I just realized that I really enjoy stories -- both fiction and nonfiction, and across all media and genres (movies, books, journalism, etc) -- about or featuring extremely focused people. Whether dedicated, pared-down, driven, or even obsessive, sympathetic or sinister, they fascinate me. (Examples inside.) I'd love recommendations for stories, articles, and other materials about people like this: [more inside]
Hi! I'm teaching a writing class and would love some examples of great profiles (famous people, ordinary people, whatever). They can be long New Yorker-style ones, or newspaper articles, or whatever -- anything that is nonfiction and skillfully captures a person (or is intended to). Short ones would be particularly helpful. Any recommendations of ones you love?
How can I read more about life in countries other than the USA? [more inside]
Does each individual nonfiction work (books, documentaries, etc) on the same topic (a particular event, for example, or a historical life story) have its own separate set of film rights to be bought? [more inside]
I just finished reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer again and it was just as incredible if not more so the second time around. I'm wondering if there are other nonfiction books of similar quality and comprehensiveness for other topics - primarily looking for a diabetes book but also interested in any other comparable books. [more inside]
Embarrassingly simple question-- has there been recently published a book about the history of the British (cozy?) mystery? [more inside]
I won't be able to afford much travel in the next year or two. In the meantime, I'd love to be swept away with rich and vivid descriptions of faraway places. The more introspective, the better. Can be either non-fiction or fiction; essays/short stories or longer format writing; graphic novels are fine; am open to any locations. Bonus points if it also focuses on local food, and/or has an ethnographic approach, and/or is written from a woman's perspective. [more inside]
I find the legal and operational nooks and crannies of running a startup detailed in Neal Stephenson's novel Cryptonomicon fascinating. (Example: "People like Avi and Beryl, who have been in business a lot, have this noticeable preference for two-person conversations [to protect other corporate officers].") Do you have any recommendations for novels or non-fiction with similar storylines, passages and advice?
Can you recommend some rousing, feel-good non-fiction? [more inside]
I'm looking for books or blogs about actors trying to break into show business. Fiction or non-fiction. [more inside]
What are the best history (non-fiction) books concerned with the Oregon Territory, the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, the Puget Sound region, or Seattle?
I'd like to read some great non-fiction books about political revolutions, both successful and failed. I'm particularly interested in the past couple hundred years of history, and in revolutions involving (former?) colonies. [more inside]
Someone recently told me that Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and Tony Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels evoked a significantly New Mexico/Southwestern feeling to the point that these books helped them stave off homesickness when they were living elsewhere. What other novels and authors capture and portray a sense of place that makes you feel like you're back in a place that you remember? I know some authors are known for writing about certain settings, but which works really capture the place as felt by someone who lives or lived there?
I'd like to add to my husband's very small library of books that have to do with fishing. Not limited specifically to just fishing, but more or less general maritime activities, such as crabbing, or boat-building, or mysteries of the deep....that sort of thing. [more inside]
How can I get better at organizing my ideas in writing? I want to be able to write essays, long-form blog posts, articles, etc. I want to be able to use in-depth writing as a tool to accomplish things, instead of just enduring it when it comes up. I'm interested in resources (classes? books?), techniques, and advice. [more inside]
There have been a few punctuated instances in health. I'm struggling to find a non-fiction article about when [I think] cataracts suddenly became curable and the experiences of those that had newfound eyesight. [more inside]
The title is on the tip of my tongue, but all the words are common enough that Google isn't helping: a recently released nonfiction book that is about the phenomenon of crime writing (i.e. why we enjoy reading about murder) rather than about a specific case. [more inside]
I'm in a mood to read non-fiction history books dealing with sailing ships. Any suggestions? [more inside]
With the recent events in Ukraine and Gaza lately, I've been feeling upset as to what our world has become, and where we as a race are headed. I'd like to understand how we got here. Can you share your favorite books, and explainers that illuminate the history of the Middle East conflicts, as well as that of Russia and Ukraine. [more inside]
I'm neck deep in writing an academic book at the moment, and on the worst days I lose the will to live. To dislodge myself from the daily temptation to nuke the whole manuscript, slit my wrists and be done with it all, I've been trying to keep motivated by reading good accounts of the life of writers. I would love recommendations! Details inside. [more inside]
Like many dads he reads mostly non-fiction books with a historical, military, political and/or transportation focus. But he seems to have read them all. [more inside]
Next week, I am taking the Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland, Oregon. In a previous question about train travel, someone suggested reading books that take place along your train route. This is an idea I love ... and I have at least 47 hours to pass! So: what are your favorite (kindle) books which occur in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, or Oregon? Bonus for rural themes. I am not a big mystery fan, but if it is particularly excellent, I'll read it. Romance is out. Otherwise, I'm open to anything!
I'm looking for essays, books, poetry, nonfiction, or whatever else about normal people's everyday lives and pasts, humorous if possible. I'm looking for stuff in the vein of the New York Press's old columns (like the ones Ned Vizzini wrote) or like Books of Adam. Writing that is casual, but well written.
