An English Teachers Non-Fiction Book List

An English Teachers Non-Fiction Book List

Most people read fiction for entertainment – humor, mysteries, horror – we escape to another world. Non-fiction can also entertain. Non-fiction can be “how to” or text books and documentaries, but also includes memoirs, biographies, science, self-help,  business and art. Non-fiction is basically anything based on real people, events or facts. This list of non-fiction books is guaranteed to entertain you as it expands your knowledge and view of the world.

1. LeviathanJohn Birmingham

Leviathan: The unauthorised Biography of SydneyThis award winning book is subtitled “The unauthorized biography of Sydney”, as in Sydney, Australia – a city . More like techno-thriller, this book is underpinned by extensive research. It will teach you more about this gorgeous harbor city than most locals would know. Highly recommended.

2. Notes from a Small IslandBill Bryson

In this humorous travel memoir, Bill Bryson records his jaunt around the old country, England (and Wales & Scotland). Enjoyable, funny and educational. Learn about British quirks and oddities whilst being entertained.

3.Moab Is My WashpotStephen Fry

Actor and comedian Stephen Fry shares his early life story in this autobiographical novel. Brutally honest, Fry shares his mistakes and misconduct along side the difficulties and challenges of growing up gay in a British boarding school in the 1960’s. There is no pointing the finger of blame here, simply a wry, funny and wise memoir.

4. Fever PitchNick Hornby

Featured in the fiction of out English Teacher’s lists with his novel High Fidelity Hornby returns with his tribute to his obsession to football (soccer). An easy to read coming of age story, fans of any sport will relate to the highs and lows of his team dictating the happiness and direction of his life. Mandatory reading (or ideal gift!) for any obsessive sports fan.

5. No LogoNaomi Klein

Written by an award winning journalist, this 10 year anniversary edition was published in 2009 following the GFC. Part exposé, part political and cultural study, Klein dives into the world of image and brands in the global economy. Well-reasoned, she shows how the “superbrands” of huge corporations are penetrating our lives and manipulating many of our choices. Certainly if the rise of ‘product placement’ in movies and sports fields is any indicator, she is spot on.  A book that will change the way you view the world, marketing and brands.

See also Conspiracy Theory book list for a review of her earlier book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

6. The FightNorman Mailer

The Fight is an account of the classic 1974 heavyweight boxing title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Transcending the sporting event, the book captures the drama of the struggle both in the sporting rings and in the psyche with a unique insightful literary style.

7. Down and Out in Paris and LondonGeorge Orwell

This was Orwell’s debut book, written before his works of political fiction such as the classic 1984 and Animal Farm.  It is, as The Nation put it, “the most lucid portrait of poverty in the English language.”  With vivid and precise descriptions he humanizes and brings empathy to the poorest people (including himself as narrator) in a simple sociological study of homelessness in France in early 1900’s and Edwardian England.

Previously reviewed in 10 books that will broaden your life perspective.

What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 3)

What You Should Read In High School – an English Teachers List (part 3)

Part 3 of our English Teachers List covers authors from F-K.  Has anyone else noticed there are more authors (and books) in the first half of the alphabet?

Six books to broaden your mind, with a mix of historical drama from WWII, ultimate spy stories through to short stories by the master of horror, Stephen King – although these are not horror.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2

1. Birdsong: A Novel of Love and WarSebastian Faulks

This historical drama holds nothing back in its gruesome and overwhelming descriptions of the German battlefields. Balanced by a bitter sweet love story and accomplished prose, this book is a rewarding read.

Also a movie staring Eddie Redmayne, Clemence Poesy, directed by Philip Martin




2. The Day of the JackalFrederick Forsyth

“The Day of the Jackal makes such comparable books such as The Manchurian Candidate and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold seem like Hardy Boy mysteries.” The New York Times

Step up to the ‘grown up’ level of espionage, suspense and intrigue with what is considered by many to be his best novel. Based on the true attempt of the life of French President Charles de Gaulle in the early 1960’s, Forsyth spins a brilliantly conceived and intricately detailed story.

Read the book first, then watch the movie made in 1983 starring Edward Fox (avoid the remake with Bruce Willis).

3. The Maltese FalconDashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade is one of the most famous detectives from American literature and his novel is packed with action and mystery. In The Maltese Falcon, Hammett nails every element of the detective genre so precisely, that it’s a wonder anyone ever tried to write another detective novel after him.




