Saturday, February 2, 2008

I don't like self-help books, either

Because I know the Internet cares. Except for certain male members of my family. To you I say BAH!

I did finish my seventh? book of the month, in time for my Salem book club meeting tonight. In fact, I finish at 9:30pm last night, so I even have time to think about it a bit before I start running at the mouth.

The book? Three Cups of Tea. I think I liked it. And that's amazing, because it breaks two of my personal biases against books: It's true, and it takes place in the Middle East.
I am not a non-fiction reader. Last night, as I was reading and kept expecting to read this line or something like it: "And then he died. People all over the world mourned his death and hailed him as a hero. His work continues today." It never came. But what it signified to me is that I enjoy a book with a traditional plot line - I was looking for the climax and not finding it. Aaron says it's because non-fiction recounts events, more like a textbook than a storybook.

Also, the Middle East is too full of emotional pitfalls for me to want to get involved. That is SO BAD of me. But I get so worked up about things I care about, that I just don't want to care about this issue - there's so much to get worked up about. And after this book, it's really hard to not care. Darn Greg Mortenson.

During our trip home from Arizona, I started another book, Reading Lolita in Tehran. It is about a Iranian college professor who resigns from her position and starts a "class" of seven of her most dedicated students. Together they read classics of the Western world.

This is another book that breaks both my biases, and although I haven't gotten far enough through it yet to decide if I like it, I think it will be very interesting to read alongside Three Cups of Tea.

Book biases, anyone? C'mon - I know EVERYONE (except Kate) loves Harry Potter, but what genres don't you like? Any books you liked that broke your biases?


Noel said...

As a rule, I don't read non-fiction. I read lots of science fiction / fantasy in high school and early college. Now I make science fiction reality for a living. Current book reading is "Winning on Analytics" and "How to Measure Anything" which I hope to finish on my trip to Portland this week. It's a short trip with a long plane ride, so can swap clothing weight for book weight in my carry-on luggage.

Main reading generas are business, innovation, personal finance, leadership, and "christian".

I did _listen_ to the first book of the Harry Potter series on CD when we were on vacation. The reader was excellent and it gave me the background for the series. Then I read the synopses of the rest of the books on Wikipedia.

Ruth said...

i used to hate non fiction as well, especially the self-improvement type of books. then after being too scared to ask questions and getting a C in one of my classes, I picked up a book written about 20 years ago called something like "how to ask questions for managers," and it really helped me not only understand how to ask questions, questions, questions, but make them open ended.

which is what every good fundraiser has to learn to do with rich people, so i'm enjoyed this helpful stuff.

now i'm reading "basic black," by cathie black, the former president of USA today. it's an easy read, and i enjoy it, but most if it i already learned in grad school. but her stories include rich people and corporate jets, so it's a little more fun.

Aaron said...

I think the only real kind of book that I'm biased against is type of books that Ruth refers too, the self-improvement type books. And any sort of design/art analysis books. The self-improvement ones I always feel like they could easily be condensed to pamphlet length, and the art/design analysis books that I've read like self-important posturing.