December 6, 2012
These are the nonfiction books I have most recommended to family and friends this year.
All links go to the authors' contributions to the Book Notes series or the book's page at Amazon. I have reposted my original review below each book.
What was your favorite nonfiction book of 2012?
Thoroughly researched and skillfully told, Cynthia Carr's Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz is one of the year's most impressive biographies, a book that not only covers the artist's life but also the vibrant East Village art scene of the 1980s.
In the mid-1970s, New York City was in turmoil, facing financial bankruptcy, blackouts, a recession, and rising crime, but the music scene was thriving. Love Goes To Buildings On Fire's Will Hermes captures the city's evolving music scenes of the era from hip-hop to punk, salsa to rock and roll.
Kate Bornstein's memoir A Queer and Pleasant Danger can be loosely described by its subtitle, "The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today," but that does not do the book justice. Bornstein shares her struggles and triumphs in a conversational tone that connects directly to the reader in this brave and heartbreaking story of her life. Big issues like religion and gender are successfully explored in one of the year's most important books.
Gideon Lewis-Kraus's A Sense of Direction is an always smart and often funny memoir. The book's subtitle, "Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful," serves it well, this is a book about pilgrimages physical, intellectual, and emotional.
Amy Leach's Things That Are is an enchanting book, an essay collection that lyrically covers the natural world from the terrestrial to the celestial.
Simply the year's stellar memoir, moving and skillfully told.
also at Largehearted Boy:
previous lists at Largehearted Boy
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks book reviews