I love reading nonfiction.  It always surprises me to hear people say that they aren’t into it because it is boring.  Great nonfiction doesn’t have to read like a textbook.  Narrative nonfiction has as many twists and turns as fiction with the added bonus of having really happened.

The author I see recommended most often for people new to nonfiction is Erik Larson.  His book Devil in the White City is the story of a serial killer who used the Chicago World’s Fair for cover.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

He also have books on subjects as varied as the Lusitania and 1930s Berlin.

If you want to check out more fascinating nonfiction books, check out these authors.


Jon Krakauer has written a lot about mountain climbing and surviving in the wilderness. I’m a fan of his work in Under the Banner of Heaven about fundamentalist Mormons and Missoula about rape cases on a college in Montana.

Bill Bryson is one of my all time favorites.  He is known mainly as a humorous travel writer. He doesn’t strike me as a very good traveler.  Things tend to go wrong for him which is great for his books.  In a Sunburned Country is basically about everything that is going to try to kill you in Australia.  He has also written books on subjects as varied as the summer of 1927, Shakespeare, the home, and nearly everything. I recommend his books on audio.


I read Unfamiliar Fishes prior to going to Hawaii and found myself spouting facts from this book about the takeover of the islands by white people.  These are my favorite types of books.  The author goes to trips to find out about the history of places and explains it to you as she goes.



Tony Horowitz also uses travel and misadventures to teach history that you may have missed in school.



I love books about famous horses.  That was about all I read growing up.  Seabiscuit is a great book and much better than the movie (of course).  I didn’t read Unbroken but my husband loved it.



I love reading about food almost as much as reading about horses.  Michael Pollan is fascinating and makes you think about the ethics of the choices you make when eating.


A. J. Jacobs is an experimenter.  He takes on challenges that most people wouldn’t want to do and writes about how he did.



I love David McCollough.  I haven’t read all of his books but I always learn so much from them.  They are great on audio too.  The HBO miniseries adaption of his John Adams book is one of the few cases where the movie may be as good as the book.



The Devil in the Grove is one of those books that proves that truth is stranger and more brutal than fiction.  I haven’t read others of his yet.



I don’t run but I like reading about people who do.  It’s a weird quirk.  Born to Run is a great book about a tribe of long distance runners in Mexico and people who go into the canyons to run with them.

Who are YOUR favorite nonfiction writers?