-Based Education in Schools)
Left-brain dominant people are considered efficient. They like being organized and show a high regard to time. They enjoy learning details and want one correct answer. They crave routines and are good at making decisions. Many left-brain dominant readers prefer to read more nonfiction than fiction. Right-brain dominant people tend to be disorganized (maybe even messy) and pay little attention to time. They like to see the big picture of concepts before getting into the details and want to see several possible answers to a question. They enjoy the concept of play and are considered somewhat impulsive. Many right-brain dominant readers prefer to read fiction.
Abby Beale (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Speed Reading (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)))
secondary ELA (English Language Arts) teachers are keenly aware of what “close reading” and the ratio of what the fiction to non-fiction literary requirements are whereas secondary mathematics teachers know what the Common Core is calling for in the area of reform math.
Terry Marselle (Perfectly Incorrect: Why The Common Core Is Psychologically And Cognitively Unsound)
I had been driven into nonfiction against my wishes. I wanted to read fiction, but I had learned to be cautious about it. “When you open a book,” the sentimental library posters said, “anything can happen.” This was so. A book of fiction was a bomb. It was a land mine you wanted to go off. You wanted it to blow your whole day. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of books were duds. They had been rusting out of everyone’s way for so long that they no longer worked. There was no way to distinguish the duds from the live mines except to throw yourself at them headlong, one by one. The
Annie Dillard (An American Childhood)
Lucia Robson's facts can be trusted if, say, you're a teacher assigning her novels as supplemental reading in a history class. “Researching as meticulously as a historian is not an obligation but a necessity,” she tells me. “But I research differently from most historians. I'm looking for details of daily life of the period that might not be important to someone tightly focused on certain events and individuals. Novelists do take conscious liberties by depicting not only what people did but trying to explain why they did it.” She adds, “I depend on the academic research of others when gathering material for my books, but I don't think that my novels should be considered on par with the work of accredited historians. I wouldn't recommend that historians cite historical novels as sources.” And they sure don't. They wouldn't risk the scorn of their colleagues by citing novels. But, Lucia adds: “I think historical fiction and nonfiction work well together. … I'd bet that historical novels lead more readers to check out nonfiction on the subject rather than the other way around,” she says, and then notes: One of the wonderful ironies of writing about history is that making stuff up doesn't mean it's not true. And obversely, declaring something to be true doesn't guarantee that it is. In writing about events that happened a century or more ago, no one knows what historical ‘truth’ is, because no one living today was there. That's right. Weren't there. But will be, once a good historical novelist puts us there.
James Alexander Thom (The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction)
I learned to love reading again, but a lot of the time the books made me ache worse. When I was in school I didn't realize that most fiction was about death and regret. About things people wished they had or hadn't said, done or hadn't done and how, for whatever reasons, saying or not saying, doing or not doing had buried them alive. I was already too familiar with that feeling to want to read much more about it. Lately I was sticking to nonfiction.
Reed Farrel Coleman
I turn a corner, leaving the nonfiction section, and almost bump right into Jensen. “Hey, Wayfare,” he says, looking at my stack of thick, hardback books. “Doing a little light reading?” “Heh. Yeah.” I veer past him and head for a table in the back, hoping he doesn’t follow. He does. Great. The books topple from my arms and onto the table. A couple tumble to the floor. Jensen retrieves them for me and looks at the titles. “Famous Train Robberies of the 1800s,” he says. “Rare and Priceless United States Coins.” He quirks a brow at me. “Going treasure hunting?” I actually let myself smile. “Yep. I’m traveling back in time to thwart a heist. Want to come along?” “Sure. Is your time machine a two-seater?” “No, but it’s got a trunk.
M.G. Buehrlen (The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare, #1))
a new teaching appointment required that I become familiar with mysticism in Christianity and other religions. That’s when I realized that these were mystical experiences. Especially important was William James’s classic book The Varieties of Religious Experience, published more than a century ago, still in print, and named by a panel of experts in 1999 as the second most important nonfiction book published in English in the twentieth century. The book combines the elements that made up James himself: a psychologist fascinated by the varieties of human consciousness, and a philosopher pondering what all of this might mean.1 Part of his book is about mystical experiences. Based on James’s study of accounts of such experiences, he concluded that their two primary features are “illumination” and “union.” Illumination has a twofold meaning. The experiences often involve light, luminosity, radiance. Moreover, they involve “enlightenment,” a new way of seeing. “Union” (or “communion”) refers to the experience of connectedness and the disappearance or softening of the distinction between self and world. In addition, James names four other common features: Ineffability. The experiences are difficult, even impossible, to express in words. Yet those who have such experiences often try, usually preceded by, “It’s really hard to describe, but it was like . . .” Transiency. They are usually brief; they come and then go. Passivity. One cannot make them happen through active effort. They come upon one—one receives them. Noetic quality. They include a vivid sense of knowing (and not just intense feelings of joy, wonder, amazement)—a nonverbal, nonlinguistic way of knowing marked by a strong sense of seeing more clearly and certainly than one ever has. What is known is “the way things are” when all of our language falls away and we see “what is” without the domestication created by our words and categories. This way of knowing might be called direct cognition, a way of knowing not mediated through language. Reading James and other writers on mysticism was amazing. In colloquial language, I was blown away. I found my experiences described with great precision. Suddenly, I had a way of naming and understanding them. Moreover, they were linked to the experiences of many people. They are a mode of human consciousness. They happen. And
Marcus J. Borg (Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most)
Blinkist—an app that condenses nonfiction books into 15-minute reads.
