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10 Terrific Niche Books for Curious Readers

Updated on October 25, 2010

Most people do a majority of their reading across just a few different types of genres. They primarily read mystery novels or they mostly read travel memoirs or they like to read non-fiction books about science. However there are some of us readers out there who really enjoy reading the books that don’t fall neatly into a category. Sure, they may be fiction or non-fiction but they cover topics or styles of writing that just don’t fall neatly into any sort of subcategory that makes sense. You can find thousands of books on healing your relationship, eating the right foods and managing your money. There are thousands more in every standard fiction category. But there are some topics that just barely ever get touched and the books about them are better off because they are so rare. These are niche books on unique topics. The curious reader loves to discover these books and the treasures of information they contain within.

Ten of my favorite niche books are:

1. The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson.

The subtitle of this book is “the history, science, philosophy and Literature of Pedstrianism”. That pretty much sums up what you’ll find within the pages here and it’s not something you can find in any other book that I’ve ever read. It’s a succinct summary of walking among different cultures, across different artistic mediums, in different places and over different periods of time. It talks about what it’s like to be a modern walker in LA today and what it was like to compete in walking contests in the 19th century. It is also part memoir – the history of one man’s personal experience with walking. Totally unique from other books I’ve read. It’s particularly of interest to walkers and writers but it’s a great book for the curious reader of any kind.

2. French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.

It’s a little bit odd that this is a niche topic book since it’s been a highly successful title but it’s definitely a bit different from other books. It’s the memoir of a French college student who gained weight upon coming to America. The book reveals her own personal struggle with weight which is, of course, not a unique topic. However the book also reveals her strategies for getting back to her French roots – learning to stay slender while still eating rich foods. It’s a bit of a diet book or a how-to guide or a self-help book but it’s not written in the format of any of those things. It’s a memoir but it offers direct advice. It doesn’t fall neatly into any specific category but instead fits across many different topics. That makes it a book all its own style and one worth reading because it’s not quite like any other.

3. The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson.

This book is a book about what it is like to be someone who writes and/or reads obituaries. It’s about the unique writing style that goes into crafting an obituary. It’s about the bigger lives behind the short paragraphs that make up an obituary. It’s not a topic that you’ve seen written about often (if ever) and yet it provides information on a diverse range of different aspects of life and writing. Definitely a niche book and one that curious readers will want to add to their Christmas wish lists.

4. Fancy Coffins to Make Yourself by Dale Power

 If you’re into the whole morbid thing and you also like reading about crafts then I would imagine that this book is probably a good one to add to your “weird reading” list. I have to admit that I stole this suggestion off of another great list – 17 Unusual Book Titles.

5. DIRT: The Quirks, Passions and Habits of Keeping House edited by Mindy Lewis.

This was a terrific read. It’s an anthology of stories by women about the way that they experience housekeeping. It’s about the need to keep a house totally clean or the willingness to let clutter take over every corner. Although we all clean (or avoid cleaning) most of us don’t ever talk about why it is that we approach cleaning the way that we do. The stories in this anthology take that topic and use it to reveal different social, cultural, economic and emotional truths about the issue of cleaning.

6. Very Small Shops by John Stones.

I haven’t ready this book yet but I’ve got my eye on it because it looks like a neat niche-topic book. It’s all about the best ways to design and decorate a small retail store. Coming from San Francisco, where so many shops are tiny because of the cost of retail space, I am familiar with seeing great interior design work inside of small spaces. Nevertheless, I’d love to learn more about the tricks they use to make these spaces work for displaying items that customers want to see.

7. Graham Crackers : Fuzzy Memories, Silly Bits and Outright Lies by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.

This is a niche book for people who love Monty Python. It’s the random selection of memories written by Graham Chapman. He has a true autobiography out but this is a better book for real fans. 

8. Letters from Prison: Voices of Women Murderers by Jennifer Furio.

Talk about a topic that doesn’t get talked about all that often! There are much fewer female murderers than males in prison for murder which makes this a truly niche topic. It’s comprised of letters from an activist to these women and shows off a really intimated side of this usually-silent topic.

9. Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction by Sue William Silverman.

Another not-too-talked-about-topic is sex addiction particularly when it is a woman who is the sex addict. This heartfelt memoir tells the tale of what it is like to be a woman who is addicted to sex. It’s a very good book by a terrific author (who, incidentally, also has a great niche book on writing memoirs!)

10. Why Don’t Penguins Feet Freeze and 114 Other Questions.

This is the best niche book for curious readers who can’t will themselves to be pinned down to a single niche. The niche here would be that this is a question-and-answer book that provides you with lots of information about weird science questions that you might want to know more about. You can learn a lot just from this one book!


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Nan 8 years ago

    A of of people do read. Go to the bookstores, and the library and check out what is new. Some books are just not interesting. Good Review.

  • Cosmo Freebird profile image

    Cosmo Freebird 8 years ago

    That's a question I have always wondered about. Why don't penguins feet freeze? Nice hub!

  • harrisdy profile image

    hdy 8 years ago from Texas

    great hub about niche books...

  • Ambition398 profile image

    Ambition398 8 years ago

    This is great! Not that I have a lot of time to read, unfortunately, but it's great to go out of your comfort zone sometimes.