2020 Nonfiction Favorites

What is there to be said about this year that we haven’t already said a million times? Like many people this year, I had a brief time early in the pandemic where I had trouble focusing enough to read as much as usual. Thankfully it didn’t last long, because a bunch of great books came out this year so there was always something new to read.

Here are some of my favorite nonfiction books I read this year:

Mudlark: In Search of London’s Past Along the River Thames by Lara Maiklem: This book is so lovely and fascinating and I recommend it to almost anyone. There are just so many nuggets of British history, all told through items that the author has found while mudlarking on the banks of the River Thames.

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl: This was one of the first books I read in 2020, way back in early January, but it has stayed with me. It’s a really moving blend of nature writing and memoir, and definitely made me cry more than once.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: This was my favorite book about race that I read this year, in a year when the racial divisions in this country were thrown into heartbreakingly stark relief. Ijeoma Oluo is particularly adept at explaining potentially fraught topics in frank and straightforward language that gets to the heart of thorny racial issues. Not gonna lie, I wish I could assign this one as required reading for a lot of people that I know!

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb: This memoir, told in the voice of the author’s grandmother, is incredibly charming and very funny. It really made me miss my grandma!

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