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sgunelius
05-27-2008, 07:18 PM
I'm a nonfiction business writer, but I'm thinking of getting my MFA in either fiction or creative nonfiction. What are some of your favorite creative nonfiction books? I want to read some more before I make my decision.

Thanks!

underthecity
05-27-2008, 10:12 PM
I'm not sure if this counts, but how about The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton? It's a novel, but based on actual events.

allen

KTC
05-27-2008, 10:13 PM
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

AND

Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

Stew21
05-27-2008, 10:17 PM
On Whale Island, by Daniel Hayes
Mornings on Horseback, David McCullough
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
Neither Here Nor There, Bill Bryson

Devil Ledbetter
05-28-2008, 02:48 AM
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
I LOVE that book, Stew.

Freakonomics - Steven Levitt
Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
The Lost Art of Steam Heating - Dan Holouhan
Climbing Mount Improbable - Richard Dawkins
Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

triceretops
05-28-2008, 03:06 AM
Seabiscuit.

Tri

Kalyke
05-28-2008, 04:09 AM
"The Coming Plague", by Laurie Garrett
"The Making of the Atom Bomb" and "Dark Sun", by Richard Rhodes

I do have a soft spot for "Seabiscuit" also
Anything by Steven J. Gould

misslissy
05-29-2008, 01:24 AM
One I like is aimed more at probably younger ages is Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman.

Sunnyside
05-29-2008, 07:23 PM
I kinda like Into Thin Air and Into The Wild. Those might not be creative non-fiction per se, but they're still pretty darn dramatic in the storytelling. John Adams worked for me more than 1776, though they're still great books.

And then there's always Steinbeck's Log From The Sea of Cortez or Travels With Charley. I wish I was half as good as that . . .

Stew21
05-29-2008, 07:35 PM
I LOVE that book, Stew.

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

Brilliant choice! I love Dave Sedaris.

mamawriter
05-30-2008, 04:38 AM
I'm a big fan of Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, Catherine Newman's Waiting for Birdy, and Andrea Buchanan's It's a Boy and It's a Girl anthologies.

I like that essay-ish feel, I guess....

KTC
05-30-2008, 05:27 AM
I inhale Sedaris books whenever I can. They are on the constant reread list!

chrispash
06-18-2008, 10:23 AM
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. He got both sides of a war story. He went into Mogadishu to get the story from the militia. Crazy. A wonderful book.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The classic.

LaceWing
06-19-2008, 09:01 PM
A History of the Senses -- observation, research, felt response, insight; sort of a grand investigation of the idea of creative non-fiction. At least, that's how it worked for me.

Elodie-Caroline
06-19-2008, 10:40 PM
Dan Brown's, 'The Da Vinci code,' would be classed as creative (bleh) nonfiction to me, as the best ideas in his book were taken from, 'The holy blood and the holy grail', (nonfiction) by M. Baigent and H. Lincoln :D


Elodie

LC123
06-21-2008, 10:03 PM
Miles From Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure by Barbara Savage.

Best travel book ever.

Billingsgate
06-22-2008, 07:00 AM
Recent favorite:

In Search of Captain Zero by Allan Weisbecker, an aging surfer's Odyssey-like travels by road through Central America in search of his best friend.

His follow-up book, Can't You Get Along With Anyone, is a bit bloated and self-indulgent, but the first several chapters have a lot of interesting and opinionated things to say about the art of creative non-fiction itself. He blasts Augusten Burroughs, Frank McCourt and other memoirists for writing semi-fiction and marketing it as memoir. You can actually read the book for free online at http://www.banditobooks.com/ezine/ebook

As one reviewer said: "Can't You Get Along With Anyone is a writer's book about writing." It's also the story of his dysfunctional relationship with a nymphomaniac girlfriend, but you can skip over those bits.

I dare any non-fiction writer to read the first three chapters of this book, and not come away full of outrage and provocative thoughts about their own writing.

saketrick
06-24-2008, 03:04 AM
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas!

soleary
06-24-2008, 03:07 AM
Traveling Mercies Anne Lemmott

Chrisla
06-25-2008, 09:41 AM
What, exactly, is creative non-fiction? I'd thought it more along the lines of life stories, like Angela's Ashes -- creative because one has to recreate scenes and conversations to structure the story. Can anybody clear this up for me, so I'll know what category my story fits into?

Dantes
06-27-2008, 05:33 AM
Chrisla, I suppose I write it and I'm not entirely sure what the definition of creative nonfiction is, except I think it's the same as "narrative nonfiction," a term I prefer. Creative nonfiction sounds like a contradiction in terms.

Narrative nonfiction describes honest storytelling that should be engaging and depict real-life events as opposed to objective, straight reporting. Best I can tell, it can be first-person or third-person and, yes, scenes and conversations and details are meticulously reconstructed so that the story lives and breathes. Ideally.

My choices, to name a few:

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace (collection of essays but narrative/creative nonfiction)

King of the World by David Remnick

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

Aragon
06-27-2008, 09:38 AM
I would say that the Civil War trilogy by Shelby Foote and Richard Marchinko's autobiography. You have to admire a man willing to go to prison to put his life story out there for you.

Chrisla
06-27-2008, 08:59 PM
Chrisla, I suppose I write it and I'm not entirely sure what the definition of creative nonfiction is, except I think it's the same as "narrative nonfiction," a term I prefer. Creative nonfiction sounds like a contradiction in terms.

Narrative nonfiction describes honest storytelling that should be engaging and depict real-life events as opposed to objective, straight reporting. Best I can tell, it can be first-person or third-person and, yes, scenes and conversations and details are meticulously reconstructed so that the story lives and breathes. Ideally.



I don't think either term is quite accurate. For life stories, I assume the creative part of the nonfiction is the necessary restructuring of scenes and conversations. But you're right -- "creative nonfiction" sounds like a contradiction. On the other hand, "narrative nonfiction" sounds like something that is mostly narrative, without the normal narrative/dialogue balance.

I'm wondering if the terms are interchangeable, or if they really do describe two different things. Anybody know?

Penguin Queen
06-28-2008, 11:23 PM
I havent come across the term "creative nonfiction" much, but have seen "narrative nonfiction" quite frequently. I suppose with the "creative" label there's a risk of it getting mixed up with "creative writing", which I suppose most poeple would asusme to be fiction.

Some of my favourites are also David Sendaris; also "The Hacienda" by Lisa St Aubin de Teran; & "Lucky", Alice Sebold.

firehorse
07-01-2008, 11:57 PM
Into Thin Air, always on the reread list. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. David Sedaris.

vixey
07-02-2008, 12:04 AM
I love narrative travel books:
A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle (hilarious)
Under the Tuscan Sun - Francis Mayes

Just finished Stephen King's, On Writing - very entertaining.

ATP
07-02-2008, 09:22 AM
I don't think either term is quite accurate. For life stories, I assume the creative part of the nonfiction is the necessary restructuring of scenes and conversations. But you're right -- "creative nonfiction" sounds like a contradiction. On the other hand, "narrative nonfiction" sounds like something that is mostly narrative, without the normal narrative/dialogue balance.

I'm wondering if the terms are interchangeable, or if they really do describe two different things. Anybody know?

Try:
i)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_nonfiction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_nonfiction)

ii) AW archives - "creative nonfiction" general search

iii) AW archives - nonfiction books forum

iv) the piece that started it all
Gay Talese - Frank Sinatra Has A Cold
http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ1003-OCT_SINATRA_rev_