Recommend me biographies or autobiographies that will change my mind that nonfiction is boring.
I usually read fiction and very rarely non fiction. I have it in my mind that nonfiction will be boring. Looking for recommendations for biographies or autobiographies that will change my mind.
Bernard Crick on George Orwell. Richard Ellman on Yeats, Wilde, or Joyce (I prefer his Wilde). Humphrey Carpenter on J.R.R Tolkein.
Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. So interesting, and so beautifully written.
I hear the audio version is particullarly good – he reads it himself.
Try Dead Wake by Erik Larson. It isn’t a biography, but it is very engaging nonfiction.
This Is Orson Welles, by Orson Welles and Peter Bogdonavich.
EDIT. ‘Im Not Dead Yet’. By Randy Bird. I had to read it just from the title ?and it was very good❤️
Who is the author? Could not find it on Goodreads
Wow looking for it too. I’ll keep checking. It is an autobiography of a cowboy paralyzed from a car wreck and his life afterwards.
Randy Bird. Had the title wrong
Rick Bragg, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin, Peter Jenkins, J Maarten Troost.
I love the walk across America by p. Jenkins.
A Walk in the Woods is my favorite Bill Bryson book. Laugh out loud funny!
Patti Smith’s Just Kids
When Breath Becomes Air.
That is next up on my list – just picked it up from the library.
I just read the first two chapters but the memoir of Bruce Springsteen is very engaging.
I hear the audio version is terrific – read by the author.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown, I first read it 10 years ago and it will always be one of my most memorable and favorite books
The glass Castle -Jeanette Walls, Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt , Breaking Night -Liz Murray
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (lead singer to the Red Hot Chili Peppers), anything by Bill Bryson, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
“The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon” by Anthony Summers is excellent or if you have some time (I was recovering from spinal surgery) “Hubris” and “Nemesis” by Ian Kershaw is superb.
I am listening to a pod cast on Watergate now, very interesting
Please share the details @Fran, I love podcasts!
Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Stella Remington) Extremely interesting and not boring at all
Personal History by Katherine Graham. Also Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. (& her others also)
The Serial Killer Whisperer by Pete Earley. I’m listening to the audiobook. Interesting and disturbing!
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Lab Girl. My favorite book of 2016 and I am not into science at all. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733983-lab-girl?from_search=true
If you are going to see the movie the post you need to read Most Dangerous. It is riveting. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23310694-most-dangerous?from_search=true
fiction is hard for me, too. Erik Larson does a really good job with history. I loved Devil In The White City. It doesn’t even feel like you are reading non-fiction. I also loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That is more along the biography side
I received devil in the white city as a gift and haven’t read it yet because it didn’t seem interesting, you’re saying it was good?
My recommendation would also be books by Erik Larson the Devil in the White City was very good as was Dead Wake, how he writes about history is really captivating.
Anything by Erik Larson is good.
@Mia it was great! a very interesting subject matter and it reads just like a novel
I mean non-fiction is hard for me
The Return by Hisham Matar
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
West with the Night by Beryl Markham (of Out of Africa fame)
Not exactly a full biography but I greatly enjoyed The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. Not boring at all
Born a Crime.
I liked this one!
Emperor of All Maladies, a history of cancer is a wonderful read. Also Radium Girls, Boys in the Boy, anything by Erik Larson, Jon Krakauer. The Warmth of Other Suns, Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow Are also powerful books.
I’m reading The Gene right now and I’m considering purchasing the Emperor of All Maladies.. glad to hear that it’s a great read.. I’ll add it to my list of to-be-purchased books this year ?
@Annette I loved The Gene too! Hope you like Emperor of All Maladies. Let me know…
Ah another lover of The Gene.. Hugs.. I’ll get EoAM pretty soon, and I’ll keep you posted!
I loved The warmth of other suns?
Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies
A Primate’s Memoir
I also really enjoyed The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating https://www.amazon.com/Sound-Wild-Snail-Eating/dp/161620642X
Adding more to my list because they keep popping into my head. The Stranger in the Woods was pretty good and a quick and easy read. https://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Woods-Extraordinary-Story-Hermit/dp/1101875682
I thought I was the only person in the world who loved that book. I got it free on my ereader and couldn’t put it down-my son thought that was hilarious!
I meant the one about the snail!!
@Linda it’s one of my favorite books!
@Jenn Excellent to find someone else who loved it!!
L’appart by David Lebovitz; Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
The Sweet Life in Paris by Lebovitz.
So many to pick from! I have opened up a whole new world!
I always find that essays or memoirs are the way to go if you find most non-fiction boring. I highly recommend anything by David Sedaris and the two books by Mindy Kaling.
Books by funny people are always entertaining.
We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union!
“A Child Called “It,” “The Lost Boy,” “A Man Named Dave,” and “The Privilege of Youth” all by Dave Pelzer and “They Cage the Animals at Night” by Jennings Michael Burch
A child called “It” was heartbreaking. I have yet to read his other ones.
Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
Second, Born a Crime
Check out Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
Check out Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Check out Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen
I don’t dig much on non-fiction either, but I’ve read a few that have been really good. I prefer the memoir style like. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/655627.Agent_Zigzag
Hillbilly Elegy; Unbroken; Brain on Fire; Complications; Angela’s Ashes; Destiny of the Republic; All Creatures Great and Small; Bossy Pants; Jim Gaffigan’s books; Astrophysics for People in a Hurry; books by Malcolm Gladwell; I am Malala; Persepolis; March (last 2 are graphic novel format so fast reads).
I liked Brain on Fire too
The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
This book forever changed me when I read it at age 17.
