Amusing Nonfiction

  1. Dave Barry books
    by Dave Barry

    Over 30 laugh-out-loud hilarious non-fiction books and collected columns, most of which start with the name “Dave Barry”—such as Dave Barry’s Guide to Life, Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys, Dave Barry’s Money Secrets, Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits, and Dave Barry Talks Back. Typical opening paragraph:  The way I picture it, adulthood is a big, sleek jungle snake, swimming just around the bend in the River of Life.  It swallows you subtly, an inch at a time, so you barely

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  2. Reduced Shakespeare
    by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor

    Hilarious articles about the Bard and funny synopses off all his plays. Sample quotes: If you’re in a really, really big hurry, here’s a very short plot synopsis of all the History plays.  They’re all pretty much the same.  Here it is: An English king (usually named Henry, sometimes Richard, and once John) is fighting the French.  At the same time, someone at home is trying to take over the throne from the reigning king. All is not well that

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  3. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
    by Mary Roach

    An hilarious review of the various scientific studies of human sexuality. Opening paragraph:  A man sits in a room, manipulating his kneecaps.  It is 1983, on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.  The man, a study subject, has been told to do this for four minutes, stop, and then resumed for a minute more.  Then he can put his pants back on, collect his payment, and go home with an entertaining story to tell at suppertime.  The

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  4. History of the World in 6 Glasses
    by Tom Standage

    A captivating exploration of the significant role that six beverages have played in the world’s history—such as beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt, coffee in the Age of Reason, tea in the English Empire, and Coke in today’s America. Opening paragraph:  Thirst is deadlier than hunger.  Deprived of food, you might survive for a few weeks, but deprived of liquid refreshment, you would be lucky to last more than a few days.  Only breathing matters more.  Tens of thousands of years

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  5. The Geography of Bliss
    by Eric Weiner

    “One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World” combines travel, psychology, science, and humor to investigate where the most contented people in the world live. Opening paragraph:  It is a fact of human nature that we derive pleasure from watching others engage in pleasurable acts.  This explains the popularity of two enterprises:  pornography and cafés.  Americans excel at the former, but Europeans do a better job at the latter.  I once heard of a café in Tel Aviv

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