A few lists of books & quotes
And a few more…
Books on the Craft and Theory of Nonfiction
I’m forever making lists of books I love. I have a long list of creative nonfiction books that I recommend my students look at. But lately I’ve been getting into reading theory and commentary on nonfiction as a form, so I’ll also start a running list of those “books on books.” I feel a bit behind in learning about this stuff, so my list is a bid rudimentary, and I’d love suggestions!
Chris Anderson, ed. Literary Nonfiction: Theory, Criticism, Pedagogy. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. I can’t stress how good this book is. Such an excellent collection!
Thomas Couser. Memoir: An Introduction. More here…
Leigh Gilmore. The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony. Cornell University Press, 2001.
Jean-Guy Goulet & Bruce Granville Miller, eds. Extraordinary Anthropology: Transformations in the Field. University of Nebraska Press, 2007.
Carolyn G. Heilbrun. Writing a Woman’s Life. Ballantine, 1988.
Carl H. Klaus. The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay. University of Iowa Press, 2010.
Thomas Larson. The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading & Writing Personal Narrative. Ohio University Press, 2007.
Dan Lehman. Matters of Fact: Reading Nonfiction Over the Edge. Ohio State University Press, 1997.
Susan Sontag. Regarding the Pain of Others. Picador, 2003.
Ned Stuckey-French. The American Essay in the American Century. University of Missouri Press, 2011.
Sidonie Smith & Julia Watson, eds. Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader. University of Wisconsin Press, 1998.
Albert E. Stone. Autobiographical Occasions and Original Acts: Versions of American Identity from Henry Adams to Nate Shaw. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
“[W]e should remind ourselves again that autobiography is a content, not any particular form.” (p. 271). This was an ah-a moment for me, something I can take right to the classroom. Elsewhere in the same book, Stone lists many, many forms that fit under (in his thinking) autobiography: “Memoir, reminiscence, apology and confession, testament, case-history and life-history, diary and journal, personal journalism, the nonfiction novel or mock autobiography are all descriptive terms–some traditional, some newly invented–for different kinds of storytelling acts and cultural occasions included in modern autobiography.”
Blakey Vermeule. Why Do We Care About Literary Characters? Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
Jennifer Jensen Wallach. Closer to the Truth than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow. University of Georgia Press, 2008.
Ben Yagoda. Memoir: A History. Riverhead, 2009.
Nonfiction in a few categories that I don’t regularly have my students read but that I find drawn to…
Narrative Nonfiction on Science
- Douglas Hofstadter. I Am A Strange Loop.
- Evelyn Fox Keller. A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock. Freeman, 1983.
- Atul Gawande. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science