Common knowledge suggests that men tend to read nonfiction and that women tend to read fiction. Is this really true? Beats me– but I know this much for sure: There are a lot of women who like to read nonfiction. Some nonfiction titles have appeal that transcends sex or gender (think John Grisham’s book The Innocent Man, or Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods), but this week I want to draw attention to five Women’s Nonfiction books– that is, books written for, or about, women.
Gentlemen, stay with me. You may find yourself surprised at how much you enjoy certain Women’s Nonfiction books. Give one a try. (It’s only fair; look how many women read and enjoyed Seabiscuit. If we can handle a book about horse racing, you can bring yourself to try a book written for women.)
Let’s start the week with Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, the surprise hit from 2003 that may or may not be coming to a theater near you. Satrapi’s memoir recalls her childhood in Iran, where she was a happy child with a doting family, blissfully unaware of the ugly side of life until the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
If your knowledge of the Islamic Revolution is vague, you’re not alone. I didn’t even know there was an Islamic Revolution in 1979, not till I read this book. The history lesson alone makes this a worthwhile read, along with the insight into a culture that is vastly different from ours. (Are you listening, fans of The Kite Runner?)
Because of its many different appeals– Satrapi’s engaging tone, the fine characterizations, the exquisitely rendered settings, the cultural insights– this is first graphic novel I recommend to people who think they don’t like graphic novels. The crisp black-and-white drawings are lovely, and the ten-year-old Marjane is a delightful protagonist. Follow with the sequel, Persepolis II.