Non fiction can do this too sometimes. I've just finished reading Siddharth Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies, and if any book can make you hold your breath and keep you awake at night, this one can. I recieved two copies of the book on my birthday (thank you, Sekhar and Anal!), and its one of the best birthday presents ever! Before 12 pages were done, I knew I was going to love it as much as the most thrilling fiction I've read. Mukherjee calls it the 'biography of cancer'. The book is that, and so much more. It's a thrilling page turner of a book, where the science and the discoveries blend so effortlessly with the human joys and foibles. No courtroom drama, or detective with magnifying glass can keep you so riveted for 600 pages. The stories pour out one after another, of how disfiguring surgeries acquired near religious fervour then lost favour, of the decades of war between tobacco manufacturers and activists, of gene discoveries that were as much chance as years of passionate work...And then there are human stories of victory and defeat, like the Jimmy fund and the Herceptin trial, that make you well up.
The book won a Pulitzer this year. But that's not why I recommend it. Read it because never before has science been written about in a way that reminds of poetry and detective fiction.