But the question stuck with me for months. It's true that all of the books I've read in the past couple years have been mysteries.
Now, in another part of my life, I read political science and scan the headlines of a dozen online news sources every morning looking for things that might help teachers of high school courses in comparative politics. I post the things to a blog that attracts a couple hundred people a day. (That's about 50 times as many people as look in at this blog.)
That's all to say that I read more than mysteries. But non-fiction books? Not so much.
In any case, I scanned the new non-fiction shelves at the library recently and picked up The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean. It's subtitled Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius as Written by our Genetic Code.
I feel particularly ignorant about our genetic code, so I thought this might be a good introduction.
Not so much.
Now, I've heard about this thing in Literature that's called "voice." I think Sam Kean could use some study about the voice in which he writes. I had to get to the second half of the book before I caught on to the fact that Kean was telling stories. I wasn't always sure there was a connection between the topic he started out with and the examples ("stories") that accompanied his explanations.
|The structure of the DNA double helix. The atoms in the structure are colour coded by element and the detailed structure of two base pairs are shown in the bottom right. -From Wikipedia|
Describe this in words. I dare you.
There were some interesting stories and lots of facts about our genetic code. I've forgotten most of them.
I do think I'll go looking for another bit of non-fiction to read and hope it's more Literary.
Have you read Kean's The Violinist's Thumb? What did you think of it? Do you think non-fiction can be Literature?
Write and tell this little bit of the world what you think.
- The author's web site
- Jesse Singal's review in the Boston Globe
- Allison Bohac's review in Science News
- Monica Hesse's interview with Sam Kean in the Washington Post