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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Being an English Writing major does have it’s perks. One of those perks is being exposed to all types of writing and literature ranging from children’s literature to nonfiction books. Though, I’m not the only one in HC Pitt who enjoys spending her time reading and being immersed in different worlds real or fiction. If you haven’t figured it out already from some of our previous articles, HC Pitt could second as a book club, and we are always excited to share our recommendations when it comes to reading. So, if you’re looking to break away from the fictional worlds full of details, fantasy and world-building and dive into something new, you’ve come to the right place! Here are our recommendations for nonfiction books that should make their away onto your TBR.

Odd Girl oUt: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons

Type of Nonfiction: Educational nonfiction

Recommended by: HC Pitt writer, Alison A.

She states, “It’s a very interesting analysis of female bullying and aggression. I think anyone who interact with teenage girls (teachers, parents, etc.) and teenage girls themselves should give it a read!”

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Type of Nonfiction: Memoir

Recommended by HC Pitt writer and Social Media Chair, Lauren D.

Lauren said, “I just love this book. it’s one of the best most incredible amazing heartbreaking things I’ve ever read. It has such a special place in my heart.”

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Type of Nonfiction: Collection of Essays

Recommended by: HC Pitt writer and Social Media Chair, Lauren D.

She states, “I love this book so incredibly much. I just love John Green and the way he sees the world and how it relates to how I see it. This is my favorite essay collection and I think everyone ever should read it, I love bigger and fuller and more because of it!!”

Cheeky by Ariella ELovic

Type of Nonfiction: Graphic Novel Memior

Recommended by: HC Pitt writer and Social Media Chair, Lauren D.

She says, “This is a cute little graphic memoir that’s funny and challenging and all about loving yourself. Tt’s like the grown up version of the American Girl Doll book so many people get when they start their period but less sciencey and more based on singular experience.”

They Can’t kill us until they kill us By Hanif Abdurraqib

Type of Nonfiction: Collection of Essays

Recommended by: HC Pitt Writer and Social Media Chair, Lauren D.

Lauren says, “Reading this one right now, but I love it!”

Borderlands: La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa

Type of Nonfiction: Semi-Autopgraphical Collection of Essays and Poems

Recommended by: HC Pitt Writer, Kaitlyn S.

Kaitlyn says, “I discovered this book because it was assigned reading in one of my lit classes this semester, and I’ve been obsessed with it since. The writing is deeply personal, and Anzaldúa’s use of language is masterful. The blend between Spanish and English, and how it manifests in and impacts the text, is really intriguing. I’m still working my way through the poetry that makes up the second half of the book, but I loved each of the essays in the first.”

Inciting Joy By Ross Gay

Type of Nonfiction: Collection of Essays

Recommended by: Me! – HC Pitt CC, Serena G.

I read this book last semester in one of nonfiction writing courses, and I’m so so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. This was my first time reading Gay’s work, and after reading Inciting Joy, I’m definitely excited to read more of Gay’s pieces of writing. In this collection of essays, Gay is able to write about the intersections of the two overarching themes joy and sorrow. Writing about topics like basketball, skateboarding to even moments with his father, Gay is able to write so beautifully and leaves the reader unable to put the book down!

Honorable Mentions:

For the honorable mentions section, I really just wanted to highlight the ongoing series, Best American Essays, which comes out every year. Though it’s not written by a singular author, it instead has one editor, who selects the different essays to be featured in the book depending on what they are looking for and if there is a theme they are centering the book around. I’ve had the privilege to read the 2020 version (and plan on reading more), and honestly it’s some of the best essays I’ve read. The essays come from a variety of authors fearing a range of topics from sexuality to joy to grief to everything in between. Reading these collections allow you to discover new and old writers, and you might even find your new favorite author and be searching for their own book next!

Nonfiction books are something that I’ve come to love during my time at Pitt. In nonfiction books, the writers allows themselves to be vulnerable and write about memories, topics, events and everything else that are near and dear to them. Similar to fiction, nonfiction is also so vast and is multimodal, which is shown in this article. You can read a collection of essays, a graphic novel memoir or even a normal memoir, and that’s just some of the different type of nonfiction books out there. I hope this article inspires you to explore nonfiction more, whether it’s reading an essay in The New Yorker or picking up a memoir that catches your eye. Happy reading!

Serena is a Junior at the University of Pittsburgh who is majoring in English Writing with minors in Creative Writing and Legal Studies. When she's not writing short stories for class, Serena loves to write for HC Pitt, listen to music, and watch Jersey Shore!