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2019's Notable Non-fiction

2019's Notable Non-fiction

By The Washington Post

0/48 rated

About the list

Friendspire made this based on a list by The Washington Post on 15 January 2020.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" books and films are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is definitely no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it that scent of paperback novels or
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An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago

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2019 | Alex Kotlowitz

Rated by 1 people

From the bestselling author of There Are No Children Here, a richly textured, heartrending portrait of love and death in Chicago's most turbulent neighborhoods. The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity--and the breaking point--of the human heart and soul. The result is a spellbinding collection of deeply intimate profiles that upend what we think we know about gun violence in America. Among others, we meet a man who as a teenager killed a rival gang member and twenty years later is still trying to come to terms with what he's done; a devoted school social worker struggling with her favorite student, who refuses to give evidence in the shooting death of his best friend; the witness to a wrongful police shooting who can't shake what he has seen; and an aging former gang leader who builds a place of refuge for himself and his friends. Applying the close-up, empathic reporting that made There Are No Children Here a modern classic, Kotlowitz offers a piercingly honest portrait of a city in turmoil. These sketches of those left standing will get into your bones. This one summer will stay with you.

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Audience of One

2019 | James Poniewozik

Television has entertained America, television has ensorcelled America, and with the election of Donald J. Trump, television has conquered America. In Audience of One, New York Times chief television critic James Poniewozik traces the history of TV and mass media from the Reagan era to today, explaining how a volcanic, camera-hogging antihero merged with America's most powerful medium to become our forty-fifth president. In the tradition of Neil Postman's masterpiece Amusing Ourselves to Death, Audience of One shows how American media have shaped American society and politics, by interweaving two crucial stories. The first story follows the evolution of television from the three-network era of the 20th century, which joined millions of Americans in a shared monoculture, into today's zillion-channel, Internet-atomized universe, which sliced and diced them into fractious, alienated subcultures. The second story is a cultural critique of Donald Trump, the chameleonic celebrity who courted fame, achieved a mind-meld with the media beast, and rode it to ultimate power. Braiding together these disparate threads, Poniewozik combines a cultural history of modern America with a revelatory portrait of the most public American who has ever lived. Reaching back to the 1940s, when Trump and commercial television were born, Poniewozik illustrates how Donald became "a character that wrote itself, a brand mascot that jumped off the cereal box and entered the world, a simulacrum that replaced the thing it represented." Viscerally attuned to the media, Trump shape-shifted into a boastful tabloid playboy in the 1980s; a self-parodic sitcom fixture in the 1990s; a reality-TV "You're Fired" machine in the 2000s; and finally, the biggest role of his career, a Fox News-obsessed, Twitter-mad, culture-warring demagogue in the White House. Poniewozik deconstructs the chaotic Age of Trump as the 24-hour TV production that it is, decoding an era when politics has become pop culture, and vice versa. Trenchant and often slyly hilarious, Audience of One is a penetrating and sobering review of the raucous, raging, farcical reality show--performed for the benefit of an insomniac, cable-news-junkie "audience of one"--that we all came to live in, whether we liked it or not.

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Barack and Joe

2019 | Steven Levingston

A Washington Post 2019 Notable Selection A vivid and inspiring account of the "bromance" between Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The extraordinary partnership of Barack Obama and Joe Biden is unique in American history. The two men, their characters and styles sharply contrasting, formed a dynamic working relationship that evolved into a profound friendship. Their affinity was not predestined. Obama and Biden began wary of each other: Obama an impatient freshman disdainful of the Senate's plodding ways; Biden a veteran of the chamber and proud of its traditions. Gradually they came to respect each other's values and strengths and rode into the White House together in 2008. Side-by-side through two tension-filled terms, they shared the day-to-day joys and struggles of leading the most powerful nation on earth. They accommodated each other's quirks: Biden's famous miscues kept coming, and Obama overlooked them knowing they were insignificant except as media fodder. With his expertise in foreign affairs and legislative matters, Biden took on an unprecedented role as chief adviser to Obama, reshaping the vice presidency. Together Obama and Biden guided Americans through a range of historic moments: a devastating economic crisis, racial confrontations, war in Afghanistan, and the dawn of same-sex marriage nationwide. They supported each other through highs and lows: Obama provided a welcome shoulder during the illness and death of Biden's son Beau. As many Americans turn a nostalgic eye toward the Obama presidency, Barack and Joe offers a new look at this administration, its absence of scandal, dedication to truth, and respect for the media. This is the first book to tell the full story of this historic relationship and its substantial impact on the Obama presidency and its legacy.

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The Beautiful Ones

2019 | Prince,Dan Piepenbring

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time, in his own words--featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death NAMED ONE OF THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND THE GUARDIAN * NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD Prince was a musical genius, one of the most beloved, accomplished, and acclaimed musicians of our time. He was a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of "Uptown" to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of "Paisley Park." But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, one of the greatest pop stars of any era. The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince--a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is the memoir Prince was writing before his tragic death, pages that bring us into his childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us through Prince's early years as a musician, before his first album was released, via an evocative scrapbook of writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince's evolution through candid images that go up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book's fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain--the final stage in Prince's self-creation, where he retells the autobiography of the first three parts as a heroic journey. The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring's riveting and moving introduction about his profound collaboration with Prince in his final months--a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he'd so carefully cultivated--and annotations that provide context to the book's images. This work is not just a tribute to an icon, but an original and energizing literary work in its own right, full of Prince's ideas and vision, his voice and image--his undying gift to the world.

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Because Internet

2019 | Gretchen McCulloch

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!! A Wired Must-Read Book of Summer "Gretchen McCulloch is the internet's favorite linguist, and this book is essential reading. Reading her work is like suddenly being able to see the matrix." --Jonny Sun, author of everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too Because Internet is for anyone who's ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It's the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that's a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are. Language is humanity's most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online communities spread new slang and jargon with dizzying speed. What's more, social media is a vast laboratory of unedited, unfiltered words where we can watch language evolve in real time. Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer "LOL" or "lol," why sparkly tildes succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

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The British Are Coming

2019 | Rick Atkinson

Winner of the George Washington Prize Winner of the Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize in American History Winner of the Excellence in American History Book Award Winner of the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award From the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy comes the extraordinary first volume of his new trilogy about the American Revolution Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army at Dawn and two other superb books about World War II, has long been admired for his deeply researched, stunningly vivid narrative histories. Now he turns his attention to a new war, and in the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy he recounts the first twenty-one months of America’s violent war for independence. From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force. It is a gripping saga alive with astonishing characters: Henry Knox, the former bookseller with an uncanny understanding of artillery; Nathanael Greene, the blue-eyed bumpkin who becomes a brilliant battle captain; Benjamin Franklin, the self-made man who proves to be the wiliest of diplomats; George Washington, the commander in chief who learns the difficult art of leadership when the war seems all but lost. The story is also told from the British perspective, making the mortal conflict between the redcoats and the rebels all the more compelling. Full of riveting details and untold stories, The British Are Coming is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. Rick Atkinson has given stirring new life to the first act of our country’s creation drama.

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Catch and Kill

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2019 | Ronan Farrow

Rated by 13 people

In this instant New York Times bestselling account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost. In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain -- until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond. This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement. Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture. INDIE BOUND #1 BESTSELLERUSA TODAY BESTSELLERWALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

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