Monday, November 22, 2021

Nonfiction November: Week 4: Stranger Than Fiction

This week during Nonfiction November we are focusing on great nonfiction books that almost don't seem real. Here are some incredible, almost-unbelievable true stories that I have loved.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer...amazing places in the world...

The Roads to Sata: A 2,000 Mile Walk Through Japan by Alan Booth...Booth walks 2,000 miles through Japan and takes in the sites and talks to people along the way...

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder...I wanted to nominate Dr. Paul Farmer for sainthood...

The Splendid and the Vile: A Sage of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson...I read this during the presidency of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and I kept wishing Churchill was our leader here in America during the Covid crisis...

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson...The Lusitania...but, honestly, anything by Erik Larson is going to be an amazing story...

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand...You won't believe the life of Louis Zamperini...

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides...Grand and terrible is right...

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord...The best story ever about the Titanic...

Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 by R. A. Scotti...The only time a Cat 5 hurricane hit the mainland US...

The Radium Girls: The Dark Side of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore...yes, young women were employed by big companies to paint radium on can imagine how that turns out...

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown...indigenous people are living happily in a beautiful place in America...Europeans arrive...Europeans want the indigenous people's land...indigenous people make a treaty with Europeans...Europeans break the treaty...indigenous people are all killed or moved...repeat...repeat...repeat...

I had to include some kids' books, too:

Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies by Kathleen Krull (also Lives of the Musicians, Presidents, Athletes, Scientists, Artists, Explorers, Extraordinary Women)...amazing biographies...

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine...He boxed himself up and mailed himself off to secure his freedom...

WildLives: 50 Extraordinary Animals that Made History by Ben Lerwill...If you are interested in celebrity animals...

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat...Nothing short of amazing...

Week 4: (November 22-26) – Stranger Than Fiction with Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks: This week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that *almost* don’t seem real. A sports biography involving overcoming massive obstacles, a profile on a bizarre scam, a look into the natural wonders in our world—basically, if it makes your jaw drop, you can highlight it for this week’s topic.


  1. Those are some great ones! I only had two and they happened to be the last two I read - I'm not sure how that happened!

  2. There are some remarkable titles there, some I've read, some not. But a terrific list.

  3. Thanks for an interesting list. More to consider reading.

  4. It sounds really an interesting and captivating list, thank you for sharing!
    Wishing you a most lovely new week
    XO Daniela at ~ My little old world ~ (Dany)

  5. Fabulous list! I need to share it with my husband, as he reads a lot of nonfiction/history books. Personally, I loved The Splendid and the Vile (my review posted today) and I have The Radium Girls on my TBR shelf. A Night to Remember is one I think I'd enjoy, as is Mountains Beyond Mountains. Thanks, Deb!

    1. You would like Radium Girls and Mountains Beyond Mountains, Les.

  6. I love travel nonfiction and see a few books that look interesting. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

  7. Great choices! Some real life stories are so great that it is hard to match in fiction.

  8. I've read many of these and loved them. Kingdom of Ice is still on my list...

  9. What a lovely post! I haven't done mine yet--have been busy since 9 this morning. My bd has stretched out for a couple of more days. LOL
    I do plan to use Unbroken as well.

  10. I thought this was just about books read this past year, so I couldn't really find any book that fit.
    Plus, I'm not sure I like the idea to compare nonfiction to fiction. Sounds almost like nonfiction has to sound like fiction to be good.
    I did read 3 from your above list. Unbroken was so fascinating!

  11. Mountains Beyond Mountains was a fantastic book and Unbroken was so difficult to read. I'll add Radium Girls to my TBR list as it's a topic I keep meaning to read about.

  12. Great list! I've read several and see others that will now go on my list.

  13. Interesting selections Deb thanks for sharing

  14. These are great!! I loved A Night to Remember. Although I sobbed!

  15. In the Kingdom of Ice was sooooo good. I remember it especially fondly because it was one of the books I read for my first Nonfiction November, when I was just starting to realize how much amazing nonfiction is out there. It's still one of my favorites.

  16. I LOVED Dead Wake. That was such an unbelievable story. Radium Girls was also so great - I just read Kate Moore's new one, The Woman They Could Not Silence, and it was another slam dunk.

  17. I love checking out the Atlas Obscura website and instagram feed so that book is going on my radar! So many interesting nonfiction reads. I'll be lucky to finish one nonfiction for this month but it has been a fantastic read so I can't complain.

  18. This is an excellent list! I love how many historic events your list covers. I have added so many to my TBR.

  19. I'm not the biggest fan of Churchill. Yes, he was awesome during WW2, but he mismanaged colonies very badly. Thankfully, the sun did eventually set on the British empire.

    I have Atlas Obscura on my TBR list - perfect to travel virtually as Covid continues to linger on.

  20. This is such a great collection of books! I love seeing Atlas Obscura on here. I meant to include it on my own list but somehow forgot about it when I started writing.


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