My Sudden Love for Nonfiction Books 🌜

My Sudden Love for Nonfiction Books 🌜

 

 

During sixth grade (which feels like ages ago), I had this strange aversion to contemporary books.

I would never read them. I stuck with fantasy books, rereading all the Harry Potter books and discovering Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities series. In my mind, contemporary books were fluffy, shallow, and simply not my thing — after all, why would I want to read about the real world when I live in the real world? I wanted to immerse myself in stories that would bring me out of this world and into another that was more magical, more mystical, and better

At that point in my life, I still longed for my Hogwarts acceptance letter because school was kinda frying my brain. I wanted to be whisked away to the Elvin world and attend Foxfire to manifest telepathy instead of staying up until ten completing my project that was totally just busy work. And if either of those options aren’t going to happen, then why couldn’t I fall into a book like Alex and Conner Bailey into a land of mixed-up fairy tales?

Seriously — why was I still here?

 

 

This attitude bled into seventh grade, but I know it started to lessen then. Flash forward to the end of seventh grade and beginning of eighth, and my attitude towards contemporary books had started to change. I began reading YA contemporary novels, tentatively at first, and slowly realized how much I needed contemporary books in my life. I couldn’t read fantasy all the time anymore — I needed a dose of cuteness, of reality, of character who I could relate to in my daily life.

 

 

I still loved to read fantasy books, of course, but scattered throughout my TBR would be books that I never thought I would like when I was in sixth grade. As I progressed up in grades and I mentally started craving more and more breaks from complex fantastical worlds, more and more contemporary books found its way into my life — and some of them changed the way I view the world, myself, and life. 😊

The first contemporary novel that I can remember that really resonated with me is Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee. I am so glad I was able to capture my love for this book on this blog. In fact, my first book chat on Whisked Away By Words was actually for Tash Hearts Tolstoy, and though I would have written and edited the book chat a lot differently if I wrote it today, it still has a very special place in my heart. (I named the novel the “Best Contemporary YA Novel of 2017.” 😆) Tash’s voice felt so wonderfully authentic and I related to her character so deeply. It’s one of those rare books that I feel like came into my life at the perfect time, and that’s the case for Kathryn Ormsbee’s other novel, Lucky Few, as well.

 

 

With contemporary books, it’s inevitable that I would eventually read something completely romance-centered. And I guess it was also inevitable that I would love reading romantic contemporary books too? I haven’t read that many, but Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park was a book I started to read (and finished) during a super-busy school week, which proves how much I loved reading it. It was also the first time I read about a main character who was half-Asian and half-Caucasion (Park is half-Korean). Though I didn’t relate to every aspect of Park’s cultural life, I did relate to a lot of the family dynamics shown in Park’s home. The entire reading experience made me realize how sad it was that I’d never read a book with a character I could relate to culturally — someone who grew up surrounded by both the American culture and the Cantonese-Chinese culture like me.

 

 

In fantasy books, the cultures are often different than the ones present in reality (and, uh, sometimes characters aren’t even human? Like, they’re trolls and other fantastical species… 😅). Though these made-up cultures were fun to read about, I didn’t understood how much I was missing in terms of reading about a biracial character’s experiences growing up with two or more cultures within their family.

Though I did this before, ninth grade was the year I specifically began searching for books written by Asian authors in hopes of finding a character I could relate to culturally. I found Stacey Lee’s Outrun the Moon for an amazing representation of the Cantonese Chinese culture, and her other novel, The Secret of a Heart Note, for a character who carries around and EpiPen

😮😮😮

I had never realized, until the very day I started reading The Secret of a Heart Note, that I never had encountered a character who carried an EpiPen around with them every single day because of their allergies. I have severe nut allergies, so I have an Epipen with me at all times for those just-in-case moments. It’s annoying to have to remember to put it my bag when I go to school or leave the house because it might save my life one day, especially while I’m traveling. And here comes Court, the guy who gets stabbed with an EpiPen by page 24. This kid gets me and my annoying EpiPen experiences. We need more books with characters who carry EpiPens around because this is life and we need to represent it well and accurately, especially for those of use with seasonal allergies and food allergies. 

Not all characters can run dramatically through a meadow of flowers to save the world without sneezing and desperately needing tissues. 😑

Anyways. 😊

Fast forward the seconds, days, months, and years to

NOW.

Now, I’m obsessed with nonfiction books. I’ve checked out books on Hong Kong, travel, body language, the mental lexicon, and an abundance of other topics from the library. I love textbooks, and history — which I thought I would dread — is one of my favorite classes. Learning about the reality of the world is such an empowering thing.

