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I’ve noticed a trend lately in the non-fiction books I’ve read: telling a story amongst the facts, figures and research. I’m not sure if it’s just the kinds of books I have been drawn to recently or if it’s indicative of the non-fiction for mass consumption space in general (I would exclude textbooks and technical books from the list).
My first example (and a book that I am currently in the midst of reading) is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. The author does a great job of drawing the reader into the journey that he undertakes while still providing plenty of facts based on personal research.
Another prime example is “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely. By examining the science behind human social behaviour, the author immediately taps into situations that the reader can identify (and identify with) in his or her own life.
“Stiff”, “Spook” and “Bonk” by Mary Roach all exhibit the kind of narrative that defines a good story while shedding light on things that everyone contemplates at one time or another: death, post-death and sex.
If you know of any other authors that weave a story within a non-fiction work, please post a comment. I’d love to hear about them.