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The Top Reviewed Nonfiction of 2017

What was the top reviewed nonfiction of the year?

To find out, I looked at the lists from Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, the American Library Association, Kirkus, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times, Booklist, BookPage, NPR, Amazon and Barnes&Noble. I included books that were listed at least three times. The titles link to our catalog if you want to place holds on them or read the descriptions. (You can find my post about the top fiction of 2017 here).

It is always interesting to examine these lists to see how much the library reference desk staff agrees with the book review experts. If our reference desk staff recommended the book in our staff favorites, I included a star after the title.

You can find all of our nonfiction favorites of 2017 compiled in booklets at the reference desks at Cook Park and Aspen Drive Libraries.If you can’t make it to the library, you can see our nonfiction favorites here.

And now for the top reviewed nonfiction of the year:

Listed 12 times:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI* by David Grann (History). Recommended by library staffers Becky, Joe, Ellen J. and Jean.

Listed 10 times:

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body* (Memoir) by Roxanne Gay. Recommended by Susie and Lindsay.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me* by Sherman Alexie (Memoir). Recommended by Andrea. Read Andrea’s review here.

Listed 7 times:

Leonardo da Vinci* by Walter Isaacson (Biography). Recommended by staffer Mary.

Listed 6 times:

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald (Religion).

Priestdaddy* by Patricia Lockwood (Memoir). Recommended by staffer Becky.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy* by Ta-Nehisi Coates (History). Recommended by staffer Joe.

Listed 5 times:

American Fire* by Monica Hess (Social Sciences). Recommended by staffer Becky.

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young (Journalism).

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen (History).

Grant* by Ron Chernow (Biography). Recommended by staffer Mary.

The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis. (History)

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval N. Harari (History)

Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden (History).

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman (Social Sciences).

What Happened* by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Social Sciences). Recommended by staffer Jo.

Listed 4 times:

American Sickness: How Health Care Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal (Social Sciences).

The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson (Social Sciences).

Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly (Sciences).

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century* by Jessica Bruder (Social Sciences). Recommended by staffer Joe.

Theft by Finding; Diaries 1977-2002* by David Sedaris (Memoir). Recommended by staffer Jo.

Listed 3 times:

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs (Medicine).

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (History).

Code Girls: the Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II by Liza Mundy (History).

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life by Robert Dallek (Biography).

Gorbachev: His Life and Times by William Taubman (Biography).

Greater Gotham: A History of New York City From 1898 to 1919 by Mike Wallace (History).

Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls (Biography).

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein (History)

Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel by John Stubbs (Biography).

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story* by Douglas Preston (History). Recommended by Jean.

No One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America by Ron Powers (Social Sciences).

Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen (Journalism)

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendolsohn (Social Sciences).

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge (Cooking).

The Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughn by Elaine M. Hayes (Biography).

Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell (Biography).

The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy (Memoir).

The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman (Medicine).

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer (Social Sciences).

You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Khan by Wendy Lesser (Biography).



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