Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Narrative Non-Fiction: True Tales That Read Like Novels
Narrative non-fiction in its simplest definition is "non-fiction that reads like a novel."
Edward Humes says It is hard to imagine a more vibrant genre, combining the immediacy of journalism and the power of true accounts with the texture, read, drama, emotional punch and broad themes of a novel.
I don't tend to read much non-fiction myself, having some left-over baggage from college, I think, that makes me feel I might be tested on the material. I do read gardening books, and biographies of authors and movie stars without any such problems for some reason. I like the idea of narrative non-fiction telling the facts in a more interesting, yet factual way.
Many of the titles on this list have been wildly popular with our customers for long periods of time. Word of mouth is that these are MUST READS, wonderful books!
The titles are culled from the depth of the Web. The Floating Lush, my partner in booklist-making crime, had quite a few suggestions as well.
Read more about narrative or "creative" non-fiction:
Edward Humes Narrative Non-Fiction page
Welcome to the Hinterlands: a Narrative Non-Fiction Blog
Riverteeth: a Journal of Non-Fiction Narrative
About Alice/by Trillin, Calvin
An American childhood/by Dillard, Annie
Among schoolchildren/by Kidder, Tracy
Angela's ashes : a memoir/by McCourt, Frank
The bell jar/by Plath, Sylvia
Book of the courtesans: a catalogue of their virtues/by Griffin, Susan
Bringing down the house : the inside story of six MIT students who took Vegas for millions/by Mezrich, Ben
Byron in love : a short daring life/by O'Brien, Edna
Candyfreak : a journey through the chocolate underbelly of America/by Almond, Steve
Coal : a human history/Freese, Barbara
Crazy for the storm : a memoir of survival/by Ollestad, Norman
The devil in the white city : murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America/by Larson, Erik
Devil's gentlemen: privelege, poison, and the trial that ushered in the twentieth century/by Schecter, Harold
Dispatches/by Herr, Michael
The dogs of Bedlam Farm : an adventure with sixteen sheep, three dogs, two donkeys, and me/by Katz, Jon
Down and out in Paris and London/by Orwell, George
Driving like crazy : thirty years of vehicular hellbending, celebrating America the way it's supposed to be-- with an oil well in every backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in every carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank mowing our lawn
by O'Rourke, P. J.
Eggs in the coffee, sheep in the corn : my 17 years as a farmwife/by Douglas, Marjorie M.
The executioner's song/by Mailer, Norman
Expecting Adam : a true story of birth, rebirth, and everyday magic/by Beck, Martha
Fast food nation : the dark side of the all-American meal/by Schlosser, Eric
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas : a savage journey to the heart of the American dream/by Thompson, Hunter S.
Forger's spell: a true story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the greatest art hoax of the twentieth century/by Dolnick, Edward
Funny in Farsi: a memoir of growing up Iranian in America/by Dumas, Firoozeh
Galileo's daughter : a historical memoir of science, faith, and love/by Sobel, Dava
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius/by Eggers, Dave
Hiroshima/by Hersey, John
The hot zone/by Preston, Richard
In a sunburned country/by Bryson, Bill
In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
by Capote, Truman
Into the wild/by Krakauer, Jon
Into thin air : a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster/by Krakauer, Jon
Isaac's storm : a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history/by Larson, Erik
It's not about the bike : my journey back to life/by Armstrong, Lance
Kick me: adventures in adolescence/ by Feig, Paul
Life and death in Shanghai/by Cheng, Nien
Man bites log : the unlikely adventures of a city guy in the woods/by Alexander, Max
The man who mistook his wife for a hat : and other clinical tales/by Sacks, Oliver
Midnight in the garden of good and evil : a Savannah story/by Berendt, John
A million little pieces/by Frey, James
Mistress of the Elgin Marbles: a biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin/by Nagel, Susan
Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America/by Ehrenreich, Barbara
Notes from a small island/by Bryson, Bill
Notes of a native son/by Baldwin, James
The omnivore's dilemma : a natural history of four meals/by Pollan, Michael
Panic in level 4 : cannibals, killer viruses, and other journeys to the edge of science/by Preston, Richard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek/by Dillard, Annie
The professor and the madman : a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary/by Winchester, Simon
Reading the OED: one man, one year, 21,730 pages/by Shea, Ammon
The right stuff/by Wolfe, Tom
Seabiscuit : an American legend/by Hillenbrand, Laura
The $64 tomato/by Alexander, William
The soul of a new machine/by Kidder, Tracy
The spirit catches you and you fall down : a Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures/by Fadiman, Anne
Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers/by Roach, Mary
The things they carried : a work of fiction/by O'Brien, Tim
Traffic: why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us)/by Vanderbilt, Tom
Will in the world: how Shakespeare became Shakespeare/by Greenblatt, Stephen
A Voyage long and strange: rediscovering the new world/by Horowitz, Tony
A Year in Provence/by Mayle, Peter
The Year of living Biblically: one man's humble quest to follow the Bible as literally as possible/by Jacobs, A. J.