It’s December, and I’m looking back on another year of ups, downs and most importantly—books. I’ve written about a lot of my favorites this year, which you can read about here if you’re interested. And while I’ve talked about all kinds of books, I’ve left out a lot of excellent nonfiction.
So if you’re craving nonfiction, or looking for something a little different to read this winter, here are some of my favorites from 2016.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Dr. Kalanithi, who has worked his entire life to become a neurosurgeon, is suddenly diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. At a loss in his life and career, he decides to do something he always wanted to do, but never had a chance: write a book. Kalanithi’s perspective is unique, and not just because he’s spent so much of his life in a hospital. With multiple degrees in literature and philosophy as well as medicine, Kalanithi takes us through his life and present struggles with moving insight and excellent writing (no ghost-writer here). This is an amazing book about life, medicine, family, love and death. Warning: don’t read without tissues.
All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister
Traister’s book about single women ends up covering so much more than just who’s married and who isn’t. This books looks at women throughout American history as well as women today. Traister focuses on many important factors that affect marriage rates and interviews women from many walks of life. I learned a lot, and enjoyed myself completely.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
What can you say to your child when you know you can’t protect them from the world? Coates writes this book as a letter to his son; his hopes, fears, prayers and wisdom imparted from his own experiences as an African American. Discussing poverty, racial discrimination and violence, Coates paints a painful but accurate portrait of what it means to be Black in America and opened my eyes to the injustices happening all around us.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Nelson’s memoir doesn’t follow traditional book structures like chapters and divided sections, a theme that applies to her subject matter as well. Writing about pregnancy, motherhood, queer life and her relationship with her partner, Harry (who is gender fluid), Nelson invites the reader to think beyond the traditional structures and boundaries that can limit us. This book will make you rethink what “normal” looks like in others and yourself.
Did you read any good nonfiction this year? Let us know in the comments!
Celebrate the New Year with Nonfiction!Read The Argonauts
Adina enjoys cooking and eating (mostly eating), ranting about books and watching movies with her friends. You can find her working at the West End branch or relaxing in her cozy apartment.