This 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
As 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.
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.
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.
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”).
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
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
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”
I must read As You Wish! Great list of titles!
Check out my TTT.
It looks really good, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your list!
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!
I wish I was more into non-fiction too! I always feel so ashamed to admit I’ve literally read a handful of non-fiction books in my entire life. I hope I get around to some of these this year.
Reading nonfiction books is one of my resolution for this year. I want to read Bossypants too. I love watching 30 Rock and I love Tina Fey as Liz Lemon. Great list!
Tina Fey is amazing :) Thanks for sharing your link!
I never read non fiction but Neil Patrick Harris’ autobiography sounds like a lot of fun, like a game! I hope you enjoy these books when you get to them!:)
It does sound like a lot of fun! I wouldn’t expect anything less from him :)
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 :)
Thanks, Emma! :) I hope you’re having a great day as well! I am checking out your list right now–Classics are my favorite genre so I’m excited to see which ones you’ve listed!
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 :)
Alise! That is so sweet!!! If you wouldn’t mind I will send you my address. I will have to send you my own friendship gift :)
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).
I’m always open to recommendations! I’m more likely to read books people recommend me than if I had just stumbled across it myself, especially when it’s in a genre I don’t typically read. So thanks!
Great list! I’ve heard of many of these, but I don’t read that much nonfiction outside of the history/current events/philosophy&religion/travelogue genres, lol. Should perhaps make more effort (later this year?) to expand my nonfiction reads :)
I need to make a bigger effort, too, hence the genre I chose this week :) I don’t know why, I’m just not naturally drawn to non-fiction I guess.
I haven’t really read any non fiction book’s :/ so can’t help with suggestions :/ Bossypants is supposed to be good.
My top 10 http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/top-ten-tuesday-1.html
Thanks for sharing your link!
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.
I REALLY want to listen to the audiobook of As You Wish. My library doesn’t have copies yet and last time I was at B&N I couldn’t find it there either :( I may just have to buy it from Audible.
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!
Thanks! I think I’ve heard of that one :)
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.
Oh yes, I’ve heard of A Jane Austen Education! I do like literary analysis so I’ll have to check this one out :)
As You Wish looks AMAZING! I need to read that. I own it, but haven’t read it.
It looks so fun! I think I may have to buy the audiobook that’s narrated by Elwes :)
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!
I saw the movie version of Unbroken and it was really powerful! I heard they left out a lot about what happens after the war, so that would be interesting to read :)
I so want to read the Neil Patrick Harris books! *-*
My TTT: http://frannieinthepages.blogspot.it/2015/02/top-ten-tuesday-ten-books-i-cant.html
Yay! I’m glad there are other NPH fans :) thanks for sharing your list!
Wow, cool list!! I have Bossypants in my ‘tbr’ pile and need to read it at some point. Here’s a link to my TTT for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/02/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-books-i-cant.html
Thanks for sharing your list!
I really enjoyed Bossypants. I listened to the audio version and Tina Fey did a great job. I am really curious about a few on your list: As You Wish, Boys on the Boat and Choose Your Own Autobiography. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I do enjoy it when I do read it. Great list, Maggie!
My TTT: http://www.literaryfeline.com/2015/02/where-is-your-bookmark-02032015.html
Thank you!! I don’t read a lot of nonfiction either, so it’s been nice hearing some positive feedback about some of these books (especially As You Wish and Bossypants).
I listened to the audio version of Bossypants and I highly recommend it.
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!
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.
Me too! I need to give nonfiction a chance :)
I don’t really read nonfiction either. I’ve heard SO many great things about Bossypants though.
Me too! I’m planning on reading it soon :)
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