13 Best Nonfiction Books I’ve Read this Year

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“Reading is my inhale; writing is my exhale.” ~ Glennon Doyle

It’s felt like a dry spell. By that, I mean I haven’t been journaling or blogging much.

I do write weekly freelance articles for a Spanish academy blog on assigned topics, like verb conjugation and traditional Costa Rican food. And I spend a lot of time editing other people’s writing, which I nerdily enjoy.

I look back at myself from several years ago. She was a self-starter who wrote voraciously and published several articles a month on Elephant Journal. Back then, I was a part-time schoolteacher. I had a lot to say. Ideas flowed.

Now, I sometimes feel that I’ve lost my voice. It’s a practice not to judge, criticize, and compare my current self to my former self.

You’d think my present freelancing lifestyle would lend itself to more consistent blogging on Elephant, but it hasn’t. Since I launched my freelance writing/editing career a few years ago, I’ve put most of my creative energy into finding and completing paid assignments. I consciously put my own creative writing on the back burner.

But lately, gratefully, I’ve been feeling the pull to write again. I got a new desk last week. Something as simple as creating a dedicated space for an activity can work wonders.

From where I sit, I can see the verdant treetops, the blue lake, and two misty volcanoes. I can see the birds gliding across the big blue sky. I’m living a long-awaited dream, joyfully reading and writing from my perch in this little hillside forest.

All this year, I’ve been reading up a storm, voraciously devouring books, one after the next. Mostly nonfiction. I’ve read about African American history, recent (21st century) history, and a boatload of memoirs.

Here are 13 of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year. While I do enjoy novels on occasion, this list is exclusively nonfiction.

  1. Still Life by Jeff Sutherland: This stellar memoir is by a Canadian physician who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) at age 41. He gradually lost his ability to walk, talk, and ultimately move any part of his body except his eyes. He then loses his 21-year-old son in a tragic accident and moves through an even deeper grief process, which he shares candidly and eloquently with readers. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, this book was written exclsively using eye movements. A heartfelt and worthwhile read for all mortals.

See the other 12 books on the list!

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