"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Nonfiction November, Week 3. Be an expert.

Week 3: (November 15-19) – Be/Ask/Become the Expert with Veronica at The Thousand Book Project: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

I am currently reading a book about the Tulsa Race Massacre. The book is crammed with great information and yet I can hardly make myself read it. I decided that the flat nonfiction style of the text would have been enhanced had the author chosen to write it as narrative nonfiction -- tell me a story while you are cramming in the facts.

That got me thinking, what are some of the best narrative nonfiction books I've read over the years? With the help of this little gem, 100 Great Narrative Nonfiction Books, I set to work to identify some of my favorites. If I reviewed it there is a hyperlink on the title so you can read more about the book.

Favorite Narrative Nonfiction, by category:

Essay collection: 

The Environment: 

Science and Technology: 

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach


  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain


  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Travel and Adventure:

  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Stayed 
  • In a Sun Burnt Country by Bill Bryson




  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt 
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann


Politics and related Issues:


  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

What are some of your favorite narrative nonfiction (they tell a story!) books?

Note: Prior to 2017 when I retired I rarely reviewed the adult books I read. I thought I needed to focus on YA titles for my students. Now I wish I'd done it in reverse -- reviewing the adult titles for sure and getting to the YA titles if I had time. Sigh.



  1. You have a number of my favorites on your list: Being Mortal, Boys in the Boat; Born a Crime; and Henrietta Lacks.

  2. I've loved many of these books and our BC discussions of them. I don't read much if any non-fiction on my own.

    1. Between my two book clubs I read thirteen of these books. I always thinks discussion enhance appreciation of books.

  3. What a great list. Fortunately, it hasn't added any to my wishlist, as I already know of all the ones I'm interested in - thanks to all the book blogs I read or my own reading! Well done finding a good theme!


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