21 comments on “10 Must-Read Narrative Non-Fiction Books

  1. Pingback: 10 Must-Read Narrative Non-Fiction Books | TopRoundups

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  5. Hi George,

    Well, you’ve done it — this is my favorite genre by a landslide. Thanks for this list. I’ve read most of these, but have spied a couple that I need to get my eyes on.

    Two of my favorites I’d like to add:
    The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession, by Allison Hoover Bartlett

    Proust Was a Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer

    Thanks, George!
    .-= Lori (JaneBeNimble)´s last blog ..Righting Time =-.

    • Cheers, Lori and thanks for the additions to the list.

      For a long time, I thought “How can people read just non-fiction?” Now I see the light and in fact my most enjoyable reads the past few months fall straight into this category

      Have a great day!


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  7. Hello there,
    found you thru Twitter. Love the list, especially John Berendt. Will add Julia Child’s to my list. Here’s one: Chester Himes’s My Life of Absurdity. While it ostensibly deals with Himes’s attempts to have his detective novel’s published in post-WWII Paris, it’s actually a gritty account of the rage he feels towards a country and an industry that refused to value his genius. You won’t be disappointed.
    .-= Carolyn van Es´s last blog ..Time Out… =-.

    • Carolyn,

      Hey, thanks for the recommendations, I’m always looking to add good things to my “to read” list.



  8. Hi George,

    You may want to do a little research on _A Child Called It_ before you put it on any “non-fiction” lists.

    Narrative Non-Fiction is a wonderful genre and I thank you for taking the time to address it.

    • Hi Jack,

      Thanks for coming by. I did read it and I ultimately found it on several non-fiction lists when I was researching the article. Hmmm. Interesting. I’ll check it out, thanks for coming by!


  9. Who let those little bastards into the stacks at the University??? Looks like an elementary school library after the Kindergartners are loosed :) Great list! I’ve even read some of those! Conan the Librarian

    • Chris! Warms the cockles of me heart to see you here!

      I’ve read one or two and these are absolutely on my list of “must reads”.

      Heh. Kindergarten + library stacks = mayhem – squared.

      Have a wonderful day!


  10. It’s good that you are focusing on this genre. I see that some of these (Angela’s Ashes, etc.) are straight memoirs. Does narrative nonfiction include memoir? In other words, is it an umbrella term that covers any nonfiction book presented in a narrative or novelistic form?

    Here are two I would put on my list. One is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. While this book is typically considered philosophy, it is novelistic in form and an incredible read. My other choice is “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr. This book is about a legal case over corporate pollution in Massachusetts.

    • My question too. Where do you draw the line between memoir and narrative non-fiction? Is it in the style of the writing? And the difference between memoir and autobiography? Again, the style of writing?

      • Cathy,

        I just researched a bit and from what I gather, an autobiography tends to focus on the writer’s complete past and a memoir is more focused on a particular aspect of their past. As well, a memoir usually looks at a specific time period.

        Narrative non-fiction is all inclusive of the sub genres of autobiography or memoir.

        Hope this helps. It was fun to research these!


  11. Thanks for the boost to the genre! Would you mind a small self promotion: Pappy Poli-tics Localis; authorhouse.com by, well….me.
    Pappy was an Iwo Jima vet, dble masters, most successful political campaign manager of his day, 22 wins no loses. He used politics as a medium to help me get through a difficult time. In the end I have a “Private Ryan” experience. I would be flattered!

  12. Pingback: 5 Nonfiction Narrative Sites | Eye Watch Everything

  13. Pingback: 10 Nonfiction Narrative Sites | Eye Watch Everything

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