Friday, December 24, 2010

Best of... (My best non-fiction reads in 2010 - The Hustle, Full House, Nine Lives, Your Inner Fish)

I will begin the list madness with my non-fiction reads for 2010. I read quite a bit of non-fiction this year. I have read 51 books so far this year, which means I'll probably make it to about 53 or so. Of those 15 were non-fiction or about 35%:

The Hustle
Nine Lives
Full House
Epilepsy in Childhood and Adolescence
An Introduction to the History of Psychology
Your Inner Fish
How We Decide
Travels with Herodotus
Freud's Technique Papers
Freud and Psychoanalysis
Reading in the Brain
Diagnosing Learning Disorders
I of the Vortex
The Pattern in the Carpet

I have linked a few of the stronger and more memorable non-fiction reads: everything from a picture of life's mechanisms in a portrait of the E. coli bacterium, to a memoir on inequality in 1980s Seattle, to a portrait of singular Indian mystics, to a meditation on probability - a varied year. I'm going to single out three:

The Hustle a singularly observant and personal memoir of the author's participation in a racially integrated basket ball team, and the aftermath of that social experiment for each of the team's members (it's also written by my friend Doug Merlino).

Full House by the late, great paleontologist Stephen J. Gould. An absolutely remarkable book given how amusing it is to read and that it is about the author's diagnosis of a deadly illness and statistics.

William Dalrymple's portrait of Nine contemporary Indian mystics - Nine Lives - is a fascinating book mourning the price of cultural homogenization.

Ok, four, Your Inner Fish is also wonderful. A book about why collecting fossils matters.

A rich and varied year of non-fiction reading, as I review it. I will continue to post my lists and other goodies from the road, as the Ragazzo and I head to his parents' for the holidays.

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