The Best of Non-Fiction 2013

Still reading a few non-fiction books, so I reserve the right to amend, but here are my favorites I’ve read in 2013

wwtawwtagWhat We Talk About When We Talk About God – Rob Bell

It feels like the title may actually be longer than the book.  As usual, Rob Bell manages to get inside my mind and say the things that need to be said.  I know he’s controversial, but this is a really beautiful book about the search for God and meaning that’s in all of us.

Bunker Hill – Nathanial Philbrickbunkerhill

This is quite the tome of historical information.  It could have been very dry, but Philbrick is a master of brining out the individual stories within the larger drama.  Having lived in Boston this book helped me pull all the little bits of knowledge I’ve picked up and put it on a framework to understand the larger story.

womenpowerandpoliticsWomen, Power, Politics – Sylvia Bashevkin

Every time I am considering the thought of going back to grad school I look at possible advisors and buy a copy of one of their books.  Most of those books are on my shelf only partially read.  With this book my jaw dropped.  I loved the book (I’ve read through most of it again).  A really good overview of the issues surrounding gaining greater representation for women in politics.

I Feel Bad About My Neck – Nora Ephronkneck

I’ve loved many Ephron’s movies, but I didn’t realize she had books until late this year.  It was an added bonus to listen to them on audio book with Ephron herself reading.  Funny and warm, these books are entertaining and enlightening.

knowitallThe Know-It-All – AJ Jacobs

I really enjoyed this book about Jacobs’ quest to read the whole encyclopaedia.  A tribute to the need to constantly learn, the impossibility of learning (and retaining) everything, and the reality that knowing information and having wisdom are not the same thing.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot – I loved this book.  I got soimmortal wrapped up in the story and the political implications that I hardly noticed all the science I was learning.  The book is well researched and well written.  Engaging beginning to end.


Honorable Mention:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan

The first 2/3 of this book is fantastic.  I learned so much from the section on industrial farming and the local family farm.  It made me think about the politics and economics of the food we eat.  However, the third section dwells too much on the ethics of killing and Pollan’s internal struggles (even though that really is the heart of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) for my tastes.


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