Books for the Nonfiction Lover in Your Life

We peddle primarily in romance here, but with the holidays nearly upon us, it’s a good time to consider some genres outside of your comfort zone. Books generally make for terrific gifts. Even if you have some family members or friends who aren’t avid readers, the right book on the right topic can usually get them interested. And if you’re a fan of reading, you probably won’t mind taking some time to explore a bookstore or browse online and find those perfect titles.

Below, I’ll try to give you a little bit of a head start. I’ve done a little bit of digging to come up with a few nonfiction ideas that can be perfect even for people who don’t gobble up fiction. These books cover a wide range of topics and are either new or particularly relevant this holiday season.

Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke

This might just be the most fascinating nonfiction book to come out in 2017. Actually it’s a graphic novel, filled with simple but intriguing illustrations that depict locations (and particularly ruins) around the world. It’s a semi-autobiographical account of the author coping with loss, developing a fascination with ruined and abandoned places, and teasing at the idea of life without a desire for more than simple pleasures or interesting discoveries. It’s a quick but captivating read – a book that, per The Atlantic (who phrased it better than I could), tangles with the puzzle of existence.

What Happened by Hillary Clinton

You may want nothing more than to hide away from politics this holiday season, and I wouldn’t blame you. 2016 and 2017 have both been fairly exhausting for anyone who even loosely follows political news. Furthermore, you may not be a fan of Hillary Clinton, or a supporter or voter! That’s all perfectly fair. Nevertheless, there will come a day when we all look back at the 2016 election cycle as one of the most turbulent, interesting (even if morbidly so), and potentially consequential times of our lives. Clinton’s own account of “What Happened” is a worthwhile read.

The Book Of Bluffs by Matt Lessinger

A lot of people love a good game, and poker is one of the most popular ones out there. The Book Of Bluffs by Matt Lessinger delves into the details of the world’s most famous card game, and specifically the art of bluffing and the ever-important correlation between risk and reward. It may seem on the surface like a dry rules guide, but it’s actually an intricate exploration of what makes poker so interesting to so many people. It may be particularly interesting to the poker player in your life this year because the most promising poker movie in years is on its way to cinemas in December. Molly’s Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, will cover the fascinating drama surrounding a legendary celebrity poker ring.

Revolutionary Summer by Joseph J. Ellis

Discussing “What Happened” above, I mentioned the understandable sentiment of wanting to get away from politics altogether. We live in an age of harsh polarization and nasty politics, and at times it’s easy to look around and wonder how we were ever united as a nation. The U.S. has experienced times like this before, however, and will again – but “Revolutionary Summer” by the acclaimed historian Joseph J. Ellis will remind you where we came from. It’s a fairly brief yet still very deep account of, primarily, the summer of 1776 and the political and military events that sparked the movement for American independence. It’s a humbling read – one that reveals in equal parts the human nature and stunning brilliance of America’s founders. It’s also a comforting book for divided times.

The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

This is an incredible history written in narrative form that is almost difficult to believe. It’s the story of the 1890s Chicago World’s Fair, which was a more monumental event than most of us realize. The fair was America’s chance to respond to Paris, which had thrown a legendary event and awed engineers around the world by erecting the Eiffel Tower. Throughout “The Devil In The White City” we follow Daniel Burnham, the chief architect behind the Chicago fair, as he works obsessively (and somewhat insanely) to show off his own prowess and that of his country. There is a sinister side to the story as well, however, as a notorious serial killer named H. H. Holmes also stalked Chicago at this time, and terrorized people flocking to the area to witness the fair. It’s a good read for this holiday season because a film is on the way, possibly in 2018 – starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.

Feasting & Fasting by Adam Federman

If you’re interested in food and food critics – and who wouldn’t be during the holidays, when treats and feasts are encouraged – then this might be a perfect choice. Journalist Adam Federman has conducted a thorough exploration of the life of food writer Patience Gray, an almost Julia Child-like character in culinary history. The book was listed as one of the 100 notable books of the year just recently.

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