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Have any FUN non-fiction recs?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
The subject matter is not as important as that it is a fun and interesting read. Ok, maybe the topic matters a bit. Memoirs, history, women's history, world religions, travel, medicine, science, art. . .

I just discovered Mary Roach. I also like Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs.
post #2 of 23

Boy with Loaded Gun by Lewis Nordan is a memoir that is lol funny.

post #3 of 23

I love nonfiction, in fact it's 99% of what I mainly read. I'm currently reading 127 hours. It's interesting; about a man that embarks on a small biking/hiking journey in Utah. It's even been made into a motion picture.

post #4 of 23

Try The Glass Castle . . . great, heartbreaking memoir. Another great one is Jesus Land.

post #5 of 23

if you're even remotely into food, try anything by Ruth Reichl. she's funny. another one is The Maneaters of Tsavo by Peter Capstick. It's hard to find (my libe has it, yay!) but if you've seem the movie Ghost and the Darkness, you'll go to any lengths to read that one. thrilling!

post #6 of 23

This is right up my alley, I read mostly non-fiction, all different subjects.


Bill Bryson is very entertaining - A Walk In the Woods, Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here Nor There, etc.


I can't remember the author's name but he wrote Sex Lives of Cannibals, which is not about sex or cannibals (just a little bit maybe).  His girlfriend (later wife) gets a job with an aid organization and they move to a little island in the South Pacific.  I truly laughed out loud multiple times throughout the book.  The follow up Getting Stone with Savages is also very entertaining.  They eventually have a baby and the parts about pregnancy, birth and raising a baby in a foreign country would appeal to a lot of MDCers.


Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight is about the author's life in Africa.  Her parents were British and they lived in Rowanda.  There are very sad parts but overall it is fascinating.


The Glass Castle is good but it made me so incredibly angry at the parents, who were knuckleheads.


I don't think I got this title right but it is something like Growing Up in MacBeth's Castle by Lady such-n-such Campbell.  Her father was the xth Thane of Caldor and the book is about growing up in the castle and life as a royal in Scotland.  Not exactly a happy story but very interesting.


Katharine Grahm's Personal History is one of my all time favorite books.


The Big House by (Someone) Colt is about his family's Cape Cod summer home and how through the generations, the family money runs out and by the time he is an adult, the heirs are forced to sell the house.  The book covers the construction in 1903 until present day.


No One Would Listen is about the Bernie Madoff scandal and how one guy kept reporting him over and over again and the SEC refused to look into it.   The author started contacting the SEC something like 15 years prior to Madoff's arrest.




post #7 of 23

A Renegade History of the United States is a fun, if a bit heavy handed rewriting of the standard American Narrative.

post #8 of 23

I liked The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. Also, although I'm not really a writer, I do like to read about writing, so I'm enjoying a book called Write Your Heart Out, by Rebecca McClanahan.

post #9 of 23

The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson is super-interesting - Maine lobster fishing culture, lobster fishery politics, all about lobster themselves. Corson write for The Atlantic, too.

post #10 of 23

Oooh, looks like  a good thread to follow. There are some good suggestions so far and here's my two cents.

Humorous essayists: Sloane Crosley, Augusten Burroughs, Simon Rich. I really want to like Sloane Crosley more than I do because she's a woman but IMO, hers and the other two pale in comparision to David Sedaris but they all three write entertaining stuff.

"Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue" by John McWhorter-surprisingly interesting and accessible history of the English language

"The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life through the Pages of a Lost Journal" by Lily Koppel-this is a really neat book by a woman who found a Depression era journal in a garbage pile from her apartment building's basement. The author tracked down the diary's owner.

"Leaving Mother Lake" by Yang Erche Namu-an awesome memoir by a member of a Chinese ethnic minority. Her culture is very pro-woman and although I have very little interest in East Asia, this was a fascinating read.

"Confederates in the Attic"; "A Voyage Long and Strange"-Tony Horowitz. I think he has a bunch of books but these are the only two I've read-in both of them he takes humorous roadtrips through American history.