I used to think only old people enjoyed reading nonfiction books, yet now I have this sudden love for nonfiction books, and I’m pretty sure I’m not that old. Yet. 😋

 

 

Learning about other people’s lives are suddenly more interesting to me than a fictional characters’s life; I’m becoming curiouser and curiouser when it comes to understanding why people are the way they are. Why I’m the way I am. No one is a secondary character in their own life, so even though someone might be a minor character in my life, in my perspective, they still have a story to tell.

I want to know that story. I want to know everyone’s story.

 

 

I want to gain knowledge so intensely that it’s overwhelming — there’s just so much to learn. It seems like there isn’t enough time for me to learn everything I want to with the time I have, but at the same time, isn’t living life enough of an education? Every single day I go through is another day I learn how this world works, how I work; about these social rules that makes sense and nonsense; how strange social relationships can be; and discover what really matters to me and enhances my life for the better.

 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot these past few years about this transition of mine from just fantasy to contemporary, and now, to nonfiction books, and I now think I finally have the answer —

The explanation.

 

The transition happened

because I changed.

 

My mindset now compared to my mindset in sixth grade is very, very different. Similar in many ways, of course, but some core things changed — all for the better.

I’ve learned, over these years, to appreciate the world around me. As my awareness grew, so did my gratitude. I learned to love everything in my life good and bad, because each experience I had enlightened me about the workings of the world. The desire to be whisked away to some fantastical, magical land, slowly inched away, and I began to want to stay here, on Earth, and learn to live life the best I could.

Rather than reading fantasy books with a sense of longing for what I could never have, I now read them in hopes of understanding what it could teach me about the world I live in.

 

 

I still haven’t given up on Harry Potter, or Keeper of the Lost Cities, or The Land of Stories. I still read fantasy books and children’s books, both for my entertainment and a sense of nostalgia. It’s a reminder of my growth in mindset, worldview and positivity.

It’s a reminder that

I’ve changed.

A lot.

There is so much beauty in this world that I’ve already uncovered. I can only imagine how much more there still is for me to discover and educate myself about. I no longer want to hide at home and just spend my days reading anymore. I want to drive to nowhere and everywhere and talk to people, make conversations, slowly and carefully uncover these shields people have reasonably put up in front of other human beings so I can understand where they’re coming from, their stories, and simply-not-so-simply their lives

So… I guess that’s where my sudden love for nonfiction books has came from.

 

It feels nice

to grow

up

 

and realize

what a beautiful world it is

that I live in.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

and I will cya next time. 😊



14 thoughts on “My Sudden Love for Nonfiction Books 🌜”

  • Firstly, I totally relate to the first part, because yeah, I was also waiting on my Hogwart’s acceptance letter, so I had this weird aversion to contemporary too. But then I also ended up falling in love with that because of the romance and just how relatable they were. And I also have recently become interested (and actually enjoy!) non fiction. I love how you put it- it’s about understanding the world more and why it is the way it is and just reading more of people’s real life stories (btw In Order to Live is on my tbr) Anyway, great post- so interesting on so many levels!!
    The Orangutan Librarian recently posted…A Major UnhaulMy Profile

    • In Order to Live is an amazing book — I didn’t know much about North Korea before reading it a couple years ago, but the book taught me a lot about a land that was previously so foreign to me. The book is really well-written too, and it blends the emotional stories of Park Yeon-mi along with factual information about North Korea and together seamlessly. 💕 I would definitely recommend it 😊👍 I’m so glad you mentioned reading the stories of other people — the best part about memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies is that they read off just like fictional stories. It’s interesting to think about how no one views themselves as a secondary character in their own life. Everyone is their own main character in their life, which makes everyone a good story to unveil. 😋 Thank you so much for the comment, the Orangutan Librarian! 😄

  • I think that’s normal. Just like how we might like a book with comedy storyline, and then suddenly we’re also interested in a crime fiction. We’ve grown and our interest and view might change – so does our preference. I LOVE Harry Potter! haha. I still read lots of fiction book, but I also read lots of non-fiction. I just read book according to what I want at the time. It’s interesting to read your thought on the subject.
    Of Ashes & Bones recently posted…Coney IslandMy Profile

    • Yes, I definitely agree — the whole point of reading, in my opinion, is to do it because you love it, and picking up books according to what you want to read during that time is definitely the best way to do it 😊 I just love how all the books I’ve read in my lifetime form this timeline that is a reflection of my likes and dislike of books, and thus a reflection of me as a person. I’m so glad you enjoyed my post, and thank you for the comment! 😄

  • I read once that children actually tend to like nonfiction more than fiction–which is something I have noticed just in my personal experience. I myself read a lot more nonfiction when I was in grade school than I do now, though I still love a good nonfiction. But I think nonfiction can be weird and quirky and wonderful–just like fantasy! (But the Keeper of the Lost Cities is the best and I am so excited that the sixth book just came out!)

