Find new interests and live a better life, read non-fiction

Learn from Becky why you should read non-fiction–then start the Summer Reading Challenge at Lawrence Public Library (Lawrence, KS).

by Kayla Cook, Media Relations & Communications Specialist, feat. Becky Blick, Information Services Assistant

Q&A with Becky Blick, Information Services Assistant

Need help finding easy and affordable summer cookout recipes, reliable news information, help on being a caregiver, and more? Ask us anything! Reading non-fiction to improve your life and the lives of those you love, to keep atop current news, or simply for enjoyment counts towards the all-ages Summer Reading Challenge, too. Learn from Becky why you should read non-fiction–then complete the Summer Reading Challenge and watch your life improve (at the very least with a sweet Summer Reading tote bag*!) *while supplies lasts 

Becky, you’ve worked at the Ask Desk for some time and are a natural knowledge-chaser. In your experience, how has reading non-fiction regularly improved your life overall? Your health overall?

Reading non-fiction allows me to learn and explore so many topics–some of which I didn’t even know I was interested in. A recent example is Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach. It’s about the conflicts that occur when animals (or plants) hurt or inconvenience people. Bear attacks I was aware of, but “danger trees”? Reading books from LPL’s large health section and using the online resource Medline Plus have provided critical information and insight to improve or help me cope with both physical and mental health challenges. Also, did you know the library has many books for caregivers? There are so many resources I bet folks don’t even know about.

"Reading non-fiction allows me to learn and explore so many topics–some of which I didn’t even know I was interested in."

Why is using the library to stay informed on current events important?

It seems more and more difficult to find trustworthy information these days. After I learn about national or world events via news media outlets, I look to the library’s resources for background, history, and balanced perspective.

“The real world” can feel heavy for some adult readers who prefer to analyze real world happenings through a fictional context or read fiction to escape. Why would you recommend reading non-fiction, and what kinds of non-fiction books do you recommend?

Count me as one of those people who like to learn history and/or escape through fiction. But since working with the non-fiction collection, I’ve learned that non-fiction books can read like narratives and thrillers.  A good entry point is biography and memoir.

"Non-fiction books can read like narratives and thrillers."

What is your personal record for most books read in a summer? In a year?

Gosh—I don’t keep close track of that! But on average, I read two fiction books a week and one non-fiction book a month. I think I’ve read about fifty books so far this year. Of course, during the Summer Reading Challenge, you can track your books on Beanstack and on your online LPL account.

A recent study, opens a new window found that adults who read before bed sleep better. Do you find this to be true? Are there any particular non-fiction books you notice have a positive impact on how you sleep?

Absolutely! I try to get off screens at least a half hour before I head for bed and switch over to reading. It really doesn’t matter the topic, but reading right before I sleep helps keep me from ruminating, and I’m able to shut down much more quickly.

"Reading right before I sleep helps keep me from ruminating, and I’m able to shut down much more quickly."

Need Summer Reading non-fiction recs? Check out the list below.

2024 Nonfiction Picks for Summer Reading from Info Services

List created by LPL_InformationServices


View Full List

As an Info Services staff member, you answer several questions daily. What is one of your favorite questions to answer?

“Do you have any books about _________?” And then we are off on an exploration to find information to answer those questions. It’s the best detective job ever!

In the digital age and following the COVID-19 pandemic, we seek in-person community with other people more than ever. Is there a book you’ve read recently that brought you closer together to a coworker, family member, or friend?

A couple of books come to mind. The Caregiver's Guide to Memory Care and Dementia Communities helped me and then a friend when facing complex and difficult decisions as caregivers to our parents. 60-second Cocktails: Amazing Drinks to Make at Home in A MinuteThis one has been so fun. My daughter and I frequently use it as “TGIF” inspiration.

One last question–What are you reading, Becky?

 A Northern Light in Provence by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck and Rick Steves' Florence & Tuscany.

About Lawrence Public Library
Lawrence Public Library (LPL for short) is a community hub that believes in the power of connecting with each other through shared knowledge and resources. Located in the heart of Downtown Lawrence, Kansas, we are committed to providing a space where our community can learn, connect, create, and grow through access to our vast collections, resources, services, programs, and knowledgeable staff. The library is supported by tax dollars, record-breaking book sales and philanthropic efforts by the LPL Friends & Foundation, and the dedicated efforts of more than 300 volunteers. All are welcome.



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Summer Reading Challenge

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