Timothy Ferriss (Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
Only Time Will Tell
Series List (Jeffrey Archer: Series Reading Order: Series List: Cometh the Hour, Mightier than the Sword, The Sins of the Father, Kane & Abel, Clifton Chronicles, Prison Diary Books, Non-fiction by Jeffrey Archer)
One of the problems with having time to read all that you want is that your interests become so eclectic it's hard to focus.
Karen Arnold (Lives of Promise: What Becomes of High School Valedictorians: A Fourteen-year Study of Achievement and Life Choices (Jossey Bass Social and Behavioral Science Series))
A lot of people will go on and live their lives without reading something that challenges them intellectually. They read for pleasure or for the sake of reading as a means to relax, which is fine on a recreational level. The problem arises when they are oblivious to the fact that there are books that would dramatically alter their way of thinking.
Chris Erzfeld
The entire mass media is based on fear. If everyone were reading books that would force them to think for themselves, they would begin disarming the news headlines, the scare tactics, and other means of promoting fear in our society.
Chris Erzfeld
Get this — they don’t want you to think for yourself because if you do, you are practically unstoppable.
Chris Erzfeld
You must learn to distinguish what is there to entertain the minds of the oblivious, and what can be material for you to build an impressive library. Material that will change the way you think and have a tremendous impact on your life.
Chris Erzfeld
Reading these books will not only further your own advancements, but you will also avoid repeating the greatest mistakes in history.
Chris Erzfeld
Read books that are thought-provoking and challenge your current beliefs. Entertain all kinds of possibilities and ideas before coming up with any conclusions.
Chris Erzfeld
School is not designed for you and your aspirations. Therefore, you must always be on the lookout for new and exciting ways to learn skills that will aid you on your path toward achieving mastery.
Chris Erzfeld
Knud got an artist’s sketchbook. He intended on drawing set designs for theater plays, until he noticed a warning printed on the front page. KNUD PEDERSEN: A message in bold letters read, “You are not allowed to make drawings of naked women.” I filled the entire sketchbook with naked girls and when I got my porridge the next morning I used it as glue and plastered all the walls in my cells with the drawings. This was my first art exhibition. There went all my hobby materials for the next two months. I was a terrible prisoner.
Phillip Hoose (The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club)
There used to be a time when neighbors took care of one another, he remembered. [Put “he remembered”first to establish reflective tone.] It no longer seemed to happen that way, however. [The contrast supplied by “however”must come first. Start with “But.”Also establish America locale.] He wondered if it was because everyone in the modern world was so busy. [All these sentences are the same length and have the same soporific rhythm; turn this one into a question?] It occurred to him that people today have so many things to do that they don’t have time for old-fashioned friendship. [Sentence essentially repeats previous sentence; kill it or warm it up with specific detail.] Things didn’t work that way in America in previous eras. [Reader is still in the present; reverse the sentence to tell him he’s now in the past. “America”no longer needed if inserted earlier.] And he knew that the situation was very different in other countries, as he recalled from the years when he lived in villages in Spain and Italy. [Reader is still in America. Use a negative transition word to get him to Europe. Sentence is also too flabby. Break it into two sentences?] It almost seemed to him that as people got richer and built their houses farther apart they isolated themselves from the essentials of life. [Irony deferred too long. Plant irony early. Sharpen the paradox about richness.] And there was another thought that troubled him. [This is the real point of the paragraph; signal the reader that it’s important. Avoid weak “there was”construction.] His friends had deserted him when he needed them most during his recent illness. [Reshape to end with “most”; the last word is the one that stays in the reader’s ear and gives the sentence its punch. Hold sickness for next sentence; it’s a separate thought.] It was almost as if they found him guilty of doing something shameful. [Introduce sickness here as the reason for the shame. Omit “guilty”; it’s implicit.] He recalled reading somewhere about societies in primitive parts of the world in which sick people were shunned, though he had never heard of any such ritual in America. [Sentence starts slowly and stays sluggish and dull. Break it into shorter units. Snap off the ironic point.]
William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction)
I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children’s books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I’ve seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was R. L. Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Wilmer Stone read our stories to us in a monotone as if he were reading from the pages of a phone directory. What we learned with each stab of pain was that the words themselves and not the inflections supplied by the reader had to carry the emotion of the story.
Sol Stein (Solutions for Writers: Practical Craft Techniques for Fiction and Non-fiction)
An author would not compose a book that does not contain a purpose in the context of entire text. Therefore, readers should take advantage to read a fiction or nonfiction book that can educate them about a specific topic that is relevant to real life situations.
Saaif Alam