Books that suck you in... TO REALITY
February 14, 2011 3:10 PM Subscribe
Recommend me some immersive, journalistic non-fiction books.
posted by eggplantplacebo to media & arts (53 answers total) 119 users marked this as a favorite
I love books that follow this basic structure: an extremely talented journalist spends a really long time following around a group of people who are doing something interesting that I know nothing about. Some examples would be The Soul of a New Machine
(about developing a computer), Homicide
(about homicide detectives in Baltimore), and recently Play Their Hearts Out
(about AAU youth basketball).
Things I like about these books:
- The writers develop their subjects like characters in a novel. Sometimes they would rather try to figure out someone's true motivations than maintain a proper objective distance at all times.
- Similarly, they find the most compelling narratives in their reporting and treat them dramatically. Basically, they give you the feeling that you're reading a good novel with the added thrill of it being true.
- The balance of storytelling and explication is well handled. These aren't textbooks, so they don't spend 10 pages on, like, CPU logic, but at the same time they trust their readers and aren't afraid to get pretty technical when the story demands it.
- The writers are seriously goddamn good. Of my examples, two have won Pulitzers and one is David fucking Simon.
Hopefully that's somewhat clear. (And if there's already a thread like this I'd love to know about it. I couldn't find one that quite fit.)
So MeFi, what else fits these criteria?