Some people think I only read Fiction books. That is not true, because I enjoy certain types of non-fiction too. One of my preferred non-fiction types is what is considered Stunt non-fictions. Stunt non-fictions are characterized by the author pulling off a “stunt”, or performing certain changes to lifestyle and chronicling this lifestyle change, regardless of the outcome. The stunt duration varies, the usual being a year.
Departed from “How-To” books, stunt non-fiction have a more personal tone and shares with readers the stumbling blocks and emotional rides along the journey. They read almost like first-person narrative fiction (and of course poetic license is duly taken in most of these books). Stunt non-fiction books are not only informative, but also largely humorous.
There is no DDC classification for these books; they are classified based on their subject topic so they can appear anywhere from Cookery (think Julie and Julia), Memoirs, Sociology, Psychology … that’s also why this book list should help if you are interested.
The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an experiment
Author: A. J. Jacobs
Publisher: New York: Simon & Schuster, c2009
Call No.: English 817.6 JAC
In this book, Jacobs takes on several life-altering challenges in the spirit of experimentation, such as posing as a famous actor at the Academy Awards, outsourcing his daily communications to a call centre in India, and practising Radical Honesty, a movement that promotes “speak what you think”. Jacobs puts himself in the test beds and present to readers an inside look of these events. Jacobs has also written several other stunt fiction such as Know It All and The Year of Living Bibically.
The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Craft Rubin
Publisher: New York: Harper, 2009
Call No.: English 158 RUB
Rubin decided to spend a year to make herself happier. As a researcher, she delves into various past theories and axioms of Happiness means, and tries these out in her own life. In her one-year project, she discovers what Happiness means and how she can achieve it by making small changes in her life.
The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul
Author: Dave Bruno
Publisher: New York: Harper, 2010
Call No.: English 306.3 BRU
Dave Bruno chronicles his campaign called The 100 Thing Challenge in which he reduces his worldly possession to just 100 items. In a bid to resist consumerism, Dave challenges himself to declutter his space and in doing that, declutter his life.
The Winter of Our Disconnect
Author: Susan Maushart
Publisher: London: Profile, 2011
Call No.: English 303.48330994 MAU
For a winter, Susan, a technophile, pulls the plug on gadgetry in her family in an effort to remedy their addiction to technology, and the consequent detriments to familial relationships. This book chronicles the family going cold turkey with access to cell phones, video games and the Internet.
No Impact Man : saving the planet one family at a time
Author: Colin Beavan
Publisher: London Piatkus, 2009
Call No.: English 363.70525 BEA
In light of eco-friendliness, Colin and his family attempt to leave zero carbon footprint by eliminating several modern-day comforts from their daily lives, such as airplane rides, air-conditioning and the toilet.
Don’t Eat This Book
Author: Morgan Spurlock
Publisher: London: Penguin, 2005
Call No.: English 394.12 SPU
Can a man survive on fast food alone? This question spurred Spurlock on his 30-day mission eating nothing but fast food for sustenance. This book provides the background and omitted portions to his 2004 documentary on the effects of a fast food-only diet.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Author: Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L Hopp and Camille Kingsolver
Publisher:New York, N.Y. : HarperCollins Publishers, c2007
Call No.: English 641.0973 KIN
Imagine leaving your urban life behind and starting a farm in the rural hills. This is exactly what Barbara did to her family. Learning to farm from scratch, Barbara recounts funny anecdotes of getting turkeys to mate, dealing with the prolific zucchini during zucchini season, preserving her own food and even composting. In this book, Barbara reiterates the charm and importance of eating natural, and eating local.
The featured book covers are copyright of their respective publishers.
Contributed by Lo Wan Ni, Associate Librarian, Public Libraries Singapore