5 nonfiction books for the fiction fan

Photo credit: Bibliothek Wissenschaftspark Albert Einstein, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nonfiction books can be hard to get into when reading for pleasure. Even avid fiction readers may think they hate this misunderstood genre. If done wrong, nonfiction can become drearily reminiscent of dull textbooks or dense scholarly articles.

However, this genre is vital in this day and age with the rise of misinformation across social media and our digital world. Here are five books that will help you enjoy the nonfiction genre.

“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Not for the faint of heart, this part-undercover-news recount, part story-driven memoir investigates the factory farming industry that now accounts for 99% of the American meat industry. Foer is unbiased in his discussion of omnivores and vegans alike, making this book informative and educational.

“How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster

If you enjoy reading fiction, this book is a must-read. Foster’s lively guide to common themes, motifs and symbols and their history will enhance any reading experience. With modern examples from novels, TV and movies, there is something for everyone in here!

“The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science” by Sam Kean

More of a STEM enthusiast? Try Kean’s 2021 anthology that travels through history, explaining some of the more sinister deeds perpetrated in the name of scientific ambition. Learn about the horrors committed in the transatlantic slave trade and the grave-robbing tendencies of Harvard scientists in this sometimes-squeamish goldmine of fun facts.

“The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson

If you’re not quite convinced that nonfiction is for you, try starting with Larson’s “The Devil in the White City,” a propulsive and engaging story about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Interwoven stories of the architect of the fair and a serial-killing attendee make this fast-paced and intriguing.

“Missed Translations: Meeting the Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me” by Sopan Deb

For readers who prefer memoir style stories, this heartfelt autobiography about a first generation Indian-American is sure to evoke a few tears. A unique look at the intergenerationality of trauma and microscoping of cultural diffusion over the Atlantic, Deb’s story is one that will ring true with children of immigrant parents or introduce you to a new world.