December 10, 2013
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?
Stacey D’Erasmo's The Art of Intimacy smartly and thoroughly examines literary intimacy from both sides of the page, making this book as enlightening to readers as writers.
Blake Bailey once again proves himself as our preeminent literary biographer with Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson. Bailey documents the fascinating life of The Lost Weekend author Charles Jackson, whose tales of addiction and gay life were ahead of their time, with compassion and poignancy.
Jesmyn Ward's memoir Men We Reaped, an eloquent exploration of race and poverty in America, stuns in every possible way. My favorite nonfiction book of the year.
Ben Miller's River Bend Chronicle is a magnificently told memoir in essays. Miller's prose is lyrical and often comic even when dealing with the harshest subjects, this book is dense with vivid imagery and haunting memories.
Stephen Elliott has stated "I haven’t read anyone who writes more incisively and provocatively about the way we live now than Michelle Orange," and I agree. This essay collection cuts through cultural preconceptions and offers insight into our changing world with clarity, intelligence, and a truly original voice.
Hilton Als' essay collection begins with one of the year's finest examples of personal writing (the title essay, found also at Guernica) and never lets up. The year's most thought-provoking book.
also at Largehearted Boy:
Largehearted Boy favorite nonfiction of 2012
Largehearted Boy favorite nonfiction of 2011
Largehearted Boy favorite nonfiction of 2010
Largehearted Boy favorite nonfiction of 2009
Largehearted Boy favorite nonfiction of 2008
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