Top Ten Tuesday (35)

10 Jul

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Nonfiction Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!


NONFICTION CURVEBALL! I’m just as surprised that this came out of my head as you probably are, guys. But now that I’m thinking about it, I’m kind of digging it. *Pauses to think some more* Yeah, I’m digging it quite a bit. I don’t read a ton of nonfiction, but when I do find one that I love, I pretty much talk it up forever and love it always. There are a few authors whose names you’ll see more than once on here. You should absolutely take that as a double recommendation to read their books. 

book cover for john Adams by David McCulloughJohn Adams by David McCullough. So THIS BOOK. I have a humungous soft spot for Colonial American history. It was the focus of my history studies in college and I’ve always loved it. Ever since Felicity was my favorite American Girl doll when I was a kid. Historical biographies have a tendency to be pretty dry, but David McCullough’s biography of John Adams was SPECTACULAR. Seriously.

book cover for The Orchid Thief by Susan OrleanThe Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. It’s super funny how many books I have on this list that have become movies. It’s even funnier when I count how many of those movies I’ve actually seen, and I come up with a VERY small number (only two, and one of them is the John Adams minseries). THE ORCHID THIEF is not one of them, either. But it’s fascinating. It takes place in the Everglades, where Susan Orlean chronicles the life of a man who sneaks onto protected property in search of a rare orchid. She talks about how fanatical orchid breeders are, and the orchids themselves. I loved it.

book cover for under the banner of heaven by Jon KrakauerUnder the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. Cults FTW, guys. This book is outstanding. I love the way Jon Krakauer writes, and UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN is creepy and informative. Creepy, because it’s about fundamentalist Mormons who murder some people at the behest of their leader, Warren Jeffs. Informative, because it outlines the foundations and the current state of the Mormon church, something I know next to nothing about. It’s enlightening and scary.

book cover for Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer. AH! This was the first book I read by Jon Krakauer, and it hooked me forever. You guys probably know the movie, but it’s not one of the two movies based on these books that I’ve seen either. I loved the atmosphere and the landscape of Alaska and the way that Jon Krakauer tracks the travels of Chris McCandless to his eventual mysterious death near Mt. McKinley. REALLY good.

Book cover for A natural history of the senses by Diane AckermanA Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. Guys, I first read this book in a creative writing class in college and I still remember parts of it because it was SO captivating and fascinating and beautifully written. It’s exactly what the title says it will be: a tour of the senses and how they work. Diane Ackerman talks about kisses and touch, perfume and smell, food and taste. LOVED IT.

Book cover for in cold blood by Truman CapoteIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Mysterious murder in the heartland, y’all. This one is pretty legit. It’s got suspense and drama. The murder itself is basically without any clues, and the trial of the alleged killers is intense, too.

Book cover for 1776 by David McCullough1776 by David McCullough. A companion of sorts to JOHN ADAMS, this book is all about one thing: the year 1776. Growing up in Jersey not too far from Washington Crossing State Park, I read this and got all those weird feelings that I feel like only nerds must get of how I have maybe been in the SAME EXACT PLACE where George Washington once stood. This book gave me some of those feelings. One of the coolest things about living in Jersey is the Revolutionary War history here, and 1776 gives a great background of it, and more. Lots of awesome stuff happened in 1776, friends.

book cover for midnight in the garden of good and evil by John BerendtMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. This book and Paula Deen have totally turned me into one of those people who likes to pretend that they live in Savannah. Even though, to be honest, this book isn’t necessarily a happy story. It’s basically an unsolved murder of a rich socialite. But the atmosphere of the deep south is AWESOME.

book cover for charles and Emma by Deborah HeiligmanCharles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman. YA nonfiction! LOVED this book, partly because it was just flat out great, and partly because it was the perfect tone and depth for me. It’s basically about how Darwin’s relationship with his very religious wife helped form his theories that became The Origin of Species. Very, very good, guys.

book cover for the Perfect Storm by Sebastian JungerThe Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. You guys know I have a nerd crush on anything weather-related, right? This book is a little bit of the reason why: A story about some blue-collar New England fisherman who went out one morning to fish in the Northern Atlantic waters off of Nova Scotia, where they encountered one of the worse storms at sea basically EVER, and were lost. LOST. The movie was good (GEORGE CLOONEY GUYS), but the book? You know that it was better, right?

Book cover for The hot Zone by Richard PrestonThe Hot Zone by Richard Preston. YO. EBOLA IS EFFING THE WORST. Germophobes, DO NOT read this book. Or do. But note that the subtitle of this book–the story of a hemorrhagic fever outbreak in the Washington, D.C. area–is “A Terrifying True Story.” Basically it tells us how quickly and horribly we could all die from untreated, untreatable diseases. It’s the basis, I believe, for the movie Outbreak, which I have seen. I could not put this down. Could. Not.

Book cover for longitude by Dava SobelLongitude by Dava Sobel. This was one of the first nonfiction books I ever read–or remember reading, anyway–and I was kind of surprised at how much I liked it. I think it appealed to me because it takes place so much on the sea, and I have a soft spot for that shizz. LONGITUDE is the story of the man who FINALLY determined longitude. Before him, seafaring boats would literally be lost at sea once they lost sight of land, so this guy–name is escaping me–figured out how to measure longitude by developing a chronometer, a way to tell time on the water. Trust me, it’s related. Guys, I’m telling you, fascinating as all get out. AND! BONUS for the wary or easily distracted, this book is mad short–not even 200 pages long.


9 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (35)”

  1. emmysondie July 10, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    I completely adore The Hot Zone!! Of course, I have what might be a strange and unusual fascination with deadly viruses… 😛

    I’m not a huge nonfiction person, but like you, when I find one I love, I’ll talk about it forever. There are many people who will never forgive me for recommending The Hot Zone. 😀

  2. Danica Page July 10, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I’m currently reading In Cold Blood, but I haven’t read the rest on this list. 1776 has always been one that I’m dying to read. I’m going to have to check out the rest on this list. Thanks for the reminder to read more non-ficiton.

    Here’s mine

    ~Danica Page
    P.S. If you stop by be sure to check out my giveaway for any book under $15.

  3. tinalinatime July 10, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I don’t read too much nonfiction. I did start 1776 since I was a history major and love American History, but couldn’t get into it. Oh well!

  4. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz July 10, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    I adore nonfiction. I probably read more nonfiction than fiction. This is a great list.

    Here’s my
    Top Ten Books on Happiness.
    It would make me so happy if you stop by!

  5. megtao July 10, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Nope, sorry, I can’t do it. The closest I can get to non-fiction is historical fiction XD

  6. Kristilyn July 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Into the Wild was a very good book! I agree. 🙂 I definitely should read more Jon Krakauer — he’s a wonderful writer.

    Great suggestions!

  7. Patricia BookExhibitionism July 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I seldomly read NF, but if I do and like it, then I REALLY like it. : D

    Patricia // My Post

  8. Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks) July 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    You have some great non-fiction suggestions – and I’m obviously going to check them all out. But I think my favorite suggestion you made is A Natural History of the Senses – it sounds AWESOME!

  9. ashleecowles July 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    John Adams is on my summer reading list and I just heard about Longitude…an amazing discovery that changed the world in ways it’s difficult to comprehend. Great list!

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