≡ Menu

47 of my Favorite Non-Fiction Books


I am surprised to say it, but I have never had so little of an opinion after finishing a book as I did after reading Let the Great World Spin. If you recall, that was the book club selection for November.

I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it, and I find that I have almost zero to say about it. It won the National Book Award, for crying out loud!

But still…I just don’t have anything to say about it. That doesn’t really strike me as fertile literary ground to jump off of into a scintillating discussion.

So instead, I made a list for all of you bookworms who are looking for something new, or something old that is worth revisiting. Below you will find 47 of my favorite non-fiction books.

There are serious books and light books. Humorous and grim. Short, long, and on and on. Some of them you will almost certainly recognize. Others I hope will be foreign to you.

They are all books I hope to read at least once more in my lifetime.

47 non-fiction books worth reading

The Disappointment Artist by Jonathan Lethem
Bench Press by Sven Lindqvist
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zombardo
Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture by John Conroy
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays by George Orwell
Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens
Willie & Joe: The World War II Years by Bill Mauldin
Steroid Nation by John Assael
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Is Sex Necessary? By James Thurber and E.B. White
Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag
Shall The Circle be Unbroken? by Studs Terkel
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
The Freedom Manifesto by Tom Hodgkinson
The Groucho Letters by Groucho Marx
Songbook by Nick Hornby
On Ugliness by Umberto Eco
Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson
A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works by Jonathan Swift
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
The Clumsiest People in Europe by Todd Pruzan
An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones
Endurance by Alfred Lansing
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
War is a Force that Gives us Meaning by Chris Hedges
Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (I know, I know, it’s a comic, but it gets cataloged with non-fiction)
The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
Every book its Reader by Nicholas Basbanes
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace

Thanks as always!
Josh Hanagarne

Comments on this entry are closed.