Our staff is excited to share some of the best nonfiction for adults that we read this year (favorite fiction featured in a separate post):

The Soul of an Octopus book coverThe Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
We need not search space for alien lifeforms with intelligence like (yet unlike) our own, it is already nearby and waiting to be known.  -Nancy

Waking the Spirit: A Musician’s Journey Healing Body, Mind, and Soul by Andrew Schulman
Guitarist Andrew Schulman discovered first-hand the power of music to reorganize the brain and speed up his healing after major surgery, leading him to play music for critical care patients at the same hospital where he was once a patient.  -Erin

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur’s boldly honest and extremely personal poems in Milk and Honey lay bare the female experience, from childhood abuse and unhealthly relationships to self-empowerment and healing.  -Laura T.

Trials of the Earth book coverTrials of the Earth by Mary Hamilton
Mary Mann Hamilton was one of the first women to homestead in the Mississippi Delta and her firsthand account of her experience is fascinating, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at once. If you like survival tales and Little House on the Prairie, this book is for you.  -Caty

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Beautiful, diary-esque musings on love, parenting, feminism, and gender identity.  -Marti

In the Name of Gucci: A Memoir by Patricia Gucci
I like autobiographies, and this was well done.   -Anonymous

Flying Couch book coverFlying Couch: A Graphic Memoir by Amy Kurzweil
It was a beautifully illustrated intergenerational story about family history and identity.  -Emily

Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
The authors not only talk about how the molecules work, they also explain the impact these molecules have had on human history, economics, and geopolitics. Chemistry has never been my cup of tea, but I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The impacts of several life-saving substances like vitamin C and antibiotics are explored.  -Neelima

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
Anyone with aging parents will want to read this American-born Indian doctor’s observations with what matters in the end and how you can advocate for your parent’s best story well told up to the very end.  -Laveda

We hope you’ll find a new favorite here, and that you’ll tell us about the best books you read this year!  Remember, we’re always here for you if you need recommendations about what to read next.

-Laura B.