7 Nonfiction Book Gift Ideas

Let’s face it, a lot of people don’t read nonfiction books. They think they’re boring. Or that they’re important but not the kind of books you can just sit down and really enjoy for hours at a time. These 7 nonfiction book gift ideas will have you laughing as much as learning and make the perfect gifts this holiday season.

Buy a second copy for yourself while you’re at it so that you and your loved ones can discuss these nonfiction book gift ideas will certainly not end up re-gifted.

Also check out this list if you’re looking for gift ideas that aren’t books!

in order to keep me up to my ears in books consider using the following amazon affiliate links to purchase these products. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!

How to Fight Presidents

how to fight presidents book cover, featuring some presidents
you won’t always win

Author Daniel O’Brien

Subtitle: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses who Ran this Country

First up on the list of nonfiction book gift ideas is by Daniel O’Brien, a premier comedy writer slash presidential historian. His book How to Fight Presidents discusses the physical strengths and weaknesses of every president up to Obama. You’ll learn all about bad-asses like Andrew Jackson who could probably take you in a fight before he even learned to walk and weaklings like Zachary Taylor who was defeated by a bowl of cherries.

This is not your standard history book. It’s laugh out loud funny but still full of great stories and information you never learned in history class. This one is a must for the political know it all in your family.

Buy it here: How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country

Sex in the Sea

sex in the sea book cover, seahorses boning
not a how to guide

Author Marah J. Hardt

Subtitle: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep

Sex in the Sea is written by Marah J. Hardt who has a PhD in marine science and works as a coral reef ecologist. She knows her stuff when it comes to all things aquatic. She has chosen to focus this book all on the strange, disgusting, and baffling mating rituals of many different sea creatures. You’ll learn all about which organisms have wild orgies, which are monogamous, which have fluid genders, and which are into some super kinky weirdness.

This nonfiction book gift idea is perfect for the animal lover who even loves animals when they’re not so cute.

Buy it here: Sex in the Sea

Stranger than Fiction

stranger than fiction book cover, a foot as seen from under a bed
he would know

Author Chuck Palahniuk

From the author of Fight Club comes a nonfiction book of short stories that will in equal measures tantalize, resonate, and disgust. He takes you on journeys that are beautiful and unusual little slices of life. You will feel connected to your fellow man one minute and completely confused and enraged the next. Many of these stories are actually quite unbelievable but that’s the wonder of being stranger than fiction.

Perfect nonfiction book gift idea for the teenager you have no idea how to connect to.

Buy it here: Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories

A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities

a cabinet of medical curiosities book cover, bearded lady in a pretty dress
stunning dress!

Author Jan Bondeson

Subtitle: A Compendium of the Odd, the Bizarre, and the Unexpected

A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities takes various “freak show” abnormalities, old wives tales, and folk stories and analyzes them in both a historical and scientific lens. Bondeson discusses such specimens and the Fiji Mermaid, the bearded lady, and the woman who gave birth to rabbits but also delves into storied issues such as spontaneous combustion and (my personal favorite) maternal imprinting. You could sit down and read this nonfiction book chapter to chapter or skip around and find what interests you the most. Whichever you decide there is a section for every interest.

Perfect gift for that friend with such varied taste she just can’t be nailed down.

Buy it here: A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities: A Compendium of the Odd, the Bizarre, and the Unexpected

If you like medical nonfiction you may also want to check out Human Errors

Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste

shock value book cover, john waters' mustachioed lip
things can be two things

Author John Waters

Film buffs will know John Waters as the director of such trash classics as Pink Flamingos and Polyester but he is also quite skilled as a writer. I could honestly recommend any of his books but for a gift this one is perfect. It’s a large paperback with lots of great photos and looks great as a coffee table book but is also completely readable as a Hollywood memoir.

Waters describes his rise to esoteric fame, giving credit to every acquaintance he’s ever encountered and the sheer amount of luck he’s had along the way. His writing is both funny and touching as well as enlightening to how one actually makes it in film-making.

This nonfiction book gift will win the favor of any b movie lover or eccentric art junkie.

Buy it here: Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste

The Year of Living Biblically

the year of living biblically book cover, a.j. jacobs dressed in robes

Author A. J. Jacobs

Subtitle: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

A. J. Jacobs is a journalist who likes to submit himself (and his poor family) to long term social experiments. In The Year of Living Biblically he strives to follow every single rule that is put forth in the bible. This includes the 10 Commandments but also the hundreds of lesser followed rules such as not mixing fabrics, avoiding menstruating women, and stoning adulterers.

He consults with Christians, Jews, Snake Handlers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many many others in order to attempt to live as god purportedly desired. His journey is definitely funny but he also learns some interesting lessons along the way.

This one is written so as to not be too controversial but maybe give it to a reformed Christian instead of a Holy Roller.

Buy it here: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Anything by Randall Munroe

a randall munroe comic

Randall Munroe is the author of the comic strip xkcd as well as three very giftable books about math, science, and nonsense. His books, What If?, Thing Explainer, and How To all answer every day questions with absurd but accurate answers. For example in What If he answers questions like what if everyone truly only had one soul mate? and how fast can you hit a speed bump and live?

In Thing Explainer he breaks down blueprints for everyday and not so everyday items in ways that any idiot can understand. And in How To he answers questions like how to throw a pool party or emergency land a plane under very bizarre and specific circumstances.

Munroe’s writing is hysterically funny and is always accompanied by his characteristic stick figures. He’s a NASA scientist not an artist after all.

All three are great nonfiction book gifts for the biggest nerds you know.

Check out the full review of How To

Buy them here:

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems

Hopefully now you have your gift list complete and everyone will be so impressed by you that they’ll crown you king or queen of whatever holiday you choose to celebrate! Happy present season everyone!

For more great nonfiction reads check out these Memoirs

I love comic books, nonfiction, and everything in between! Come discuss your favorites!

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