The best non-fiction books for readers who love science, dogs, and crime fighting

Who am I?

I love great storytelling, whether it’s in the form of a great mystery, romance, science fiction/fantasy, or non-fiction. I even love a story well told through the medium of television (I see you, The Good Place!). The books on this list are books I’ve read and loved and/or used as research to write my own series of dog-based cozy mysteries.

I wrote...

A Nose for Mischief

By K.T. Lee,

Book cover of A Nose for Mischief

What is my book about?

When materials engineer Zoey Butler lands her dream job at Future State Energy, she believes her research will contribute to the next big headline in renewable energy. Unfortunately for her, she’s right. While Zoey is working, FBI Special Agent Alexis Thompson and her K-9 partner, Waffle, lead a raid at Future State and arrest the head of the development for fraud. Zoey works with the FBI to find answers, but she soon finds herself jobless and unemployable. Desperate and out of options, she reaches out to Alexis, the one person who knows that Zoey was duped.

Zoey offers to go back to Future State to help the FBI to end things once and for all. However, the problems at Future State are more explosive than any of them suspect.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Short History of Nearly Everything

K.T. Lee Why did I love this book?

The spine on my copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything is well-worn from all of the times it’s been opened. Bill Bryson strikes a conversational tone with the reader about the history of the earth, taking them on an entertaining tour through scientific discovery, adding a big helping of humor and human-interest stories along the way. This is my go-to for a relaxing read that teaches me something too!

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Short History of Nearly Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century and has sold over 2 million copies.

'Possibly the best scientific primer ever published.' Economist
'Truly impressive...It's hard to imagine a better rough guide to science.' Guardian
'A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide' The Times

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to…

Book cover of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win

K.T. Lee Why did I love this book?

I picked up this book when I was hoping to learn more about the life of Navy SEALs while I was writing a character with this background. In addition to gaining this knowledge, I also found an incredibly interesting narrative mixed in with solid business and life advice. I have lost track of how many times I’ve recommended this read for people hoping to improve their management skills or people who are interested in learning more about this difficult job.

By Jocko Willink, Leif Babin,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Extreme Ownership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Highly decorated Navy SEALs, now successful businessmen, show readers how to lead and win in business and in life with principles learned on the battlefield. In Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin share hard-hitting, Navy SEAL combat stories that translate into lessons for business and life. With riveting first-hand accounts of making high-pressure decisions as Navy SEAL battlefield leaders, this book is equally gripping for leaders who seek to dominate other arenas. Jocko and Leif served together in SEAL Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated Special Operations unit from the war in Iraq. Their efforts contributed to the…

Book cover of Soldier Dogs

K.T. Lee Why did I love this book?

A book about dogs who help protect soldiers had my attention before I even cracked it open. Soldier Dogs is exactly as advertised—Goodavage details how dogs are trained, the bonds that handlers form with their canine partners, and some of the challenges associated with the difficult job these dogs do. This book was an interesting and informative read for anyone curious about the lives of working K-9s and their handlers.

By Maria Goodavage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soldier Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A leading reporter offers a tour of military working dogs' extraordinary training, heroic accomplishments, and the lasting impacts they have on those who work with them.

People all over the world have been riveted by the story of Cairo, the Belgian Malinois who was a part of the Navy SEAL team that led the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. A dog's natural intelligence, physical abilities, and pure loyalty contribute more to our military efforts than ever before. You don't have to be a dog lover to be fascinated by the idea that a dog-the cousin of that furry guy…

Book cover of What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

K.T. Lee Why did I love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the sun went out or if you could create a jetpack by firing machine guns into the ground, this is the book for you. And if you haven’t ever wondered these things before, but are wondering now, this book may also be for you.

I do not think I am spoiling this hilariously educational book by letting you know that the answers to the absurd hypothetical questions in this book range from the mundane to the catastrophic. You may find yourself enjoying the journey so much that you don’t notice that Munroe’s quick-witted stick figures are also teaching you some pretty advanced scientific concepts!

By Randall Munroe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What If? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


From the creator of the wildly popular, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.

Millions visit each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day?

In pursuit of answers,…

Book cover of Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

K.T. Lee Why did I love this book?

Mary Roach has a sharp wit and the talent to make non-fiction read like fiction and Fuzz was no exception. Roach takes the reader on a journey to better understand human/wildlife conflict by travelling around the world, introducing the reader to specialists managing bears digging in garbage and elephants eating crops. Most importantly, Roach explains what steps can be taken to help humans live more amicably alongside our animal neighbors.

By Mary Roach,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Fuzz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What's to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in…

You might also like...

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

By Alexander Rose,

Book cover of The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

Alexander Rose Author Of Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men's Epic Duel to Rule the World

New book alert!

Who am I?

A long time ago, I was an early-aviation historian, but eventually realized that I knew only half the story—the part about airplanes. But what about airships? Initially, I assumed, like so many others, that they were a flash-in-the-pan, a ridiculous dead-end technology, but then I realized these wondrous giants had roamed and awed the world for nearly four decades. There was a bigger story here of an old rivalry between airplanes and airships, one that had since been forgotten, and Empires of the Sky was the result.

Alexander's book list on Zeppelin airships

What is my book about?

From the author of Washington’s Spies, the thrilling story of two rival secret agents — one Confederate, the other Union — sent to Britain during the Civil War.

The South’s James Bulloch, charming and devious, was ordered to acquire a clandestine fleet intended to break Lincoln’s blockade, sink Northern merchant vessels, and drown the U.S. Navy’s mightiest ships at sea. Opposing him was Thomas Dudley, an upright Quaker lawyer determined to stop Bulloch in a spy-versus-spy game of move and countermove, gambit and sacrifice, intrigue and betrayal.

Their battleground was the Dickensian port of Liverpool, whose dockyards built more ships each year than the rest of the world combined and whose merchant princes, said one observer, were “addicted to Southern proclivities, foreign slave trade, and domestic bribery.”

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

By Alexander Rose,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Washington's Spies, the thrilling story of the Confederate spy who came to Britain to turn the tide of the Civil War-and the Union agent resolved to stop him.

"Entertaining and deeply researched...with a rich cast of spies, crooks, bent businessmen and drunken sailors...Rose relates the tale with gusto." -The New York Times

In 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, two secret agents-one a Confederate, the other his Union rival-were dispatched to neutral Britain, each entrusted with a vital mission.

The South's James Bulloch, charming and devious, was to acquire…

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