Non-fiction books have the power to captivate us with stories that are every bit as engaging as their fictional counterparts. Here are five must-read books that read like captivating narratives, with fascinating accounts of real people and events that will keep you turning the pages.

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” tells the story of a woman whose cells were taken without her knowledge and used for scientific research, leading to major medical breakthroughs. Skloot explores the impact of this on Henrietta’s family and the ethical implications of the medical industry’s use of human tissue samples.

The book intertwines Henrietta’s story with the history of medical research, providing a compelling look at the intersection of science and ethics. Skloot’s writing is engaging and accessible, making it a must-read for anyone interested in the history of medicine.

2. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

“The Devil in the White City” tells the story of two men: the architect behind the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and a notorious serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims. Larson deftly weaves together the stories of these two men, creating a rich and engaging narrative that brings the era to life.

Larson’s research is meticulous, and his writing is both informative and entertaining. The book provides a fascinating look at turn-of-the-century America and the people who shaped it.

3. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

“In Cold Blood” is a true crime classic that tells the story of the brutal murder of a Kansas family. Capote’s writing is masterful, creating a vivid portrait of the killers and their victims that is both chilling and engrossing.

The book is often credited with inventing the true crime genre, and it remains a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of crime and narrative storytelling.

4. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

“Into Thin Air” tells the story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers lost their lives. Krakauer, a journalist and experienced mountaineer, was there to cover the story and found himself caught up in the tragedy.

Krakauer’s writing is gripping, taking readers on a harrowing journey up the world’s tallest mountain. The book is a powerful exploration of risk-taking, ambition, and the human spirit.

5. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

“The New Jim Crow” is a searing indictment of the American criminal justice system and its impact on communities of color. Alexander argues that the system perpetuates racial inequality through policies like the War on Drugs and mandatory minimum sentences.

The book is a powerful call to action, challenging readers to confront the racism that underlies the criminal justice system. Alexander’s writing is urgent and persuasive, making it a must-read for anyone interested in social justice.

These five non-fiction books read like captivating narratives, with engaging stories and compelling characters that will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Whether you’re interested in true crime, social justice, or the history of science, there’s a book on this list for you. So settle in with one of these must-reads and prepare to be transported to another world.