I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas!! We’re travelling through North Carolina right now, and it has been so much fun to see our families. We’re passing the 20 hours of driving each way by listening to Game of Thrones together, which has turned out to be WAY better than fighting over the radio.
As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to look back at the year’s books! Here’s my list of the best nonfiction of 2017.
This year, I read an all-time high of 110 books. Let’s keep in mind that I’m mostly reading fiction, and often it’s easy fiction too – not many tomes 2017. For those wondering, here’s the secret to how I read so much.
I read significantly less nonfiction, for the above reason. I read around 39 nonfiction books. I say around some of my favorite works play with that line a bit. David Sedaris‘ essays are mostly true, right? Same with Unbroken? But Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is fictionalized a bit, even if based off real characters. The line blurs in many of my favorite books.
As is true every year, this list is hard to make. Do I rank based on how well written I thought it was? How many people I recommended it to after finishing it? Anyway, here’s the best nonfiction of 2017.
Best Nonfiction of 2017
1. Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist
What can I even say about this book? This list may not be in a ranked order, but if it were this would still be number one. I’m a huge fan of Shauna Niequist, which should come as no surprise to you long time Teaspoon of Nose readers. Her latest books focuses more on choosing to reject the frantic, non-stop pace that modern life seems to require. Professionally and personally, in marriage and family, she gently but firmly fights to a life that’s less hustle and more rhythm. She’s honest without being sappy, which is one of my favorite things about reading anything by Niequist. It feels like a good friend or close mentor sitting down with you over coffee, offering something better than the frenetic daily tackling of the unending to do list. I don’t know about you, but I want that. I need that.
2. Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Broth
I have no idea if this counts as fiction or nonfiction. But whatever you call it, it’s laugh out loud funny. My husband kept asking me to not read it in bed because I’d start snorting with laughter while he was trying to sleep!
If you’re familiar with the website, it’s a book of her cartoons. Mostly about her everyday life. She tells stories of her childhood, of her insane dogs, and that time a goose got in the house. I really can’t re-tell anything at her level. If you need something funny to read, definitely get this.
3. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
I adore a good memoir. And it seems like these days, everyone and their mother writes one. Which calling it a memoir feels weird when the author’s under 40 (looking at you, Anna Kendrick), but when I think of them as a great collection of essays, things make more sense. I read some truly enjoyable ones this year: other favorites include Love, Loss and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi and Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.
There’s no denying my love of Carrie Fisher. (Remember, my dog is named after a Star Wars character. A somewhat obscure character. So this shouldn’t surprise you.) Beyond the Star Wars thing, she’s got a sass that I love, and appears to share a bit of Betty White’s interest in being herself over “aging gracefully” (whatever that means). I’ve only read one of her novels, which I confess I didn’t like, but when she passed away only 6 months after writing this, I knew I had to read it.
This was the year of David Sedaris for me. Of his ten books, I read eight this year alone. I discovered him early this year when my aunt played a recording of “6-8 black men” for me and never turned back. By the way, that one remains my favorite bit/essay of his to date. I literally made my husband listen to it last night but had to keep stopping it to laugh uproariously.
He’s hysterical, but I HIGHLY recommend going the audiobook route for his books. His delivery absolutely makes it – the voices, the pauses, the bits of French he’s learning. My favorite I read this year is probably Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, but I also really loved Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and any of the ones where he talks about living in France or England.
5. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
Yes, I’m probably the last millennial woman on earth to read this. It had been on my list for forever, and I even read the first chapters a few years ago but had to return it to the library. I finally read it and all I can say is YES YES YES. I’ve been very lucky to grow in a family and community that valued emotions as much as it could, so I’ve always been comfortable recognizing what I’m feeling. But Brene Brown’s research has given me deeper validation that it’s not just okay but actually positive and helpful to LEAD out of that place; that vulnerability has value not just romantically or close friendships, but in every aspect of relating and leading. This is a game changer, folks. I also loved that she addressed CEOs, moms, entrepreneurs and volunteers on equal footing. Her research applies to all sorts of interpersonal situations and you should definitely check it out.
The Sweet Life in Paris, David Lebovitz
My love of travel books never ends. This one is less travel and more experience: an American expat moves to Paris and shares all the little things that fascinate, confuse and delight. He works at a fishmonger, attempts to navigate a hardware store, and dresses up to take out the trash. For a wanderluster living in a small town, reading this was like crack.
What have been some of your favorites this year??? Comment below; I’m always looking for my next book!
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