Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 National Book Award Nonfiction Longlist

Looking for excellent nonfiction to read? Try some of these books on the 2015 National Book Award Longlist for Nonfiction.

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

The ability to write about something common in a fascinating way is a skill and Cynthia Barnett uses her skill in this book that combines well-researched science with the everyday effect rain has and has had on humans.  If you enjoyed other microhistories like Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, or Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, take a look at Barnett's book.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes for The Atlantic and Between the World and Me is his second book. Written as a letter to his son, he writes about what it is to be black in America today. James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time inspired this fiercely personal yet universal work.

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann

In this intimate memoir, Sally Mann takes old and new photographs and combines them with her memories of loved ones to create an amazing book that speaks of family, history, and her Southern heritage.

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery

Sy Montgomery's friendship with an octopus was the catalyst for this book. Montgomery studied octopi in aquariums and the sea and came to see that they, not unlike humans, have personalities and can be playful and intelligent. If this book interests you, you should also check out her book The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, the story of a pig that won over her heart and the heart of the small town in which she lived.

The other titles on the Longlist are Mourning Lincoln by Martha Hodes; Paradise of the Pacific by Susanna Moore; Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays by Michael Paterniti; If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power; Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith; and Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir by Michael White.

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