Nonfiction Gift Guide

If you have a nonfiction reader on your gift list, this nonfiction gift guide is what you need.

It includes nonfiction books about true crime, history, medicine, science, Hollywood, sports, animals, and more.

You will surely find a book or two for you or someone on your gift giving list.

Nonfiction Gift Guide books under a Christmas tree

As always our lists are all books that we have read and can truly recommend.

True Crime

The Art Thief Book

The Art Thief by Michael Finkel. My husband and I both read and loved this one earlier this year. It is true crime, but since it is about art it is not graphic or gory.

The Feather Thief

The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson. My husband and I have recommended this book so many times, that people might be tired of us talking about it. There is a reason that we talk about it so much. It is so good! It is a bizarre and fascinating read.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. This book has gotten all kinds of attention because of the movie that was recently released, but we have loved this book for years.

We live in Oklahoma and read it shortly after it came out in 2017. It is true crime mixed with Oklahoma and Native American history. It is a sad, but important story to tell about history.

Say Nothing Book

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe.  My husband read this true crime murder story. He said it was a great read. Or as great as a true crime murder book can be.

If you avoid graphic crime stories you might want to skip this one, but if you know someone that loves true crime or true crime podcasts this would probably be a great one.

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist book review

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington. Long-time readers will recognize this as one of our favorite books. I was in a small bookstore today and when I saw this book I had to talk to the owner of the store about it. She didn’t know anything about the book, so I told her all about it and how excited I was to see it in her store.

This book is a true story of racism and bad forensic science in our criminal justice system and its devastating effect on innocent people.

It is one of those stories that is so hard to believe is a true story and yet it is true.

The Devil In the White City

Devil In the White City by Erik Larson. This is another book that I have recommended so many times. I read it and told my husband he had to read it. I then gave it to my dad to read and he loved it too.

 This true crime story combines The World’s Fair, architecture, medicine, murder, detective work, famous people, and so much more

Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale. This is a true crime memoir. It is unimaginable what Frank Abagnale got away with on his crime spree and he shares all about it in Catch Me If You Can.

This is a great book for someone who loves true crime books and memoirs. Grace read and loved this one. I am currently reading it and really enjoying it.


The Watchmakers

The Watchmakers by Harry Lenga and Scott Lenga. Sometimes you read a book that sticks with you for a long time. This is one of those books for me.

It is a WWII story of family, survival, hope, hard work, and quick thinking when you are trying to survive.

This was an impulse buy at an airport bookstore and I am so glad that I bought it.

RAF Book

RAF by Richard Overy. This is a great book for someone who loves military history. This book is the story of the RAF during WWI. This isn’t a long book, but it is packed full of information.

Devotion book

Devotion by Adam Makos. If you asked my husband and kids to list their favorite nonfiction book this one would make all of their lists.

Devotion is the story of two pilots during The Korean War. It is a story of heroism, friendship, and sacrifice during war.

This book is a great one for someone who reads a lot of fiction but wants to read more nonfiction. This book is a true story that reads like fiction.

The Year of Peril

The Year of Peril by Tracy Campbell. This book came out in 2020 and it did not get the attention that it deserved.

This book follows America in 1942 and each chapter is a month of 1942. It starts with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and follows the U.S. over the course of the year that followed.

This book is a reminder that although a lot has changed, a lot hasn’t changed.

This book is great for those who love WWII history. It follows what was happening in the U.S. during WWII so it is a little bit different than most WWII books.

Forty Autumns

Forty Autumns by Nina Willner. This is one of my all time favorite nonfiction books. I love it because it is so different than other books that I have read.

It is the true story of multiple generations of a family who lived on both sides of the wall dividing East and West Germany. It covers before, during, and after the wall came down. It is such a fascinating look at life in Germany during The Cold War.

The Matthews Men

The Matthew’s Men by William Geroux. This is the story of one family of seven sons who served along with many of their friends and neighbors as Merchant Marines during World War II. This is a story of the men and those they loved who sacrificed so much for the sake of others.

The 33 Strategies of War

The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene. Grace read and loved this one. She says it is a great book for those who love books about history and war.

Dodge City

Dodge City by Tom Clavin. This is a bit of a slower read, but it is great for those who love books about The Wild West or want to learn more about it.

