First, a disclaimer: these opinions are mine and mine alone. I have in no way been influenced or compensated by the publishers or authors.
These are more non-fiction books that I absolutely love. They are not, however, self-help books. You're welcome.
These are un-putdownable. Trust me. Old or new, they deliver: the writing is impeccable. The storytelling in all of them rivals the best fiction out there. You might notice most are about death and/or murder, and usually serial murder. That's 'cause in my next life I am going to be a profiler. Or a rock star. Either way, these books rock.
1 Columbine. Think you know what really happened? Think again. (For example: This wasn't a school shooting, per se. Sound crazy? Check out Dave Cullen's site. And read. This. Book.) One of the best books I have EVER read. No exaggeration. I cannot oversell this enough. Simply put:
"This book is a masterpiece."
— Seattle TimesHere's a warning, though: Don't start it until you have a little bit of free time, or don't need sleep. When I first read it, I was still teaching, and I couldn't even stop reading it, even during class; thankfully, it was test week. Did some of my kids cheat on their tests? Who knows! Who cares? This book was worth it.
2 Another City, Not my Own by Dominick Dunne. An oldie but a goodie. Even if you're not interested in the OJ Simpson case, you'll still be locked into this book. Plus, with all of the OJ talk, documentaries, & TV shows these past few years, it is worth re-reading. No one writes quite like Mr. Dunne.
3 Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. Serial killer alert! Yep, and this one is from the 1880's. I am not that into historical nonfiction, but c'mon, a serial killer who existed before the expression "serial killer," who builds a mansion designed for the most creative & efficient killing possible, AND a smartly-written history lesson on the Chicago World's Fair (AKA, the White City) that was happening at the same time Mr. Holmes was doing his nasty business in the city? Sign me UP. Keep an eye out for the movie. It may or may not come out in the next few years and may or may not star Leonardo DiCaprio.
4 Popular Crime and The Man from the Train by Bill James. The former explores our obsession with crime, & has all kinds of fascinating information on how big crimes of our past that we might not even remember today have shaped society, the law, detective work, and the press, and concludes with a convincing argument for -- wait for it -- h0w to reform our prisons. The latter book makes a compelling case for solving a centuries-old serial murder case. Such meticulous detail. Wow. Creepy & creepier.
6 I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. I have been interested in this case for years, and had started reading this book literally the NIGHT BEFORE he was arrested in California. The attention to detail is just incredible on this compelling and horrifying case. Michelle McNamara had a gift. She will be missed.
7 Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger. Finally! One that isn't about murder, per se. This seeks to understand and explain PTSD in the larger context of who we are as humans, who we were historically, how we live together or apart. Hint: the stuff on native American tribes is beyond fascinating. You'll find yourself saying to your spouse, neighbor, yourself, or a perfect stranger: "WHAT?!!! I never knew that!" A lot. Then you'll make people read it just so you can talk about it.
That's it for now! Let me know below what books that have had you gripped from start to finish. And I'll come back next time with fiction that will make any flight you're on go by in a flash.
Until then, stay Veracious, Voyagers. Stay Veracious.
Oh! I almost forgot: the most terrifying book I have ever read, bar none: Zodiac. by Robert Graysmith. The movie was excellent, but don't ignore this book. Creepiest. They still haven't caught him.