Friday, April 30, 2010

Reverse Schadenfreude?

It's no secret among my friends that I like messed-up memoirs. In fact, most of the non-fiction books I choose to read depict a world or situation I'm vaguely horrified by.

Recent reads include "Among the Thugs," about soccer hooligans in Europe; "Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics' Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympic Dreams"; "Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China"; "Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea"; and "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective." Last night I started "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary lives in North Korea" by Barbara Demick.

Why do I read such downer books? Probably for the same reason I watch Intervention and Extreme Hoarders: not to delight in others' misfortunate, but to celebrate their hard-won victories, remind myself how lucky I am, and learn what life's like for people who A) grew up in other countries B) grew up in other time periods. Also, real life is definitely stranger than fiction, and can inspire me in different ways than fiction does.

If you read non-fiction, what topics pique your interest?


  1. I'm with you--I like reading the hard stuff to see the victory at the end.

  2. I like those kind of books too. Hard-won victories make great stories.

  3. Thanks, Beth and Natalie. Nice to know I'm not alone! :)

  4. Nonfiction? I like to read about spirituality, frugality, parenthood, foodie stuff, and inspirational writing books (I'm currently reading, "Zen & the Art of Writing" by Bradbury. It's a gem.)

    Lovely blog you have, and your header pic is divine. (swoon)

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Terresa. "Zen & the Art of Writing" would probably be a good pick for me! I definitely need to Zen out sometimes :)