Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads
I rarely read non-fiction. I had to read a lot of it in college, and let's just say that it was less than page-turning reading for me. Fiction has always been my thing, though if a subject is of great interest to me, that's when I might check out a non-fiction book about it.
For instance, I read Paul Murray Kendall's biography of Richard III after reading Sharon Kay Penman's outstanding historical fiction novel, The Sunne in Splendour, in which the last Plantagenet king is portrayed in a much more heroic light than in Shakespeare's play. Kendall's biography is the perfect companion to Penman's novel, and if you're going to read Sunne, trust me, you'll want to find a copy of Kendall's book, too.
I love Jane Austen, and I've read two biographies about her: Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen: A Life and Jon Spence's Becoming Jane Austen. I thought both of them relied heavily on discussing members of her family for whom there is more biographical information available than it did about Austen herself. I think the best bet for possibly gaining some insight into her life is by reading the collection of her letters.
I'm not sure if this counts as non-fiction or not, but I also loved reading Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey. It's an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the making of all eight films, complete with gorgeous photographs of everything from the actors to the sets to the props as well as concept art illustrations. I had to own this as soon as I heard about it, and it was worth every penny. And if books about the making of movie/television adaptations of books count as non-fiction, then I'll also put in a good word for The Making of Pride and Prejudice (as in the one with Colin Firth as Darcy) and The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film. The P & P book is on the short side, at a little over 100 pages, but come on—it has photos of Colin Firth in it! The "diaries" in the title of the S & S book refer to the diaries of Emma Thompson (Elinor Dashwood), and she's an excellent, and often witty, writer.
I really don't have any non-fiction recommendations for someone new to the genre. Most of my non-fiction reads I pick up because I want to learn more about a particular topic. Do you read any non-fiction? Are there any subjects that you really enjoy reading about?