Narrative Nonfiction

Narrative Nonfiction, or Creative Nonfiction, is a genre that utilizes a literary style of storytelling to create authoritative and credible narratives.  Historically, nonfiction has always been about the facts and the writing style, while accessible and scholarly, tended to be droll and lifeless.  Being a relatively new genre, Narrative Nonfiction books strive to be  well-written and compelling while also paying homage to the data and details without over embellishing or misrepresenting the heart of the story for the sake of sensationalism.

Here are some common types of nonfiction writing:

  • (Auto)biography/Memoirs
  • Business & Economics
  • Crime & Law
  • Current Events & Journalism
  • Ecological/Environmental
  • Food Writing & Cookbooks
  • Government & Politics
  • History Writing
  • Military
  • Nature Writing
  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Science Writing
  • Social Issues
  • Sports Writing
  • Technology
  • Travel


Symphony for the City of the Dead by M. T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson

An account of the Siege of Leningrad reveals the role played by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony in rallying and commemorating their fellow citizens.



Modern Romance by Aziz AnsariModern Romance by Aziz Ansari

The acclaimed comedian teams up with a New York University sociologist to explore the nature of modern relationships, evaluating how technology is shaping contemporary relationships and considering the differences between courtships of the past and present.



Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane BurcawLaughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a 21-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a ‘you-only-live-once’ perspective on life.



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all.   What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.



Unbroken by Laura HillenbrandUnbroken: A WWII Airman’s Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Lt. Louis Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.



Born to Run by Christopher McDougallBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

McDougall reveals the secrets of the world’s greatest distance runners–the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico–and how he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans.



The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Rodriguez shares her experience growing up in the shadow of low expectations, reveals how she was able to fake her own pregnancy, and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.



Most Dangerous by Steve SheinkinMost Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin

The story of Daniel Ellsberg and his decision to steal and publish secret documents about America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.




Humans of New York Stories by Brandon StantonHumans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

A follow-up to “Humans of New York” shares the frank and intimate human stories of some of the individuals depicted in the author’s acclaimed photographic census.




Speak a Word for Freedom by Janet WillenSpeak a Word for Freedom: Women Against Slavery by Janet Willen

From the early days of the antislavery movement to today, profiles fourteen women abolitionists who took extraordinary personal risks in their struggle to end slavery.



last updated: February 2016

About Princess Leia

I am the Teen Services Librarian at the Grayslake Area Public Library.
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