"A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. I love his books - his humor going from cynical to happy-go-lucky in the same paragraph. He's just great. This book covers his ill-fated attempt to hike the entire Appalacian Trail. Both humerous and inspiring, it makes you want to either set out to hike the AT yourself or run screaming in the opposite direction. The book is also full of little facts and wonderful descriptions of the trail and its history along the way.
"The Mother Tongue" and "Made in America" by Bill Bryson. Both of these books have been used as textbooks in English classes all over. The first chronicles the history of English overall, its pitfalls and brilliance, comparing it to other languages as well as to its own forms across the world (i.e. British, American, Australian...) It gets down into the nitty gritty technical parts but is never boring and even though they're both extremely informative works of non-fiction, there is that signature Bryson humour threaded throughout. "Made In America" is about English in America alone, covering place names to dialects and how American English developed as a seperate entity from British English. If you love language, these are brilliant books you'll love.
"Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. Non-fiction. A look at how the fast food industry has changed the way we eat and the way food is produced and handled, not only in America but abroad as well. Kinda makes you think twice before buying burger at Safeway. Contrary to what the title suggests, this book is NOT anti-fast food, either. The author just SHOWS us how our world has changed since the advent of fast food, for better and for worse.
"A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn. Non-fiction. This was the text for my American History class in college. It's a heavy read, but it's the true history of the U.S. with all the dark parts added BACK in. And it doesn't forget to add any group, either - from natives and blacks to women and children. It's all here.