The Sunday Salon – Non-Fiction

I’ve been reading a non-fiction book all week.  In general, I find it takes me longer to read non-fiction than fiction I guess because I’m paying more attention to facts, forcing myself to slow down so as not to miss an important detail that will be critical to the master plan later on.  Not really sure but I think I have pinpointed one problem with reading non-fiction — I must not read about the same topic twice.  I should probably explain that rather broad statement.  Follow me if you will…

Last year I read a book about the Jamestown settlement.  The book focused on several people and a specific shipwreck that was being sent to provide provisions for the settlers, and due to the ship being wrecked and its passengers being stranded on Bermuda, when the ship’s crew and passengers finally arrived (on a different ship the first being wrecked; see what I mean about important details in non-fiction?) in Jamestown, they sort of saved the place.  Not entirely saved, Jamestown was a debacle but you don’t need me to tell you that.  Anyway, the current book, Savage Kingdom.  It’s more about everyone and everything involved with the Jamestown settlement.  So not only am I getting information about the settlement itself, the Native American tribes (very interesting and part of the reason I wanted to read a second book on said topic) already inhabiting the Chesapeake area, but also goings-on in England and Spain.  It’s a rather far-reaching and all encompassing book and though I’m finding it interesting, I feel as though I’ve already read great parts of this.

Also, I feel like I’m listening to a lecture and it’s a bit disjointed as if the professor keeps jumping around saying things like: “Oh, before we talk more about Captain John Smith and his dealings with Powhatan, let’s go back to England for a minute and talk about what was going on with James II and his negotiations with the Spanish who had already setup house in Florida and were a little peeved about the English double-talk about Jamestown.”  This is where I would normally say, quietly and to myself, “What?!  Did I miss something?” and start wondering how I could go about transferring to another class.  Also, in the picture in my head, this professor keeps running his hands through his hair and he starts to look as if he’s been electrified.  Also, he’s a man cuz the author of the book is and for no other reason and have no idea why I needed to point that out but I did.

Let’s say I’m not feeling it this time around.  Did I mention that already?  Felt I should again just in case you didn’t get that from the long, rambling above section punctuated with generalized boring class behavior.

A goal of mine in 2011 is to read more non-fiction, once a month if I can.  My next non-fiction book is called Spook and is about the afterlife.  It’s by Mary Roach who wrote Packing for Mars which I absolutely loved and you should read it.  No, really, I mean that.  You should totally read it but don’t read it while eating because there’s a lot of talk about bodily functions.  Fair warning, it’s all I have to offer.  She also wrote a book about cadavers and when I mentioned that to my husband he looked at me weird and I’m pretty sure he was having a silent conversation in his head that involved taking away my library card.  There’s also a book about Cleopatra roaming around that I want to read so maybe I should mention this to him so he doesn’t wonder anymore about my reading.

If you made it his far, thanks for sticking with me till the end of paragraph six today.  Happy Sunday fellow readers.

PS — Next time I promise not to be so disjointed in my Sunday Salon.  Feeling inspired this week I guess.


9 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon – Non-Fiction

  1. This year, I’ve set things up on one of my primary blogs to keep track of what I’ve read, the genre, title and author, and, of course, when I finished it.

    These facts are so that I can do a month’s end wrap-up listing all those things. For example, in January, I read four memoirs. Now I knew that I had a lot of them on my TBR stacks, and I’m trying to read more books from those…but you’re right. They do take longer to read.

    To find out the other “facts” about my reading this month, here’s my SUNDAY SALON

    • I sort of keep track (a list of what I read in any given month anyway) but I wanted to start keeping track by genre. I should start that soon before it becomes unmanageable.

  2. I read waaaaaay the hell slower when it’s nonfiction too, especially if I’m very unfamiliar with the subject matter. Did the author quote John Smith’s book? We read excerpts from it in my high school American lit class, and it was hilariously awful — he talked about himself in the third person and praised himself for his great skill and cunning against the wicked savages.

    • No, he didn’t quote his book but he did talk about how Smith portrayed himself as this great tamer of savages and how he, without help from anyone but himself, saved Jamestown and if he hadn’t been hurt, the place would pretty much be thriving. He was entertaining!

  3. I’ve heard really good things about the Mary Roach books but haven’t read any yet. The cadaver on the cover of that one book really creeps me out.

    As for the nonfiction books – I love them, but history is the most difficult for me to read, especially if it is formatted like the two history classes I had (one in high school, the other in college) which both put me to sleep.

    • Mary Roach is a great writer. Go for Packing for Mars if you’re creeped out easily; space travel can be a little gross but far from creepy.

  4. I like to read non-fiction and I would like to read even more of it that is not memoir. I do have more trouble writing reviews after I finish. Probably because they do cover so much ground and jump around, like you mention.

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