Non fiction, like reality tv, is supposed to be real not made up. Fiction novels are stories with plots and agendas. They have themes and motifs if well written. Non-fiction, by contrast are all the books that are not made up, not stories. Non fiction includes but is not limited to: how to books, true crime, history, philosophy, math, true life stuff.

Thus all biographies are filed under non fiction. Biographies are the life story of someone, usually some one famous or of interest like a celebrity or a politician. Autobiographies are when the life story is written by the person herself. A diary or a journal is similar to an autobiography in that it is written by the person themselves and is non-fiction but it is a series of entries, like the diary of Anne Frank, not necessarily a cohesive story. Biographies are some times published of not so famous people if the person had an interesting experience that other people can relate to. Some people, for example, who have successfully beat a drug or alcohol addiction like to write about their story. One very good biography I read a while back was by a woman describing her relationship to her brain injured husband. She wasn't famous, but she was very articulate and her story very moving.

History is also non fiction even if a lot of it is skewed and made up. Winners get to write history. Winners like to interpret events in the light best reflective of their own actions. Thus a war is usually justified as some way to keep peace. Or oppressed people's stories are minimized and dumbed down. The "Indians" are warm cuddly folk who just couldn't handle the superior gun power and infrastructure of the Imperialists was the history of the United States a few decades ago. Sanitized out of the story were the numerous horrible diseases the new Westerners brought to the new world. Small pox decimated more of the local population than gun power ever did.

True crime is non fiction. Rather than a Ms Marple type sleuth who winds up the book telling us who done it and how, true crime is grisly. Books are written about serial killers and strange manipulative people. Most of that is pulled right from the headlines of news papers. Some of the better books give us some insight to these monsters, some just re tell the events.

Philosophy and religion are non fiction even though some people find all religion made up fantasy. The Greek and Roman myths are filed in the library near folklore. Once upon a time those were viable religions to someone. All the mummies in Egypt that were ever dug up and put on display in museum were once carefully interred according to someone's deeply held religious belief.

Social studies and sociology are also non fiction. Anthropology is the study of other cultures and sub cultures. Once upon a time this meant going off to the Amazon rain forest to study a tribe that didn't speak English. These days you can study anybody, even like Goths or punks and call it a sub culture, call it anthropology.