4. Catch-22Joseph Heller

CATCH-22 is masterful in so many ways.  Another WWII story, it begins as comic farce, proceeds to the increasingly surreal, and then transforms into a nightmarish tragedy before ending triumphantly.




5. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway

Whilst WhyToRead has featured several of Hemingway’s books, this is the first list to include the classic “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.

An action story told by one of the most famous twentieth-century American writers. It wraps love, loyalty, courage and defeat around idealism and honor. Written only three years after the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) where it is set, the authors personal experiences seep through.



6. High FidelityNick Hornby

An original and interesting book about a London second hand record store (vinyl music records – before Cd’s and mp3).

You will laugh out loud at the biting wit & humor, hopefully you will get the pop music and movie references as he examines relationships and what makes them work.

Made into a movie featuring John Cusack in 2000.



6. Different SeasonsStephen King

Four novella/short stories, all quite different, not in the horror genre although still dark in places.

The films Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil are based on three of the stories from this collection. Oddly enough no one has made a movie of the fourth story, ‘The Breathing Method’, about a woman calmly giving birth despite having been decapitated in a car accident.

10 Great Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

10 Great Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

This book list is about the books that will make you change your life. Regardless of genre, these books are so insightful, moving, and inspirational that they will have a life changing impact on you.

10 Great Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

1. Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

This book will shift your focus from the worries of the future unto the beauty of the present moment.

Reading this book will put you in a state of tranquility and it will make you question your perspective on many about your life.

2. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

A purely nihilistic book, Fight Club is a gem and is bound to have a profound impact on your personality.

In the amazing final chapter of the novel, which wasn’t included in the film, the Narrator has a conversation with God. And God just wants to know why? Why would the narrator do all of these terrible things? Doesn’t he realize that everyone is a special unique snowflake of special unique specialness?

And the narrator disagrees. “We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens.” There’s no reason for any of it. No purpose. Each person is on their own in figuring this mess out.

And God looks at him sadly and says, “No, that’s not right.”

Yeah. Well. Whatever. You can’t teach God anything.

3. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

Many people were forced to read this book in school, but it will change your perspective on what it means to live a good life on this earth. Life isn’t all about personal pleasure, apparently.

4. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

(As featured in 8 Books That Will Make You Proud And Satisfied To Have Read)

This is both a great philosophical book and a great work of fiction.

This book is widely considered to be one to the best books ever written, and it will undoubtedly change your life. The story follows the lives of old man Karamazov, a filthy penny-pinching lech and his three sons. Each son represents a different side to the Russian character: Dimitri the spoiled lout, Ivan the tortured intellect, and Alyosha the spiritual searcher.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

One of the most significant books of the 20th century, To Kill a Mockingbird is full of memorable quotes such as, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

6. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark – Carl Sagan

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

(As featured in 10 Books That Will Broaden Your Life Perspective)

This book challenges the reader to critically scrutinize information and to use critical thinking skills to make informed decisions based on scientific knowledge.

7. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

(As featured in 7 Best Books To Read In Your Twenties)

A good lesson about the world’s obsession with beauty. This sophisticated but crude novel is the story of man’s eternal desire for perennial youth, of our vanity and frivolity, of the dangers of messing with the laws of life.

8. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

(As featured in 10 Books That Will Broaden Your Life Perspective)

This book will make you feel like all of your petty problems are truly insignificant and that the world certainly does not revolve around you.

9. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

(As featured in 15 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Life)

The entire book is just a nameless main character having a conversation with a gorilla. Seems insignificant but that couldn’t be further from the actual impact of the book.

It is a general rule that any particular culture can only be understood by someone outside of it – a neutral observer, unaffected by prejudice or indoctrination.

10. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

Books That Will Make You Change Your Life

(As featured in 10 Epic Books Every Man Must Read)

This book will put your life and the self perceived problems into perspective. It will teach you not sweat the small stuff, be positive in all walks of life, & overall live to be a good person just for the sake of being a good person. One of the most important books for stoics, Marcus Aurelius made himself one of the most important people in Stoicism.

Adventure Books – 3 Thrilling True Story Adventure Books

Adventure Books – 3 Thrilling True Story Adventure Books

Adventure Books

These books are true life tales of exploration, adventure, and survival. They have inspired their readers to go and explore the unknown and conquer their fears.

3 Thrilling True Story Adventure Books 

1. Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival – Joe Simpson

Adventure Books

There have been many a lot of mountaineering stories over the years, but none more amazing than the story of Joe Simpson, who with his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. This is their thrilling story.

2. Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Aron Ralston

Adventure Books

Between a Rock and a Hard Place describes Ralston’s life-changing experience in having his arm pinned down by an 800-pound boulder in a canyon. As he runs out of food and water, he is forced to make some incredibly difficult decisions.

3. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts – Andrew Chaikin

Adventure Books

The story of the first and only ever human mood landing, and the other 23 Apollo A Man On The Moon has been described by the astronauts themselves as the definitive account of their missions.

Wake Up! 3 Books To Help You Wake Up And Live Your Life

Wake Up! 3 Books To Help You Wake Up And Live Your Life

Wake Up!

In today’s world, you can be consumed by the monotonous and doing the same things as everyone else, without ever stopping to think about what you want to do. Its time to wake up and live YOUR life, and the books below will help you do just that.

So, without further ado, WAKE UP!

3 Books To Help You Wake Up And Live Your Life

1. Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment – Deepak Chopra

wake up

At the beginning of the book, the author tells us that he has added fictional sections to the story of the Buddha, to fill in blanks of what we know. But don’t let that put you off. Its been done well and the story of the Buddha (literally meaning the awoken one or the enlightened one) is one may can relate to.

2. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion – Sam Harris

wake up

This book is a guide to meditation with the backing of neuroscience and psychology. Sam Harris is a neuro-scientist and with the knowledge he gained, he explores the scientific underpinnings of spirituality and waking up to who you are.

3. Wake Up! Your Life is Calling: Why Settle for Fine When So Much More is Possible? – Mike Jaffe

wake up

More about the monotonous coasting through life which most people consume their lives with, Mike Jaffe explores what it is to produce the extraordinary life of your dreams by over coming your fears and waking up!

Creativity: 3 Books That Will Boost Your Creativity

Creativity: 3 Books That Will Boost Your Creativity


Creativity isn’t just about being an artist. It touches every aspect of your life, and the more creative you are, the more spontaneity and experiences fill your life. Become super successful, and learn from those who have already done it.

3 Books That Will Boost Your Creativity

1. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work Hardcover – Mason Currey


What was it about the daily rituals and habits of the greats that made them so creative. Get a peek at the lives of Bethoven, Stephen King, and many other of the greats, to see how they maximized their creativity.

2. Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs – Joshua Wolf Shenk


This book highlights some of the great partnerships, from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to Marie and Pierre Curie. Shenk says that if you’re looking to write a book or start a business, two is better than one.

3. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull


Creativity, Inc.‘ is thoughtful, sage, humorous, and most would say very true. Written by the co-president of Pixar, one of the most creative companies in the world today. I’m sure there’s a thing or two he can teach you about bringing out your creative genius.

7 Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

7 Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

Books That Will Change Your Life

Each one of the books on this list have been recommended countless times as books that can be read over and over again. These are the books that you don’t want to finish because they are so good. By the time you are done, the way you see the world and your life will have changed.

7 Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

1. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn

books that will change your life

It is a general rule that any particular culture can only be understood by someone outside of it – a neutral observer, unaffected by prejudice or indoctrination. This is the reasoning behind Quinn’s choice of a gorilla named Ishmael as the main character of this novel, who conducts a series of dialogues analyzing the whole of civilization itself.

2. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak

books that will change your life

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids. You’ll want to read it over and over again. Just bring your tissues.

3. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

books that will change your life

The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. “In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don’t dare disobey,” the narrator recalls. “Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket.” And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator’s imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.

4. Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck

books that will change your life

This is a controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression

They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

books that will change your life

This book is about a teenage boy named Charlie who writes letters to an unknown person. They are random letters about his life and what he is experiencing. He talks about a lot of things that teenagers experience today. This book confronts experiences with alcohol, drugs, sex, relationships, homosexuality, and lessons that many people don’t want to talk about; lessons about living life while you can, lessons that every teenager has experienced.

6. The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo

books that will change your life

These are lessons that we all know in our hearts, but that we forget as we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our material lives. Lessons about listening to our hearts and following our dreams. Lessons about living in the moment, the transient nature of possessions and the illusion that we can even “possess” something to begin with. Lessons about freeing ourselves from fear and about understanding our lives as part of the energy of the Universe and understanding that everything will work out the way it was intended to. This book will undoubtedly change your outlook on life.

7. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

books that will change your life

Cloud Atlas is a series of six interlocked tales – encompassing a wide array of eras, locales, and genres -in which the protagonist in each story is impacted in some significant manner by the tale told in the preceding section. A very unique and beautiful piece of literature.