What great short stories, short novellas, or even short nonfiction pieces can I legally download for free for my Kindle? Some details inside. [more inside]
I read the article linked to in the metafilter post "Who gets to graduate," which showed "Inception"-like evidence of the power of exposing someone to a simple idea in shifting their thought processing and hence life choices. This made me think that it would probably behoove me to use this trick to help myself move forward in my desired direction of being a trusting, compassionate person who can feel a bond with people I meet and not a disdainful, broken asshole who sees people as convenient resources rather than potential friends.So I would like to find a nonfiction, first person account of someone's recovery from domestic abuse (or other traumatic event, I suppose). Bonus: Writing which included wry, dark or acerbic humor would be completely awesome. Thanks, as always.
My friend is graduating next month with a degree in Museum Studies. I'd like to get her a book as a graduation present. Can you recommend any good memoirs or biographies or popular nonfiction books set in the museum world? I would rather it not be mainly about heists or looting or art crime.
I have a hard time finding books to read that can balance holding my attention with not being too difficult or a "hard" read. What non-fiction books are like the books after the cut? [more inside]
If you guys were my real friends, you would have told me about Heavy Metal Parking Lot before now. Back in the day, I used to hear about great documentary films through the grapevine. I guess the best example of this is the Evening with Kevin Smith series. But I never seem to hear about these any more. Heavy Metal Parking Lot looks awesome. What else am I missing? Parameter: nothing really sad. Hands on a Hard Body was kind of a bummer to me, but it's still the sort of thing I'm looking for. Anything about, say, the Holocaust, is out of this league. Thanks, MeFites!
Book suggestions for a gift exchange recipient that combine business, Haruki Murakami, David Foster Wallace, and/or music? (here's hoping my recipient isn't also a Mefite!) [more inside]
I need more good non-fiction. I'm particularly interested in food and history (and, obviously, food history) but I'm getting a bit desperate so I'm open to anything except politics and sports. I prefer more in-depth and non-fluffy books if I can get them, with extra points if they're available on Kindle. [more inside]
Bookclub filter: Nonfiction with beautiful prose? [more inside]
I'm interested in tea and its history, especially its role in global trade and conflict. Are there any great nonfiction books that cover the subject without focusing exclusively on a certain time period or location? [more inside]
Trying to find the perfect book to scratch a partner's literary itch for macrohistories related in some way to music. Details within. [more inside]
I really, really enjoyed Nicholas Schmidle's article "A Very Rare Book" (on a nearly-flawless contemporary forging of a unique copy of Galileo's "Sidereus Nuncius") in last week's New Yorker and I'd like to read more journalism/non-fiction like it. [more inside]
My dad loved the series Deadwood. He also loves biography and historical non-fiction books. I would like to give him an interesting history of Deadwood for Christmas but not necessarily one connected with the show (which seems to be most of them). Any recommendations?
I love reading nonfiction about pharmaceutical drugs, their development, use, methods of action, etc. What's out there lately that I should read? Recent books I've read inside. [more inside]
Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I read an excerpt of a book about a man's experience as a crab fisherman in the Bering Sea in The Reader's Digest. I was only around ten years old, so I wasn't exactly thinking about taking notes of the title and author. Help me now find this book, please! Details inside. [more inside]
You're teaching a massive survey course on the history of the 20th Century. What books are on the syllabus, in what order? [more inside]
What comes next after popular medical non-fiction? [more inside]
I read "The Fifties" by David Halberstam awhile back and loved the interconnecting of chapter-focused-vignettes with the decade as whole, coming together to provide some similar themes. Do you know and recommend any similar non-fiction books for other periods of time or even events?
I'm not-so-shamelessly enamored with true-crime specials like Dateline and 20/20. What can I listen to that has the same flavor? [more inside]
Please recommend fiction and nonfiction novels which depict folklore and mythology created by children who are free of adult supervision and authority. [more inside]
It's an especially slow time at work for me right now, and will be for a few more weeks at least. Please recommend some online time-killers. Specs within. [more inside]
What are some good nonfiction books that offer a window into an exciting but little-known industry or profession through the eyes/life of one person? [more inside]
I'm looking for high-quality, moving, compelling, interesting writing about having ADD; i.e. personal essays, creative nonfiction, that sort of thing. [more inside]
You know how a lot of non-fiction books get really tiresome after the first few chapters? Yeah, me too. Help me compile a list of non-fiction books that can keep my interest from the first to the last page. Challenge: no psych/neuro allowed. Other sciences okay. [more inside]
What are some stories (real/historical or fictional) about good mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships that I can read? [more inside]
Looking for recommendations for the best non-fiction books on the subject of running a large museum/art archive. From any POV, from the fund-raising presidents to the ticket takers, guards, and art history interns in the basements. I'm looking for more large, prestige institutions ("What is it like to work at the Met" for example) but smaller collections or niche museums are also good.
I want to read nonfiction about ritualistic/magical/occult/religious practices or events in a historical/cultural context that will learn me real good without sacrificing the fun factor. More interested in things like druid sacrifice or the Salem witch trials than modern-day ghostbusters or psychics, but all cultures are welcome.
My kids (currently 6 and 9) have become voracious readers. We have a large and varied collection of excellent fiction for them, but the non-fiction collection is more haphazard. They love learning new facts as they read (the type of thing that makes them look up from the book and say, "Did you know...?"). I want to make sure that the collection of books gives them a good introduction to fields where I myself may not have enough knowledge to judge the quality/accuracy of the book. So what's the kid's book in your field that makes you say, "If only every kid got to read this book, people would understand [topic] better."? [more inside]