Nonfiction Books I’m Adding To My TBR

Nonfiction November is drawing to a close and I now have loads of nonfiction books I’m adding to my TBR list (this week hosted by Rennie and What’s Nonfiction). This was my first year participating and I had a great time choosing historical fiction/nonfiction book pairs, books about space, and narrative nonfiction that reads like fiction. I’m absolutely feeling inspired to pick up more nonfiction next year.

It’s tough to identify why I tend to pick fiction over nonfiction, especially when there are such a wide variety of topics available. Even when I do delve into this genre, I often pick books that read like fiction. Hence, my whole post dedicated to the best narrative nonfiction books. I’m usually afraid that I’ll be bored or abandon a book before I finish. When I already have limited time to read, that seems like a waste! However, when I look back over the nonfiction books I’ve read, I typically rate them highly. Even if it takes longer to read, I still enjoy the experience.

Thankfully, this month dedicated to an oft glanced over category of books is full of inspiration. I’m eager to request a few of the following books from my library. I also discovered a few new authors that have backlists full of titles I’d like to get around to someday. However, this post is dedicated to the best of the best. These are the nonfiction books that I’m adding to my TBR list immediately! As expected, my interest stray all over the place so the topics jump around. I’ve got a graphic novel about cooking, a memoir about a fake German princess, and a book of letters between two booksellers. I’m hoping the variety will keep me going and stay dedicated to reading more nonfiction in 2020. Let me know if you see any books you’ve already read from my list!


Nonfiction Books I’m Adding to my TBR

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett Graff
Recommended by Sarah @ Sarah’s Bookshelves

Summary: Journalist Garrett Graff tells the story of that fateful day in the words of those who lived it. He uses transcripts, classified documents, interviews, and oral histories to capture the experience. Sarah says “This book is currently in the running for my #1 pick of 2019.”


Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith
Recommended by Liz at One More Page

Summary: Liz suggested this book when she read through my list of Nonfiction Books About Space. It describes the lives of astronauts after they’ve returned to Earth. To write this book, Smith interviewed the nine remaining Moonwalkers to learn how how their lives were affected by their trips to the Moon.


American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
Recommended by Steph at Life According to Steph

Summary: Steph commented on my post about Nonfiction Books that Read Like Fiction saying she always thinks of this book when anyone’s talking about great narrative nonfiction! I vaguely remember hearing about this event, so I’m eager to read the whole story.


My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams
Recommended by Tina @ TBR Etc

Summary: In this case, the truth is truly stranger than fiction. My Friend Anna is written by Rachel, a Vanity Fair editor who befriended a woman that claimed to be a German heiress. All was well at the beginning when they enjoyed lavish dinners, nights out, and expensive training sessions, mostly paid for by her friend. Eventually, when the woman’s money mysteriously ran out, she asked Rachel to pay for everything, including an enormously expensive trip. When Rachel started investigating, she ended up helping take down a notorious criminal.


Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Recommended by Angela @ Musings of a Literary Wanderer

Summary: I just recently realized/discovered that graphic novels are about topics other than superheroes! I know I know…late to the party. When I looked into Lucy Knisley, each title sounded more and more interesting! Relish is Lucy’s memoir about key moments in her life as framed by the food she cooked and ate. She also writes and draws about her experience getting married, becoming pregnant, and has a new book coming out from the fog of early motherhood!


84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Recommended by Stacie @ Sincerely Stacie

Summary: This is a classic collection of letters, originally published in 1970, between a freelance writer in NYC and a used bookseller in London. I actually thought this was fiction when I first heard of it! I adore reading books about books and I still maintain contact with one of my high school friends through letters we write to each other. So, I have a feeling this will be an absolute winner for me.


Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley
Recommended by Stacie @ Sincerely Stacie

Summary: Emily Ley just released a new book, When Less Becomes More, but I’m most interested in her inspirational book that inspires women to prioritize what matters most. She focuses on how God pours grace out on us and ways that we can apply that to our lives. I love creating lists, so I’m particularly excited for her section about effective and useful list-making!


Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle
Recommended by Hannah @ The Cozy Reading Nook

Summary: The million little pieces that make a life aren’t necessarily glamorous or far-reaching. But God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness—and sometimes they look a whole lot like packing lunch. I’ve heard this recommended a few times over the years, but feel like I’m at a point in my life where I can get a lot out of this book.


I’ll be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller
Recommended by Orange County Readers

Summary: For everyone who knows the number of Monica’s towel categories, Chandler’s job, and who Joey and Chandler’s TV Guide is addressed to, this book is for you. An in-depth look at the history of the show, this covers pivotal moments, trends that it inspired, and more. I didn’t grow up watching the show, but have now watched and rewatched the episodes more times than I can count.


What books did Nonfiction November inspire you to add to your reading list?


  1. My Friend Anna was a wild story! And I absolutely loved American Fire, it was one of my favorites the year I read it.

    I want to read The Only Plane in the Sky, I’m just hesitating because I know it’s going to be such an emotional experience. But I’ve only heard glowing praise of it.

  2. Oh I DEFINITELY concur with the 84, Charing Cross Road recommendation. It’s been so many years since I read it but have such fond memories – I love that I’m seeing it pop up on podcasts and blogs lately, and I think I’m going to have to re-read it. I’m interested in the 9/11 one too – though I don’t usually read books like that, it sounds like it’s particularly well done.

  3. I’ve been adding mostly nonfiction to my TBR this month. So far I’ve got The Big Short by Michael Lewis, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller and The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You by Lydia Benet

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