Best Nonfiction for Fiction Lovers

You’ve been itching to get more into nonfiction books, but sometimes it seems to take you weeks just to get past the first few chapters. We get it. Nonfiction can be slow. The genre is packed with stories that need to be told on topics that you’d love to know more about. But they don’t always deliver the kind of up-all-night reading addiction that your favorite fiction novels do.

Below you’ll find a list of books so page-turningly good, you wouldn’t even guess they’re nonfiction. Spoiler alert: They are. And they just might beat out a fiction book for the top spot on your book pile. 

Just Mercy

Ready for a hard look at what happens when the justice system fails to provide justice?

Bryan Stevenson is a Harvard-educated lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative who has been working for years to represent wrongfully convicted inmates living on death row. Just Mercy is the true story of Walter McMillian who was sentenced to death for the murder of a young girl in Alabama which he claims he didn’t commit. Will Stevenson be able to reverse the conviction?

From Richard Branson’s Reading with Richard book club, Just Mercy is as hard-to-swallow as it is hopeful. Named one of the Most Influential Books of the Decade by CNN, you’ll have a hard time putting this one down. 

The Library Book 

It’s a book about books. If that isn’t what a bibliophile’s dreams are made of, what is?

Amidst the convenience of two-day delivery, audio books, and Kindle editions, we often forget to stop and marvel at our oldest book-lending friends: libraries. Written by Literati Luminary Susan Orlean, The Library Book is both an homage to these institutions as well as an investigation into the mysterious fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, in which over four hundred thousand books perished. 

Part love-letter to libraries, part arson investigation, if you’re a true crime fan with a library card, you’ll definitely devour this bewitching nonfiction. 

The Smallest Lights in the Universe

If you didn’t think it was possible for astrophysics to capture your heart, think again. 

When her world of stargazing and planetary investigation is suddenly shattered by the death of her husband, Sara Seager, a now widowed mother of two, must find ways of tending to and reconnecting with life in inner space. The Smallest Lights in the Universe is an exploration of joy, grief, and the bonds that can be formed both on Earth and beyond it. 

Aside from filling you with hope and human connection, this memoir will likely unearth a love for exoplanets you never knew you had. 

Here For It

Reader Warning: this nonfiction work may result in alarmed and startled roommates, partners, and household pets. Why? Because R. Eric Thomas will make you burst out in sudden laughter so many times, you’ll hardly believe you’re reading nonfiction. 

Thomas is a queer, Black, Christian man in America, and through this essay collection he shares what it’s like to see the world through his eyes. Through his works, Thomas asks, “what does it mean to be normal? And who decides what’s normal and what’s not?” Covering themes from otherness and sexuality to code-switching and self-acceptance, the pages of Here For It are lined with humor, authenticity, and the freedom that comes with being unapologetically you. 

Magnificent misfits unite! Here For It is everything your non-conforming soul has been searching for. 

Hidden Valley Road

What lies beyond the white-picket façade of the Galvin family’s version of the American dream? Violence, abuse, and six children living with schizophrenia. 

Robert Kolker delivers a fast-paced read that is both shocking and highly informative. As one of the first families studied by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Galvin family and their story are deeply intertwined in the science of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses that are generally kept quiet. 

Oprah calls Hidden Valley Road a riveting nonfiction book that “reads like a medical detective journey.” True crime enthusiasts, mid-century historians, and psychological thrill-seekers, this one’s for you.  

Uncover More Nonfiction Finds with Literati

Dive into these titles and try not to be fooled by their quasi-fictitious feel. Every bit of these stories are real, and so are the discussions that will surely follow. Looking for more nonfiction books like these? How about historical fiction, fantasy, and romance reads too? 

Nonfiction and fiction lovers alike will find their reading match in Literati’s collection of conversation-starting chronicles. Join one of twelve book clubs, get your books delivered each month, and never worry about feeling perpetually stuck at chapter two ever again. 

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