Non-fiction: do you read it?

If you had asked me a month ago if I read non-fiction for enjoyment, I would have told you I only read it when I have to.

Like for a class.

Or to figure out how to do something.

Or for a class.

Photography and cookbooks aside, I recently realized that there is a type of non-fiction that I do enjoy and will read willingly: biographies and auto-biographies.

Now, not just any biography will do. It has to be about someone from a different culture. Why? Because to me that’s just a good as picking up a fantasy novel, or a dystopian novel. It’s a book about people who play by a different set of rules than we do. THAT is what I enjoy reading about. If it happens to be true, then so be it. It’s still a story. 🙂

Here are two I have read recently that led me to this shocking epiphany.

chinese cinderellaChinese Cinderella is appropriately named. It’s tells of a Chinese girl whose mother dies given birth to her. Her step-mother doesn’t want her or her siblings and tries everything to get rid of her. You learn about Chinese culture in the 1940’s and see the effects of WWII. I wish it had gone on a bit longer, but apparently there is another book that finishes her story as an adult.

I also very much enjoyed is The Iron Butterfly: Memoir of a Martial Arts Master: The True Story of a Mermaid’s Daughter. While the title on this book is longer than Chinese Cinderellairon butterfly, it only tells you part of what the book is about. A girl grows up on one of the islands in Korea. Her family is very poor and survival is difficult after the Korean War. Here, we learn about Korean culture, martial arts, the haenyo–Korean women who would dive year round to gather food from the sea, all from the perspective of a girl with an indomitable spirits. A truly inspirational read.


So now that I’ve found this whole new genre of literature that I like, I’m taking recommendations.