Is there anybody in the world that actually likes small talk? For me, the best way to blow past that awkward phase of chit-chat is to bring up a really
thought-provoking nonfiction book. After all, sometimes all you need to jumpstart a conversation is an interesting story, and soon the ball will be rolling.
Let's be real: sometimes it can be really tough to find something to talk about. You're at a party, full of people you don't know, and you're fumbling for something to say. Or you're on a first date and you're sick of talking about your hometown and your job. That's when you reach into your reader's arsenal and mention the book you've been reading.
So here are some fascinating nonfiction reads that are sure to get your lips moving. From secret histories to scientific explorations, these books are filled with facts and true stories that will make anyone's ears perk up. Plus, many of these reads would make great coffee table books that are sure to draw the eye of any guest.
You're going to be the queen of chit chat once you've given these books a read. So dive in, learn something new, and start some conversations!
'What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions' by Randall Munroe
This book is just begging to be turned into a party game. Ex-NASA scientist and creator of the web comic XKCD works out the scientific answers to some truly absurd hypothetical questions, like "How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm?" and "What if everyone had only one soulmate?"
Click here to buy. 'The Order of Time' by Carlo Rovelli
Is there anything sexier than whipping out some
physics mid-conversation? In this fascinating new book, Carlo Rovelli weaves together physics, philosophy, and art to explore the enduring mystery of time itself. Click here to buy. 'The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century' by Kirk Wallace Johnson
In 2009, twenty-year-old flautist Edwin Rist stole hundreds of bird skins from the British Museum of Natural History. But why would anyone commit such a bizarre crime? Johnson digs into it in this fascinating read that you won't be able to stop talking about.
Click here to buy. 'Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World' by Ann Shen
This book is filled with remarkable stories from history that are sure to wow anyone you're having a conversation with. Plus, is anything more fun than talking about strong, determined women?
Click here to buy. 'From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death' by Caitlin Doughty
This book is filled with all kinds of morbid things to learn about. (Because honestly, who isn't filled with morbid curiosity?) Mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how cultures from around the world take care of their dead.
Click here to buy. 'something to food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs' by Ahmir Questlove Thompson
In this enthralling book, musician Questlove interviews ten top-tier chefs about their creative process. This book will captivate everyone, not just the foodies and music-lovers in your life.
Click here to buy. 'The Empathy Exams' by Leslie Jamison
In this incredible essay collection, Leslie Jamison explores humanity's "personal and cultural urgency to feel." From examining poverty tourism to phantom diseases, Jamison will certainly give you something to think (and talk) about.
Click here to buy. 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman' by Jill Lepore
This book weaves together the story of the development of Wonder Woman and the rise of the women's rights movement. There are so many unbelievable details behind Wonder Woman's backstory, you won't be able to stop talking about this superheroine's role in feminist history.
Click here to buy. 'Lafayette in the Somewhat United States' by Sarah Vowell
You probably know the name Marquis de Lafayette from Daveed Diggs' portrayal of him in
Hamilton. In this enthralling read, Vowell dives deep into the story of the Frenchman who had an enormous impact on the creation of United States of America. Click here to buy. 'The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York' by Peter J. Tomasi, illustrated by Sara DuVall
Reading this graphic novel will make you realize just how extraordinary a feat constructing the Brooklyn Bridge actually was. It took 14 years to build, and the entire project was ultimately overseen by the designer's daughter-in-law, Emily Roebling, at a time when it was extremely unusual for a woman to be a chief engineer. You'll get some serious New Yorker cred after you read this.
Click here to buy.