Expand your horizons by diving into great works of nonfiction. Challenge yourself to read something in each of our 6 nonfiction categories, or devour all of the books in your favorite subject.
How many have you read?
Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest by Ian Zack
The first in-depth biography of the legendary singer and “Voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” who combatted racism and prejudice through her music.
“A thoughtful portrait of an artist who never quite became as famous as she deserved to be . . . A much needed biography of a crucial American artist and activist.”—Booklist, Starred Review
Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark
A biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman behind the long-held myths about her life and art.
“Finally, the biography that Sylvia Plath deserves . . . A spectacular achievement.”—Ruth Franklin, author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics by Leonard Mlodinow
An intimate and inspirational exploration of Stephen Hawking—the man, the friend, and the physicist.
His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham
An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America.
“An elegant, moving portrait of a giant of post-1950 American history.”—Kirkus Reviews
JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Frederik Logevall
A Pulitzer Prize–winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in this revelatory biography of the iconic, yet still elusive, thirty-fifth president.
“An utterly incandescent study of one of the most consequential figures of the twentieth century.”—Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy.
“Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. . . . [A Promised Land] is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid. . . . The story will continue in the second volume, but Barack Obama has already illuminated a pivotal moment in American history, and how America changed while also remaining unchanged.”—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The New York Times Book Review
One Life by Megan Rapinoe and Emma Brockes
Megan Rapinoe, Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion, reveals for the first time her life both on and off the field. Guided by her personal journey into social justice, brimming with humor, humanity, and joy, she urges all of us to ask ourselves, What will you do with your one life?
“Rapinoe’s ‘signature pose’ from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is synonymous to the feeling we got when finishing this book: heart full, arms wide and ready to take up space in this world.”—USA Today
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliot
An unflinching and raw memoir that helps us better understand legacy, oppression, and racism throughout North America, and offers us a profound new way to decolonize our minds.
“In her raw, unflinching memoir . . . she tells the impassioned, wrenching story of the mental health crisis within her own family and community . . . A searing cry.” —New York Times Book Review
Amoralman: A True Story and Other Lies by Derek DelGaudio
A thought-provoking and brilliantly entertaining work of nonfiction from one of the world’s leading deceivers, the creator and star of the astonishing theater show and forthcoming film In & Of Itself.
“A sublime enlightenment. A disappointment only in that it came to an end.” —Tom Hanks
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, and bestselling author explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.
“Some books shake you by the shoulder while others steal your heart. In Untamed, Glennon does both at the exact same time.”—Brené Brown
Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times by David S. Reynolds
From one of the great historians of nineteenth-century America, a revelatory and enthralling new biography of Lincoln, many years in the making, that brings him to life within his turbulent age.
“This big, wonderful book provides the richest cultural context to explain that, and everything else, about Lincoln.” —Gordon Wood, Wall Street Journal
A vivid account of leadership focusing on the first four Virginia presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe—from the bestselling historian and author of James Madison.
“Debates over power and justice are as old—even older, really—than the Republic, and Lynne Cheney has given us a thoughtful and illuminating account of how a group of distinctive Americans, all Virginians, confronted essential questions at the beginning of our common journey.”—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America
Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens
The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was an equal partner in the last great pan-Indian alliance against the United States.
“An insightful, unflinching portrayal of the remarkable siblings who came closer to altering the course of American history than any other Indian leaders.”—Professor H.W. Brands, author of The Zealot and the Emancipator and Heirs of the Founders
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis.
“The kind of page-turner you always want in a history book but rarely get . . . Larson gives the reader a ‘you are there’ sense of the intensity of Churchill’s work with his team on life-and-death challenges—and solving them at a pace I found to be mind-blowing.”—Bill Gates
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
“An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
The Book of Matt: The Real Story of the Murder of Matthew Shepard by Stephen Jimenez
Investigative reporting that has been thoroughly corroborated, The Book of Matt allows for an honest consideration of issues surrounding Matthew Shepard’s murder, including: addiction, depression, classism, racism, media standards, and violence against members of the LGBTQI community.
“As Jimenez deconstructs an event that has since passed into the realm of mythology, he humanizes it . . . Investigative journalism at its relentless and compassionate best.”—Kirkus Reviews
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions.
“The book often reads like a novel, but as anyone familiar with his work for The New Yorker can attest, Keefe is an obsessive reporter and researcher, a master of narrative nonfiction . . . An incredible story.”—Rolling Stone
American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson
A gripping historical true crime narrative, American Sherlock recounts the riveting true story of the birth of modern criminal investigation.
“Heinrich changed criminal investigations forever, and anyone fascinated by the myriad detective series and television shows about forensics will want to read it.”—The Washington Post
Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch
The gripping true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it—an urgent work of literary journalism.
“I don’t know a more complicated, original protagonist in literature than Lissa Yellow Bird, or a more dogged reporter in American journalism than Sierra Crane Murdoch.”—William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Barbarian Days
Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan
In this spellbinding memoir, a private investigator revisits the case that has haunted her for decades and sets out on a deeply personal quest to sort truth from lies.
“In these beautifully written pages we find both a page-turning whodunit and a sobering assessment of the American justice system.”—Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood in the Water
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant
The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life.
“The striking insights of this brilliant book are guaranteed to make you rethink your opinions and your most important decisions.”—Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thinking, Fast and Slow
Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning by Tom Vanderbilt
“Beginners is ultimately about more than learning. It’s about the possibilities that reside in all of us.”—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human
From the author of the bestselling More Beautiful Than Before comes an inspiring book about loss based on his most popular sermon.
“The wisdom Steve Leder shares in this moving book is an essential part of living a beautiful and meaningful life. Read it and feel inspired.”—Maria Shriver
An award-winning psychologist reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how we can harness it to live a healthier, more satisfying, and more productive life.
“This book is going to fundamentally change some of the most important conversations in your life—the ones you have with yourself.”—Adam Grant, bestselling author of Give and Take
The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition by Brené Brown
This tenth-anniversary edition of the game-changing #1 New York Times bestseller features a new foreword and brand-new tools to make the work your own.
Science and Nature:
Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut’s Story of Invention by Kathryn D. Sullivan
The first American woman to walk in space recounts her experience as part of the team that launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained the Hubble Space Telescope.
“Dr. Sullivan starts out headed for the bottom of the sea. Soon, she flies us 200 miles above the sky, using her head, heart, and hands to solve problem after problem — and help us take in views that are out of this world. She does it all with her veneer of astronaut cool, of course. What an adventure — no wonder she loves it.”—Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society
Black Hole Survival Guide by Janna Levin
From the acclaimed author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space—an authoritative and accessible guide to the most alluring and challenging phenomena of contemporary science.
“An extravagant storyteller with a vivid imagination and an acute intellect who is willing to take you on a safe black hole trip, an exciting travel story enjoyed from your chair’s event horizon.”—Boston Globe
The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars by Jo Marchant
An historically unprecedented disconnect between humanity and the heavens has opened. Jo Marchant’s book can begin to heal it.
“Dazzling and profound, The Human Cosmos is a skyward gaze at the void we can never stop trying to fathom.”—NPR Book Concierge
Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova
A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.
“Using her expertise as a neuroscientist and her gifts as a storyteller, Lisa Genova explains the nuances of human memory”—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells
Both a travelogue of the near future and a meditation on how that future will look to those living through it—The Uninhabitable Earth is also an impassioned call to action.
“David Wallace-Wells argues that the impacts of climate change will be much graver than most people realize, and he’s right. The Uninhabitable Earth is a timely and provocative work.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction