Stranger Than Fiction: My Saucy Nonfiction Picks
Though I'm occasionally swayed by business and self-help books, my heart belongs to fiction. But there's one thing I love just as much as a good fiction read--nonfiction books that are so scandalously saucy that you'll think you're reading some damn good fiction.
Here are my favorite nonfiction-that's-crazy-great-enough-to-be-fiction top picks.
I know what you're thinking, That book go sooo much hype that I just can't read it. And that's okay because that's exactly what I thought, too. But, in this case, the hype is well-deserved. There's a good reason this book was on the New York Times best-sellers list for 216 weeks (I'll spare you the calculator, that's just over 4 years).
And the reason, I believe, this book was on the best-sellers list for so long is because the characters are so unique and alive on the page. Between Minerva, the witch doctor who cooks up spells and directs the comings and goings of spirits with wicked dry humor and The Lady Chablis, the larger than life transsexual woman who does whatever she wishes, even to the chagrin of some of Savannah, Georgia's more "refined" residents.
But that's not even the half of it! The majority of the book follows the criminal trial for the death of the male prostitute Danny Hansford at the hand of his lover, Jim Williams, an antiques dealer of international acclaim. Between Jim's wild parties, German Luger, his quivering fear of Danny's unsettled spirit, and his attempts to continue running his antiques business from prison, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a raucous reading adventure.
When you think about writing a dictionary, you probably imagine a tedious task. Not so! Especially not when there's murder and insanity on the books. In The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester has weaved a wild tale about the behind-the-scenes making of one of the world's most important reference texts. The book will take you from the streets of Victorian England to the madhouse and beyond. The Professor and the Madman is a must-read for all the word nerd, macabre lovers.
The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor
If you thought being shipwrecked was something that only happened in Tom Hanks movies, think again. The story first appeared as a series of articles at the Colombian newspaper at which Gabriel Garcia Marquez was writing, and it's part of the reason he had to leave his home country (be sure to read the introduction to find out how!). The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor follows a Colombian naval officer who was thrown overboard a ship and marooned in a raft. From unexpected threats and even more unexpected meals, this is a novella that'll leave you higher than the high seas.
There's nothing quite like fulfilling your dream of moving to a beautiful foreign country only to find that your new dwelling was formerly the scene of one of the county's most heinous double-murders. Preston teams up with Spezi, an Italian investigative journalist, and they interview the man they believe to be the serial killer known as The Monster of Florence. But the story takes a turn for the chaotic when Preston and Spezi become part of the police investigation as they are accused of being The Monster. If you love murder mysteries, this is nonfiction for you.
This is one of those books that got a lot of hype, but, again, the hype is well-deserved. When young Augsten's mother abandons him to her psychiatrist to pursue her literary aspirations, Augsten's world is turned so far upside down that he's practically walking on the ceiling. Between the psychiatrist's wacky ways, including his "Masterbatorium" or divination via excrement, and his family, including wife who eats dog food and daughter who makes all decisions via "Bible roulette," this is a family like none you've ever heard of before. If you're sensitive to mental illness or have triggers about statutory happenings, steer clear, but otherwise, proceed with one of the most hilarious and strange memoirs you're likely ever to read. Running with Scissors is unforgettable.
Do you have saucy nonfiction picks? Have you read these I've mentioned? Tell me in the comments below!