Although I mostly work on cookbooks, I occasionally copyedit* other genres, and I'll proofread* almost anything. Often these non-cookbooks are books that I would never in a million years have read on my own—and then I end up so glad I did.
Case in point: Zoom by Bob Berman, which I proofread last spring. When I was in high school, they were revising the science curriculum, so somehow I never ended up taking physics. The little exposure I ever had to physics when I took pre-calculus ("Sand is falling in a conical pile at the rate of...") sent me into a tailspin. I had always been a whiz at math, but it turns out that as soon as it went from manipulating numbers to incorporating physics, I was lost. So here's a book with the subtitle "How Everything Moves: From Atoms and Galazies to Blizzards and Bees," and it's all about the relationship between time and motion, but it's written in an extremely light and engaging way. It's a science book for people who aren't terribly science-y—full of fun anecdotes and delightfully accessible explanations of really complex concepts. I now know how a GPS works, why a tree falling in the forest when no one's there really doesn't make a sound (It's true! Ask Galileo if you don't believe me!), and what Einstein's theory of relativity was actually about. This short book was fascinating and a pleasure to read; the Washington Post reviewer hit the nail on the head: "Berman comes across as the world's most enthusiastic science teacher, writing with infectious energy."
Next up, I'm proofreading the autobiography of Carlos Santana. I expect to have "Black Magic Woman" stuck in my head for the next few weeks.
*A few people have asked me what's the difference between copyediting and proofreading, so I guess it's time I wrote a post on that. Stay tuned for that tomorrow....