2012 In Review: My Favorite Nonfiction

With the end of 2012 a few days away, I’m sitting at my laptop and trying to decide which books, out of all the ones I read over the course of the year, did I enjoy the most. To be brutally honest, this annual ritual is never easy. While there’s always books that blew me away from the beginning, there’s always a few that I didn’t fully appreciate ’til months after I read them. And there’s always one or two that for whatever reason or reasons, came up a just a bit short.

By now most of you know the drill; unlike the usual year-end “best of” lists compiled by professional reviewers, my list includes any exceptional books I read over the course of the year, regardless of when the book was published. (This practice seems near-universal among book bloggers. For example, check out one of Kim’s year-end lists at her blog Sophisticated Dorkiniess.) Also, these books tend to reflect my, um, “unique” reading tastes. While those tastes might not be completely mainstream, I can take comfort in the words of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Enough jabber, on to the list.

There you have it. Just like in past years, while some of these books I originally heard of thanks to print media, bloggers, NPR and the Quality Paperback Book Club; when it comes to a few of these books I have my local public library to thank. Had it not been for the good people at the Multnomah Country Library I might never have discovered, let alone had the opportunity to read A Chance in the World, Did Jesus Exist?, Holy War and God and Gold.

Of course in life we must take the bad along with the good. While last year I didn’t give an award for the year’s worst book, this year is another story. Unfortunately that unenviable distinction goes to Vincent Bugliosi’s Divinity of Doubt: The God Question. Poorly conceived, poorly edited, pretentious and grouchy this book had tons of potential. Sadly, with Bugliosi calling the shots it was all wasted.

That’s all for now. If this is my last post before the end of the year I wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2013.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “2012 In Review: My Favorite Nonfiction

  1. This is such a eclectic and interesting list. I think the only one on ym radar is The Fear, but I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts on the others.

  2. JoV

    No one read non-fictions quite like you. I applaud your dedication to non-fictions and bringing it to my attention! Happy new year.

  3. Partly due to seeing your review of the Borg book earlier this year, I’m currently reading his book Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary. I just find his approach to Christianity, and especially the Bible, so refreshing.

    I actually visited the main branch of Multnomah earlier this year when I was in Portland for a conference. (The visit was part of the conference.) It seemed like a great library.

    • Excellent! I need to read more books by Borg. The one who write of sounds promising. I’ll have to check it out sometime.
      Glad you were able to visit my fair city- and my beloved library. I could not do my blog without it!!

  4. Pingback: Five Bookish Links | Maphead's Book Blog

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