Last week, I started The Wave: In Pursuit of Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey.  I found myself immediately drawn in, blown away by the utterly fascinating nature of her subject matter and her beautiful, impassioned writing.  I loved her last book, The Devil’s Teeth, and her newest is every bit as engrossing.

I read a great deal of non-fiction that winds up significantly informing my fiction writing.  I’m an information junkie, and gathering knowledge, as well as experience, is a key, if indirect, part of my process. Susan Casey’s new book got me thinking about some of my non-fiction favorites, and I wanted to share them with you.

I am afraid I’m giving you a window into how truly dark my mind is, but here you go:

My all time favorite:
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The hands down most fascinating and horrifying (and, oddly, one of funniest):
Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Most enlightening:
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why by Lawrence Gonzalez

The most imagination tweaking:
The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth

Most educational and moving:
The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit by Donald Kalshed


The Inner World of Trauma was the cornerstone to my research for BLACK OUT. The Mole People was part of my inspiration for one of my early novels TWICE (published under my maiden name Lisa Miscione and about to be re-released by Broadway Books).  And I’d go so far as to say that In Cold Blood was one of my earliest and most important influences as a writer.  There are a lot of truly brilliant writers out there, tackling fascinating subject matter. I’m always so thrilled when I stumble upon something that moves, engrosses and educates me.  I hope some of these do the same for you.

What are some of your non-fiction favorites?