The Joy of Non-Fiction

It is a truth universally acknowledged (apologies to Ms. Austen) that men prefer non-fiction and women prefer fiction. Or is it? I struggled to find any hard data proving this, but only found researchers admitting that there’s very little information on this topic, and mostly just anecdotal. There seems to be some agreement that as children, boys are often encouraged to read non-fiction because that seems to be what they will enjoy, while girls are seen as more prolific readers, and appreciate the feeling of empathy that can come from reading fiction. There is also some agreement that publishing companies often choose to target women when it comes to marketing upcoming titles.

If we are going by anecdotal evidence, 22 years of public library experience has shown me that men and women of all ages appear to love non-fiction; in fact many library customers seem to make a habit of reading a wide range of non-fiction titles and subjects. The Denton Public Library is more than happy to indulge this excellent habit!

In fact, the Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group, which meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm at the North Branch Library, has enjoyed a wide range of titles that have encouraged some interesting discussions. The nature of non-fiction is a wide world of possibilities. Some recent favorites include:

Book Cover

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (152.44 RON)

The author of The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test takes a closer look at people have been shamed and humiliated on social media and the impact that it’s had on their lives.


Book Cover

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (940.21 GRE)

The author theorizes that the Renaissance began when a 15th century book hunter found what was possibly the last remaining manuscript of the ancient Roman poet Lucretius’s poem On the Nature of Things. The group really enjoyed this book, but weren’t so sure the author proved his point…….


Book Cover

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of the 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free by Hector Tobar (363.1196 TOB)

You may remember the story of the miners, and maybe even saw clips of their rescue. But the author looks at the psychological impact of the disaster on these men, and he was the only person to whom all 33 agreed to tell their collective story. The movie is great, but it only tells a very small part of what actually happened.


Ask a staff member for a recommendation, or post your own favorite in the comments!


Kerry Montz – North Branch



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