In this Article, We Are going to address 16 Best Nonfiction Books to Give as Gifts on this Holiday Seasons (2020)
01:) Educated by Tara Westover
An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who kept out of school leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far if there was still a way home.
“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue
“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review
02:) Me by Elton John
In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the smash-hit film Rocketman. The result is Me – the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time.
Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of 23, he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.
His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.
In Me Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. In a voice that is warm, humble and open, this is Elton on his music and his relationships, his passions and his mistakes. This is a story that will stay with you, by a living legend.
03:) Becoming by Michelle Obama
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
04:) Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers by Brian Kilmeade
The heart-stopping story of the fight for Texas by The New York Times bestselling author of George Washington’s Secret Six and Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.
In his now-trademark style, Brian Kilmeade brings alive one of the most pivotal moments in American history, this time telling the heart-stopping story of America’s fight for Texas. While the story of the Alamo is familiar to most, few remember how Sam Houston led Texians after a crushing loss to a shocking victory that secured their freedom and paved the way for America’s growth.
In March 1836, the Mexican army led by General Santa Anna massacred more than two hundred Texians who had been trapped in a tiny adobe mission in San Antonio for thirteen days. American legends Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett died there, along with other Americans who had moved to Texas looking for a fresh start.
The defeat galvanized the surviving Texians. Under General Sam Houston, a maverick with a rocky past, the tiny army of settlers rallied–only to retreat time and time again. Having learned from the bloody battles that characterized his past, Houston knew it was a poor strategy to aggressively retaliate. He held off until just one month after the massacre when he and his army of underdog Texians soundly defeated Santa Anna’s troops in under eighteen minutes at the Battle of San Jacinto, and in doing so won the independence for which so many had died.
Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers recaptures this pivotal war that changed America forever and sheds light on the tightrope all war heroes walk between courage and calculation. Thanks to Kilmeade’s storytelling, a new generation of readers will remember the Alamo–and recognize the lesser-known heroes who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
05:) Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell, the host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers–and why they often go wrong. How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true? Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky paedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.
06:) The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton; Chelsea Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them—women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done.
She couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “Go ahead, ask your question,” her father urged, nudging her forward. She smiled shyly and said, “You’re my hero. Who’s yours?”
Many people—especially girls—have asked us that same question over the years. It’s one of our favourite topics.
HILLARY: Growing up, I knew hardly any women who worked outside the home. So I looked to my mother, my teachers, and the pages of Life magazine for inspiration. After learning that Amelia Earhart kept a scrapbook with newspaper articles about successful women in male-dominated jobs, I started a scrapbook of my own. Long after I stopped clipping articles, I continued to seek out stories of women who seemed to be redefining what was possible.
CHELSEA: This book is the continuation of a conversation the two of us have been having since I was little. For me, too, my mom was a hero; so were my grandmothers. My early teachers were also women. But I grew up in a world very different from theirs. My paediatrician was a woman, and so was the first mayor of Little Rock who I remember from my childhood. Most of my close friends’ moms worked outside the home as nurses, doctors, teachers, professors, and business. And women were going into space and breaking records here on Earth.
Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there’s a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book.
So how did they do it? The answers are as unique as the women themselves. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height, LGBTQ trailblazer Edie Windsor, and swimmer Diana Nyad kept pushing forward, no matter what. Writers like Rachel Carson and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named something no one had dared talk about before. Historian Mary Beard used wit to open doors that were once closed, and Wangari Maathai, who sparked a movement to plant trees, understood the power of role modelling. Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai looked fear in the face and persevered. Nearly every single one of these women was fiercely optimistic—they had faith that their actions could make a difference. And they were right.
To us, they are all gutsy women—leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. So in the moments when the long haul seems awfully long, we hope you will draw strength from these stories. We do. Because if history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women.
07:) The Body by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson once again proves himself to an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body–how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-Esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.
08:) Finding Chika by Mitch Albom
Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince.
With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.”
Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humour teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.
Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.
09:) Blowout by Rachel Maddow
In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia—including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove—was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modelled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.
With her trademark black humour, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbours, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”
Blowout is a call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”
10:) Triggered by Donald Trump Jr.
This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read — Donald Trump, Jr., exposes all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from online “shadow banning” to rampant “political correctness.”
In Triggered, Donald Trump, Jr. will expose all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from online “shadow banning” to fake accusations of “hate speech.” No topic is spared from political correctness. This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read!
