While "beach reads" have their place, I like to intersperse into my summer reading nonfiction which makes me feel less indulgent about relaxing with a book on the beach or patio. Here are some personal recommendations that rival any mystery or chick lit in entertainment value as well as providing some new insights:
(1) Devil in the White City & In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen are amazing; I just finished his Dead Wake which was a bit underwhelming.
(2) The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan by Steven Gaines is a must for the real estate-porn addict.
(3) Wiseguys by Nicholas Pileggi is the book behind Goodfellas.
(4) The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs is an interesting read about a unique (and tragic) path to and after Yale. (Note: I felt like this book was about 100 pages too long, but still worth the read).
(5) Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer is a fascinating (albeit a bit biased) foray into the Mormon Church.
(6) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is the real-life story of the utterly senseless murder of a Kansas family.
(7) The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls is not quite educational but entertains as well as any novel.
(8) Bossypants by Tina Fey is also not educational but hilarious!
Next, on my list: Boys in the Boat, Delivering Happiness, Eat City, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
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