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-   -   Favorite Non-Fiction? (http://forums.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=45678)

littlemel 05-03-2013 12:46 AM

Favorite Non-Fiction?
I recently have found myself more and more interested in non-fiction.

So, what is your favorite non-fiction book?

Ember 05-05-2013 01:38 PM

I really haven't read much non-fiction. I did enjoy reading about Helen Keller years ago. Usually the closest I get to non-fiction are books based on real events but still fictional.

Crump 05-05-2013 03:48 PM


The life and times of the English language, an absolute treasure trove for any writer.

LA GOBFREY 05-07-2013 02:18 PM

I have two non-fiction that I go back to time and again

The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands

The Psychopath Test - John Ronson

Ember 05-07-2013 05:46 PM


Originally Posted by littlemel (Post 582526)
I recently have found myself more and more interested in non-fiction.

So, what is your favorite non-fiction book?

Any recommendations?

Jim Colyer 05-12-2013 01:25 PM

Astronomy! I read Carl Sagan's books back in the day. Now I'm reading Bob Berman.

Ilseum 05-12-2013 02:15 PM

Bill Bryson's books are awesome. Extremely funny and insightful.

I read the diary of Anne Frank not too long ago, and I really enjoyed that too. Though 'enjoy' isn't really the right word to use considering the circumstances in the book :P I just found it really fascinating to read about how she experiences everything that's going on, and I was surprised at how light and positive she wrote about things.

'A year in the merde' and 'In the merde for Love' by Stephen Clarke are also very funny -- France and French customs viewed through the eyes of a witty Brit. Having lived in France for a couple of years, I enjoyed it tremendously because I recognised so much, but I think it should also be a very good read if you're not used to being around French people ;)

Edit: Oh! And the book 'John,' about John Lennon, written by Cynthia Lennon, is also excellent. Really excellent.

RumpledCushion 05-18-2013 08:20 AM

Adeline Yen-Mah's autobiography was beautiful (I think it was called Chinese Cinderella).

Then there's 'Crap Lyrics' by John Sharpe. The title's self-explanatory. It's one of those books that you'll read and giggle at on long car journeys. Really, it's absolutely brilliant.

Classiclitfan 06-11-2013 05:03 PM

When it comes to non-fiction, I am a fan of biographies. I just read a book about the racehorse John Henry recently that was great stuff. Also, I like reading biographies on musicians, movie stars, and sports personalities also.

Mohican 08-11-2013 03:09 PM

Days of Darkness - John Ed Pearce

twm 08-11-2013 03:56 PM

1453: The Fall of Constantinople by Steven Runicman. It reads like a novel, fantastic book.

Synch 08-12-2013 06:11 AM

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
Much, much, much better than the movie. lol

Whiskers 08-12-2013 03:47 PM

I bought Kings, Queens, Bones, and Bastards a few months back. the who's who of the English Monarchy.

Also the bedside bathtub & armchair companion to shakespeare

Gaztegulatxe 09-09-2013 11:07 AM

Either Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, which is an incredibly well written summary of the salient points of his entire philosophy written just before he went mad and ordered the German Emperor to kill himself, or else Donald Keene's massive four-volume history of Japanese literature, which is just staggering in its scope and absolutely fascinating in subject matter.

Agito Z Wilder 11-11-2014 12:23 AM

Well I read a lot of true crime books, I personally love anything by Colin Wilson, they are more collections of events that have happened but still good reads I guess.

MaliciousFriday 11-15-2014 02:47 PM

It would have to be The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

ki11j0y 12-10-2014 07:54 PM

"The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker
"The sense of Style" by Steven Pinker
"Hitch 22" -- Christopher Kitchens (autobiography)
"Economic Calculation In The Socialist Commonwealth" by Ludwig von Mises
"Being and Time" by Heiidegger
"Ecce Homo" - Nietzsche
"Politics and the English Language, George Orwell

JoeMatt 12-11-2014 07:39 AM

Thirty Minute Meals by Rachel Ray.

charleswhaley 12-13-2014 02:28 PM

LSD: My Problem Child by Albert Hofmann

metacarpo10 02-11-2015 12:04 PM

Wow, thats a difficult question. Probably the most important for me is To the Finland Station, by Edmund Wilson.

uncephalized 03-17-2015 06:38 PM

Probably The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins.

Robert AD 03-18-2015 07:16 PM

Dave Sedaris is always entertaining. A lot of his short non-fiction, slice-of-life type stories are available online.

JoeMatt 03-19-2015 03:25 AM

My wife has Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day -- I've only read a few of the essays in it -- they were hilarious.

inkylinks 03-19-2015 08:41 AM

For me it's collections of soldiers' contemporary accounts from the First World War, such as Tommy and The Soldiers' War. As well as providing real insight into the horrors they experienced, there are occasional glimpses of humanity at its finest with the care and compassion shown for others.

I remember there was a particular book I read in my teens (that I've sadly been unable to find again since borrowing) that collected diary entries, letters, and other accounts from German soldiers - I was struck by how closely they echoed the words of their British counterparts.

Mike C 03-19-2015 09:05 AM

Inkylinks, check out the 'Forgotten Voices' series. There are books covering the two world wars and - most harrowing - the holocaust. All are made up of first person accounts, diary entries etc and give incredible insights.

inkylinks 03-20-2015 04:30 PM

Thanks for the tip, Mike C. I own Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust (predictably a difficult, intense read due to the content; needs to be digested in small chunks, I find), but hadn't realised it was one of a series.

KnightofFlowers 03-20-2015 09:18 PM

"The Passion of Ayn Rand"

Checker 09-17-2015 05:48 AM

Excluding philosophy (of which I am fairly well-versed, though I couldn't think of a personal favourite out of the many titles I've read), I'd have to pick The Adventures of Ibn Battuta. I was forced to read it for my first college-level history course, and I very quickly fell in love.

DATo 07-20-2016 12:47 AM

The novel by Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit.

If this were NONfiction people would say it was unbelievable.

Here is a short but good video/documentary about both Hillenbrand and the book.


If this doesn't grab your heart it can't be grabbed.

copenhagen_dipz 07-20-2016 04:06 AM

I tend to be fond of non-fiction books that recount a good investigative journalism story. A couple that are sitting around my room right now are:

Betrayal - The Boston Globe
Crazy town - Robyn Doolittle
All the presidents men - Woodward & Bernstein

I'd also recommend the work of John Krakauer. I've enjoyed most of the things he's come out with over the years. 'Into thin air' and 'into the wild,' in particular.

Last but not least, Isaac Deutscher's 'Prophet' trilogy is probably the best biography I've ever got my hands on. Deutscher had a talent for unfolding historical events in an extremely readable way and his subject led a life reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

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