Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books Every ____ Should Read.
The goal here is to fill in that blank. Now, these kind of topics are hard for me, mostly because while I (like most of you reading this) read A LOT, I don’t feel qualified to give general advice like this. So I spent a lot of time thinking on this topic, and finally came up with one that is actually kind of long: Top Ten Books Every Person Who Doesn’t Think They Don’t Like Nonfiction/Memoir But Want to Give it a Chance Should Read.
Like I said, rather long, but a good topic for me, since I’m not really a huge nonfiction fan myself, but in the last couple years have discovered several books (mostly biographies and memoirs) that I have enjoyed. (Plus, I’ve been on a nonfiction kick lately.) I’m sure there are many others out there who have felt the same way about nonfiction as I have, so this list is for you.
Top Ten Books Every Person Who Doesn’t Think They Don’t Like Nonfiction/Memoir But Want to Give it a Chance Should Read:
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – This is a great book for writers, or anyone interested in writing. My favorite chapter was one titled “Shitty First Drafts” that made me feel so much better about my writing, and how bad I feel my original drafts are. Plus Lamott has a great sense of humor that makes this a fun and quick read.
- Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – Despite many personal recommendations from people I know, I avoided reading for quite some time because I saw her as just another “chick lit” type author and at the time I thought I wasn’t interested (I’m learning to branch out more now). However, when I finally gave Lancaster’s first book a chance I loved it immediately. Her sense of humor and the way she tells anecdotes from her life make this such incredibly fun reading, plus I picked this up at a time when I really needed a good laugh.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – This is as much a book about writing as it is a memoir of King’s life. This book is a must read for any aspiring writers as well as any King fan. It gives a fascinating look into the life of the man himself, as well as touching on the accident that nearly killed him – which occurred while he was in the middle of writing this book. It’s a fairly quick read and I highly recommend it.
- Maus by Art Spiegelman – This is a perfect choice for graphic novel fans who want to add more nonfiction to the bookshelves. I admit I’ve only read the first volume at this point, but I really enjoyed it and hope to get to the second part soon. Despite the characters being drawn as animals, I think something about the story being portrayed in a graphic novel format just makes it so much more real – you can see the images instead of just picturing it in your head. This is a very powerful read.
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – This is another fantastic non-fiction graphic novel, and much like Maus, reading it in this format just makes the story that much more powerful, in my opinion. I have several other nonfiction graphic novels on my TBR that I can’t wait to read, simply because these two were so well done, and the medium is such a fascinating choice for sharing about someone’s life.
- The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes – I thought about making this list all books every writer should read, but really it would have come down to just the three of this list, because I haven’t read many myself. But if you’re going to read one book about writing, make it this one. I loved the way Keyes wrote, it was so simple and straightforward, and felt like everything he was saying was spoken directly to me. It really helped me overcome my fears of my writing not being “good enough.”
- The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacey Schiff – I know I’ve already promoted this book several times on my blog, in addition to posting a review, but I just really loved this book. I will admit to some bias because it’s always exciting to read about one’s own ancestors, but Schiff’s writing is just so readable – it’s not like reading a history book at all. This is probably the very first nonfiction history book I’ve read from beginning to end and I loved it. I really liked how Schiff wasn’t trying to solve the mystery, or lay blame on anyone, she was simply trying to make the stories of all the women from that time period heard.
- As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes – This is an absolute must-read for fans of The Princess Bride. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time and I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the movie. The best part is, it’s not just Elwes recollections (which are quite often humorous) but he also includes comments and memories from other cast members, producers, etc. who worked on the film. This is definitely a great read.
- All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks – This was a recent read for Our Shared Shelf and it may be my favorite selection so far. I have never read anything by hooks previously, but I really enjoyed her style of writing and everything she had to say in this book.
- Yes, Please by Amy Poehler – After reading this book I really wanted to be Amy Poehler’s new best friend. I already loved her from Parks & Rec, but this just made me love her even more. So much of her humor and personality shines through in this book, and there were several laugh out loud moments.
That’s just a sampling of the nonfiction and memoirs that I have read and enjoyed, and thanks to these books I’ve been discovering more and more that I actually do enjoy reading nonfiction more than I thought I did. In fact, I am currently reading three other nonfiction books (Living History by Hillary Clinton, An Outsider in the White House by Bernie Sanders, and Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem) that I may not have even considered picking up if it hadn’t been for my enjoyment of some of these books first (and I have a lot more on my TBR).
So, what good nonfiction have you been read and would recommend to someone who thinks they aren’t interested in nonfiction? Share those recs and/or links to your own TTTs in the comments!