Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

My To Read List: Nonfiction


  • Al-Marashi, Huda: First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story
  • Appiah: The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity
  • Barry, John: The Great Influenza
  • Bell, Richard: Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped Into Slavery and Their Astonishing Oddyssey Home (4.26.20)
  • Bird, Lydia, Sonnet: One Woman’s Voyage from Maryland to Greece
  • Brazile, Donna: Hacks 2017
  • Brechneff, Christian, The Greek House: The Story of a Painter’s Love Affair with the Greek Island of Sifnos (rec. by Susan Murphy)
  • Brooks, David:
    • Bobos in Paradise (the self-centeredness of bourgeois beohemians)
    • The Road to Character (looking for meaning in life)
    • The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (2019)
  • Brooks, Geraldine: Nine Parts of Desire
  • Brown, Sherrod: Desk 88 (Nov 2019)
  • Brinkley, Douglas, Cronkite (biography)
  • Cantu, Francisco: The Line Becomes a River (memoir of a border patrol agent)
  • Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring
  • Cohen, Cole, Head Case (memoir)
  • Dawkins, Richard
    • The Blind Watchmaker
    • Unweaving the Rainbow
    • The Extended Phenotype
  • Dionne et al., One Nation After Trump
  • Donvan, John and Caren Zucker, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism
  • Dreisinger, Baz: Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World 2016
  • Eagleton, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
  • Fasnan, Ladyfingers and Nun’s Tummies
  • Feynman, Richard: Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character (includes Surely You’re Joking…; What Do You Care…;  a CD of Feynman talking about “Los Alamos from Below” and more)
  • Florida, Richard: The Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class–And What We Can Do About It 5/17
  • Fong, Kevin, Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the 20th Century
  • Ford, Ian and Stephanie Hamilton,  A Field Guide to Earthlings: an Autistic/Asperger View of Neurotypical Behavior
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth, Big Magic
  • Ginsberg, Ruth Bader: My Own Words
  • Gleick, James: Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (Ottaviani: like Mehra’s biog but with less emphasis on the physics)
  • Godfrey-Smith, Peter: Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (FSG 2016) (Wash Post rev 1/17)
  • Goldfarb, Ben. Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
  • Goodrich, David: A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the United States
  • Goodwin, Jason:
    • A Time for Tea: Travels Through China and India in Search of Tea
    • On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul
  • Gottlieb, Lori: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (a therapist’s memoir)
  • Harari, Yuval Noah:
    • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
    • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
  • Hepburn, Stephanie & Rita J. Simon: Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight (11/18, not available in MoCo Lib)
  • Humphries, Margaret: Empty Cradles (available from Amazon, about $10 with shipping from 3rd party seller)
  • Hyman, Mark: What the Heck Should I Eat? (rec. by Georgia MacKenzie)
  • Isaacson, Walter, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
  • Jen, Gish: The Girl at the Baggage Claim  (how Chinese students get to the US)
  • Kasris, Ronnie, The Unlikely Secret Agent (biography of Eleanor Kasris, who fought against Apartheid in her adopted country S. Africa)
  • Kean, Sam
    • The Disappearing Spoon
    • The Violinist’s Thumb
  • Kersten, Holger, Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion
  • King, Gilbert: Devil in the Grove (Thurgood Marshall’s case of mistaken rape)
  • Kim, Paul, The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando (Robert de la Rochefoucault )
  • Kolbert, Elizabeth, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
  • Kondo, Marie, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Kozol, Jonathan, The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time
  • Krauss, Lawrence M. Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science (review)
  • Lear, Linda,  Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
  • Leighton, Ralph: Tuva or Bust (about Feynman’s obsession to get to Tuva)
  • Lewis, John: Walking with the Wind (A memoir/history of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s)
  • Li, Yiyun, Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life (memoir)
  • Lishman, Bill: Father Goose (inspiration for the movie Fly Away Home) Added 7/5/18
  • Liu, Eric: You’re More Powerful than You Think (politics. 322.409 LIU 1 in GBL) Added 11/8/17
  • Losos, Jonathan B., Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution  (Was SJ Gould right when  he claimed that evolution would not happen the same way twice? Reviewed  in the  Post Aug 27, 2017)