    • Oh really I’ve never heard that fact? I actually find myself reading way more nonfiction now than in the past, but everyone’s reading genre journey is different 😋

      And OMG YESSSS NIGHTFALL!!! 😝 I’m and dying to get my copy of it soon!!! I’ve grown up with the characters in KOTLC, so I’m so excited to continue unraveling the mysteries in the series. And, obviously, I look forward to my favorite part: the shipping. 😆 I’ve never read middle grade novel that’s just so shippable! Thanks so much for the comment, Krysta, and I hope you enjoy reading Nightfall! 😊📚

  • Oh this is such a lovely post <3 I find myself sharing the same journey as you, a little bit. I started off with tons of fantasy books, and gradually, turned to contemporary YA books. Now, my TBR is a mix of these two, but my love is a bit more going towards the contemporary genre. I haven't yet wandered into the non-fiction section, but who knows, that might come next 😀
    Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…Review: Otherworld, Jason Segel & Kirsten MillerMy Profile

    • When I talk to people about their book genre journey, a lot of people say they started out with fantasy books first as well, then move out to other genres. I wonder why that is? Maybe it’s because as we grow older we become more grounded in reality? 🤔 Anyways, I have no idea what my next phase will be in terms of the genre of books I like too — there’s still so many that I haven’t immersed myself in reading yet! I’m hoping that book blogging will introduce me to more unique books that I haven’t heard of before, so I’m really excited to do more blog hopping and read more book reviews. Thank you so much for the comment, Marie! 😄😊

  • This is a beautiful post! I think it’s only normal our reading tastes change as we change. I can totally see how you’d transition to your passion for non fiction. In my case, I started with fantasy also with an escapist feeling, but now I read it simply because I appreciate the effort and magic that goes into the creation of these other worlds. I don’t want to be there, but I like getting lost in them for the span of the book. I’ve never really stopped reading them, but I began an addiction for historical romances XD A genre I used to kind of look down upon .

    As for contemporaries, I used to devour them, but now I’m very selective with them, since YA contemporaries are obviously mostly set in high school, and sadly that is no longer what I’m looking for in books. That makes me so nostalgic!

    So anyway, BOOKS ARE BOOKS because one way or another they all tell the stories. ;D
    Pamela recently posted…This is Our Story -Perfect for Criminal Minds FansMy Profile

    • I really relate to what you said about fantasy books, about how you don’t want to get transported into that world but nevertheless love immersing yourself in the novel 😊 — that’s me now, but that definitely wasn’t the case in the past. I remember wanting so badly to get my Hogwarts acceptance letter, but then my eleventh birthday came and that didn’t happen *tear* 😕 It is really interesting how reading tastes change over time, because looking back at the books I used to read sort of creates this timeline of genres and likes and dislikes that reflect who I was at the time I read those books. 📚

      So, books are books, and they do tell wonderful stories, but the thing that makes those stories wonderful is how they connect to us (the readers! 🎉) and relate to our lives at the time we read them. 😄 Thanks for the lovely comment, Pamela! 😋

  • During my teenage years, I used to prefer fiction too more than non-fiction. Especially, the Iove and hate school romance, triangle love line or both of them with vampire/werewolves/fairies as the main characters. #ImdeadsurethatmostofmyreadsbackthenhasanAlphaorsoulmate element in it.

    But then I outgrowing YA and began to love reading books that help to change my view of the world. Humans change and sometimes the change is good.

    p/s: you just gave me a great post idea to write on what I used to read during my teenage years 😍

    • Ooooh I’m so glad this post gave you some writing inspiration! I can’t wait to read your post on what you read during your teenage years 😊

      I haven’t necessarily outgrown YA, because I still love reading YA novels, but I’m definitely finding that I love this transition of trying hard to search out more nonfiction books that will educate me about the world. 🌎 I travel to Hong Kong every summer, and I noticed that many families have maids who live in their house. The maids in Hong Kong all have the same, or similar, backgrounds — many of them are Filipino or Indonesian, and I’ve always wanted to understand why so many people in Hong Kong have maids and why many of the maids come from the same ethnic background. I’ve found an amazing novel called Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers by Nicole Constable that already has answered so many of my questions about the experiences and situations of maids in Hong Kong.

      People do change, and the change is indeed sometimes good.😋 I love growing more aware of the world around me and learning about different cultures, societal issues, or people that I might not be able to by just reading fiction. Occasionally, though, the occasional YA book with a cliche love triangle will sound like a good read to me 🤣

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