If you enjoy books that are testimonies of true facts and you are always looking for literature based on stories from reality, here are some of the best nonfiction books of all times. It’s hard to focus only on just 10 books. As long as “the library of the world” is full of great true stories. So I have included both contemporary and past authors so you may choose your favorite century.
Autobiographies, traveling, spirituality and memoir books
Hopefully, you will find books you have read with a lot of pleasure and also lectures that you would like to discover. So here we go:
- “Arctic Adventure”: This book follows the exploits of Peter Freuchen and his best friend and renowned arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen through the frozen lands of Greenland. In 1910 they decide to leave Denmark and establish a trading post in Thule, Greenland, just 800 miles from the North Pole. The Inuit people welcome them and soon Peter feels more at home with them then in Denmark. He vividly describes their customs, eating habits, belief system. Soon you find yourself captured by these fascinating people and majestic land. I can honestly say that this was one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I was filled with new discoveries of weird Inuit customs and profound respect for the first Arctic explorers.
- “The Edge of the World”, by Michael Pye is the story of how the North Sea was the place where experimental science was born. It is the book of the cultural transformation of men and women, a true informational story about the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of Europe’s mastery over the oceans. Science, technology, moral ideas, and codes are beautifully captured in the book and explain the creation of the world.
“The power of writing is as old as the runes, the early alphabet of the North Sea.”
- “What I talk about when I talk about running”. Haruki Murakami took me closer to the contemporary Japanese literature. He made me fall in love with his bestseller “The Norwegian Wood.” Haruki Murakami considers him a usual writer, a more pragmatic one than the others. Somebody who needs to cultivate and take his inspiration by doing something with himself. So that’s why he considers the act of running a good way to find inspiration and gain the power for writing down. A very modest person, despite his popularity, Murakami describes in this book, written like a journal, how he trains for competitions. And how hard is sometimes to overtake the daily running routine and also the hold-ups in this sport. If you are looking for a contemporary author to read, Murakami is a great idea.
“Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness.“
- “When breath Becomes Air”. Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who’s a memoir, a deep analysis of life and death after discovering he suffers from severe cancer, becomes a worldwide famous book. “When breath becomes air”, a bestseller in the USA first, is now one of the most emotional, bitter-sweet and contemplative autobiographies you could ever read.
“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptotetoward which you are ceaselessly striving.”
- “Struck by a Genius” which is written as an autobiography of Jason Padgett with the help of the journalist Maureen Seaberg. The book presents the life of an ordinary man, who until his late 20s, early 30s was a partying Tomcat. He worked at his father’s furniture store and with no interest in science whatsoever. It all changed after one night. When leaving from a bar he gets mugged and receives repeatedly blows to the head. Soon after this incident, he develops agoraphobia, PTSD, and OCD, but also realizes that he now sees the world differently. He discovers that he can now draw, from a geometrical point of view, what he is seeing. So he starts researching what is happening to him. I don’t want to make a spoiler out of Jason Padgett’s life story, so I won’t say more about the plot.
There is no great genius without some touch of madness.
- “In Cold Blood” is Truman Capote’s last novel. Not because he died shortly after writing it but because writing this novel took everything out of him. Upon release, it became an instant success. Following the murder investigation of the Clutter Family, in Holcomb Kansas, the novel is written in a very impersonal manner. Also being the first non-fiction novel to receive critical acclaim. Truman Capote spent a lot of time documenting for this book. He went on location in Kansas to follow the trials of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. He also went to interview them. In the opening credits of the book, he thanks his good friend and Pulitzer Prize Winner Harper Lee, who helped him with the research.
“It is no shame to have a dirty face- the shame comes when you keep it dirty.”
- “7 years in Tibet” is an autobiographical traveling book, where Heinrich Harrer tells how he got an invitation in 1939 to identify along with other mountain climbers new access to Nanga Parbat from India. All during the 2nd World War break out. From all of them, only the author, Heinrich Harrer and his fellow Peter Aufschnaiter succeed on escaping and crossing the country. Their adventure is correctly described in the book. With ups and downs, difficulties in getting food or the help of natives. In those seven years in Tibet, the two males learned the language. Also, their fascination for the Asian country has culminated with the visit of Lhasa and the meeting with Dalai Lama.
“There are times when visible poverty has its advantages.”
- “Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness”.It is the memoir of one of the greatest presidents in the world. The book surprises the political strengths of his great personality but also his personal struggles. The author made this detailed research. How melancholy and depression enabled the President to become that great personality of the world? The stages of his illness, like the strong sense of humor and tendency to reflect a lot of things to do, helped Lincoln to be the professional he was. This book by Joshua Wolf Shenk is a great lesson of history, much more than what school teaches you.
“Why is it that all men who have become outstanding in philosophy, statesmanship, poetry or the arts are melancholic,”