Top Ten Favorite Books, 2019

  1.  Code Girls: The American Codebreakers who Helped Win WW2, Liza Mundy. Fun and informative, Code Girls follows the rapid growth of intelligence and crytography during WW2.   Absolutely fascinating!
  2. The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, Steven Novella et. al. The best one-volume handbook  on critical thinking, the successor of Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World.
  3. How the Internet Happened, from Netscape to the iPhone, Brian McCullough.   An incredibly fun nostalgic romp through the digital world as it developed.   I especially enjoyed the chapter on the rise of AOL,  being as attached to my AIM program as modern teens are to their social media apps.
  4. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy.  I’m not just sticking it here to brag about reading it (okay, I am a little). I was honestly captivated by Andrei and Pierre’s separate but related growth as men, and of Tolstoy’s view of the war.
  5. I Must Speak Out: The Best of the Voluntaryist, Carl Watner.  Hard to describe this one without sounding crazy, but let’s just say it’s a collection of political essays..
  6. Them: Why We Hate Each Other (and How to Heal), Ben Sasse.    Politics has for years angered or depressed me ,  because so much is wrong and nothing seems liable to change in  good ways,    and Sasse’s book was a heartening reminder that there are people out there  who feel the same sense of alienation and are looking for a light out of the darkness.
  7. The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11.    Ordinarily I resist putting December books on my best-of list, because they have an advantage in being recent. But Only Plane in my Sky made this list halfway through, displacing Dan Baum’s Gun Guys.     It’s an incomparable reliving of 9/11 through the eyes of a staggering variety of individuals   who experienced it —  as office workers,  taxi drivers, government employees,  firefighters,   astronauts, etc.  If you only ever read one book on 9/11, make it this one.  (If you read two, make the other The Looming Tower.)
  8. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why, Amanda Ripley.   Easily one of the most interesting books I’ve read all year, examining human behavior during crises like ship sinkings, terrorist attacks, etc.
  9. The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben. An eye-opening walk through the rich life of forests and their leafy members.
  10. Freedom, Daniel Suarez. (Kill Decision and Change Agent by the same author were also really good!)

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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6 Responses to Top Ten Favorite Books, 2019

  1. lydiaschoch says:

    Wow, congrats! I’ve never read War and Peace and am impressed that you got through it.

    My TTT.

  2. You MOST DEF should brag about War and Peace! That’s a big deal!!

  3. I love that you read a lot of nonfiction. I have Only Plane and The Unthinkable on my TBR list.

  4. The Only Plane in the Sky was one of my top reads as well. It was so well-written. ❤

    My TTT

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