As if I could even scratch the surface of general nonfiction! These are just a few of my favorites, the ones that I would highly recommend. Everything on this page fits into the “highly recommended” category, further subdivided into two categories: one is what I consider to be required reading and the other is everything else. Books are listed alphabetically by author’s last name (last name is in bold). (Compiling all this stuff takes time! So the list will start small and grow as I find time to add to it and dust off my memory.)
Disclaimer: The subject matter of these books varies widely (as does the language); they may or may not be appropriate for children. When do children become adults? I have no idea. Consult your own intuition for that one.
- The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. If you know anyone pregnant or adopting or caring for a child, don’t walk but RUN out (or to your computer/phone) and buy this book! Then make them read it, out loud, of course. Ok, just kidding on that last part. But do make them read it. Or you can read it to them. And thanks to Amy Ewing’s mother (a librarian, of course!) for this recommendation. Really one of the best books ever written and at least part of the reason I have embarked on writing all these book reviews.
- Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne W. Dyer — I first heard of this book on a podcast where Dr. Dyer was a guest on James Altucher’s podcast. Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as possible! I wish I had found this in high school (when I thought I was totally nuts). Better late than never.
Everything Else Highly Recommended by Yours Truly
- Wendell Berry — Also see post from Jan 20, 2016
- Charles Bowden, Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder and Family
- Ram Dass, The Only Dance There Is — This was required reading in my undergraduate class on Mysticism, which was one of the two 3-hour classes I chose to fulfill my religion requirement at Texas Christian University. (The other class was World Religion.)
- Dave Eggars with Valentino Achak Deng, What is the What — Beautifully told tale of a stunningly and shockingly sad story. Especially relevant to the 2015-16 refugee crises. Valentino Achak Deng has returned to the Sudan, built a school in Marial Bai and continues to do great things for his community, including educating girls. You can read about him and donate to his charity at the VAD Foundation.
- Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
- Alexandra Fuller
- Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight — This was the first of her books that I read, after which I promptly read all of her other works listed below
- Scribbling the Cat,
- Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
- The Legend of Colton H. Bryant — Totally different subject matter than her first three. Fabulous story.
- Leaving Before the Rains Came — Her latest was just published and I have NOT read it yet but am looking forward to doing that soon.
- Susan Jane Gilman, Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven — This laugh-out-loud funny travel memoir provided many reminders of my own month-long trip to China in 1993; though Susan’s trip was much wilder ride than mine.
- Barbara Kingsolver —
- Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History
- Jerry Mander, In the Absence of the Sacred
- Alice Outwater, Water: A Natural History — Required reading in my first hydrology class…many thanks to professor, advisor, colleague and friend: Michael Campana! This is my most highly recommended water book for the general public, especially those living in North America.
- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance — Thanks to Scott A. for this recommendation and initial loan. Sorry my cat chewed on your book.
- Steven Solomon, Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization — A bit pedantic at times (even for a water wonk, such as myself) but overall fabulous read that does a good job of connecting the dots throughout most of world history. Not a small task!