The Noob’s Guide to Non-Fiction Beyond the Panorama June 27, 2020

The Noob’s Guide to Non-Fiction

Reading fiction is easy. Pick up a book, read the words, and get lost in an adventure. Simple, right? But what’s stopping you from picking up something non-fiction? 

“It’s too boring, bro. I can’t read textbooks and all for fun.”

“Um, I know reading books is nerdy but reading non-fiction books is like ultimate-level nerdiness. I have some street cred after all.”

“Duuude no. If I want a lecture, I’ll just ask my parents.”

Non-fiction is the non-glamorous, boring, and frankly the lame behenji of fiction books. Can non-fiction duplicate the fast-paced action of a fantasy book? Can it make you emote the way a contemporary can? It can’t make my heart race like a thriller. 

Want to know something wild? It can! 

Welcome to the Noob’s Guide to Non-fiction! 

Non-fiction (non-fic) rules, and here are some rules to start your non-fic journey.

  1. Memoirs: Memoirs are the easiest non-fics to digest. Pick any famous person that you admire, and I can guarantee you they have had something written about them. Reading about your favourite personalities means that you’re interested from the start and you get to know way more about the people you admire. 
  2. Read What You Love: Another great way to dive into non-fic is by sticking to your interests. Been obsessed with something? You’ll find a non-fic catering to those exact cravings. From shows to current events to shoes to films to true crime, there is a dedicated tome to every interest.
  3. Keep It Short: Sometimes reading is a marathon, sometimes it’s a sprint. While starting with a new genre, it’s easier to pick something short. That way it’s less taxing to read and faster to finish. 
  4. Dump What You Hate: Don’t be scared to decide half-way/part-way/two pages in-way that this book isn’t for you. The more time you force yourself to “like” something the lesser you’ll actually achieve it. Don’t slog your way through a book. It’s no fun when reading becomes work.  

I’m a newbie to non-fiction too. If someone told me a year ago, that I would be reading non-fiction books monthly I would have laughed in their face. But dipping my toes into the non-fic ocean I’ve realised, non-fic is just as engaging, fast-paced, funny, and heart-warming as any fiction book I’ve read. So don’t be afraid to branch out from your comfort genres. 

I’ll leave with some recommendations

  • • Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind’
  • • Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’
  • • Trevor Noah’s ‘Born a Crime’
  • • Ramchandra Guha’s ‘India After Gandhi’
  • • Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’
  • • Hasan Fazlul’s ‘Bangalore Through the Centuries’
  • • Ronan Farrow’s ‘Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators’
  • • Tara Westover’s ‘Educated’

Rusha Gupta
Rusha Gupta

Rusha is an avid reader, and often pens down her reviews on movies and books.

1 Comment
  • Reply
    December 30, 2020, 3:36 AM

    I think we should get a thread going of non-fit suggestions. I will take the liberty of following on from Rusha’s excellent list:
    1. Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow’ (If you want to read what Harari thinks about the future)
    2. Tavleen Singh’s ‘Durbar’ (Can never look at the Indian National Congress the same again. The book chronicles the events from the Emergency to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi)
    3. Hans Rosling’s ‘Factfulnes’ (Gives you perspective, we are so wrong about so many things)
    4. Tim Wu’s ‘The Curse of Bigness’ (If you want to learn about why monopolies and bigness is bad. Is it bad?)
    5. Zia Mody’s ’10 Judgements That Changed India’ (I think it is necessary to understand the landmark judgements that have shaped the fabric of Indian society, this book will break down the legal jargon and presents the what and why in a digestible manner).

    I have many more, but I will stop at a round number.

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