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The Importance of Reading Non-Fiction: My Top 4 Book Recommendations

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TAMU chapter.

As I have grown up, I have come to appreciate non-fiction books much more than I did before. In school, it used to bore me when we had to pull out a non-fiction book to read during class. I always wanted to read fiction because I found it easier to get through, and way more interesting than a non-fiction book. Recently, I have rediscovered my love for reading through non-fiction books. I have branched out in this genre by reading things such as biographies, essays, self-help books, and more. I now feel that when it comes to non-fiction, there is a much larger variety of things to read than people usually think, including myself. This article will shed some light on a few book recommendations that I think everyone should give a chance to if you want to get out of your own comfort zone when it comes to reading!

Weight of the Earth: The Tape Journals of David Wojnarowicz, Edited by Lisa Darms & David O’neill

I think this is by far the best book I have ever read because of how personal it is. The book displays an array of the recorded tapes that the writer, photographer, and artist, David Wojnarowicz, left behind before he passed away from AIDS in 1992. As you read through the book, you get to know David and all of his thoughts. I like that he is very well spoken, and uses very specific words to describe how he feels about being in the process of slowly dying. There is a very bittersweet part that comes to mind when I think of this book, and it is when David goes on a roadtrip alone because he wants to isolate himself from his world. In the middle of the trip, David stops in the middle of nowhere, and the song Fast Car by Tracy Chapman starts playing. As he sits solemnly in his car, he begins to accept that this would be the last time he listens to that song, in that place, in that time. I feel that as you read each page of this book, you start to gain a close connection towards David because you are able to see what true humanity is through his own personal thoughts and experiences, while he is trying to survive.

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs Mcneil & Gillian McCain

The funny thing about this book is that I heard about it on the show The Gilmore Girls. There is a scene where Rory and Jess are bonding over their interest in books and music, and they just happened to mention Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Rock. I really enjoy learning about music, so when I first read this late January, I was excited to learn about the different people that impacted the Punk Scene when it first arose. The book sheds light on groups like, The Velvet Underground or Andy Warhol, and their impact on bringing Punk music towards the public eye. The book has multiple interviews with stars like David Bowie, Lou Reed, Nico, and more artists who were up popular around the 1970s. I definitely recommend this book to people who are interested in how interconnected the music industry was when Punk music was making it’s way up in the past.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

I was a bit hesitant about reading a self-help book at first, but I had heard so many good reviews about this one that I though I would check it out. It definitely did not disappoint! Don Miguel Ruiz does a great job explaining the Four Agreements that people should live by in order to have peace of mind. Ruiz tells his readers that the four things they need to follow are: to be impeccable with your word, do not take everything personal, do not make assumptions, and to always do your best. With these four principles, you will be able to progress in life, as well as helping others do the same.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Like all of Patti Smith’s work, this was incredible. This memoir showcases many aspects of the personal relationship with her friend Robert Mapplethorpe, who was so dear to her. It goes into depth about Smith’s personal life and achievements as a young female writer, photographer, singer, and artist. This book is a very well written memoir about finding companionship, as well as the learning how to grow up and rely on yourself.

Hello! My name is Larissa Gonzalez, and I am a Junior Sociology major at Texas A&M University. I am also the host/DJ of an online radio show called bimbo radio. If you'd ever like to listen I go on at 2pm on Fridays on kanm.org. I love listening to all kinds of music, from Rock to Reggae, to Alternative. I really like reading books from time to time, especially non-fiction or biographies, such as Patti Smith. One of my favorite things to do is watch movies, and I've been trying to add more movies to my letterboxd too. A fun fact is that I love corgis!