When you think of non-fiction books, what do you imagine? Textbooks? There is so much more to this genre than the kind of books you see everyday in school!

As November is Non-Fiction Month, we have made it our goal to bring you The Wonderful World of Non-Fiction! This blog will give you ideas about what’s available and open your eyes to some of the more interesting reads. The non-fiction genre also includes newspapers and journals, but in this blog we will focus on books.

Let’s take a look at some common ideas that people have about non-fiction and decide if they are true (or not)!

One: “History books are ALWAYS non-fiction, right?”

Not true!

Yes, history books are generally non-fiction because they give us factual information about the past.

But there is also a whole genre of creative writing that uses real life events and famous people from history to create a story. This type of writing is called Historical Fiction and even though it’s not the same as studying a textbook, we can still learn something about history.

Two: “Biographies are boring!”

Not True!

Biographies are life stories about famous people who lived in the past or are living now. These people could be actors, singers, leaders, sportsmen, scientists or more. Biographies are usually written about people who have influenced the world by inventing something, being a great leader or changing popular culture. These types of books are written by authors who have an interest in that famous person.

Autobiographies are life stories written by the person themselves.

As well as complete life stories, there are two other types of non-fiction a writer can present about themselves.

Memoirs are accounts of a person’s life, written by himself or herself, in the first person. The great thing about memoirs is that they explore a person’s experiences and memories. They can do this using storytelling.  Memoirs are often moving and can interest a reader on a mental and emotional level.

Great examples of memoirs are I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by poet Maya Angelou and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Both memoirs explore the theme of overcoming a difficult childhood.

Personal essays are similar to memoirs but shorter and usually concentrate on a topic or event. For example, E.B White who wrote the popular children’s story Stuart Little, has also written short essays about the themes of fatherhood, travel and growing up in Maine, USA. For people who don’t like the idea of reading a long autobiography, personal essays are the best alternative.

Three: “Science and Technology is just for nerds.”

Not True!

The world of Science includes huge amounts of fascinating information about our planet, solar system, and the universe. The best science books or magazines include graphics and fun facts to make topics easier to understand. Just like the STEM courses here at IQBar!

Within this genre, we can explore how things work, the eco-systems of our planet, new technologies and discoveries of the 21st century.

Four: “I only need to travel to learn about culture”.

Not True!

Travel guides are a type of non-fiction and often show the highlights of a city or country.

But have you ever heard of Culture Shock? This happens when you visit a place that is completely different from the culture you are used to (also known as your home country).

An example of culture shock could be a British person visiting Thailand for the first time. The customs of each country are quite different, so unless you know what is polite and what is not, you could make mistakes. This works the same way for a Thai person visiting England for the first time, they might not know about British customs like queuing or that we don’t ‘barter’ for a better price in shops.

Customs are only a small part of any national culture. Every country also has history, society, accents, local cuisine, and landmarks. British culture is unique because it includes four countries, 37+ accents and a rich history of Roman, Norman, Viking, and Asian settlers. All of this has influenced the way we speak, what we eat and how we live today.

You can learn all about British Culture on the upcoming Culture Courses – then impress your friends with your expert knowledge of all things British!

Five: Finally, “Hobbies are interests in action.”

Kind of True!

Hobbies are something you do, rather than something you read about, right? True, but what if reading about the anime characters you love to draw, or the robots you like to design, or the insects you keep, helped you level up your interests? There are literally thousands of non-fiction guides to every hobby and interest in the world. It’s worth a try!

That’s all for our summary of the Wonderful World of Non-Fiction. We hope it has inspired you to try something new this November.  

Happy Non-Fiction Month, and happy reading!