"In Small Things Forgotten" by James Deetz-If you're at all interested in history, this is a great read by one of the fathers of historic archaeology. Really makes you think about material culture and what we leave behind.

post #11 of 23

I second the Bill Bryson recommendation. My favourite is A Walk in the Woods but they're all good.


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver about her family's year of eating local is very entertaining.


I also enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert but 'I haven't read the sequal, Committed, yet.


Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin is an interesting book about a fistula hospital in Ethiopia written by the founding doctor. Some of the stories are terribly sad but the overall tone is one of positivity and hope.


Thanks for the Mammaries edited by Sarah Darmody is a collection of short stories written by a variety of women about their breasts - size, shape, disease, breastfeeding etc.


Ack, I have heaps more but all my books are packed away irked.gif

post #12 of 23

I also recommend Animal Vegetable Miracle, if you haven't read it yet--I loved that book! Inspiring. 


I also recently enjoyed With These Hands: The Hidden World of Migrant Farmworkers Today by Daniel Rothenberg. It's not a "fun" story per se (abuse is rampant), but so informative and (for me) life-view-changing. 

post #13 of 23

I also recommend The Glass Castle and Eat, Pray, Love.


If you want something in on the parenting topic, then I recommend Nuture Shock. It's not a parenting book, but discusses interesting studies that are all related to parenting.

post #14 of 23

I think Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights by Burt Ward is hilarious and racy (though not all that graphic).  I also really like Lauren Bacall's biography.  She had a really fascinating life.

post #15 of 23

I recently read Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldmann and really enjoyed it.  


If you are into traditional food, you might like Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck.  


The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule is a good book about creativity and family life.


The Body Project by Joan Jacob Brumberg is a fascinating book about recent women's history.


The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen is the inspiring story of a family who decides to downsize by half.


I loved Gluten-free Girl by Shauna James Ahern, and I'm not even gluten-free.  It is so empowering to anyone interested in eating healthier in general.  She is a great writer.

post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by wookie View Post

if you're even remotely into food, try anything by Ruth Reichl. she's funny. another one is The Maneaters of Tsavo by Peter Capstick. It's hard to find (my libe has it, yay!) but if you've seem the movie Ghost and the Darkness, you'll go to any lengths to read that one. thrilling!

I second Ruth Reichl, specifically Garlic and Sapphires (I haven't read any of her others).  It had me laughing out loud several times, but was serious in places, too.  Her experiences as a New York City food critic were absolutely fascinating.  

post #17 of 23

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott is a great read. It's her diary from the first year of her son's life. A funny, sometimes heartbreaking, honest look at what it's like to become a new mom.

post #18 of 23

Great thread!!!

I LOVED Gluten Free Girl, I am actually reading it for a second time right now..  Toxic Childhood was a good one as well..  

post #19 of 23

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Unlikely Disciple

The Know It All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

My Lobotomy

The Little Prisoner

Autobiography of a Face

Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Oogy The Dog Only a Family Could Love

The Invention of Air

Black Wave: A Family's Adventure at Sea and the Disaster That Saved Them

Born on a Blue Day

Conversations With Myself

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season

Embracing the Wide Sky

Fly Boys: A True Story of Courage

However Tall The Mountain

Outcasts United

I am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced

Inside of a Dog

Is It Just Me?

It Sucked and Then I Cried

Kitchen Confidential

Late, Late at Night


Little Pink House

Mennonite in a Little Black dress

Mistaken Identity

Mop Men

No Shortcuts to the Top


Poseidon's Steed

Stones Into Schools

The Kennedy Detail

The Scalpel and the Soul

Turtle Feet

Voluntary Madness

Waiter Rant

We Bought a Zoo

You Don't Look Like Anyone I kKnow

Zoo Story

post #20 of 23

Just Kids, by Patti Smith. It's her memoir of her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe and is mostly set in NYC in the late 60's and early 70's.  I loved it.

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