Best Nonfiction 2016

These biographies and true-life stories are among the favorites nonfiction books reviewed in 2015. Included on many “best books” lists, they are available to borrow from the Lititz Public Library

The Witches : Salem 1692The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
A panic, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony, spread quickly and resulted in the hanging of nineteen men and women as part of the Salem Witch Trials.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The author shares moments when he discovered some new truth about the history of race, whether a trip to a Civil War battlefield, a journey to Chicago’s South Side or a visit with the mother of a friend who was shot by the police.

The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman
From 1979 to 1985, an engineer at a Soviet military research center shared tens of thousands of pages of material about the latest advances in aviation technology with the CIA’s Moscow station.

Blackout : Remembering the Things I Drank to ForgetBlackout by Sarah Hepola
A woman, who believed confidence, creativity and intimacy came only from a liquor bottle, faces her addiction and begins to reinvent herself in sobriety.

Between You & Me by Mary Norris
A New Yorker copy editor describes some of the most common and vexing errors in language and usage, drawing examples from classic literature and pop culture while sharing anecdotes from her work with celebrated writers.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
An experienced falconer, grieving the sudden death of her father, attempted to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her recovery.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Comedian teams with a sociologist to evaluate how technology is shaping contemporary relationships and consider the differences between courtships of the past and present.

Pacific : Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's SuperpowersPacific by Simon Winchester
Silicon chips, surfboards, coral reefs, atomic bombs, brutal dictators, fading empires and up-and-coming superpowers are part of the Pacific Ocean’s significance today.

SPQR by Mary Beard
The citizens of ancient Rome adapted the idea of imperial rule, inventing the concepts of citizenship and making laws about those traditionally overlooked in history, such as women, slaves and criminals.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson
A chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania discusses the factors that led to the tragedy on May 1, 1915, a time when WWI was entering its tenth month and German U-boats spread terror on the North Atlantic.

Black Earth by Timothy Snyder
Based on new sources from Eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, the author presents a new explanation of the Holocaust and reveals risks we face today.

The Last of the President's MenThe Last of the President’s Men by Bob Woodward
Richard Nixon’s aide Alexander Butterfield disclosed the secret White House taping system that led to the president’s resignation.

The Point of Vanishing by Howard Axelrod
Five years after being blinded in an accident and desperate for a sense of orientation and trust, the author retreated to a house in the Vermont woods without a computer or television and largely without human contact for two years.

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello
Renowned before he was twenty-four, the author offers perspectives on the emotional foundations of his songs and his rise to international success.

Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin
Yearning for more tangible work, a woman employed at a desk job for a Boston newspaper, who couldn’t tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver, answers a job notice for a carpenter’s assistant.

February 5, 2016