A Year of Reading in Review: Non-Fiction Highlights

A Year of Reading in Review:


+ Best Books

+ Worst Books

+ Graphic Novel Sound Off

+ Non-Fiction Highlights

+ Yearly Goals - Did I make them?

+ Most Disappointing Books

+ New Favorite Author(s)

+ Promising New Debut Author

+ Disappointing Author - authors whose future books I won't be checking out

+ Hidden Gems - books I didn't think I'd like but did

+ Not All That Glitters Is Gold - Books I thought I'd love but didn't

+ Books I Wanted to Read But Didn't


One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to read 12 non-fiction books.  At the end of October, I've read a grand total of 19.


Ever since I graduated college in 2008, I've kinda stayed away from non-fiction, fearing I'd have college nightmares (being late to class, being on stage in my underwear, you know the drill).  But the tale end of last year, I started to read some non-fiction and I saw that they didn't have to be dry as dirt and boring as hell.  So I made a goal to read 12 and surpassed that goal by 7!


Here are my non-fiction highlights:


Top 5 Best Non-Fiction Books of 2013:


+ Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain - This book was a great way to start off the new year.  I thought it was simply fantastic!  I am an introvert, and I'm always struggling with how to deal with my natural inclination to be quiet vs how the world wants me to be louder.  This book helped me understand myself better AND figure out how to be better at work.


+ You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney - One topic that I can't get enough of is the human brain.  It is just a hunk of meat, and yet we still understand so little about it.  This book helped me realize just how weird my brain is and how much I did NOT know.


+ Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser - I'm a bit late to the game on this book, but I've had it in my TBR pile forever and thought, better late than never.  I had heard lots about how, after I finished it, I'd never want to eat at a fast food place again, but I didn't really get that sentiment until I finished it.  And it's not because the food is handled in a gross fashion - no, I don't like the way the workers are treated like hunks of meat!  Fascinating book, I hope that Schlosser writes a follow-up one of these days.


+ Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy - This has been the year I've pursued a lot of feminist works, and this is one of the many I found out about and checked out.  Very fascinating!  It seems when women take off their clothes you get one of two answers: Good for her! or Slut!  This book does not slut shame the women who partake in raunch culture, but neither does it applaud them either.  Instead, it pokes around and shows that a lot of raunch culture winds up being about the MEN not about the WOMEN.


+ The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler - If I had to choose best book of 2013, this book would tie with "Quiet", it was that good.  I've spent most of my life as a heavy child/teen/adult and always wondering why I couldn't seem to be a normal weight.  This book peeled back the curtain and showed me why my body acts the way it does and how the food industry helps it.



Top 5 Worst Non-Fiction Books of 2013:


+ The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf - The pinnacle feminist work turned out to be a massively disappointing generalization-riddled mess.  It had good points, but time hasn't aged this book well.


+ The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo - Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for Ms. Aghdashloo.  I just think this book needed a LOT more fleshing out.


+ Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova - Should be renamed "How Sherlock Holmes Thinks", this book did NOTHING to help me think like Sherlock Holmes.  Instead, it repeated the same concepts I learned in "You Are Not So Smart".


+ Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti - This book was not written for a someone of my background (religious, former homeschooler, came from a right-wing Republican background and while she's released a lot of those ideals, she still considers herself Republican).  It was written for a very young group while flinging around f-bombs like there was no tomorrow - oh, and insulting anyone who wasn't a liberal Democrat.  Way to build unity, Valenti.


+ Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends by David Wilton - This book wasn't bad, just boring.  Most of the word histories I A) knew were wrong or B) didn't even recognize the misattribution.  Also, not written in the easiest manner to understand.