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Looking For Recommendations > interesting non-fiction

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Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 636 comments i really want to read some non-fiction because i rarely ever do. I have pretty diverse interests..so i'd be up for reading anything interesting. Some of my interests do include art, fashion, music, Old Hollywood, etc..but i really would be up for reading about anything.

So..any recommendations for me? :)


JG (Introverted Reader) There's an old thread about this here that should get you started, but I'm sure there will be lots of new recs for you here soon!





message 3: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I just finished reading Morgan Spurlock's follow up to "Super Size Me", which was very interesting. It's called Don't Eat This Book Fast Food and the Supersizing of America. Not sure if you are into that kind of thing, but I found it eye-opening!


message 4: by Kandice (new)

Kandice My sons had to watch Super Size Me in school, so I rented it for home. I didn't have fast food for almost 6 months! Unfortunately I broke down and caved, but in moderation!!!!


message 5: by Jamie (new)

Jamie I really enjoyed these: Lucky by Alice Sebold Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley The Geography of Bliss One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics) by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus


message 6: by Kandice (last edited Jan 18, 2009 05:46PM) (new)

Kandice Fiona wrote: "Ugh, I haven't read the book but seen the film. I don't think I could live off MaccyD's for even a day! Heck.

And super size in the US is bloody massive. I got a super size meal in the UK and it w..."



You mean you get less food in the UK? I don't get fast food all that often, but honestly, the kids meal is usually enough. How much do they think one person should eat?!!!



message 7: by Kandice (last edited Jan 18, 2009 06:27PM) (new)

Kandice I think they did makes their portions smaller because of the film. The only thing I LOVE a supersize of is Diet Coke! I love, love, love carbonation, can never get enough, but don't need a trillion liquid calories.

On topic, I am not a big non-fiction reader, but do you mean an educational kind of book? If not, I have read all of Erma Bombeck's and Robert Fulghum's books. They are quick, easy to get away from and back to, and they are non-fiction.

On Wrting is wonderful, by Stephen King, and it's non-fiction.


Petra X on hiatus (or trying to be) (petra-x) I want to read One Day in September now.

I hardly ever read fiction these days and the last three books I read were all 5 star ones.

Better by Atul Gawande is a series of fantastic essays incorporating many stories about the challenges and achievements of some aspects of medicine.

Within These Walls was written by Caroll Pickett about his years as a prison chaplain in Texas, with particular reference to the almost 100 men who were executed and whom he was with in their last hours and at their end.

Kabul Beauty School was about an American hairdresser who set up a beauty school in Afghanistan and the stories of the women who were students and stylists there mixed in among the difficulties of just living in present-day Kabul.

All brilliant in their different ways.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments The most recent non-fiction I read was Alison Weir's Eleanor of Aquitaine A Life, which was good. I'm currently enjoying The Vertigo Years Europe 1900-1914, which is sort of a meditation on the culture of the pre-war era, and organized by year.


message 10: by LaTrica (new)

LaTrica | 49 comments I second the Female Eunuch. I liked it because it reads like one long pissed off letter. It's been a while since I opened it. I should give it a re-read to see how I feel about it as an adult.

I also want to add History of the Breast, an interesting way to look at women's history.


message 11: by KHoopMan (new)

KHoopMan  (eliza_morgan) | 151 comments I highly recommend The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham. It is the true story of a broken criminal justice system.

While I was in law school I worked at The Innocence Project in Southern California, and have seen how common this tragic story really is.


message 12: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) I have Reading Lolita in Tehran A Memoir in Books at home. Has anyone here read it? What do you think about it?


message 13: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 253 comments Fiona wrote: "I want to read some ALison Weir, I've heard great stuff about her."

Fiona, I really enjoy Alison Weir's books; she's a fantastic author. I really recommend her books!


message 14: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (kendrareadsbooks) | 23 comments I second that!! I have not read them all, but am currently working on it. The Tudor period is a very interesting time period to read about & Weir writes in a very engaging manner.


message 15: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (kendrareadsbooks) | 23 comments Perhaps, I haven't read her's that aren't about that period. The ones I have read have all been based in that period. Which ones aren't? I would like to read those as well.


message 16: by Emily (new)

Emily I really liked Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain. He talks about his culinary days and the food industry in general. If you like his tv show you'll like this.


message 17: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 85 comments Fiona wrote: "If period dramas aren't about the Victorian period, then they're about Henry VIII and the rest of them. "

So true!

But, you all have interested me in Weir. I just requested Isabella from the library.

Fiona, she does have one called Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley. From the description it looks like it focuses on his murder but in the process she "shatter(s) many of the misconceptions about Mary, Queen of Scots."


message 18: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (kendrareadsbooks) | 23 comments Thanks!!...now I get to add more to my list to TBR.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments Fiona wrote: "There's Eleanor of Aquitaine A Life which I alm..."

I've read all of those except The Life of Elizabeth I (which is on my tbr pile). I liked all of them, though I think her theory about Edward II is ... wacky.


message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (goosers34) I have heard great things about The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America and other books by this author. Apparently the read like novels.



message 21: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (kendrareadsbooks) | 23 comments Those 2 are by Erik Larson...I have heard mixed reviews on these, although I have been fascinated by the topics themselves. Anyone read these & have opinions?


