We admit, non-fiction is not OWWR strong suit. We love a good escapist novel that makes us feel for characters and feel joy or pain for them. But that doesn’t mean that we are blind to non-fiction or choose to never read non-fiction. So without further ado, here is a list that Hannah and Laura came up with for OWWR Favorite Non-Fiction
The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson (Hannah)
This book is also on Hannah’s favorite current reads, so there is not much else to say. If you want to learn about the Great Migration of Black families to Northern Cities and how this contributes to things like redlining (please Google) and segregation told through a beautiful mechanism of the individual, please pick up Wilkerson’s book. It is amazing and unique and so informative on America and race.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach (Laura)
Mary Roach’s deep dive on cadavers is incredibly funny, kind, and informative. It seems like an oxymoron to say, “I had so much fun reading this book about cadavers!” but Laura can’t remember the last time she read a non-fiction book that she enjoyed this much. Whether you are curious about the different lives of bodies post-mortem or just a lover of all things science, this is absolutely a book that you should consider adding to your TBR.
Heavy: An American Memoir – Kiese Laymon (Hannah and Laura)
Another memoir. This book beautifully navigates Laymon’s experience as a Black man in America, the weight of his body and the weight of his relationship with his mother. Laymon makes you really feel the heaviness of the title. You are constantly emotional and thinking of what he has gone through. We have both read this book and adored it. There is so much to this book, read it but be prepared for a sharp look on sex, weight, and a gambling addiction. Laymon recently discussed this memoir in an embarrassing moment on This American Life. Laura recommended the audiobook version in her recommendations.
Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell (Hannah)
Malcolm Gladwell is an amazing journalist who does a deep dive into a topic and peels away the layers and adds contexts to things we often do not consider. In Outliers, Gladwell looks at people who are deemed “successful” or “innovators” and breaks down why they may just be at the right place at the right time. The world is built for the time it is in, and it was fascinating to think about. Overall, Gladwell does a stunning job for looking at why someone may actually find success in the world, and how it’s not always hard work. Great for an audiobook and check out his podcast Revisionist History, which is some of the best content.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (Hannah and Laura)
If you listen to OWWR Pod, you know we talk openly about people who seek therapy and how beneficial it is when you need someone (Hannah has had the same therapist for over 10 years). This book makes sure to talk about therapy in a very ethical and helpful way. Its stories are fascinating and entirely human. We both loved the stories of the clients, but agreed that the author’s personal journey and self-reflection were amazing and what kept drawing us in. Whether you have been to therapy or not, this glimpse into the life of a therapist and her experiences with her clients and a therapist of her own is well worth the read. Gottlieb also does a stunning job at making sure we root for different people, everyone gets a spotlight and characters you are frustrated with on one hand are the people you understand the most on the next page. That’s because they’re just people.
Catch and Kill – Ronan Farrow (Laura)
Ronan Farrow gives us the behind the scenes story of his report on Harvey Weinstein for The New Yorker. This book is shocking, emotional, and at its core completely dedicated to remaining truthful and depicting events and experiences accurately. Farrow is one of the most brilliant, thoughtful journalists of our time and this book is proof of that. (And once you’ve finished the book, you can listen to the Catch and Kill podcast to go even deeper in the investigation).
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond (Hannah)
Also listed on Hannah’s favorite current reads, people should read this book. The way Desmond opens up housing issues with rental properties and low income families is gut wrenching. The book discusses so many issues that are incredibly pertinent to today’s society, and will have you thinking different about how effective housing vouchers can be and eviction court.
How We Fight For Our Lives – Saeed Jones (Hannah)
Hannah loved this memoir. Jones is wonderful at telling you all about his life, growing up as a gay person in Texas who moves to Kentucky to attend college. We experience his sexuality and his family life, and everything in between. He discusses trying to grow and understand himself. His description of his relationship with his mother had Hannah crying on the interstate as she drove home. You feel so much for this book, and it is a stunning memoir that makes you think of family and your own personal growth.