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Chit Chat & All That > Best NON-Fiction books of the Decades (2000-2019)

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message 1: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1505 comments Inspired by the tread " Best Fiction books of the Decade (2000-2019)"

What is your best non-fiction reads published 2000-2019?


message 3: by J_BlueFlower (last edited Jan 08, 2020 07:23AM) (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1505 comments In prioritized order:
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, 2019.

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (actually November 1999, but it is so good I had to sneak it in. Generally believed to be the best introduction to Cryptography.)

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. I first heard about the acidification of oceans here and how extremely important it is. The extinction of coral reefs! Why are we not talking about this?!

The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, 2011

Dyret i dit spejl, 2003. Only in Danish? Book describing the detailed steps of human evolution (what was the evolutionary advantage of loosing fur? and so on)

Special mention:
Jaeger: At War with Denmark's Elite Special Forces, 2009. This book has a special history as it was almost banned by the Danish government. The Danish news paper Politiken intervened and printed the full book in an extra section. It was quite an event when it happened. I read the book in the newspaper version and it was surprisingly well written and entertaining. Funny thing was that it sold quite well afterwards. The book/event has it own Wiki pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A6...


message 5: by Brina (last edited Jan 10, 2020 04:00AM) (new)


message 10: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments Aubrey wrote: "I seem to be pickier with my 21st nonfiction compared to my fiction, but it does make the selection process easier.

2000: The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War - [author..."


I'm so glad you posted Aubrey. I didn't know that The boy Who harnessed the Wind was a book. Now I'll have to put off the film until I can read that. Grains of Gold sounds so intriguing. I'm going to need to try that one. I find Tibetan culture extremely interesting.


message 11: by Aubrey (last edited Jan 08, 2020 11:53AM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2515 comments Sue wrote: " I'm so glad you posted Aubrey. I didn't know that The boy Who harnessed the Wind was a book. Now I'll have to put off the film until I can read that. Grains of Gold sounds so intriguing. I'm going to need to try that one. I find Tibetan culture extremely interesting."

Glad to hear it, Sue. I faintly remember hearing about the movie version, but I'm very bad about getting around to watching those sorts of adaptations unless Netflix throws it into my face 24/7. Also, good luck getting ahold of the Chöphel: I conscientiously took advantage of my university's resources and read it while I was enrolled because I knew I'd have a tough time getting ahold of it otherwise.


message 12: by Brina (new)

Brina Ok I posted and these were just the ones that made the cut. I actually prefer nonfiction to fiction so now that I’ve had time the last few years by reading has increased by leaps and bounds. I’m afraid to check others lists because it would mean that my tbr would increase too.


message 13: by PinkieBrown (new)

PinkieBrown Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)

The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark- Robert K. Elder (2011)

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy - Antony Beevor (2009)

Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough - Duncan Hamilton (2007)

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology - Ray Kurzweil (2005)

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal - Eric Schlosser (2001)

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film - Peter Biskind (2004)

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson (2003)

The Fall of Berlin 1945 - Anthony Beevor (2002)

The Code Book: The Secrets Behind Codebreaking - Simon Singh (2002)


message 15: by Brina (new)

Brina Pink, is Just Mercy worth the hype? I want to read before the movie because I love the actor Michael B Jordan but somehow I’m on the fence about the book.


message 16: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6556 comments Well it made my favourites list, but then it’s the sort of topic I enjoy reading about.

I forgot it was being made into a film, I’ll have to look out for it.


message 17: by Aubrey (last edited Jan 08, 2020 03:04PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2515 comments Pink wrote: "Oh I have lots more for non fiction, I just couldn’t leave any of these off my list.

Aubrey we have one book in common again.

My choices are basically social justice and a bit of The Mitfords! ..."


We do indeed! I've had 'Just Mercy' and a few nonfic works by the Mitfords on my shelves for some time, so perhaps I'll set those up for post-2020 reading challenges time.


message 18: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments I loved Keith Richard's book to Pink. I've never heard of the Mitfords Pink. Now I'm curious. There are quite a few that look interesting on your list like The Psychopath Test and the one about Marie Curie


message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments PinkieBrown wrote: "Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)

The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark- Robert K. Elder (2011)

D-Day: The Battle..."


I like Bill Bryson and the one on the Independent film industry sounds very interesting. I watch a lot of independent films


message 20: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments Brina wrote: "Brina’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the Last Two Decades
- note my kids were born between 2006-11. Until about 2015 I didn’t read much and am still playing catch up.