Trump, Jr. will write about the importance of fighting back and standing up for what you believe in. From his childhood summers in Communist Czechoslovakia that began his political thought process, to working on construction sites with his father, to the major achievements of President Trump’s administration, Donald Trump, Jr. spares no details and delivers a book that focuses on success and perseverance, and proves offence is the best defence.
11:) A Warning by Anonymous
An unprecedented behind-the-scenes portrait of the Trump presidency from the anonymous senior official whose first words of warning about the president rocked the nation’s capital.
On September 5, 2018, the New York Times published a bombshell essay and took the rare step of granting its writer anonymity. Described only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” the author provided eyewitness insight into White House chaos, administration instability, and the people working to keep Donald Trump’s reckless impulses in check.
With the 2020 election on the horizon, Anonymous is speaking out once again. In this book, the original author pulls back the curtain even further, offering a first-of-its-kind look at the president and his record — a must-read before Election Day. It will surprise and challenge both Democrats and Republicans, motivate them to consider how we judge our nation’s leaders, and illuminate the consequences of re-electing a commander in chief unfit for the role.
This book is a sobering assessment of the man in the Oval Office and a warning about something even more important — who we are as a people.
12:) Home Work by Julie Andrews; Emma Walton Hamilton
In this follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Home, Julie Andrews shares reflections on her astonishing career, including such classics as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.
In-Home, the number-one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage.
With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films–Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry — from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.
Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candour, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.
*The uneven pages are the signature characteristic of such production – the pages of the book are not smooth, but have a more “antiquarian” look and feel. These are not errors or defects. Please understanding. Thank you.
13:) The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe
Executive producer and host Mike Rowe presents a delightfully entertaining, seriously fascinating collection of his favourite episodes from America’s #1 short-form podcast, The Way I Heard It, along with a host of personal memories, ruminations, and insights. It’s a captivating must-read.
The Way I Heard It presents thirty-five mysteries “for the curious mind with a short attention span.” Everyone is a true-ish tale about someone you know, filled with facts that you don’t. Movie stars, presidents, bloody do-gooders, and villains—they’re all here, waiting to shake your hand, hoping you’ll remember them. Delivered with Mike’s signature blend of charm, wit, and ingenuity, their stories are part of a larger mosaic—a memoir full of surprising revelations, sharp observations, and intimate, behind-the-scenes moments drawn from Mike’s own remarkable life and career.
14:) Dumpty by John Lithgow
Award-winning actor and best-selling author John Lithgow wields a whip-smart, satirical pen in this poetic diatribe chronicling the last few abysmal years in politics. With lacerating wit, he takes listeners verse by verse through the history of Donald Trump’s presidency, lampooning the likes of Betsy DeVos, Anthony Scaramucci, Scott Pruitt, Paul Manafort, Trump’s doctors, and many others.
Illustrated with Lithgow’s never-before-seen line drawings, the poems collected in Dumpty draw inspiration from A. A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Mother Goose, and many more. A YUGE feat of laugh-out-loud lyrical storytelling, this hilarious and timely volume is bound to bring joy to poetry lovers, political junkies, and Lithgow fans.
15:) The Beautiful Ones by Prince
Prince was a musical genius, one of the most beloved, accomplished, and acclaimed musicians of our time. He was a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, one of the greatest pop stars of any era.
The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is the memoir Prince was writing before his tragic death, pages that bring us into his childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us through Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album was released, via an evocative scrapbook of writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that go up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, where he retells the autobiography of the first three parts as a heroic journey.
The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to the book’s images.
This work is not just a tribute to an icon, but an original and energizing literary work in its own right, full of Prince’s ideas and vision, his voice and image—his undying gift to the world.
16:) In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
On the surface, a traditional “Bildungsroman” describing the narrator’s journey of self-discovery, this huge and complex book is also a panoramic and richly comic portrait of France in the author’s lifetime, and a profound meditation on the nature of art, love, time, memory and death. But for most readers it is the characters of the novel who loom the largest: Swann and Odette, Monsieur de Charlus, Morel, the Duchesse de Guermantes, Françoise, Saint-Loup and so many others — Giants, as the author, calls them, immersed in Time.
“In Search of Lost Time” is a novel in seven volumes. The novel began to take shape in 1909. Proust continued to work on it until his final illness in the autumn of 1922 forced him to break off. Proust established the structure early on, but even after volumes were initially finished he kept adding new material and edited one volume after another for publication. The last three of the seven volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages as they existed in draft form at the death of the author; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother Robert.