Nonfiction That Reads Like Fiction

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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Ishmael Beah

BIOGRAPHY BEAH

A human rights activist offers a firsthand account of war from the perspective of a former child soldier, detailing the violent civil war that wracked his native Sierra Leone and the government forces that transformed a gentle young boy into a killer as a member of the army.


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The Prince of Frogtown
Rick Bragg

BIOGRAPHY BRAGG

The third installment of Rick Bragg’s bestselling and beloved American saga documents a mesmerizing journey back in time to the lush Alabama landscape of Rick’s youth, to Jacksonville’s one-hundred-year-old mill and the troubled, charismatic hustler coming of age in its shadow, Rick’s father.


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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Steve Martin

BIOGRAPHY MARTIN

The author shares the stories of his years in stand-up comedy in a humorous memoir that recalls a first job selling guidebooks at Disneyland, his early magic and comedy act, his years of honing his craft, and the sacrifice, discipline, and originality it took to take him to the top.


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Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way
Ruth Reichl

BIOGRAPHY REICHL

Reflects on the author’s mother, focusing on her early life as a bookstore owner and housewife and the diaries she kept which had been retrieved by her daughter after her death.


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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
David Sheff

BIOGRAPHY SHEFF

The story of one teenager’s descent into methamphetamine addiction is told from his father’s point of view, describing how a varsity athlete and honor student became addicted to the dangerous drug and its impact on his family.


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Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

EDUCATION MOR

Traces how the author, having been rescued and resuscitated by Himalayan villagers after a failed attempt to climb K2, worked to build schools that would benefit the young girls who were forbidden an education by Taliban restrictions.


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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Barbara Kingsolver

GARDEN KIN

Follows the author’s family’s efforts to live on locally- and home-grown foods, an endeavor through which they learned lighthearted truths about food production and the connection between health and diet.


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The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British
Sarah Lyall

HISTORY EUROPE GRBRIT LYA

An American reporter best known for her lighthearted dispatches on her adopted home in London shares whimsical observations about Tony Blair’s New Labor government and its interrelation with old-world and modern cultural values.


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The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
Diane Ackerman

HISTORY MILITARY WW2 ACK

Documents the true story of Warsaw Zoo keepers and resistance activists Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who in the aftermath of Germany’s invasion of Poland saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish citizens by smuggling them into empty cages and their home villa.


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The Wordy Shipmates
Sarah Vowell

HISTORY US COLONIAL VOW

A cultural profile of Puritan life covers a wide range of topics, from their covenant communities and deep-rooted ideologies to their beliefs about church and state and their perspectives on other faiths, in an account that also evaluates their legacy in today’s world.


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Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Vicki Myron & Bret Witter

PETS CATS MYR

Traces the author’s discovery of a half-frozen kitten in the drop-box of her small-community Iowa library and the feline’s development into an affable library mascot whose intuitive nature prompted hundreds of abiding friendships, in a tale told against a backdrop of the town’s struggles with the 1980s farm crisis.


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Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
Ted Kerasote

PETS DOGS KER

Describes how the author adopted a wild dog by installing a dog door so that the dog could live both inside and outside, in a study of the human-dog partnership, animal consciousness and behavior, and how dogs might live if they can make some of their own decisions.


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The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
Richard Preston

SCIENCE PLANTS PRE

Takes a close-up look at the world’s tallest trees, the coast redwoods that grow only in the coastal regions of California, and at the previously unknown ecosystem that the trees form high in the air in the forest canopy.


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The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Eric Weiner

TRAVEL WEI

Draws on the author’s experiences as a foreign correspondent and reporter to evaluate more than three dozen countries for their happiness potential, in a lighthearted survey that includes profiles of such locales as the American shores, glacial Iceland, and the Bhutan jungles.


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