Best Nonfiction of the Year

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We’re counting down to the end of the year, and today it’s time for my picks for the best nonfiction I read all year. I love nonfiction, especially science and history, and I read some amazing books in 2019.

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My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (Corfu Trilogy #1). Darrell is quickly becoming one of my favorite nature writers because he is so very funny. I can’t wait to read more.

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe. Another winner by science writer Munroe. It made me giggle like a kid. 

Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini. I’ve already mentioned this one several times, but I just couldn’t leave it off the list.

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane. It took me weeks to finish this on audio, but it was fascinating and worth the time.

Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur. Really informative and interesting. I’m curious to see what the writer does next.

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction by David Quammen. Sobering and beautiful.

Grant by Ron Chernow. This overturned everything I thought I knew about Ulysses Grant and provided footnotes. This is how a biography should be done.

The Gene : An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee. If I were to pick the top nonfiction of the year, this is it. Both highly technical and deeply personal. It is simply brilliant.


There you have it. Eight highly recommended books for the new year. I had some other really good books I could have included, but these are the ones that stood out the most. What nonfiction did you love this year! I would love to hear your recommendations.

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