1421 The Year China Discovered America

1421 by Gavin Menzies. This is the book that gave Grace a love of history reads. It might not be a book for everyone, but if you love books about history that are a little different than your average book this is for you.

Biographies and Memoir


Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. I could not put this book down. It is a fascinating look into how science and medicine have changed lives in ways that we never imagined.

Testament of Youth book review

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. There are quite a few memoirs about WWII, but this memoir is about WWI. It was a little bit of a slower read for me, but I really enjoyed it.

Elon Musk book by Walter Isaacson

Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson. This recent release is a great book for those who love science and technology. It doesn’t matter if you love or hate Elon Musk. His life is a fascinating read.

Never Call Me a Hero

Never Call Me a Hero by N. Jack “Dusty” Kleiss. This is one of Grace’s favorite WWII books. It is a powerful story of The Battle of Midway.

Cheaper By the Dozen

Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. If you enjoyed the movie I think that you will enjoy the book even more. Such a fun and interesting read.

Fly Girl Book Review

Fly Girl by Ann Hood. This is such a fun memoir. I learned so much about the airline industry during the 1970s and 1980s.

All Over But the Shoutin'

All Over But the Shoutin by Rick Bragg. If you love books about the South or if you have enjoyed Rick Bragg’s writing in Southern Living Magazine, I think you will enjoy this book.

Ava's Man

Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg. Another great book by Rick Bragg. This is the story of his grandfather. In sharing his grandfather’s story though he shares so much about life in the south.



Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Published in the 1950s, this book is still a popular book about exploration and leadership.

In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. This is one of Grace’s all time favorite books. It is about adventure, survival, and the cost of living at sea.

Empire of Ice and Stone book

Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy. My husband and I both read and loved this one. It is about an exploration in the Artic Ocean. It tells the story of what good versus bad leadership is and the lives that can be saved or lost because of it.


The Ride of Her Life book

The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts. This is a great feel good nonfiction animal story. Perfect for someone who would like a lighter nonfiction read.

Dewey A Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Dewey by Vicki Myron. A book about books, cats, and small towns. This was another lighter fun read.

Flash the Donkey

Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge. Grace describes this book about Flash the Donkey as adorable.

All Creatures Big and Small Book

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Published in 1972, this book about an English veterinarian is a classic. It has stood the test of time for a reason. This is a great book for someone who loves the PBS series.

The Eighty Dollar Champion

The Eighty Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts. Grace read and enjoyed this book and it is on my to be read list. It is about a champion show jumping horse in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Last Camel Charge

The Last Camel Charge by Forrest Bryant Johnson. Did you know that camels play a part in U.S. Military history? Grace found this book about an unusual part of history fascinating.

Science and Medicine

Bad Blood

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. Part true crime, part medicine and science, this book is hard to believe that it really happened story. This story has gotten a lot of attention the last few years. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Empire of Pain Book

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. This is another well written medical story. The Sackler family changed medicine and how medicines were prescribed. This book is a great book for anyone in the medical field.

American Sirens book review

American Sirens by Kevin Hazzard. This book has not gotten the attention that it deserves. It is an amazing story about America’s first paramedics. More people need to know about this story.

The Pact Book

The Pact by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Remeck Hunt. This book is about three boys from the streets of New Jersey who make a pact to all become doctors. This book is their story. It is a powerful one.

The Knife Man

The Knife Man by Wendy Moore. This book won’t be for everyone, but if you know someone in the medical field, they will probably enjoy this one. It is a bit of a slower, detailed read, but it is a fascinating look into the medical world.

Midnight In Chernobyl book

Midnight In Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. My husband and I both read and enjoyed this one. If you thought you knew the story of Chornobyl from the news reports, you don’t.

The real story involves government cover-up, the mismanagement, the wounds and deaths that it caused, and the risk that people took to clean up after the accident.


Path Lit By Lightning

Path Led by Lightning by David Maraniss. Jim Thorpe was born in May of 1887 in Indian Territory, before the Land Rush in what would become the State of Oklahoma. He was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics.

This book is a bit technical at times, but it is well worth reading. It is a book about sports but it is also a book about Native Americans and how they were treated.

Cinderella Man Book vs Movie

Cinderella Man by Jeremy Schaap. This book is about a famous boxer, the history of boxing, and The Great Depression. This is a great book for someone who loves sports and interesting historical facts.

