Non-Fiction Gateway Books

Hello everybody,

I have called this post non-fiction gateway books for a reason. That is pretty much how it happened for me: I read one good memoir and then I was hooked. Now I read about two non-fiction books a month. So I thought I would make up a list for you other book lovers who are always trying to get into the genre.

Graphic Memoirs

Fun Home

This is a great one, where she describes growing up a lesbian from a very young age. It covers her before and after she realizes her sexual orientation. Very well done overall.


I have only read part one so far and it was really good. It is the story of a girl growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution, showing how so much changed and the freedoms she lost. Also a really good movie.

Mental Health

Brain on Fire.jpg

This is one of my favourite memoirs about mental health. Actually one of my favourite memoirs period. It is the story of a New York reporter who slowly became mad to the point where she was catatonic. She doesn’t remember any of it, so it is written from her interviewing friends, family and doctors. Her being a reporter, this worked very well. I don’t want to give anything away, but it says a lot about mental health as well as a bit of a science mystery.

Look me in the eye

I find Asperger’s very interesting and this one really helped me understand a bit more how they experience the world. I realize there is a whole spectrum and this is just one person’s experience, but I still really enjoyed it. If you are curious about Asperger’s this memoir is really well written. Robison gives you a good idea on how his brain works and he can be pretty funny.

Both by Jenny Lawson, and both hilarious. She is just funny. But she also has to deal with depression, anxiety and a few other issues. These books are a very fun and entertaining way to learn about the more serious aspects of common mental health issues.

The Reason I Jump

This is a really short book, that is just a Q&A of all the common questions this autistic boy is asked. Simple things that I would have no idea about, but really helped me to understand what they are going through and how they see the world.

ย Science

What if

This book is just fun. He has really funny stick figures to show all the crazy scientific questions. Also the answers to these super crazy and funny questions are very real. If you are dorky like me and like science, pick this up: it will make you laugh.


This is a really interesting book, too. Mary Roach has written a bunch of science books, she does a bunch of research on something she finds interesting and writes it all down. This one is about the army, some of it is crazy and others just plain fascinating. Like the amount of tests they need to do on a button for it to be approved for the army. If I remember right it was a 13 page document. And much more about things you had never asked before.


Shit My Dad Says.jpg

This is exactly like it sounds. His dad says they funniest things. Not a lot to take away from this one, just really funny read.


an Invisible thread.jpg

This is a beautiful memoir. This is the story of a sales rep. in Manhattan and a homeless 11-year-old boy. He was pan handling and she was going to keep walking. But she stopped and they had a meal together, this soon became a weekly event. This tells the story of their friendship that has lasted for decades.


This was my gateway memoir. It happened to be the bookclub book at my library, so I took one home and read it in two days. This is a story about a woman who needed to find herself, and she did it by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I found this to be interesting and touching. I might be biased, because it was my first memoir that I loved.

I know why the caged bird sings.jpg

I wasn’t sure where to put this one, but I knew I had to include it, because it is just amazing. It is a hard read, but man can this woman write. She talks so simply about overcoming so much. I find her inspiring, she talks about horrible things with no anger. I would also recommend listening to her talk on YouTube, because her voice is amazing and that alone will inspire you.

an astronauts guide to life.jpg

This one is more inspiring in a work towards your dreams sort of way. Chris Hadfield talks about everything he had to do to become an astronaut, the things he had to give up and the focus required. He has in general lived a pretty interesting life and has a pretty good sense of humour.



This book is so amazing. This is written about the Holocaust. It is brutal and heartbreaking. But it happened so I think it is important to read about it.

lawrence in arabia

This book is packed full of information. With how complicated things are in the Middle East right now, I think this is a really important one for people to read. The book is long and can be a bit dry in a couple of places (and it took me a month to read it) but it was worth it. People are quick to judge the Middle East and this book really explains some major contributing factors.


One Day

This is a collection of essays. I’m still not sure I would put it under the category of feminism: she touches on so many important subjects. But I just feel like feminism is where I want to put this one. This looks at many important issues including race, cultural differences (not really an issue but it does cause some misunderstandings), sexism and alcoholism. And a bit of humour mixed in.


This is my first book my Gloria Steinem. This really shows what a lot of women have gone through for equal rights over the many years. It is a great little history of what she and many other women have done for us all.

we should all be feminist.jpg

Ok so Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is awesome. She is strong and is a great speaker for women’s rights. Plus her name is super cool. This was originally a TED’s talk that she later turned into this little book. It’s great and inspiring with a bit of humour. I would really recommend watching the TED’s talk: the humour comes across better.



This is the only one that I can think of that really stood out for me about race alone. Trevor Noah is so funny. Actually his mom is even funnier. This is a great mixture of funny and very serious. He was born during the apartheid, so his very existence was illegal. I have been told (thanks, Mom) the audiobook is extremely well done, he narrates it.

Feel Good


This is just as the title would appear: photos of random people from New York City. The Photography is beautiful and there are quotes and little stories about the people and it’s just really cool. I want to read the sequel next where it is more focused on the stories.


This came out fairly recently as a movie, so many of you may have heard of it. It is the memoir of a boy in India who got lost on the trains, couldn’t find his way back home, and eventually was taken into an orphanage. He was adopted by an Australian couple and this is the story of how he got lost and also how he found his long lost family many years later as an adult.

This list was a lot longer than I thought it would be, there are just so many good non-fiction books out there. I hope this list may have helped any of you looking to venture into the non-fiction genre.


13 thoughts on “Non-Fiction Gateway Books”

    1. The I think he has written three now but one of them is more about the son and he just isn’t as funny as his dad. But I want to read the other one about his dad, he just so funny.
      I’m glad you liked the list hopefully you’ll get hooked too:)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. what a great topic!! A few of these are already on my tbr (like Persepolis and Brain on Fire) and I like the sound of a lot of the other books on here. And I really want to read I Know Why the Caged Bird sings- you’re right about her voice as well!!

    Liked by 1 person

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