WHAT TO READ NEXT: Does Anyone Else Have Fiction Fatigue?

I want to hear about every non-novel thing you're reading right now.
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Publish date:
November 8, 2015
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non-fiction, xobookclub, xoBooks

I have fiction fatigue -- particularly long-form and specifically novels. I look at the fiction bookshelves in my apartment and am filled with despair. Maybe I am not a reader anymore, I think to myself, maybe my brain has been rotted by Netflix binges and daily doses of celebrity gossip and political blogs.

And yet... I joyously careened through The Devil In The White City. I am halfway through On Monsters, eyeing The History of Hell eagerly, and I've decided to self-diagnose.

I have fiction fatigue and I refuse to read any novels for the month of November. Instead, I want to read one of these three non-novel books. Check them out and join me in my stalwart refusal to delve into fiction (for the next three weeks at least).

The Book Of Duels by Michael Garriga

The duels in the book may technically be fiction, but the two to three page doses of real and imagined battles in Michael Garriga's charming collection don't feel novel-ish. Instead, these short pieces, suffused with history and humor, can be read out of order.

The cultural and literary touchstones scattered throughout the pages along with Tynan Kerr's delightful black and white illustrations make this a dreamy reading experience. I've read two of the duels so far, the first and the last, between Abel and Cain and the Shoulder Angel vs. the Shoulder Demon respectively, and I'd read them all, happily, if you'll read them with me.

Things That Are by Amy Leach

This collection of lyric essays is a favorite of creative writing professors at the undergraduate and graduate level. I've read a few of them in various fiction and non-fiction craft courses and Leach's delicate way of looking at the natural world is full of wisdom, though it never feels didactic. Rather, the essays, including "Goats and Bygone Goats," "Pea Madness," and "Sail On, My Little Honeybee," are full of wonder.

It's refreshing to see the world through Leach's eyes because they catch the glints of magic in all things without becoming overtly sentimental. Leach looks and looking with her instead of trying to follow a long narrative (throwing shade at novels here, in case you didn't catch that) is a wonderful way to read.

Lying: A Memoir by Lauren Slater

I've held on this memoir for a few years without feeling brave enough to delve into its pages. The prose is gorgeous, raw, and honest, but reading an entire memoir, no matter how slim, that accounts a long and difficult journey with mental illness isn't easy for me. Still, when thinking of non-novels for this month, I couldn't leave Lauren Slater, author of Prozac Nation, off the list.

Honestly, I'm hoping you'll pick this one so I'm forced to confront it. It's certainly not a book I'd want to read on my own, but the truths and half-truths and untruths in its pages are worth reading and discussing and using as a mirror to look a little closely at ourselves.

You know what to do next -- upvote the book you want to read in the comments and we'll get together at the end of the month to talk about how much we loved or hated this month's fiction free xoBook Club book of the month. By the way -- I'll accept write-ins with open arms. Happy voting, happy reading, and happy liberation from the tyranny of novels.