Dust Bowl Girls book

The Dust Bowl Girls by Lydia Reeder. A girls basketball team during The Great Depression. This book is about teamwork, hard work, and the power of good leadership.

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Shoe Dog is more of a business book than a sports book, but you can’t tell the story of NIKE without sharing the history of sports as well. This would be a good book for sports fan and those that love stories about a successful business.

Movies, T.V. and Hollywood

As you wish book

As You Wish by Joe Layden. A perfect book for fans of The Princess Bride. Grace read this and my husband listened to it on audio. Both of them loved it.

Waxing On book

Waxing On by Ralph Macchio. This is an excellent gift for someone who grew up in the 1980s watching and loving The Karate Kid. My husband and I both listened to this one on audio since Ralph Macchio reads it. It was such a fun walk down memory lane.

The Boys Book

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard. This is a fun book for fans of The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days. Ron and Clint Howard share their story of growing up in Hollywood. In sharing their story, they share so much behind-the-scenes information. This was such a fun read.

Dutch Girl

Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen. Grace read it, and it is on my to-be-read list. Did you know that Audrey Hepburn was part of the Dutch Resistance? This is a fascinating look into the life of a Hollywood star before she became a star.

The Answer Is book review

The Answer Is by Alex Trebek. This is a fun book for fans of Jeopardy. There is so much behind the scenes information in this book. I listened to it on audio. It was read by Alex Trebek, but I am sure the print book is just as much fun to read.

We'll Always Have Casablanca

Casablanca by Ndah Isenberg. The movie Casablanca was released in 1942, just weeks after Casablanca surrendered during WWII. This would be a good book for fans of the classic movie Casablanca.

Rin Tin TIn

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean. This would be a good book for older people who watched Rin Tin Tin years ago. This is the story of not only the dog that starred in Rin Tin Tin, but other movie dogs like Lassie. This would also be a great book for those who love facts about TV and movies.


Taste My Life Through Food Book

Taste My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci. This is a book about food, Hollywood, hardship, and family. It is also the story of the power of food. I really enjoyed this one, but I will say that it is what I would consider PG-13, so it won’t be for everyone.

My American Dream

My American Dream by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. This is the story of food, war, hardship, and the American dream. All told by a well known chef. This is a good book for those who love food and history.

My Life In France

My Life In France by Julia Child. This book is probably one that you are familiar with, but I couldn’t have a list of books about food without it. Written with her nephew, Julia Child shares her story of becoming a famous cook. This is such a good book for someone who loves cooking.

The Mushroom Hunters

The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook. This book is for those who love the story behind the food and how it gets to our tables. This book makes mushrooms interesting.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn. This is part cookbook and part stories. I loved this book. This book is great for beginner cooks or those who want to learn to cook. There is one chapter in the book that I didn’t love, but besides that, it is a great book.

Whiskey In A Tea Cup

Whiskey In A Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. This is part cookbook and part book about the South. I think anyone who is from the South or has lived in the South for a long time will enjoy this one.

Nature and Weather

Eruption book review by Steve Olson

Eruption by Steve Olson. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and remember when Mount St. Helens erupted. This is a great read for anyone who grew up in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho. Or who loves books about nature and science. I loved this so much I gave it as a Christmas gift.

Isaac's Storm book

Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. This book is about the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900. A great book for anyone who loves science and weather. It would also be a good book for those that live in or love Texas.

The Children's Blizzard

The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. 1888 was a historic winter in America. Thousands of immigrants had moved west and were not prepared. A violent blizzard that winter killed hundreds of people, mainly children trying to get home from school. This book shares their story.

Tree Thieves Book

Tree Thieves by Lyndsie Bourgun. Tree Thieves is part true crime and part book about nature. I grew up in a small logging town in the far northwest corner of Oregon. This book is well written and is a fascinating look into the world of logging and trees.

The Riverman book by Ben McGrath

Riverman by Ben McGrath. This is the story of Dick Conant, who paddled his way around the U.S. in a canoe by himself. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. It was a little too nature-driven for me. However, that is exactly why I put it on my list of books about nature and weather. This would be a good book for someone who enjoys nature-type adventure stories.

I hope that helps you find a book for yourself or someone on your gift list!

3 thoughts on “Nonfiction Gift Guide”

  1. I love non-fiction and this gave me so many helpful recommendations! I may have simply overlooked this one, but Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is really interesting. It’s a nonfiction novel.


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