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?



  1. Scott on May 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I’m not a big non-fiction reader, but I have read some very good historical fiction. “The Given Day” by Dennis Lehane and “Trinity” by Leon Uris are a couple of really good ones.

  2. Michele Bruschino on June 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I have written to you before on and omg… just finished “Fragile”. Girl, you are an incredible writer. You run deep with your characters. This one… Fragile probably touches more people than you realize. Though one would never see it to look at me as a 54 year old – optimistic, open, outgoing to a fault… I was physically and verbally abused growing up and the verbal part is worse (to me) as that runs in your veins. It’s always there and you have to really work to be self aware to over ride it. I always thought it was my weakness, my failure to be aware of that which I know is part of me and I am most proud to say I never repeated that cycle with my three children. I talked to them about their uniqueness and special gift so that they would learn self acceptance, self love, in light of all the differences among them. Your writing is a “reaffirmation” on so many levels. As I’ve told you before…. you are so very gifted. I spread your name every chance I get and have your books. I just pre-ordered “Darkness” for August. I can’t wait. I hope you are already working on your next book. I love that all your books are so very different from the next one. No predictable characters or story lines. So down deep into human emotions and the effects of others behaviors. Complex but you do it all. Many, many thanks…

  3. Loreth on August 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales is an all time fave of mine for so many reasons. I have Devil’s Teeth on my shelf and have been meaning to read that one for an age. Time. time. Going to move it higher up the list now that you’ve reminded me its there. Thanks for the recs.