From “Serial” to “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” the true crime genre has seen a recent renaissance in pop culture. Tales of murder, mayhem, robbery, and corruption have always been compulsively readable for true crime fans. Here are expertly written true crime books where you can discover some of the darkest and oddest moments in history. Even if you’re not a true crime junkie, you’ll enjoy these compelling narratives and fascinating tales.
Over the course of my lifetime, several noteworthy relationship guides have emerged from a generally uninspiring landscape. In the early ’90s, it was MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. If you came of age in the early aughts, you had HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. Until now, that was my personal bible on matters of the heart (it’s EMPOWERING, okay?). But then, on a sunny day in June 2015, came the relationship book to end all relationship books: Aziz Ansari’s MODERN ROMANCE.
Daughter. Sister. Mother. Wife. Writer. Feminist. Filmmaker. Icon. These are only a few of the words that describe Nora Ephron, the beloved individual known for her wit, honesty, and countless movie moments. Whether she was writing about true love, politicians, or Cosmopolitan, Nora just always seemed to get it, a friendly voice that reached out whenever we needed her most. Though she passed away in 2012, she left a hefty collection of work and inspired countless others. Here are some of our favorites in her canon, as well as other Nora-inspired titles to try.
Alexander Hamilton’s life is perhaps best known for its end: he was mortally wounded in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. But his personal life and political achievements are fascinating, impressive, and—until recently—underappreciated. Here is a man who, though featured on our ten-dollar bill, many Americans know little about. I was certainly one of them for many years.
This year, the world’s been turned upside down by the hit musical “Hamilton.” Like many, we’ve fallen into what we’ve begun to affectionately call “a Hamil-hole”: blasting the soundtrack, searching for interviews, and sharing the #Ham4Ham videos. But when you’re going nonstop like this, what comes next? Reading, of course! Whether you’ve got tickets or not, here’s a list of required reading that will leave you—wait for it—satisfied.
Cleopatra: A Life, like all good nonfiction, sticks to the facts and avoids exaggeration. Yet it still reads as part drama, part farce, part tragedy, part thriller, and part romance, bringing new meaning to the old adage, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”
The violence, tragedy, bravery, and loss of the Vietnam War has been memorialized in countless novels and works of nonfiction. The powerful words in these eleven books help us understand a complicated time in our recent history, and the political and personal legacy that it still carries.
As a writer, I am consistently curious about how other writers live and work, how they contemplate the writing process, incorporate their artistic profession into other aspects of their lives, and how it is they continue to show up at the writing desk day after day.
After a long illness, my mother died when I was twenty. When your mother dies when you are young, every day is Mother’s Day. When someone hurts your feelings, you think of how she’d comfort you, if she were here. You fall in love, you fall out of love, you marry, you have children, you get a promotion, you are laid off, and you think of her. Unless you can’t forgive her for leaving too soon, you will idealize her love and kindness for all time to come.
It’s a rare gift to be able to accessibly present real science to the public. It’s even rarer to find someone who does so with the enthusiasm and humor that Mary Roach brings to the table. We all know that humans have evolved to survive the environment on Earth. In Packing for Mars, Mary Roach asks: What happens when we go into space—a place without air, food, water, or anything else we need? This thought fascinated Roach so much that she spent two years finding out, traveling and interviewing and researching all possible aspects of it.