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
  • 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
  • Ebadi, Shirin: Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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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