I’ve read more than 30 non-fiction books in the last two years. I’ve read books to learn about philosophy, marketing, productivity, evolution, history, biographies, and many other topics.
Because that’s why most of us read nonfiction in the first place, right? When you read a book, you want to learn something from it. And when you’ve read a lot of books like that, you start to see patterns.
I’ve noticed that nonfiction books written in the last ten years are not boring. I think Malcolm Gladwell had a lot to do with that change. His nonfiction book The Tipping Point, which came out in 2000, also seems to be a turning point.
Today, non-fiction books are just as fun to read as fiction books. Also, they have to be more interesting because there are so many books out there now.
We all expect to be entertained all the time where we live. There’s fun to be had everywhere. Just look at what you can do: Everything from movies and TV shows to funny cat videos, Snapchat Stories, and articles.
But for me, nothing beats reading a good book. Also, books can really make you think differently. Especially fiction books, because you don’t expect them to change your life or anything else.
I’ve put together a list of seven fiction books that have moved me. This list doesn’t have the usual books. We’ve all heard of books like “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Lord of the Flies,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and so on.
No, I’ve tried to make a list with books that aren’t as well known. I hope at least one of them appeals to you.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Simple
A reader told me I should read this book. It’s not something I’d find by accident. I’m glad I read it, though. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a fun and creative book about strange people in Seattle. Arrested Development scripts were written by Maria Semple (one of my favourite tv shows). And you can tell by the way she dresses. Guys might call this “chick lit.” But, man, grow up and read this crap.
Not smart. Very by Erlend Loe
Another book that is funny and fun to read. Loe comes from Norway, and I like how simple he dresses. It’s a story about a young boy who wants to know what his life is all about. Way better than all the corny self-help stories like “The Alchemist.” This book is fun and easy to understand.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment.
Let’s get a little serious. This book looks at the suffering of people. Nothing else will change the way you think about people if you don’t let this book do it. And you’re wrong if you think it’s a long, hard to read book. It’s a very easy book to read. Just keep reading and don’t get stuck on all the characters. It will become clear as you go.
Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club.
The only book on this list that everyone knows. I’ve used this book a lot, and after all these years, I still like it. It never gets old. And if you haven’t read it, stop what you’re doing and go get it. After you read it, you’ll be different.
John Fante’s “Ask the Dust”
Charles Bukowski, who is my favourite author, was influenced by Fante. In Ask the Dust, you read about Arturo Bandini, a writer who is struggling in Los Angeles in the 1930s. It’s a story about having to work hard and not giving up. It’s sad and makes you happy at the same time. Just like life.
Jose Saramago wrote Death With Interruptions.
We all die, right? But suppose that wasn’t true? A lot of people are scared of dying, but in this book, they don’t have to be. Because nobody dies on the first day of the new year. Death pretty much quits her job (yes, death is a her in this book). What’s the next step? Look at the book. It tastes great.
Raymond Carver’s Cathedral
Raymond Carver is never on a list of the best novels because he only wrote short stories. And it’s too bad. Most people have heard of his famous book, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Cathedral makes you think more, though. This is my favourite Carver collection because it looks at ordinary parts of life.
You might have read some of these. Perhaps not. It makes no difference. And maybe they’ll make you think differently. Or maybe not.
Let’s remind ourselves that “just” reading a book is fine. When you read a good book, it’s like having a talk with a friend. J.D. Salinger said it best:
“What really blows me away is a book that, when you’re done reading it, makes you wish the author was your best friend and you could call him whenever you wanted to. But that doesn’t happen very often.”
Not every book you read has to make you rich, teach you how to hack your life, or make you the best version of yourself.
So pick up a book. Sit back. Put your phone down. And READ. Not because it makes your life better. But because it gives your mind food.
What’s your favourite work of fiction? You can share it in the comments if you want to.