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 636 comments wow..i have so many new books to add to my list!
thanks everyone!
feel free to keep them coming :)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments I liked Murder in the White City, Sarah.


message 24: by Molly (new)

Molly (slinkyxo) | 8 comments I'm going to have to add some of these to my tbr list. I don't generally read non-fiction..but some of these look great!


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Here's a really touching one

Wesley the Owl The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl

It sounds drippy & hokey by the title, but it is really a terrific read. I saw it here and recommended it to my husband for his audio-while-commuting read, he loved it and then I read it and loved it.

So if it can please both of us, it can prob. please anyone.

She is a wildlife scientist and she adopts a disabled baby owl and raises it in her home. You learn alot in the process, and she's a terrific writer too. If you're into nature I predict you'll love it.


message 26: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) I never used to be a non-fiction reader either, until I found out I was really missing out. They say truth is stranger than fiction, and I've found this with almost every non-fiction book I've read. They really are fascinating, and it's great to be learning something in the process.


message 27: by Debbie (last edited Apr 07, 2009 06:08PM) (new)

Debbie | 25 comments In case you are still looking...my favorites

The Inextinguishable Symphony
The Middle Place
Mountains Beyond Mountains
Three Cups of Tea
In Cold Blood
The Professor and the Madman
The Worst Hard Times
The Glass Castle






message 28: by JSou (new)

JSou If you're looking for some funny non-fiction, I would suggest anything by Mary Roach. Here's a couple of her titles.

Stiff:The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

My favorite out of these was definately Stiff. It was really funny, but at the same time, never disrespectful.


message 29: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 3 comments I agree about Mary Roach.
I've only read Stiff:The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, but I thought it was great and very funny.

I also suggest anything by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air, Into The Wild, Under the Banner of Heaven). He has a writing style that reads very much like a novel and very interesting.

If you're interested in learning more about medicine or diseases, Richard Preston wrote The Hot Zone (about the Ebola Virus), as well as Demon in the Freezer (about smallpox and anthrax), both of which I enjoyed, but could be a bit disturbing to someone else. The books were very interesting, and I've read The Hot Zone multiple times, but diseases are disgusting and parts of these books are a bit graphic (just a warning!)


message 30: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 7 comments I have been trying to add non-fiction, too. I really enjoyed "Animal,vegetable, miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. The part about the chickens is hilarious!
Also I'd recommend "All over but the shoutin': By Rick Bragg. And "Infidel" by Ayann Hirsi Ali, was interesting, although some of the subject matter was hard to read.


message 31: by Amy (new)

Amy I recommend "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. It is an interesting book about why some ideas "tip" and become epidemics and some don't. They give examples of fashion trends, crime, technology, etc. Great book for marketers and gives you an insight into why we act the way we do. He has several other books too: Blink and Outliers.


message 32: by Debra (new)

Debra If you like adventure, searching for previously unknown things, try The Lost City of Z and Shadow Divers. Both keep you reading, especially because they're true.


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 636 comments i actually read Shadow Divers and thought it was pretty interesting even though I really had no interest in the subject before. it was so good though!

Wow..I've got quite a list of non-fiction books to start with!

Anybody have any recommendations as far as the fashion industry is concerned? art? music?


message 34: by GracieKat (new)

GracieKat | 864 comments I really liked the book Geisha by Liza Dalby. It's about the first American woman to ever become a geisha. It's very interesting and gives the history as well as current opinions and how the geisha's role has changed through the years. It's very well written and you can tell that she's very passionate about her subject.


message 35: by Allison (new)

Allison I'm currently reading The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini, and it's really interesting so far. Granted, I'm not quite halfway though.

My fiancee just finished Time Bandit Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs and loved it. But, we are huge fans of the show, and I'm sure that would make a difference. I'm looking forward to reading it, but I'm trying to get through my massive library pile before I start on the books I own pile.


message 36: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 218 comments Kandice wrote: "My sons had to watch Super Size Me in school, so I rented it for home. I didn't have fast food for almost 6 months! Unfortunately I broke down and caved, but in moderation!!!!"

I also liked his book = Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?


message 37: by Mel (new)

Mel (melcdn) | 90 comments I have read lots of nonfiction over the years so I have some recommendations:

For interesting sociological perspectives:
Malcolm Gladwell mentioned above
Freakonomics

For science:
Mary Roach mentioned above
Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything
Arthur (?) Weisman The World Without Us

For history:
Alison Weir mentioned above and don't discount the tudor books because you may think you know the period but you don't know it until you have read her (unless you are a grad student in this period in which case disregard).

For travel:
Bill Bryson - tons of books including A Walk in the Woods (about an attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail), In a Sunburnt Country (about Australia), I'm a Stranger here Myself, etc. etc.
Martin Troost (?) The Sex Lives of Cannibals

For language:
Lynne Trusse (?) Talk to the Hand and Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Bill Bryson's Dictionary of Unusual Words (I think something like this)

For Cooking:
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and No Reservation
Red White and Drunk All Over

Enjoy. My favourite are the sociology ones or the ones that are written humorously so Mary Roach, Malcolm Gladwell or anything by Bill Bryson would be my first choice.


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