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AFL 2019 Staff Favorites: Nonfiction

It should not be a surprise that the staff at the Ames Free Library loves books! But have you ever wondered what we’re reading?

As we get ready to turn the calendar to a new year, take a look at some of the nonfiction we loved reading in 2019. Maybe you'll find one of your own favorites on the list or you'll find some books to check out in 2020!

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

by Andrew Chaikin

A celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first moon landing offers a technically accessible history of the Apollo Program from its less-than-auspicious beginnings, through its greatest triumphs, to its untimely end.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman


A psychologist draws on years of research to introduce his "machinery of the mind" model on human decision making to reveal the faults and capabilities of intuitive versus logical thinking.

Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions

by Patricia Marx


Every mother knows best, but New Yorker writer Patty Marx's knows better. Patty has never been able to shake her mother's one-line witticisms from her brain, so she's collected them into a book, accompanied by full color illustrations by New Yorker staff cartoonist Roz Chast.

The Library Book

by Susan Orlean

While ostensibly chronicling the great Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986 that consumed over 400,000 books and damaged almost twice as many, journalist/author Susan Orlean weaves in a love letter to libraries, librarians and the world of librarianship. Call me biased, but I found it an irresistible read! - Uma

Women Rowing North: Navigating the Challenges to Ourselves as we Age

by Mary Pipher

The best-selling author of Reviving Ophelia presents a guide to wisdom, authenticity and bliss for women as they age, exploring how the myriad roles and challenges of women can help promote balance and a transcendent sense of well-being.

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

by Elizabeth Rush

As we continue to work toward solutions to slow the progress of climate change, Elizabeth Rush shows readers the impacts rising waters are already having on America’s coastlines. Her reporting includes visits with researchers and residents on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts, looking at both the ecological and human toll of the encroaching salt water. Some of the “dispatches” in this Pulitzer Prize finalist come from Maine and Rhode Island and may be of particular interest to New Englanders. - Megan

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

by Dani Shapiro


This book is a memoir that makes a woman reexamine and reevaluate her life after a DNA test reveals that the father she has known her entire life is not her biological father. This book was written by a talented memoirist who explains her complicated situation with sincerity and honesty, bringing the reader along on her journey into her new found world of unknowns, including her unknown strength. - Laura

No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

by Rachel Louise Snyder


A riveting book which covers the issue from multiple points of view--the abused, the abuser, and the families of both. - Mary

Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover


Raised in a Mormon survivalist home, this gripping memoir had me wondering about all sorts of things like human resilience, family love, and the slow, incremental lifelong process of self-discovery. - Uma

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