Rating Non-Fiction

Do you read a lot of non-fiction? I do not. In the last year, I have only read 14 non-fiction books (out of 132 total books). And they fall into these categories:

– Memoir: 5
– Self Help: 6
– Business: 1
– Other: 2

I realized lately that I am a little more lenient when rating non-fiction books. I think it’s because I don’t expect those books to be as entertaining. Usually, for fiction, my rating is broken down into three elements: how much did I enjoy the book, would I recommend it to others, and is the book going to stick with me.

For non-fiction books, I think I give them a pass on that first attribute. I don’t really read about parenting expecting to be entertained. It’s a bonus if I am, but I think my rating tends to fall more to whether or not the information is the book is useful (if it’s self help or business) or inspiring (if it’s a memoir). The exception here would be for celebrity memoirs – then I would expect them to be humorous and entertaining.

Some of the books that got me thinking lately were…

I Will Always Write Back – I gave this book 5 stars because, unlike most memoirs, it tells a complete story. It read almost like fiction because the narrative was so complete. Also, it’s a really good story.

All Joy and No Fun – This book was very interesting. I rated it 4 stars for all of the insights it provided and my genuine listening pleasure. I was very fascinated by the sociology that Jennifer Senior shares in her book. That surprised me.

But even though I enjoyed both of these books, I don’t really like they’re on par with the fiction books that I have given similar ratings. Does that make sense?

How do you rate non-fiction? Is it different than how you rate fiction? Do you have a similar discrepancy in your ratings?

On the blog last year…

Kindergarten Baseball Update

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6 Comments

    1. Did you do a post about that? It sounds familiar. Yeah, I definitely try to steer away from comments about the story when it's true and more about how it was written or whether it was worthy of a book.

  1. Very interesting- I've never given my non-fiction rating process much thought. I did give The Happiness Project five stars, but I think I know what you mean because I don't love it quite the same way that I love the entire Harry Potter series, which I also gave five stars. So yes, I guess I have the same issue as you.

    1. I think memoirs are a little more like fiction because they should be entertaining. Other non-fiction though can't be rated on enjoyment only. I hadn't really thought about it until I read a couple of non-fiction books recently.

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