Top Non Fiction Books Read 2016
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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond which allowed me to see a part of the nation that I've never really seen before. And on top of it, it is a very absorbing story (and the best non-fiction I read this year).
The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine Di Giovanni - for the courage and for the description of a war that we all prefer not to be here... but we cannot ignore
In a way both are books about war and misery - one declared war, one not; one in the States, one half-way across the world. But both heartbreaking.
And despite not being perfect, these three were worth reading and might have been my favorite non-fiction if I had not read the previous 2 this year:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - even if I did have some reservations, it is a book that needs to be read
The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue by Frederick Forsyth- especially if you are a fan of his novels
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli for its apparent simplicity while explaining very hard concepts
Why Save the Bankers?: And Other Essays on Our Economic and Political Crisis by Thomas Piketty had the same issue as the Rovelli book - because it was written as a series of articles, it did end up with a lot of repetition and lacked internal cohesion - but still was a great read.
When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II was a love story for books and freedom of thought.
Green Urbanism Down Under : learning from sustainable communities in Australia details many excellent local and state initiatives for green living, in a society that takes the climate and resources issue much more seriously than we in the US.
Aptly read in this awful political year is The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Still trying to learn more on this topic as it becomes even more important.
Lentil Underground is a very hopeful book, describing a mid-scale farmers' revolution in Montana.
Children of the Blitz : memories of wartime childhood is a collection of photos and reminiscences of the London Blitz, and it does a remarkable job of covering many facets of the time.
Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? was enlightening as well.
Elephant Company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II has been the most fun. Billie Williams reminds me of my deceased husband. It's great spending time with him.
For an intro to post-carbon survival thoughts, this is a summary of a talk by Richard Heinberg, who has been tracking the oil peak for decades: Fifty Million Farmers. There is a link to it in the book description box.
two documentary films I thought were excellent are:
Merchants Of Doubt (film)
Between the Folds: a film about finding inspiration in unexpected places. This one will just make you grin with joy for human ingenuity.
Is that too many? Sorry.
Gut by Guilia Enders - a look at how the gut is integral to the working of the body, told in a humorous fashion
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan - a study of the Dust Bowl in 1930s America, excellent narrative nonfiction
Pioneer Girl - an annotated coffee table book that is the original autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the source for many of her children's books
The Boys in the Boat - story of the development of the rowing team that won the 1936 Olympics in Germany
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling by Anne Serling
The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by John F. Kasson
Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn by Ken Cuthbertson
To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei, Star Trek's Mr. Sulu by George Takei
I loved these books and highly recommend them.
The Promise of Canada by Charlotte Gray;
The Memory Illusion: Remembering, Forgetting and the Science of False Memory by Julia Shaw; and
White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood and the Mess in Between by Judy Batalion.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World – Andrea Wulf
Annals of the Deep Sky, Vol. 3 – Jeff Kanipe & Dennis Webb
How To Use An Astronomical Telescope – James Muirden
The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts – Graham Robb
Dune Boy: The Early Years of a Naturalist – Edwin Way Teale
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania – Erik Larson
The Amateur Astronomer's Introduction to the Celestial Sphere – William Millar
House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest – Craig Childs
Of these, The Invention of Nature and House of Rain are the standouts.
Lisa Jackson – Your Pace or Mine? – removed the last traces of shame at being a slow runner and the author even emailed me on marathon day.
David Kynaston – Modernity Britain – his volumes of social history always make my top ten.
Joan Russell Noble – Recollections of Virginia Woolf – such a special book of pieces by her contemporaries.
Simon Armitage – Walking Home – a bloomin good read about a long walk.
Bob Stanley – Yeah Yeah Yeah – the definitive history of pop and SO entertaining.
Reviews not on here yet but you can find them on my blog if interested https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/top-ten-books-of-the-year-2016-an...
Everywhere I Look -- a brilliant series of essays by Australian writer Helen Garner.
Ghostland -- American history through the framework of "haunted places" by Colin Dickey. Even the most hardened anti-spook sceptic ought to appreciate this one.
In Gratitude -- Jenny Diski's memoir of what it's likely to actually BE a terminally ill person. Fans of Doris Lessing will especially appreciate Jenny's having been her foster daughter for years.
Following Fish -- Part travel, part history, part sociology of India via the theme of "fish".
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes -- author's stories of working at a crematorium.
Walking the Kiso Road -- modern exploration of a historic Japanese route which I thought especially well done.
Trip to Echo Spring -- parts travel narrative/bio/lit crit as the author travels USA to sites that were part of the lives of six American authors.
This Victorian Life -- author and her husband live almost completely Victorian lives on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.
I'm the Teacher, You're the Student -- a school year through the eyes of a dedicated history professor.
Oops! It is a fantastic book. Probably a few orders of magnitude better than the original touchstone!
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
The Phantom Major: The Story of David Stirling and His SAS Regiment Desert Command
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Up in the Old Hotel, and Other Stories and Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker
Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy
Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway's Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises
The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones
Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
The Right Stuff