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Posted on Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

The lighter side of non-fiction

By Leslee Niethammer

Books and DVDs at the Saline District Library are separated into one of two categories, fiction and nonfiction. The difference between the two is usually pretty clear. While nonfiction sticks to the facts, fiction includes stories, imaginings and things that just aren’t true. The fiction section teems with genres such as mysteries, westerns, science fiction, literature and horror.

Many fiction readers keep coming back to the shelves for the stories with engaging characters, mysterious locations and strange and unreal events. However, books that compel and excite may be found in the nonfiction section as well.

One of the best things about nonfiction books is that it’s okay to just read the good parts. Most people have already discovered the cookbooks, self-help books, car repair manuals and history books that make homework assignments possible. But readers who are looking for something enjoyable to read tend to stay away from the nonfiction shelves with the sometimes puzzling Dewey numbers. Here are some ways that fiction readers and non-readers may find books they enjoy in the nonfiction section.

Genres in real life: Fans of military, suspense and western fiction can find plenty of true tales in the history section that may even be stranger than fiction. Mystery readers may find true crime books to be even more thrilling. Bibliophiles can even find books about books, including suggested lists for reading, little-known author facts and thoughts about the culture and experiences of reading. Biographies and autobiographies: There is a biography for just about every type of person. Interested in sports? Baseball, hockey, boxing… the list is a long one. Curious about stocks and business? Read the life story of a real mogul like Warren Buffett. Family moving to a different country? From China to Cuba, read the true stories of adjusting to a new way of life. Want to take your backyard urban garden to the next level? Pick up a few biographies of farmers to get an idea of day to day life on the farm. Hobbies and entertainment: For those who love food and cooking and related stories, there are plenty of books like Julie & Julia by Julie Powell that focus on food in the real world. Read Julia Child’s own letters or explore the lives and thoughts of other chefs like Anthony Bourdain or chef turned game hunter Georgia Pellegrini. Music fans and musicians have plenty of choices as well, with everything from music-centric histories and biographies, instruction books for various instruments and guides to appreciating opera and classical music. Traveling: Many library users are already familiar with all the Lonely Planet and Fodor guides, but to get a real sense of the day to day life when traveling in an area, try some travel memoirs. Don’t forget that we have nonfiction DVDs as well. Watch the latest popular documentaries, brush up on your history or even learn to use Windows 7 on the television screen. For more information on library services and resources call (734) 429-5450 or visit us online at



Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

Nice article Leslee. I have recently returned to non-fiction after a few years of sticking to the fiction section of AADL. You are absolutely correct about truth actually being stranger than fiction. More often than I would have believed.