I read 105 books in 2017. Of those, I gave 11 non-fiction books perfect grades, meaning they stood out to me as exceptional above all of the other non-fiction books I read. In short, if you’re going to read non-fiction, these are the books I highly recommend reading.
My favorite non-fiction books of 2017 are an interesting mix of true crime, self help and things I read for academic research. I’m almost positive this says little about my personality, but a lot about my reading preferences and profession.
Here are my 11 favorite non-fiction books of 2017.
I was uncomfortable with some of the language and examples in Kate Harding’s book, Asking for It. But, you know what? Rape is an uncomfortable, harsh topic, so is the treatment of rape survivors and the perpetuation of rape culture.
After being a journalist and researching journalism and trauma, I’ve reported about and read a ton about sexual assault. Harding’s book is the best assessment of rape culture I’ve ever read.
Don’t think there’s such a thing as rape culture? Don’t think you’d ever perpetuate it? Read Asking for It.
Vargas traces the roots of her alcoholism back to her anxiety-riddled youth, anxiety that never went away, even while she was reporting the national news.
It’s difficult to believe that Vargas is able to do her uber public job so well with the emotional illness. It’s even more difficult to believe that she was able to hide her second illness, alcoholism, for so long.
Vargas seems candid and honest with her story. But, the reader can’t help but wonder, even as she bares her soul, if she’ll fall off of the wagon again. It’s a sad look at how addiction can happen to anyone and how well it sometimes can be hidden.
Sarah teaches the reader ways to get it together like how to spend less, ways to manage anxiety, how to conquer your fear of failure, and, perhaps most importantly for people like me, how to avoid avoidance.
I loved the fun, insightful self-help book. I was able to take and utilize advice from the book immediately, and I am likely to reread this one.
My husband and I listened to this book on a road trip. He rolled his eyes at me when it first started, but he soon was laughing along as Jen realizes she middle aged and attempts to fulfill her bucket list.
Jen is just funny. Every time I read her writing, I want to write a book of my own. Then I remember that I’m not funny.
Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena just happened to walk through the wrong place at the wrong time. The girls were headed home from a friend’s house and took a secluded shortcut so they would make it home on time for curfew. What happened instead is they ran into a gang of six killers.
I struggled with Pure Murder by Corey Mitchell because it is the true story of the 1993 brutal rape and murder of two teenage girls in Houston. It was difficult to read. It also was confusing because it told a brief history of each of the men who killed them.
I still gave the book a perfect score because of what the Ertman and Pena families accomplished for the families of other victims. The girls’ families were the first in Texas to address perpetrators in court and the first victim witnesses to an execution. It’s terrible that these families had to suffer so much, but those two outcomes of their cases live on in service to other victims’ families.
In The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins teaches readers to treat their ideas like a shuttle launch and 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… just do it. Without this tool, we will talk ourselves out of doing things we don’t feel confident doing or that we don’t want to do.
I’ve used the five second rule to accomplish numerous household chores, run errands I didn’t want to run, write when I didn’t feel like writing, and make phone calls, which I hate. I even used the five second rule to complete an important task that’s been on my to do list for a full semester.
Not only am I using the five second rule daily, I also am learning a ton from Mel’s daily video bonuses that come with the book.
And, the more I learn from her teachings, the more I realize that I really like Mel. I love that her story starts from the bottom (failing marriage, alcoholism, job loss, etc.) and she built her way to the top.
The 5 Second Rule gives the reader practical advice you can use to change your life immediately.
The book gives you more than 100 practical tips and tricks for using the most popular social media platforms expertly. The guidance includes teaching the reader how to set up your profile appropriately on each medium, attract more followers and post great content.
The book is a great read for anyone who feels uncertain about the basics of social media, or who just wants amazing tips and tricks from people who know.
The I-5 Killer by the late Ann Rule, my favorite true crime author, is about Randall Woodfield, a handsome star athlete and award-winning student turned serial killer. Woodfield even practices with the Green Bay Packers for a short time.
Woodfield killed at least 44 women in the mid-’70s through early ’80s along the I-5 highway through California and Washington before he was caught and convicted. It is my understanding that he later was linked to even more cold cases after he was in prison. He also sued Ann for writing this book.
Woodfield still is serving his prison sentence. He will never be released.
In the book, Keller encourages readers to find the ONE thing that, by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary. The goal is to help readers focus in on tasks that truly move them toward their goals and eliminate everything else.
Of course, first you have to identify your ONE thing, which sent me into a bit of a tailspin, but Keller offers advice for doing that too.
I encourage everyone who never feels like they’re getting enough done or doing what’s important to them… anyone who doesn’t feel as successful as they could/should be to read The One Thing.
Manson isn’t necessarily telling us not to care about anything, despite the book’s title. His message to the reader is to care about the right things and quit thinking that everything has to be or will be perfect.
Instead, Manson says we should embrace our imperfections and figure out what really matters in life. After all, life isn’t about everything being perfect, it’s about how we respond when it isn’t.
James Renner was 11 when Amy Mihaljevic went missing. Seeing posters for the missing girl in his neighborhood sparked his life-long obsession with true crime, leading to a career as an investigative journalist and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
In 2011, James began researching the disappearance of Maura Murray, a UMass student who went missing after wrecking her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. His investigation leads to intriguing information about what may have happened to Maura, while exposing problems in his own life.
I read True Crime Addict in a single day. That probably says something about me and how I related to the author. Also, it’s just an interesting story.
There they are! My 11 favorite non-fiction books of 2017. I hope you find something you enjoy on the list.
As always, happy reading!