Favorite Books of 2014: Non-Fiction (everything else)

I read almost 100 books in 2014.  Here are my favorites (and yes, I realize I’m nearly 3 months late with this list). I track my reading on Goodreads.  So if we’re not friends there, you should join me!

Here are all the rest of my favorite non-fiction books of 2014. (Find my favorite parenting and education reads here and my favorite fiction here.)

(with apologies for the repetitiveness to my Goodreads friends as these are my edited reviews from what I posted there through the year)

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski: This was perhaps my favorite non-fiction read of the year. First, it was SO liberating to read someone else say that fashion these days is terribly unkind to anyone who is not stick-thin (or to anyone who’s had a baby). I loved this book on two levels:

  1. I found the history of the evolution of fashion in America over the past 100 years to be really interesting and enlightening. I think I would have been much happy had I been dressing myself 60 or more years ago.
  2. I learned a lot about basic color theory, fashion design, and how to actually figure out what is flattering to the female figure. I am also now convinced that I’ll need to sew my own clothes in order to actually get some that fit and flatter me.

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd Edition-Revised and Updated: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized by Susan C. Pinsky: At the time (Nov. 2014), this was the best organizing/de-cluttering book Id ever read. I don’t have ADHD and it was still super helpful. This will be the one of the two books on the subject I recommend to others.  See my review on Goodreads for all my take-away principles/notes on this helpful book! (My favorite book on the topic, read in Jan. 2015, is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – many blogs posts to come on that one!)

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings: This was a super-fun jaunt through the world of maps. It made me want to take up geocaching and embrace being a geography nerd.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo: An amazingly difficult book to read, I was none-the-less enthralled. My brother Eric’s review of the book captures my feelings far better than I could have, particularly related to the navel gazing about capitalism that this book brought upon me.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath, Dan Heath: Really practical and clear, with persuasive and well-laid out arguments for how we should make decisions. Nik and I have used the decision-making process in this book to good effect.

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz: There’s a long history of TB in my family so I was personally interested in learning more. Even without that though, I would have really enjoyed it for what I learned about the advances in medicine through the discovery of the germ theory and also just learning about the way medicine used to be in the 1800s. Did you know that the women sitting around dying of consumption in just about every Victorian novel you’ve ever read really had tuberculosis? Neither did I! (I’ve had a blog post all about this topic in draft form for months.  Let’s hope it escapes into the real world soon!)

Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future by Elizabeth Esther: This was a really hard book to read and yet I couldn’t put it down. It’s so sad what people are willing to do to their children (particularly in the name of God). I’m even more grateful now that we’ve decided to go the gentle discipline route with our children.

The Better Bag Maker: An Illustrated Handbook of Handbag Design Techniques, Tips, and Tricks by Nicole Mallalieu: If I could choose anything to sew, I’d probably choose bags and this is a great book. I haven’t sewn any of the projects yet but I can tell from the instructions and projects that it’s a well-written book.  I’m looking forward to becoming a better bag maker!

Patchwork City: 75 Innovative Blocks for the Modern Quilter 6 Sampler Quilts by Elizabeth Hartman: I’ve sewn one block out of this already (“Favorite Sweater”) for Mark’s color book cover. The directions were really easy to follow and I ended up with a great block. I have visions of sewing all 75 of these blocks to end up as a quilt for our king size bed. In the mean time, I also have a few chosen which I’m hoping to turn into some table runners for our dining room table.

I also enjoyed:

Do you have any favorites on this list?  Any more to recommend to me?

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2 Responses to Favorite Books of 2014: Non-Fiction (everything else)

  1. I’d highly recommend My Age of Anxiety by Stossel. I am just 12 pages in and have learned that the treatments for anxiety came before the DSM diagnostic classification! Fascinating! I can lend it to you if you want to read it.

    • Laura says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, Jana! I read an excerpt of this when it was in The Atlantic last year (the author is the editor of The Atlantic) and it was fascinating. I’ll be sure to add the book to my [way-too-long] to-read list!

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