Favorite Nonfiction Reads of 2012

by Kim on December 19, 2012 · 14 comments

This is part two of a series of post highlight my favorite books of the year and the books that got away. On Monday I highlighted my favorite fiction, and this Friday I’ll showcase my favorite memoirs. 

I tried, really, to get this list down to five books… but, you guys, I read a lot of fabulous nonfiction this year. So instead of ignoring some deserving books I decided to highlight 10 of my favorites in 140 characters or less each. The links with each title go to posts with my full reviews, if you want to learn more.

methland homicide game change everybody was so young
future perfect born to run fooling houdini behind the beautiful forevers
best american essays 2011 quiet

Methland by Nick Reding — The story of meth in the United States as seen through the struggle of one small town in Iowa. Perfect example of narrative nonfiction.

Homicide by David Simon — A chronicle of the year David Simon, creator of ‘The Wire,’ spent shadowing detectives of the Baltimore PD. A must for true crime junkies.

Game Change by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann — A gossipy, inside politics narrative of the 2008 election, from the historic primary to the process to select Palin to the general election.

Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill — I loved reading this portrait of the boozy, artsy, enchanted life Gerald and Sara Murphy led and the artists’ community they cultivated.

Future Perfect by Steven Johnson — We are making slow, incremental progress thanks to the development of peer networks across the public and private sectors. Thinky politics.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall — Extreme runners are… extreme. A secret tribe of Mexican super athletes can teach us about how to run safer, better, and further.

Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone — All my weaknesses: A quirky, first person account of a secret society will a smattering of psychology, true crime, and history. Delightful.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo — In a world of corrupt institutions stacked against the poor, the residents of a Mumbai slum have to turn on each other. Heartbreaking read.

Best American Essays 2011 edited by Edwidge Danticat — Edwidge Danticat and I have the same taste in essays. Therefore, I loved every piece in this collection and will tell everyone to read it.

Quiet by Susan Cain — What does science have to say about introversion/extroversion, and is the world really better off being ruled by extroverted people?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

bermudaonion(Kathy) December 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I’m making note of these since I consider you to be a great non-fiction source.

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Jennifer December 20, 2012 at 8:50 am

Ditto to the above comment :)

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Nikki Steele December 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I loved Born to Run and Quiet. Future Perfect is sitting on my bedside table, waiting for me to finish The Twelve. I can’t wait to get some thinky think on! (And triple ditto to the above comments)

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Kim December 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

Future Perfect was so great! I tore through that one and just loved it.

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Jamie December 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I’ve heard so much about Born to Run, I think I need to add it to the list. Have you read Erik Larson? Fantastic non-fiction if you haven’t yet!

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Kim December 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

I have read Eric Larson. I love him a lot. The Devil in the White City is such a creepy awesome book.

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Vasilly December 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

You’re adding books to my tbr list! I started reading Born to Run a few weeks ago and loved it. It’s so entertaining.

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Joanna December 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

I’ve never heard of Finding Houdini but it sounds like just my thing. But I’ve heard so, so many good things about Quiet and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, they are already on my list.

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Kim December 30, 2012 at 10:09 am

That was one of my favorite books of the year, top five easily. I wish more people had read it because I thought it was awesome.

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Jennifer December 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

Another great set of recommendations. I’m glad you went with ten instead of five because you are one of the few people I know who takes the time to read and recommend seriously good and worthwhile nonfictions reads.

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Kim December 30, 2012 at 10:10 am

It was a really fun list to put together. I read a lot of great books this year, and for that I’m really grateful.

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Colleen December 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I have Quiet and Behind the Beautiful Forevers on my list for 2013!

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