Non-Fiction that Reads like Fiction

Download the brochure Non-Fiction Booklist (PDF).


Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific, Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
305.8 KIM
Botanist Kimmerer encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives weave through the natural world and teach us.
The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide by Steven Thrasher
362.1962 THR
Scholar and journalist shares how viruses expose the fault lines of society.
Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean
546 KEA
The periodic table is a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession.
Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives by Neil deGrasse Tyson
901 TYS
An astrophysicist discusses the scientific palette that paints the world differently.

Something for Everyone

Bitter-Sweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain
155.2 CAI
Discusses how a bittersweet state of mind can be a silent energy that aids us.
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
364.66 HIN
Hinton recounts his three-decade nightmare: awaiting execution for crimes he didn’t commit.
Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
365.43 KER
Kerman's story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
782.4126 ZAU
A story of family, food, grief, and endurance.
His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels
The story of George Floyd and the systems that impacted his life.
What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma by Stephanie Foo
921 FOO
A narrative that reckons with one woman's ability to reclaim her agency.
Odd Girl Out: My Extraordinary Autistic Life by Laura E. James
James has written an honest and revealing account of her life on the autism spectrum.
The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per Andersson
The story of one man’s 7,000 mile bike journey to be with the woman he loved.
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Former iCarly star McCurdy recounts a harrowing childhood and nuanced depiction of grief and trauma.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
921 NOAH
The compelling, inspiring, funny coming-of-age story, set during apartheid and after.
Educated by Tara Westover
The author's experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho.

Adventure Stories

Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land by Noe Álvarez
796.42 ALV
In this memoir, Álvarez forges a new relationship with the land, and with the act of running, carrying with him the knowledge of his parents' migration.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
813.6 STR
The story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again.
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Traces the efforts of Dr. Paul Farmer to transform healthcare on a global scale.

Fuzzy Animal Stories

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
590 NEZ
A collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
On Animals by Susan Orlean
591.5 ORL
This book examines animal-human relationships and celebrates the cross-species connections that grace our collective existence. 
An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong
591.5 YON
Examines how the world of animal senses can help us understand and transform the way we perceive our world. 
Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan
636.7 GOR
Follows the life story of an exuberant Labrador retriever who gets into perpetual trouble.

Food Stories

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
306.4 GAY
Gay digs into what it means to be comfortable in one’s body.
The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard by John Birdsall
641.5092 BIR
The biography of James Beard, and the modern culinary landscape he shaped.
Eat a Peach by David Chang
641.5092 CHA
Memoir from creator of Momufuku Noodle bar and Ugly Delicious-David Chang.
Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
641.5092 REI
The story of Reichl’s journey as editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine.
Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry
641.5636 TER
Food justice activist Bryant Terry breaks down the fundamentals of plant-based cooking.

History Fans

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman
306.0973 KLO
Essays about 1990s popular culture.
Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 by Sarah Schulman
362.196 SCH
Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today's activists.
Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History by Richard Ford
391.009 FOR 
An exploration of the laws of fashion throughout history.
How the word is passed by Clint Smith

How The Word is Passed by Clint Smith
973.04 SMI 
A survey of landmarks that reckon, or fail to reckon, with the impacts of slavery in America. Smith illustrates how some of our stories are hidden in plain view.