We’re over the halfway point of Nonfiction November and it’s time to share our favorite nonfiction books. This week is hosted by Leann at Shelf Aware. Head over the linkup for more best nonfiction lists! Since there are such a wide variety of nonfiction topics, it can be difficult to choose favorites. Maybe you like a gripping memoir for it’s raw honesty or a narrative nonfiction because it’s as fast-paced as a novel.
Here at Literary Quicksand we’re sharing the best nonfiction books we’ve read, so you’ll find a mix of books for every taste. Let us know in the comments if you’ve read any of our selections or if we missed your favorite!
LQ’s Favorite Nonfiction Books
My love for nonfiction has really blossomed over the past two years or so, mostly because I discovered a nonfiction genre I love: memoir. Peoples’ lives are even more interesting than fiction sometimes, and good writers can make their memories come alive so vividly. You can learn life lessons along with them, have your heart shattered and built back up, or live through jaw-dropping injustice.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
I’ve read a lot of great books in my lifetime, but it’s rare that I read a book that actually changes my life.
This memoir by Amy Silverstein is a must-read for everyone. Whether or not you think you like memoirs, I don’t care – put this on your list, right now.
Modern Loss by Gabrielle Birkner and Rebecca Soffer
This book is the kind of book that makes you feel lots of feels. I like to feel lots of feels and I read a lot about grief and loss, so this book was straight up my alley. If you’ve ever grieved, want to support someone who is, or just enjoy really human, feel-y stories, you’re going to love this book.
This is a memoir told in separate stories, but it really doesn’t feel like you’re reading short stories. They all work together, since they’re all snapshots of the same life: Maggie’s. Each chapter/story is a different brush with death. Yep, the subtitle of this book is “Seventeen Brushes with Death”. O’Farrell is a fantastic storyteller, and I plunged into each one wondering what was going to happen this time, and how she was going to escape it.
I’m admittedly not a nonfiction reader. In fact, I’ve only read 3 nonfiction books so far this year! Luckily, one of them made the cut for my all-time favorite nonfiction, so you’ll find it on my list below. The other books I chose range from a hilarious hiking memoir to a behind the scenes look at a cult classic movie.
Kristin and Jen have created an empire of moms who tell it like it really is. They cover the good, the bad, and the gross parts of parenting with a perfect blend of humor and sentiment. In their first book. each woman talks about memories from their lives. Storytelling is clearly their strength and I loved listening to them talk about meeting their husbands, pregnancy, wine, and more!
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
One of my middle school English teachers introduced me to Bill Bryson and I immediately worked my way through his entire collection. I started with A Walk in the Woods and it remains the best of his work in my mind. Bill decides to attempt to hike The Appalachian Trail, with little preparation or training. This book serves as his journal of the journey and it’s full of sarcasm and dry humor.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
This is the first nonfiction book I listened to on audio and it will forever remain a favorite. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite books and movies, so I loved hearing behind the scenes stories. Cary Elwes is the primary narrator, but he brings in other members of the cast to recount their experiences making the movie as well!
My absolute favorite type of nonfiction is narrative nonfiction, where authors write about a true story in a manner that feels like fiction. These fast-paced, enthralling books make up my own Nonfiction November post on my blog for this week, Narrative Nonfiction Books That Read Like Fiction!
I’m a huge fan of all kinds of nonfiction, but my favorite type is memoirs without a doubt. I love reading about other people’s stories, learning about their struggles, and celebrating their successes with them. Here are a couple of my favorites:
This memoir rocked my world and made it into my top 10 favorite books of all time (I don’t have an actual list, but you get the picture). Trevor Noah grew up in South Africa during the apartheid. His mom was black and his dad was white, making his very existence a crime. If his true identity was discovered, he could be taken from his mother and placed in a foster home. The book begins with the story of his mother pushing him out of a moving car and doesn’t slow down from there. His story is incredible from beginning to end. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Resilience. No word better describes the life of Jeanette Walls. The daughter of parents who shunned society and chose to live on the fringe, Jeanette learned to navigate the world despite living with her neurotic father. This incredible story reads like fiction and is utterly captivating from beginning to end. The entire story you can’t help but root for Jeanette and her siblings, yell expletives at her parents, and hope that she can finally catch a break. If you liked Educated, this is a must-read.
What are your favorite nonfiction books?