Today, Frances of Volatile Rune kicked off Week 2 of Nonfiction November! Here’s her prompt, Choosing Nonfiction:
What are you looking for when you pick up a nonfiction book? Do you have a particular topic you’re attracted to? Do you have a particular writing style that works best? When you look at a nonfiction book, does the title or cover influence you? If so, share a title or cover which you find striking.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission on any books you purchase at the Bookshop links provided. While this is appreciated, I always encourage you to shop for books at your local indie bookstore first and foremost.
My bookstore process
When I’m browsing my favorite bookstores (where are my fellow Half Price Books shoppers?), I’m looking for any title hinting at my current hyperfixations, like feminism or science history. Jane Against the World, One Nation Under God, The Disordered Cosmos, A Question of Choice. It can be easy to want to take home the whole shelf since nonfiction is organized by topic and crammed full of those tantalizing titles! But I have to have some way to determine which books make the cut.
If graphic design is your life’s work like it is mine, then a great cover design will push that book over the top—and then over the counter, into my car, and onto my shelf.
One of my favorite parts of Nonfiction November in past years has been seeing everyone’s collages of book covers. When I own a book and I’ve seen the cover hundreds of times, my admiration for its art can wear off. But something about seeing so many brand new-to-me designs, all amazing and totally different, contrasted next to each other… it can feel like I’m discovering just as many new designs as I am discovering ideas and stories. It’s literally both of my favorite things.
I think I owe my fellow bloggers a collage of my favorite book covers from my own shelf—and these are all either books I own or that I plan on getting at some point. If I were to include all the beautiful covers I’ve found from my scrolls through your Nonfiction November posts, well… I’d be here all day!
Emily Levesque’s The Last Stargazers needs a shout out, by the way. The bare hardback, rather than being plain, is covered in stars. When you put on the dust jacket, only the brightest star in the middle shines through.
One of the biggest reasons that human evolution books used to be such a big hyperfixation of mine was admittedly… the aesthetic. I featured vintage paleoanthropology books on my old bookstagram account, but predictably, that wasn’t really the hottest thing in the algorithm.
To this day, I can’t help but pick up any good, mysterious-looking, dusty paleoanth book anytime I find myself in a bookstore that has used, rare, or collectible in its name. I might not be constantly reading them anymore, but you can be sure that they’re decorating shelves all over my house!
Vintage science history
These might not all be bona fide vintage, but again, we’re going off looks.
Vintage Christian apologetics
Finally, I can’t get enough of weird Christian apologetics books and their odd covers. If you’re familiar with the Fundie Fridays YouTube channel, my morbid fascination with fundamentalists is a bit like theirs. I don’t have plans to actually read most of them, but I find marveling at their covers to be its own form of entertainment. (Like, what even is that Secular Squeeze book?)
I’d love to know your favorite book covers, or if any of the ones I shared stood out to you! Don’t forget to link up your Week 2 post with Frances here.