2004 [book:Moneyball: The Art ..."


I'm interested in all the baseball books for sure Brina. I saw Money Ball in the theater and have wanted to read that ever since. Many others look very good.


message 21: by Brina (new)

Brina I’ve read Moneyball three times lol. Ugh I forgot to include Lords of Finance. I’ll add it next time I’m on computer. Pink, I’ll read it and let you know hopefully this year. I want to see the movie but I always read first.


message 22: by PinkieBrown (new)

PinkieBrown @Sue KH;

Short History of Nearly Everything is the one I’d recommend because as a hit of pure knowledge it’s unbeatable. 😀

The Biskind book is a follow up to Easy Riders Raging Bulls covering the 70s American film movement both really good. My favourite piece of film writing is Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies simply because I think Lumet knows more about directing actors than most and even his lesser known films (The Hill, The Offence, Prince of the City) are great.


message 23: by Brina (new)

Brina I keep adding more nonfiction to my list. It’s really my preferred genre. Even this year when I amend my monthly reading lists I find it easier to drop fiction than nonfiction. I’ve looked at everyone else’s lists and found even more interesting stuff. And hopefully I’ll find some fiction I like as well.


message 24: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1505 comments Brina wrote: "I keep adding more nonfiction to my list. It’s really my preferred genre. Even this year when I amend my monthly reading lists I find it easier to drop fiction than nonfiction. I’ve looked at every..."

I understand. Nonfiction can be poorly written and still be very interesting and rewarding. I recently read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. So many wow-moments, but I did not like his over-detailed writing style. If the wiring is bad I almost never read a book by the same author, but I have his Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed high and my want-to-read list. And it is even longer.


message 25: by Lotte (new)

Lotte | 196 comments I should read more nonfiction. I thought I hadn't read any recent ones, but turned out I had. My favourites:

Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Afrotopia by Felwine Sarr
How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
Time for Outrage: Indignez-vous! by Stéphane Hessel
People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East by Joris Luyendijk (2006, but still relevant)


message 26: by Lotte (new)

Lotte | 196 comments PinkieBrown wrote: "@Sue KH;

Short History of Nearly Everything is the one I’d recommend because as a hit of pure knowledge it’s unbeatable. 😀

The Biskind book is a follow up to Easy Riders Raging Bulls covering the..."


A Short History of Nearly Everything made me actually want to understand physics and chemistry, something my college teachers never succeeded in. I should reread it sometime soon, as I seem to have forgotten everything already. Such a good book!


message 27: by PinkieBrown (new)

PinkieBrown I agree; it’s a book to go back to for a top up.

My “favourite” fact or the one that sticks with me- the same guy at DuPont put ozone destroying cfcs in fridges and lead in petrol! What a hero😳


message 28: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3791 comments I used to read a lot more non-fiction (I find myself looking more for escape from the real these days). Non-fiction is more personal to me--it's all about our particular interests, whereas we can sometimes share a love of fiction with others just because we like a good story.

But here are some standouts for me:
2002 - Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood
2009 - We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill
2013 - A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch
2014 - The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
2017 - Devotion by Patti Smith
2019 - Calypso by David Sedaris


message 29: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments PinkieBrown wrote: "I agree; it’s a book to go back to for a top up.

My “favourite” fact or the one that sticks with me- the same guy at DuPont put ozone destroying cfcs in fridges and lead in petrol! What a hero😳"


I've wanted to get to that but thought it might have too much commonality with The Story of Mankind which I love. It's geared toward young adults being able to read and enjoy it but it's very good for adults too!


message 30: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments Kathleen wrote: "I used to read a lot more non-fiction (I find myself looking more for escape from the real these days). Non-fiction is more personal to me--it's all about our particular interests, whereas we can s..."

I loved Calypso too Kathleen. I'm not big on memoirs but Patty Smith's book has been calling my name. Seeing it on your list makes me really want to read it. The Art of Stillness is something I need to get right away. It sounds great.


message 31: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 10, 2020 01:49PM) (new)


message 32: by PinkieBrown (new)

PinkieBrown Team of Rivals, I think hasn’t been mentioned. I considered it then remembered I didn’t finish it; which isn’t the best recommendation is it? Very inspiring book and includes that Trumpian “not many people know that” fact that Lincoln was a Republican. Still doesn’t make you Lincoln, Donald. 😜


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