If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for the next great book to check out. When I get burned out on fiction novels, I turn to my favorite nonfiction authors to shake things up a little! Here are just a few suggestions for all you fiction lovers out there. Try something new today!
Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic (973.7 HOR) and A Voyage Long and Strange (970.01 HOR)
I love Tony Horwitz’s hilarious books about his travels through time. In Confederates in the Attic, he takes his reader on a funny, touching, and maddening journey through the South, where the land and the people are still effected by the battles and outcome of the Civil War. Tony takes part in a reenactment, talks to Klan members, and journeys from battle site to battle site, learning about the Civil War from the people who live with the War, even in the present-day. In A Voyage Long and Strange, Tony delves into the little-known history of America’s life before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. He unravels the myth of Christopher Columbus (who was a terrible guy, by the way), tries on a suit of armor, and uncovers new information about the myriad of explorers who traveled across the United States before there were ever states to unite. Tony’s particular style of narrative nonfiction is charming, hilarious, fun, and informative all at the same time. I would have never learned as much about the American Civil War or the history of America before the Pilgrims if I hadn’t stumbled upon his books. If you love historical fiction, try some REAL history with Tony’s books.
Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars (571.09 ROA), Stiff (611 ROA), and Gulp (612.3 ROA)
Mary Roach is a fantastic nonfiction writer who explores weird, fascinating, and sometimes icky topics in her fantastic books. Gulp, for example, explores the twisty-turny path taken by our food as it travels through our bodies. Mary asks and answers all sorts of questions you’d never think to ask out loud about the human digestive process. Stiff follows the lives of human cadavers as they aid doctors and scientists in learning about health, medicine, and safety, even if the topic is a little weird for some. In Packing for Mars, Mary interviews astronauts, NASA engineers, and other interesting folks to learn what it takes to make it in space. This book was especially fun to read when I was learning about space exploration and the possibilities of creating permanent settlements on extra-terrestrial planets! Mary’s writing is easy and fun to read, and the topics that she covers are as interesting as they are uncomfortable, even taboo! Sci-fi lovers will get a kick out of any of her books, but I’d recommend starting with Packing for Mars for some hilarious using-the-bathroom-in-space science.
Lucy Knisley, author of An Age of License (GN 741.5 KNI), Relish, and French Milk
If you’re into food or travel, you’ll love Lucy Knisley’s beautiful graphic travelogues and memoirs. In An Age of License, Lucy paints and sketches her way across Europe in her very first solo travel expedition. She explores new cities, falls in love, misses her friends and family, and eats delicious new foods, all while capturing her trip in lovely sketches and watercolors. Lucy’s first travelogue, French Milk, is a similarly touching graphic diary of her month-long stay in Paris with her mother, while Relish focuses on Lucy’s life in food, with drawings of her favorite dishes and some really great recipes thrown in. If you’d like to check out Lucy’s comics, visit her website. Lucy’s focus is autobiographical and most of her comics and books center around a theme of youth and the journey from childhood into adulthood. Her illustrations are playful, colorful, and perfectly suit her stories. If you like fiction novels that feature love stories or coming-of-age tales, you’ll love Lucy Knisley’s books and comics.
If you’d like more suggestions for great nonfiction reads, check out my favorite YA book review blog, Reading Rants! Their nonfiction section is full of great reviews of interesting, fun-to-read works. If you see something you might like but we don’t have it in the library, just request it!