Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best of Non-Fiction: 2016

On Thursday I started my look back at the best books I've read this past year.  I've read a good number of books in 2016, but of course, I haven't read everything.  Today, I'm sharing the best non-fiction books I read in the hopes that you might find a title or two to add to your TBR list.  

You can find my list of best fiction I read in 2016 by visiting that post.

1.  The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grown-ups by Erika Christakis - parents and teachers will especially find this book full of thoughtful ideas and research about talking to young children and development at that age.  I wish every administrator would read this book as well.

2.  Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth - I wanted to highlight the heck out of this book because it is full of research and important information about work ethic and perseverance and determination - and makes me think about how much our young people really need to find some grit.

3.  Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner - an interesting look at how one family dealt with being separated by the Berlin Wall for decades.  It shows what life was really like behind the Berlin Wall as well.

4. The Fireline: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots and one of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting by Fernanda Santos- the true life account of nineteen brave men who fought a fire that began in Yarnell, Arizona. Santos' book makes the loss of their lives personal as she introduces readers to the men and their families.

5.  Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson- I was just in first grade when Mount St. Helens erupted and even have a small bottle of ash from it that a grade school friend brought to me after her father visited Washington state, so of course I've always been a little curious about this event in history.  Similar to The Fireline is the fact that this book makes this disaster personal by sharing the stories of the people directly affected by the eruption.

6.  Army Wives by Tanya Biank -not a new book at all (I purchased it in 2008 according to Amazon), I was pleasantly surprised to discover this was non-fiction.  Biank shares the stories of four different army wives and what life is like for them.  I know there is a show that was eventually based on this book, but I have not seen a single episode.

7.  When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi- a beautiful memoir written by Kalanithi, a doctor, who at just thirty-six was just beginning his career and had many hopes and dreams for his future. He moves from his role as a doctor to a patient and quickly must decide what will give his life meaning and what he wants to accomplish yet in his time on earth.  So beautifully written, that even though I normally like to just breeze right through what I'm reading, I made myself slow down and enjoy this one and soak it all in.

8.  The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell - a nice and interesting look at Russell's move to Denmark with her husband. Originally from England, they moved because of her husband's job at Lego, initially planning to stay just a year. Despite the fact that England and Denmark are on the same continent, Russell had plenty of culture shock to deal with and a lot to learn about how the Danes live.

9.  The Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of our Nation's Leaders by Brady Carlson - this book is fascinating and I could listen to it several more times and learn something new each time. Just absolutely packed with facts and interesting stories of our presidents.

10.  Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of Thirty-Three Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar - if you think I  have a thing for books about disasters, you may be right. This is the third book on my "best" list featuring some type of disaster.  Again, I enjoyed the fact that Tobar let us in to the lives of these miners and made their stories personal (although with 33 miners, it was a bit tricky to keep everyone straight).  I remember hearing updates about these men on the news, so getting to read this was much better than hearing a 30 second newsclip here and there. Plus, I already knew this ending was a happy one.

And because I added a bonus pick for fiction, I feel compelled to do the same for non-fiction. Plus I was reading this the other day, and smiling to myself the whole time.  
Loved it!

11.  Talking as Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls by Lauren Graham - I loved her in Gilmore Girls. I loved her in Parenthood. I loved her novel Someday, Someday, Maybe and now I loved her memoir. I just can't quite get enough of Lauren Graham. This is a fast and fun read, and I felt like she was Loralei Gilmore just talking superfast at me. The best news is that she is working on another novel.  

There have been some other really super non-fiction books I've read as well, and I'd love to hear any recommendations that you might have for me.  

And, when in the world did a sub-title become the thing to have? Nearly all of the non-fiction books featured have one and that just makes their titles super long and hard to remember word for word.  

I'll be back tomorrow with a look at Middle Grade and YA Books I loved in 2016.

1 comment:

Anne Bennett said...

I am really interested in the book LIVING DANISHLY. What a title. We read DEEP DOWN DARK. It was hard keep track of all the characters but what a story!