August BAND Discussion: Detectives and memoirs and obsessions, oh my

Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees, or BAND, is a thing where any blogger who likes any sort of non-fiction can join in and discuss awesome books! Huzzah! You can learn more about BAND at Kim’s blog here. And don’t forget to join in if you’d like!

This month’s BAND discussion is hosted by Amy of Amy Reads, and the discussion topic is:

How did you get into reading nonfiction? Do you remember your first nonfiction book or subject? If so, do you still read those subjects?

I never really read non-fiction when I was younger, not unless I was forced to by my teachers. If I did read a non-fiction book, it was because I had read a fiction book beforehand and wanted to know more. (Or, more likely, I found a non-fiction book sitting next to a fiction one and read it thinking it was fiction. My elementary school library wasn’t the most organized of places.) It wasn’t until I got into my travel memoir phase in college that I started reading non-fiction on its own merit (including non-travel memoir non-fiction).

I’m fairly certain my first non-fiction book was either something on ancient Egyptian history (one of my obsessions in elementary school) or something on the Pinkertons (spies/detectives were my other obsession). Those both happened because I was in love with The Egypt Game and Harriet the Spy— also I thought I would be a private investigator/Egyptologist when I grew up, so it seemed like a good idea to bone up on those subjects.

After that, I usually worked my way through whatever else I was obsessed with: paranormal stuff (middle school), political history (early high school), memoirs/biographies (later high school) and, finally, travel memoirs (which I wrote about for last month’s discussion).

I’m still kind of obsessed with the things I listed above (except for politics), although they’ve morphed into slightly different beasts. My general obsession for all things detectives, for instance, is now an obsession for all things Sherlock Holmes. For the most part, those interests manifest in fiction books more than non-fiction (not sure why).

As for non-fiction, right now I mostly stick with memoirs. I assume I’ll become obsessed with something else in the next couple of years, but I have no idea what it’ll be. (Quite possibly it could be urban farming/homesteading/etc., as I’ve sneakily started a little collection of books on those subjects already. Haven’t read them, though.)

Do you still read books about things you were interested in when you were younger?


    • Anastasia

      Yeah, I haven’t done anything non-fictiony with Ancient Egypt for a while, and in fact I’ve just gotten rid of my non-fiction AE book collection! Because I never read it. Oh well.

  1. Amy

    Very fun answer, I love how you say about thinking the book was fiction until you got into that. I bet that happened to many kids and I wonder if libraries are disorganized in schools for this exact reason sometimes!

    • Anastasia

      My elementary school librarian was VERY sneaky. I wouldn’t put it past her to deliberately have things jumbled up just to make us read weird things we normally wouldn’t!

    • Anastasia

      I think probably I read more non-fiction than fiction, because I don’t remember reading anything fiction-y besides The Egypt Game. Plus we had a whole special Egyptology club type thing every Wednesday, and I remember there being a huge stack of NF books to pick through. (We made pyramids out of sugar cubes!)

  2. Urban farming books are fun even if you never get around to doing much with them. And, hey, I’m eating vine-ripened sun-warmed heirloom tomatoes this week because of books like that. Pretty much given up on the idea of milk goats, though.

  3. I remember The Egypt Game!

    Also, it’s fun when one book leads to another, fiction to non-fiction and vice versa.

    There does seem to have been a lot of books out about growing food wherever you are (people leaving the city to start a farm, people who have been farming all along, people figuring out how to creatively grow food in the city).

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