Top Ten Tuesday: Nonfiction Books I Want to Read

toptentuesdayThis week I’m talking about one of my least familiar book genres: nonfiction. I have only read maybe a handful of nonfiction, autobiography, memoir, or humor novels, and I don’t know what to say about that except I’m just not drawn to them naturally.

So to challenge myself a bit, I’ve compiled this list of ten nonfiction novels I’d like to read. And please, give me some good recommendations of nonfiction books to read for people who aren’t huge fans of nonfiction!

Top Ten Nonfiction Novels I Want to Read

IMG_0743As You Wish by Cary Elwes

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars.


The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty.


Bossypants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.IMG_0746

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It’s had over a billion page hits to date. A year ago Munroe set up a new section – What If – where he tackles a series of impossible questions: If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, in a pool in a thunderstorm? His answers are witty and memorable and studded with hilarious cartoons and infographics. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel the smarter for having read.IMG_0747

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened?

Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song.


One More Thing by B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak’s One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut collection that signals the arrival of a welcome new voice in American fiction. Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, from the deeply familiar to the intoxicatingly imaginative,One More Thing finds its heart in the most human of phenomena: love, fear, family, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that might make a person complete. The stories in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.IMG_0749

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

“What are my qualifications to write this book? None really. So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book.”

Bacon. McDonalds. Cinnabon. Hot Pockets. Kale. Stand-up comedian and author Jim Gaffigan has made his career rhapsodizing over the most treasured dishes of the American diet (“choking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover”) and decrying the worst offenders (“kale is the early morning of foods”). IMG_0750

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.

Bonus: Documentaries I Want to Watch

in the shadow of the moon

In the Shadow of the Moon

David Sington and Christopher Riley’s acclaimed documentary reveals the history of the Apollo space program through interviews with the brave astronauts who lived through a paradigm-shifting chapter in world history. Devoted to President John F. Kennedy’s goal of sending a man to the moon, the NASA project pushed the envelope of what was humanly possible. But the program also experienced several failures, one of which resulted in tragedy. man on wire

Man on Wire

Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention in 1974 when he walked across a high wire between New York’s Twin Towers. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary explores the preparations that went into the stunt as well as the event and its aftermath.


42 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Nonfiction Books I Want to Read

  1. I really wish I was into more non-fiction. I am trying to read more in the genre. I have to admit, I haven’t read any of these books. I hope that you enjoy them though when you finally get around to them!

  2. I LOVE Tina Fey! Definitely need to add her to my reading list :D

    I don’t think I’ve read many non-fiction books except a few Autobiography’s and memoirs, but Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan sounds like a great read too!

    Thank you for sharing these Maggie and I hope you’re having a great day :)

    If you would like to check out my Top Ten Classics I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read that would be great :)

  3. So many of these I want to read/have enjoyed as well! I really liked The Astronaut Wives Club. That’s a part of the story I really had no clue about and I found it fascinating.

    I randomly have an extra copy of Bossypants that I don’t want/need. I’d be happy to send it your way if you shoot me a message with your address. My new-friendship gift to you :)

  4. Bossypants is awesome – even better on audio:) You probably aren’t looking for more non-fiction reqs, but I just finished “When Books went to War” by Molly Guptill Manning and was blown away. Its about books published during WW2 expressly for our Armed Forces. We published more books during WW2 (120 Million) then Hitler destroyed (100 Million).

  5. I finished AS YOU WISH on audio a week or so ago. So much fun! With Cary Elwes narrating and other cast members stopping by and talking, just lovely. I also read the one about the astronauts’ wives last year. I love the movie The Right Stuff and this was very interesting because there was a lot of overlap.

  6. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction either. My favorite non-fiction book is probably The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks… if you’re looking for more books to add to this list, haha!

  7. I’d love to read “As You Wish.” And I’ve read “One More Thing” — it was quite cool, lots of great stories packed into a small space.

    I’ve been on a non-fiction spurt right now — totally loved both “A Jane Austen Education” by William Deresiewicz (I think I spelled that correctly) and “Hamlet: Poem Unlimited” by Harold Bloom. Both had some amazing literary analysis going on, but the former was also a memoir of sorts.

  8. I just read As You Wish last month, and really enjoyed it! It was actually a gift from me to my daughter, but I stole it back and read it before she had a chance to! I also gave her the NPH book and gave my husband What If! I’ve wanted to read The Astronaut Wives Club (I love reading about space exploration). If you haven’t read it already, I’d really recommend Unbroken — such an amazing, inspiring story! Great list — good luck!

  9. I keep picking up The Astronauts Wives Club in the shop, flicking through it and then putting it back down again. It looks really interesting, but maybe I’ll wait until I see it in a charity shop :p

    I’ve never seen a single bad review for Bossypants though, so you’re probably onto a winner there!

  10. I read Jim Gaffigan’s first book Dad is Fat which was good but I’ve seen a lot of his stand-up so it was a bit repetitive. I want to read As you wish and Bossypants too! I definitely want to start adding memoirs into my reading schedule.

  11. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases | macarons & paperbacks

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