Best Nonfiction 2014

Best Nonfiction of 2014

Best Nonfiction 2014

I have to give a ton of credit to anyone able to gather all their yearly favorites into a single  list. I’m definitely not one of those people. I’ve already shared my favorite book club picks, sleeper hits and fiction of 2014, so that leaves us with the nonfiction goodness.


Liar, Temptress Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

Review | Goodreads | IndieBound

The interwoven histories of four fierce ladies who left their mark on both sides of the Civil War.

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Review | Goodreads | IndieBound

A powerful and convincing investigation into the myths surrounding immunity.

The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt by David Giffels

Review | Goodreads | IndieBound

Both funny and heartbreaking, Giffels’ essays are a beautiful love letter to the forgotten cities of the American Rust Belt.

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt

Review | Goodreads | IndieBound

An absolutely essential read focused on re-framing the abortion debate and the language around it.

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)  by Christian Rudder

Review | Goodreads | IndieBound

Fascinating, funny and thought-provoking, Rudder shares the data behind our secret internet lives.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Review | Goodreads | IndieBound

Stevenson’s personal journey through the injustices of the American justice system is both timely and necessary reading.


What nonfiction titles stood out for you this year?


  • Dataclysm is on my TBR list – I wasn’t interested for awhile, but didn’t really understand what it was about…now I do and I am! The rust belt book sounds interesting too! And – I would have considered separating out a nonfiction list if I’d read enough nonfiction this year to do it, but I realized right before Nonfiction November that I’d barely read any nonfiction all year! Need to be more aware of that this year.

    • Dataclysm was just really interesting – pretty light for most of the book, but dealt with some heavy privacy issues near the end.

  • Shannon, I am trying to trim my TBR, but you are definitely not helping!!!

  • All of these look so interesting! I have a couple of them on my TBR list (Pro/ Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy/ & Hard Way).

  • I read the sample of “On Immunity,” and it was right up my alley. So I plan to read that one and “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” next year. My stand-out non-fiction book this year was “The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall.” I can’t stop recommending it.

  • Jill

    Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy is in my TBR stack. I cannot wait to read it!

  • Melanie Simmons

    I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but I did listen to the audiobook for As You Wish, Inconceivable Tales of the Making of The Princess Bide written read by Cary Elwes (Westley). I should expand into more non-fiction.

  • Oh I really want to read On Immunity! I also loved Dataclysm. I suspect I would have loved it even more if I understood the first thing about data! I didn’t read too much non-fiction this year! I’d say the standout for me was Kate William’s Josephine Bonaparte biography. Hopefully I read more non-fiction in 2015!

  • On Immunity is one that I keep seeing around and won’t be able to ignore for much longer! Glad to see it on your best of list. I read some great non-fiction this year, but I don’t think any of it was published in 2014?

  • Beth

    I rarely read non-fiction that’s not a memoir. But some of these sound really good and have piqued my interest! I’ve been trying to listen to audiobooks more so maybe that would be a good way for me to get into the non-fiction!

    • Just Mercy is written in a style that’s similar to a memoir, so it might be a good one to ease you in!

      • Beth

        Ooo I’ll check it out! I TBR’d it!

  • Okay, I never finished Liar Temptress Soldier Spy, but I need to read ALL of the other books.

  • Oh my, On Immunity and Just Mercy were both excellent reads for me this year, too! I’ve seen a few overwhelmingly positive reviews for Pro and can’t wait to get my mitts on it.

    So, of all of these, if you had to pick your most, MOST favorite (I know, I’m terrible!), which would it be? :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • It’s actually not a difficult choice! Pro was definitely the best – so go, go, go! Especially if you loved On Immunity and Just Mercy…I think you need to read it.

  • This year, I really enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken which I finally got to and This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. Both were excellent. I just bought the Karen Abbott book for my niece for Christmas — so thanks for the word on that one. I want to read it too. cheers.

  • Usually you and I have a fair bit of overlap in our reading, but I’ve read nothing from this list. But in 2014 i read a pitiful amount of non fiction.

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