I'm a serious sort and, but for DL, read only non-fiction.
What kinds of non-fiction? Biography? History? Politics? Spirituality?
I recently read Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov and enjoyed it, though there are certainly juicier Davis bios out there.
Perhaps serious sorts who like non-fiction weren't thinking about Bette Davis biographies.
Consider almost anything by Michael Pollan. "Second Nature," "The Botany of Desire" and "A Place of My Own" were all wonderful.
Or consider "The Counterfeiters" by Hugh Kenner. Slim volume, but takes forever to read, because one keeps getting lost in reverie.
Assuming that "serious" doesn't mean that OP has no sense of humor, the first 2/3 of Florence King's "Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady" are a riot. Somehow, though, when she declares herself to be a lesbian about 2/3 through the book, it stops being funny, although the same person wrote the first 2/3. (She's sort of a right-wing mess, incidentally, but the book's still 2/3 terrific.)
Kristin Hersh - Rat Girl
"Teenage: The Pre-History of Youth Culture" by the music journalist Jon Savage. He discusses the major pre-1960s youth movements in Europe and the US and individual youths who "made a difference," including the German Wandervogel, Sophie Scholl and the "White Rose", etc. It's a good mix of social history, sociology and pop culture. Savage has also written extensively about the punk movement in the UK ("England's Dreaming".)
Jon Ronson's "The Psychopath Test' - loved this book! Witty and funny - but some serious shit here too - and feel like I now get it: there really are some people in your life that you need to just walk away from...
Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science' and his new one "Bad Pharma' - should be required reading in schools. So much spurious research and info out there calculated to sell us stuff - blah!
OP said 'non-fiction', R1.
"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. An amazing, unforgettable story of survival and redemption. Louis Zamperini is a remarkable man.
Excerpt from the NYT book review:
In late May 1943, the B-24 carrying the 26-year-old Zamperini went down over the Pacific. For nearly seven weeks — longer, Hillenbrand believes, than any other such instance in recorded history — Zamperini and his pilot managed to survive on a fragile raft. They traveled 2,000 miles, only to land in a series of Japanese prison camps, where, for the next two years, Zamperini underwent a whole new set of tortures. His is one of the most spectacular odysseys of this or any other war, and “odyssey” is the right word, for with its tempests and furies and monsters, many of them human, Zamperini’s saga is something out of Greek mythology.
"Wandering Ghost, the odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn" by Jonathan Cott.
You can google Hearn to see if he is someone you want to know more about. One of the best books I have read.
I don't read non-fiction. I get enough reality in real-life.
You simply must read Get Happy, the Judy Garland memoir.
A juicy train wreck.
I wrote a review on my blog!
Love and kisses!
Reality is for those who can't face science-fiction.
I meant bio, not memoir.
I like science fiction quite a bit too, R12. My favorite story is where an advanced AI - think Stanislaw Lem's "Golem XIV" - murders all cats. Peace breaks out.
The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Schulman (University of California Press)
Very fierce. Fierce!!!! You will think and enjoy thinking even if you have forgotten how.
A History of Russia by George Vernadsky
The Farewell Symphony by Edmund White
The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 by Harvey Sachs
I also read mostly non fiction, primarily social studies, and got a few good recommendations from this. Keep the suggestions coming.
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Thanks for the recommendation, R15. I just ordered it.
I can't recommend it yet because I don't have it (it's coming for Christmas) but the reviews for "The Last Lion: Winston Churchill: Defender of the Realm" has gotten outstanding reviews.
Having waited 18 years since the last volume, I'm really looking forward to it.
"Two Lives, a Memoir" by Vikram Seth
I'm reading "Spencer Tracy" by James Curtis. It really is a good biography; no sleaze, no unsubstantiated accusations. It's probably the definitive work on Spencer Tracy. Anybody who really wants to know about him should read it.
Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise. It's about the science of forecasting.
Former People: The Last Days Of The Russian Aristocracy.
What's it like to go overnight from the 1% to the lethally hunted.