Home > Books, Cool, Depressing, Disturbing, Japan, Sad, Things I Actually Like > The Time I Read MORE Non-Fiction Books

The Time I Read MORE Non-Fiction Books

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Two days ago, I posted five other non-fiction books inspired by the post 10 Non-fiction Books for the Novel Lover. So without further ado, I’ve selected five (slightly) less morbid non-fiction books I’ve enjoyed over the past few years or so.

  • Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain by Martha Sherrill

    Though the Akita is a fairly well-known Japanese breed of dog today, at the end of WWII, there were only 16 left in existence. This is the story of one man’s mission to single-handedly save the breed, giving up his job and home in the process. The snow country where the dogs thrive is forbidding and lonely, but it’s a fascinating story full of great characters and dogs with big personalities.


  • The Translator: A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari

    A memoir of navigating among the genocide of Darfur as a translator who himself was victimized. How does one escape a terrible war, then reenter as a mediator? Heartbreaking and terrifying, it’s a unique first-person account of the atrocities in Sudan.


  • The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin De Becker

    This is a book that I’ve recommended to just about everyone, especially all of my female friends. It shows you that ignoring your own intuition could be the last mistake that you ever make. The author is an expert on violence and personal safety, and he provides insights via real-world examples that reveal the power of fear. Self-preservation may be the most innate of human instincts, but too many people (especially women) have been taught to ignore the signals that might save their lives.


  • The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia by Tim Tzouliadis

    A sad tale of the American citizens who defected to Russia in search of a Communist ideal, but were instead arrested and “vanished” to the prison camps of Siberia. The tragedy of idealism shattered and forgotten is poignant and frightening.


  • Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Modern Japan by Alex Kerr

    I almost hesitate to recommend this book since I take issue with some of its statements and generalizations, but I still think it’s an interesting look at Japan’s economic rise and fall, and the inept bureaucracy that keeps the country stagnant. Written by a foreigner, the book nonetheless has an insider feel, and inherent hypocrisies are detailed and bemoaned. How can a country that ostensibly feels such a kinship with nature cover most of its landscape with unnecessary thick sheets of concrete? Despite the rich history in Kyoto, ancient buildings are toppled in the name of “progress,” though the future towards which Japan strives seems unclear, even to those who are supposedly in control.

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