Posted in Book Talk

My favorite non-fiction – part 2

Hello again! As promised, here’s part 2 of my favorite nonfiction reads. The first batch was so fun, and I love reflecting on these unique reads. Nonfiction reading seems to be far less common in my usual reading circles. Any chance I get to share them is lovely. 😊


I originally read the first volume of this, so when I heard there was a second coming out I was absolutely delighted. I have a special hatred of moths, so this was honestly kind of a struggle for me to embrace, name-wise. I first heard the stories on The Moth hour on NPR. Man, are they fantastic. A whole range of stories and emotions, and I love their focus on maintaining it as a well-told story. The books lose the character of spoken word, but some of the stories told in this one were destroyed or lost as audio, so the fact that we can still get them in written form is a treasure. These collections are perfect for whatever kind of day you’re having: laughter, tears of joy, empathy, gratitude, inspiration, pride… you’ll get a bit of everything in this. PS – here’s one of my favorite stories, featuring Blue Man Group!

Ah, man. If I hadn’t become a teacher and then accidentally fallen into a tech career, I would definitely have been a chemist or something else lab-related. God, I love chemistry and stuff. And learning about stuff. The cool reactions and precision also appeal to me, like “if you add 2mL it’ll turn into rainbow colors but if you do 2.1mL it’ll BURN THROUGH YOUR HAND.” I’m not much of one for danger, but damn does that get me. Point being I can live vicariously in my Other Life through books like this. Plus they are just fascinating. Everything is incredible if you think about it enough.

The extent of my religious knowledge stems from trailing along with friends when I was growing up to churches, synagogues, temples, and whatever Mormons call theirs (I think it’s still just a church?). My biblical knowledge is approximately nil. So this sounded like a pretty fascinating story, and a way I could learn little tidbits and debates about the Bible without, you know… reading it (though I’ve tried multiple times). It was hilarious and enlightening and honest and cemented him as one of my favorite non-fic writers. I’m currently about to read what I see as the female counterpart, too!

This might be familiar to some people, as it definitely started from the online comic xkcd.com which I admit I only sometimes understand. This book, however, is as close to a spirit-animal-book as I might ever get. I’m always the one asking the apparently bizarre questions to my friends, who then just laugh and add it to my quirks. I genuinely want to know the answers though, and this book is filled with them. Scientifically accurate and completely fascinating. 😍

This one comes down to cleverness and humor and admiration. Boiling yourself down to 6 words is difficult at best, but to do it in a smart and entertaining way doubles that effort. These people, all young, did such a remarkable job. As I often get with my nonfic loves, it contains all the feels. Based on that famous Hemingway trope of the dare, they make you laugh and cry and relate and overall leave you very impressed and ready to boil your own elements down to 6 words. My attempt: Mostly optimistic, but still working hard.


Any familiar titles?

So that’s my list! For now. I certainly plan to continue with these, and hope to find some more gems this year. Honestly there are still so many I could include, but I wanted to highlight some from my range within nonfic.

Let me know what your favorite nonfiction read is in a comment! I’m always looking for more, and it’s generally harder to get recommendations on this genre than, say, young adult fantasy. I’m pretty open to any genre, but especially love stories that make you feel things and investigations into specific events, people, items, etc.

PS again – here’s another Moth story I absolutely love. It never fails to crack me up!

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Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

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