  • Lotto, Beau: Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently (neurosci)
  • Lyman, Robert: Among the Headhunters: An Extraordinary World War II Story of Survival in the Burmese Jungle
  • MacLean, Nancy: Democracy in Chains
  • Mailhot, Terese Marie: Heart Berries (memoir of growing up on a reservation in Canada)
  • Manseau, Peter: One Nation Under God
  • McIntyre, Lee: Post-Truth
  • McKibben, Bill, Falter: Has the Human Game Played Itself Out? Added 4/28/19. Climate change
  • Mehra, Jagdish: The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (Ottaviani’s favorite biog of Feynman)
  • Meili, Trisha: I Am the Central Park Jogger (Nov 2019)
  • Miller, Arthur I.: Empire of the Stars: Obsession, Friendship, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes (about Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, astrophysicist, rec. by Maggie Newman, added 10/19/17)
  • Mlodinow, Leonard: The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos (history of science)
  • Moghul, Haroon: How to Be a Muslim: An American Story (added 6/6/17)
  • Morrow, Susan Brind, The Names of Things: A Passage in the Egyptian Desert
  • Moskowitz, Peter: How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood 5/17
  • Mukherjee, Siddhartha: the Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (2010)
  • Newkirk, Thomas, Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones: Six Literary Principles Worth Fighting For
  • Norgren, Jill, Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating  Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers
  • Norris, Mary
    • Between You and Me–Confessions of the Comma Queen
    • Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen 
  • Pang, Alex Soo-jung-kim: The Distraction Addiction
  • Parker, Barry, Search for a Super Theory: From Atoms to Superstrings (Plenum 1987)
  • Petit, Philippe: Creativity: The Perfect Crime
  • Petroski, Henry (author of The Pencil): The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure
  • Quinn, Susan: Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady (rec. by Helen, 8/24/18)
  • Reynolds, Henry: The Whispering in our Hearts (Revisited) (rec. by Michael Coghlan. “constructed an alternative history of Australia through the eyes of those who felt disquiet and disgust at the brutality of dispossession. These men and women fought for justice for Indigenous people even when doing so left them isolated and criticised by their fellow whites”) (amazon does have the original book)
  • Richardson, Heather Cox: To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party
  • Richtel, Matt: An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives (reviewed in WaPo 5/5/19)
  • Rosenthal, Elisabeth: An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back 5/17
  • *Rothstein, Richard: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (added 5/17; placed hold 11/18)
  • Saslow, Eli: Rising Out of Hatred (Nov 2018, how a white supremacist embraced the truth)
  • Seen, Shulem, All Who Go Do Not Return A memoir of Hasidic life
  • Shulman, Beth, The Betrayal of Work (recommended by Jean Choi)
  • Silberman, Steve, Neurotribes  (about the history of autism)
  • Silverman, Jacob: Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
  • Simon, Marie, Underground in Berlin
  • Simon, Scott: Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime
  • Siskind, Amy: The List (a compressed history of the Trump presidency)
  • Slocum, Joshua: Sailing Alone Around the World
  • Souder, William, On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
  • Stamper, Kory: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries
  • Sundaram, Anjam, Bad News: Journalists in a Dictatorship (Rwanda)
  • Suzman, James: Affluence Without Abundance: The  Disappearing World of the Bushmen (reviewed in the Washington Post on 8/27/2017)
  • Tetro, Jason: The Germ Code and The Germ Files
  • Traister, Rebecca: Good and Mad (female anger in politics)
  • Turner, James, Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities rev. in Wash Post  8/21/14
  • Weiner, Eric, The Geography of Genius
  • Weller, Sheila: Girls Like Us (Carole King, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell
  • Wigglesworth, Mark: The Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters
  • Wilson, A. N.: Paul: The Mind of the Apostle
  • Winch, Guy: Emotional First Aid (rec. by Nellie)
  • Winik, Marion: The Baltimore Book of the Dead

2 Responses to “My To Read List: Nonfiction”

  1. joan davidson said

    Well, I’ve read only two of the books on your unfathomable list
    l)Obama’s beautiful book—and it’s hard to believe youve not read it yet It is well-written, open, frank and extremely moving.
    2)Sue Orlean’s book, which is quite UNlike the film. Fortunately, I read the book before I saw the absurd movie. You will enjoy the book, though sometimes the “thief” is …dare I say “larger than lfe?” a bit unbelievable.

  2. Nina Liakos said

    Why unfathomable?

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