Nonfiction books can be an amazing reading experience, but sometimes they can be a little too much like textbooks. Here are some amazing nonfiction books that will teach you something while taking you on an adventure and keep you turning the pages the whole time.
I used to be entirely against reading nonfiction books outside of school. That is until I came across Blitzed by Norman Ohler ($13.99 on Amazon) a few years back. This book is so incredibly interesting. I still find myself going back to what I learned from Blitzed in conversation time and time again. The book follows the medical problems and subsequent drug use of one Adolf Hitler, relying heavily on evidence from the journals of his personal doctor. It covers significant events in World War II as they related to Hitler’s health and mental state. Blitzed is a total page-turner and it will teach you all sorts of crazy things about one of the evilest men in history.
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe ($11.99) takes on the complex subject of the Troubles in Ireland. It explores the issue through the lens of those who experienced it on both sides. I grew up listening to a lot of U2, so I’ve always been fascinated with this period in Irish history. After reading this book, I felt so much more knowledgeable about something I’d only ever heard snippets about. Keefe takes very specific stories of members of the IRA and families impacted by the conflict. He turns those stories into a broader conversation about the heart of the Troubles and Ireland itself. Say Nothing is incredibly well researched. You can tell how passionate its author is about the subject matter, making it easy for the reader to become enthralled in Irish culture and conflict.
Holy Sh*t by Melissa Mohr ($7.82) is a book I came across while doing research for a linguistics class. It’s another one of those books that had so much interesting information. I find myself still using much of what I learned from this book, even if it’s just for fun facts. As it turns out, the history of swearing is long and endlessly fascinating. Our use of language completely intertwined with our culture. So, exploring the history of swearing involves exploring facets of our culture and sociological constructs going back thousands of years. As school-like as all of that sounds, it’s really cool to learn where all the naughty words we use today came from and why we use them like that.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls ($7.79) changed my life. This is the book that made me fall in love with storytelling and made me want to become a writer myself. It is by far the best memoir I have ever read and I can’t possibly recommend it enough. The story of the Walls family, written by Jeannette Walls reads like a novel. It has all the emotional pull of a novel and a story that seems too interesting to be real, but it is. The Glass Castle will make you laugh and make you cry. It’s so well written you won’t even realize it’s non-fiction.
Becoming by Michelle Obama ($11.89) is like the woman herself, engaging, intelligent, and beautiful. The memoir covers everything from Obama’s childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her time as the First Lady of the United States. Her life is one of such incredible accomplishments that defied all odds and it’s a truly inspiring read. Becoming is so good that they’re making it into a Netflix documentary.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander ($14.29) is a poignant exploration of the criminal justice system in America. It expresses very well researched ideas about race and criminal justice. Whether or not you agree with its premise, it raises some very important questions about how our country operates. This book will make you truly think about the way things work. It’s an important read for anyone interested in criminal justice in America.
Filthy Rich by James Patterson ($9.40) is the story of Jeffrey Epstein, the very wealthy pedophile who’s life and death shocked the world and dragged a great many powerful people into a scandal. This book captures all the salacious details of Epstein’s life and crimes while paying proper respect to the victims. Filthy Rich is such a fast read, but be warned it will suck you fully into the hideous world of Epstein and his cohorts.
Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein ($13.07) is such an important book for anyone looking to better understand the sexual landscape we’re all living in today. For anyone raising girls, or for that matter, any child right now should read this book. It’s a great read for parents, but it’s also important for anyone just trying to better understand the world we’re living in as it relates to girls and sex. This powerful and engaging bestseller starts so many important conversations about this complex new world.
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