We are the protagonists of our own stories, but unlike the fictional tales of heroes triumphing over evil and true love conquering all, real life isn’t that simple. Luckily, in 2015 we were graced with a bevy of non-fiction books written by successful nerds (like Geek & Sundry’s own Felicia Day) regaling us with the trials and tribulations of their own quests. These true tales, tomes, and handbooks are all inspirational in their own way and every one of them is essential to giving you the confidence and fire to slay the dragons in your own life, guiding you to living it happy, healthy, and to the fullest.
“Faces are scenes. People are films.”
Comedian Patton Oswalt is bottomless well of geeky knowledge and proud flagbearer of the nerd label, but sometimes there is a dark side to these obsessions. In Silver Screen Fiend, Oswalt opens up about the years that his addiction to cinema that nearly ruined AND saved his life. He charms us in great detail with stories of trapping himself in the dark, dreaming of a different future while his life slipped away from him… for awhile. It’s truly a thrilling read that sits in a very specific time and place. Oswalt’s humor shines through so brightly Silver Screen Fiend feels like an epic tale that should get its own cinematic adaptation one day.
“I’m a fangirl, a feminist, and a force to be reckoned with.”
Writer and Associate Editor for The Mary Sue, Sam Maggs is here to tell you that being a fangirl is the best thing any girl (or guy) can be today. The Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy: A Handbook For Girl Geeks breaks down everything from going to conventions to dealing with trolls online, and includes interviews other kickass geeky gals like Kate Leth and Jane Espenson. It’s a supremely useful handbook that aims to ensure that we are fostering a community that not only thrives, but is a place where we can all be better fans and creators. Onward and Upward!
“Quitting might be easier, but it wouldn’t be better.”
Writer and blogger Jenny Lawson has always been a model for being viciously open about things that plague her and in Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, she continues this tradition with tales of depression and anxiety that are so funny that they can’t be ignored. Lawson uses the prism of dealing with her problems to ask questions like: Can a taxidermied raccoon be a good role model? Why do people turn into assholes at the airport? Are cats selfish yawners? Is your version of ‘okay’ the same is mine? It’s really miraculous to get inside and understand what people are going through and Lawson accomplishes this better than anyone. In Furiously Happy, she reveals the harsh, but deeply human truth behind the things that drive us crazy. Let’s all join the movement.
“A secret win is the best kind of win because only you have to celebrate.”
The debonair comedian Greg Proops is an limitless encyclopedia of all things cool and fascinating. In The Smartest Book In The World, he has descended from the mountain to bestow upon us the proper ingredients for tackling any kind of social situation, be it holiday party or convention line, with panache and grace. Proops distill for us great films, essential poems worth memorizing, women leaders throughout history that you should know, the divinity of baseball, the perfect cocktail for any occasion, art worth stealing, and more. The Smartest Book In The World is filled with the kind of curiosity we should all strive for, only shot out of a canon smack dab into our brains. Proops pushing us to live our lives fully and openly always.
“Intentionality is about learning to understand myself enough to make my choices with purpose even if those choices aren’t always the best ones.”
Writer and comedy producer Emily V Gordon used to be a therapist, but she is still using her powers for good by contributing pieces on life and love to sites like HelloGiggles and The New York Times. Her book, Super You: Release Your Inner Superhero, is a self-esteem guide and starter kit for living with intention. This book is meant to be interactive, filled with plenty of questions for you to work on and scribble out your answers in a journal alongside it or in the margins! Gordon fills these vital lessons with anecdotes about her own struggles along the way, giving these tools for self-improvement a witty and intimate framework for you to see that change is indeed possible. Be warned, once you start working on a Super You while reading Super You, there’ll be no limit to the positive changes you will make in your life.
“Don’t let the world run you. Run it.”
Our lady of light, Felicia Day, has given written the definitive memoir on what it’s like to find success in this weird, wide world of new media. But more importantly, she paints a portrait of a driven and wide-eyed geek that everyone can relate to in the darkest of times, the most exciting times, and everything in between. She tells tales of the awkward online meetings in her youth and of her video game addiction, and of mad determination, overwhelming ambition, and intense dedication (violins! math!). Day’s pithy asides constantly give the feeling that she’s talking to us as she reminisces about her unique journey up until now. More than a collection of stories, You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) is a thorough reminder that if we all embrace our own unique qualities, success is never out of reach.
Those are our essential non-fiction geek reads of 2015, but sound off in the comments below what your favorite non-fiction books were last year!