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Nonfiction I Want to Read

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more nonfiction. Actually, one of my goals for every year is to read more nonfiction. I'll admit that I haven't been off to a great start - I've finished a grand total of zero nonfiction books since September - but to be fair, I've been doing a lot of required nonfiction readings for class. But I don't want that to stop me from extra reading!

I want to be a history or American Studies major, so a lot of the nonfiction that I want to read is history. But there are a few that aren't! Here's a (by no means complete) list of my top priority nonfiction TBR.
ROARING CAMP by Susan Lee Johnson: A couple of days ago in my history lecture, my professor briefly went over the complexities of race relations in California in the time of westward expansion. I was really intrigued - I'm from California, so I'd learned a lot about that time in elementary school, but those kinds of things were definitely glossed over. I asked for a recommendation for additional reading, and my professor told me about this book! It looks really good, and I'm really excited to read it.

CHEAP AMUSEMENTS by Kathy Peiss: This book covers exactly the kinds of things I'm interested in: history of public amusements at the turn of the 20th century, and with a focus on women to boot! I've read and really enjoyed GOING OUT and AMUSING THE MILLION, which are closely related, so I'm pretty sure I'll love this book.

TRIANGLE by David von Drehle: One of my favorite historical fiction books when I was younger was DREAMS IN THE GOLDEN COUNTRY. It mentions the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and I've been thoroughly fascinated by the event ever since. I've seen discussions of it in other books, but I've never read a book entirely devoted to it! I'm sure I have a lot more to learn about it.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND PHILOSOPHY ed. by Richard Brian Davis: I love Alice in Wonderland, so when I saw this book, I had to get it. I actually read the first couple of chapters a while ago (and LOVED them), but somehow, I never got around to continuing it. This is one of the few nonfiction books I actually have with me at college, so I have no excuse to not read this soon.

HIDDEN FIGURES by Margot Lee Shetterly: If you haven't seen the Hidden Figures movie yet, you need to. It's amazing. And it's even more amazing because it's true. I know that things were embellished for the sake of the movie, so I really want to read the book to learn more about these amazing women!

THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank: I seriously can't believe I haven't read this yet. I think I picked it up a while ago, but I think I decided to put it down for a while and then I lost my copy. I've read so much about Anne Frank that it almost feels like I have read it, but I know that's no reason not to.

LIVE RIGHT AND FIND HAPPINESS (ALTHOUGH BEER IS MUCH FASTER) by Dave Barry: This is basically a stand-in for all Dave Barry nonfiction books. I've read about half a dozen of them, and they've all made me laugh until I cried. It's been too long since I've picked one up!

IDA: A SWORD AMONG LIONS by Paula J. Giddings: I got incredibly lucky last semester, and one of my classes featured a guest lecture from the author of this book. Our required reading to prepare was the first chapter of her Ida B. Wells biography. Just finishing that made me sure that I needed to read the book, and after I heard Professor Giddings speak, I knew I had to do it soon. It sounds amazing!

THE QUARTET by Joseph J. Ellis: A couple of years ago, I read FOUNDING BROTHERS by this author and loved it, and I've had this book on my TBR ever since. I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I really need to read it soon.

WALT DISNEY: THE TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION by Neal Gabler: I'm actually halfway through this one! It's gigantic, though, so I still have a long way to go. I love all things Disney, and I'm learning lots of interesting things from this biography. I put it down when I started school, and I really need to pick it up again soon!

WHAT IF?: SERIOUS SCIENTIFIC ANSWERS TO ABSURD HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS by Randall Munroe: Look, a science book! I'm really not a science person, so this is an accomplishment for me. This sounds fun, though! And since it's not written for an academic audience, it's something that I might even understand.

AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes: I love The Princess Bride (the book and the movie, but especially the movie), so this has been a must-read since I first heard about it. I just haven't managed to find a copy at the library yet! I'm really looking forward to reading it at some point, and I'm sure I'll love it.

HOW TO FIGHT PRESIDENTS by Daniel O'Brien: This is something I can read when I'm neck-deep in required history readings and I need something a bit lighter. In case you're wondering, this book is exactly what it sounds like, and it sounds like it's going to be wonderful.
Do you read nonfiction? Do you want to read more? What kinds of nonfiction do you like? What's your favorite nonfiction book? Tell me in the comments!


  1. Ooohhh these all look super interesting. The only nonfiction I ever read is biographies/autobiographies. I should pick up nonfiction more often. Do you ever read auto/biographies?

    1. Sometimes! I'm usually a bit more cautious with those because for me, they're much more hit-or-miss. I read a biography of Abigail Adams a while ago that was interesting, but it also gave no context about international politics (so I was SO lost) and went into a ridiculous amount of detail about the clothes she was wearing if that was something she mentioned in a letter (so I was SO bored). If you want to branch out a little, I'd definitely recommend Founding Brothers! It's a history book that centers around half a dozen pivotal events in the formation of America, specifically the founding fathers' lives, so you get the more personal aspects of a biography and also a larger focus.


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