Friday, May 23, 2014

Part One: Developing Your Nonfiction Reading Aptitude

My day to blog is Friday.  Yes, I get to bat - clean-up.  Now in baseball that means you are a good batter but following the outstanding writing any week on this blog is difficult.  This week is hard for me since I spent the week marveling over all of my colleagues writing and shaking my head and saying - yes! yes! yes!

Let's have a brief recap:
Monday - Myra wrote about voice and choice in nonfiction.
Tuesday - Marc continued his discuss of layout and themes in two of his books.
Wednesday - Mary Ann wrote about making sure that the writer's commentary and back matter is highlighted in a more significant manner.
Thursday - Kathleen provided wonderful examples of books with strong opportunities to share compare and contrast.

Now it is Friday.  Where to go?  What direction to take? 

I want to share how I prepare to read a nonfiction book.  I want to take into account all material you have read all week and bring it home for you. 

Do you just grab the book - look at the title - maybe read the front or back flap and dive right in?
Do you just open to the first chapter - skip the introduction, the acknowledgment, the dedication?
If you do any or all of the above you are missing the opportunity to connect with your nonfiction in deeper ways. 

Let's start with the bookcover.  What do you see on the cover?  What is the message delivered in a visual format for you?  Is is colorful?  Does it catch your eye?  Does it make you think?  Is the font type, size, and color inviting?

Moving on to the book flap.  Read it - does it set the stage for the story?  Are you curious enough to move forward to read the book after you read the book flap? Did it give too much away or was it too brief?  Does it help prepare you to read the book?

Title page and verso of the title page which many times includes the dedication.  Is there a subtitle that you missed on the cover or didn't notice?  Who published the book?  Is this publisher known for a specific strength in publishing?  Do you even know this? How can you find this out?  You can visit the publisher's web page.  Publisher's web pages provide a wealth of information that can really help you determine what type of materials they publisher. The publisher might provide support or bonus materials which Mary Ann hopes publishers will do.  I think it would be great if the publisher embedded an audio chip right in the book for detailed information from the author or some unusual primary source material about the subject that could engage the reader.

Oh! Wait just a minute we forgot the end pages. Well that will have to wait til next Friday as I am rushing off out shortly to head to BEA (Book Expo America in NYC) More next week on developing your aptitude.  If I have time you might get a bonus blog from BEA.  Stay tuned. 

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