Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fiction for People Who Love Nonfiction

1.  C. S. Friedman: This Alien Shore
Science fiction, true, but also a fabulously interesting perspective on what we call mental illness.  Oh yes, and a fabulous examination of where the internet may be headed.  *giggles*  You'll have to read the book to get that pun!
2.  Colleen McCullough: The First Man in Rome
History made flesh.  And goodness, those Romans were quite something!
3.  Daniel Pinkwater: Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories
Short stories by an NPR contributor about his experiences with dogs.  I think the stories are wildly amusing, particularly once you've gotten past the halfway point in the book. It's officially a memoir, but I'm not sure.  Some of this just has to be fiction!  :)
4.  Frank Herbert: Dune
It reads like a philosophy / history book.  Oh yes, and it has sandworms!
5.  Jodi Picoult: Plain Truth  Almost all of her books are quite realistic. The characters will grab you, and the issues at stake in the books will make you reexamine what you think you thought.  Be ready for some late nights!  I'm really looking forward to her next book, where the issues will be gay rights, reproductive science and the Christian right. 
6.  Elizabeth Moon: Remnant Population
This unique narrator will win your heart, and perhaps affect how you think about aging, oh, and aliens. 
7.  Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Another wonderfully interesting narrator, this one "a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties."
8.  Jennifer Crusie: Bet Me
Laugh out loud funny, this is well-written and I think you'll love it!
9.  Anne McCaffrey: Crystal Singer
As my husband read this one, he kept laughing because he recognized me in this story.  *blush*
10.  Lois McMaster Bujold: The Warrior's Apprentice
So, this is the beginning of a wildly addictive sci-fi series, and yet, because it's protagonist is one of the most interesting out there, I think it would fit under this category.  You may roll your eyes at Miles, but he's not an idiot, and one frequently keeps reading just to find out what wild idea will pop up in his head next!

Focus for this list:
As requested by a friend who loves nonfiction, this list focuses on books with the following:
  • Something I can learn from, even if that isn't the central topic of the book.
  • Characters I won't roll my eyes at--I'm not spending three hundred pages with a moron. For example, you may have noticed that Tom Sawyer's Aunt Polly is only in sight for a few pages.
  • Conversations or letters with wit (not that a lot of people are going to manage a Pride and Prejudice or Much Ado about Nothing, obviously).
  • A nice historical setting can be great (Fever 1793).
Mind you, this isn't easy for me, particularly as I'm not much of one for enjoying realistic historical fiction.  *sigh*  Still, I think I've found some winners!  I look forward to hearing feedback.  What would YOU suggest for this category?

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