The Girls of Atomic City, Killers of the Flower Moon, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, West with the Sun & a fiction version of her life is Circling the Sun. Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
Was about to add this.
Try the last lecture or maybe tuesdays with morrie those are both really good ones ?
Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand. Awesome book!
Enjoyed the movie
Hillbilly Elegy, Glass Castle, Just Mercy
Yes, I enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy too.
Hillbilly elegy was amazing
I thought Glass Castle snd Just Mercy we’re better.
“Don’t shoot, it’s only me”, by Bob Hope.
Eric Larson books
Tisha – a young teacher goes to Alaska
Starvation Heights – a true crime story
Alive: the Story of the Andes Survivors
by Piers Paul Read
was pretty riveting
Michael Lewis writes some of the best nonfiction around, I think.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul kalanithi, is my first non fiction and I used to think the same you do but this book change my mind
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind!!! Queen Peggy!!
The Glass Castle was excellent!
I 2nd that one! Movie was good too.
This is one of the few I have read, and I really enjoyed it.
How about history too? Isaac’s storm by Erik Larson; Mindhunter by John Douglas; Bonk by Mary Roach; Freakonomics by Dubner & Levitt; An hour before daylight… I could go on??
Into Thin Air, Angela’ Ashes, Unbroken, Sea Biscuit, The Perfect Storm, The Boys in the Boat, The Water is Wide. Just some of my favorites.
I’m with you there, Fran. I want to read different genres but I can’t lie to myself.
Books by Simon Winchester, David McCullough, Douglas Brinkley…
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, by Rebecca Skloot.
I was just going to suggest that one.
If you want something meaty – a specific book by Simon Winchester, “The Professor and the Madman”. It is historical, but really biographical and is such a strange story it reads like fiction. If you are easing into biography or autobiographies and want something lighter there are several wonderful ones out there by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. But some of the best “light” ones I’ve read were memoirs by Robert Wagner and Rob Lowe. Both are great storytellers. And if you get them in Audiobook, they narrate their own books.
Evicted by Matthew Desmond.
Anything by John McPhee.
“I am Malala”, by @Chinelo.
Anything by Dava Sobel! I’ve loved all of her books. Bill Bryson also has several nonfiction books that ate interesting.
If you like Alan Cumming, his memoir is Not My Father’s Son.
Warmth of Other Sons
Non fiction on audio is a little more palatable
The Princess books by Jean Sasson. They are true accounts of a Saudi princess. Can be a tough read just as some things are quite unsettling but they give a good insight to the Saudi culture.
Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd. George Harrison and Eric Clapton’s first wife.
Dear Fattie by dawn French; How to Be A Woman (think that’s the title) by Caitlin Moran; all of Maya Angelou’s books; How Do You Want Me? by Ruby Wax; Things Nobody Will Say To Fat Girls by Jes Baker….
I don’t know what it is but I loathe Caitlin Moran, I always get the impression that her biggest fan is herself and I have nightmares about her gurning mush appearing over some “hilarious” bon mot collection.
@Chris OK. I really like her.
We’re all different Zoe. She can obviously write but it always smacks of self appreciation to me. I also have a major problem with her taking the Murdoch shilling but that is probably just me 🙂
You can start with “the diary of a young girl”.
Founding Brothers. History.
Select an interest ( music. Set. Travel. Business. Etc). Then choose accordingly. I like stories of people who travel,business, and political figures. Right now I’m reading the autobiography of the newspaper family who owned the Washington Post -Katharine Graham Personal Story. Just ordered Franklin and Churchill.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare
Katherine Graham. Madeline Albright. Amy Klobuchar. Queen Elizabeth.
Anne Frank. Ruth Reichl. Maya Angelou. The list is long. Check out biography/autobiography sections at library or bookshop to find a person who interests you. (I prefer books about women, but there are, of course, many good ones about men too.)
I read almost exclusively mysteries and sci fi fantasy. I listed to Ted Turners autobiograpy and it was fantastic.
You might enjoy books by Helene Hanff. My favorite is 84, CHARING CROSS ROAD, but I love all of them.
Boys in the Boat
Have you ever read the true crime writer ANN RULE?Any of her books are riveting well researched and unputdownable. Sadly Ann Rule won’t write any more books as she passed away in her 80s.????????
I am definitely saving this thread to reference! Thanks so much for everyone’s input!
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is amazing. Favorite bios Katherine Graham’s Personal History, and Theodore Rex about Teddy Roosevelt.
Schatten des shwurs by E.L.Bono
Just Mercy – absolutely one of the best books I have ever read. By Bryan Stevenson.
I agree! I will never forget it?
@Sharron – ❤️ – life changing!
@Michelle My wish is that more people would become aware of this horrible justice system that can take away someone’s life. Until more people are concerned this problem will worsen. I feel like I
I meant to say that even though I’m in my seventies I’m still an activist at heart! I think it’s my calling.
Just started the currently-out biography of Leonardo da Vinci. It’s very good. I’d also recommend any books by Eric Larson but especially In the Garden of Beasts (I’m an historian)
Tell me a little more about Leonardo book. Is it a novel or a straight biography? Considering it in audible version.
@Rosalie it’s a straight biography but it’s written in a casual, interesting style.
Irving Stone’s “Men to Match My Mountains”; Virginia Cornell’s “Doc Susie: The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies”; Bill Bryson’s “In A Sunburned Country” (hysterically funny)
Devil in the White City (sorry if it’s been mentioned). One of the least boring nonfiction books ever.
I would love to suggest mine, but that would be breaking the rules ?I love Non-fiction. I find it a great source of inspiration to learn from others by peeking into their reality.
Boys in the Boat, In Cold Blood, Out of Africa.