Flyleaf's Favorite Nonfiction 2023
Grann is a master at narrative nonfiction, and his talk of shipwrecks, the British Navy, castaway politics, and (the lack of) medical knowledge in the 1740s is surprisingly fascinating. --Jamie F.
Vividly painting the antebellum South's cultural landscape, Hallman brings dark, buried histories of slavery, gynecological research, and doctoral ethics into the light. A work of speculative nonfiction that's as compelling as Butler's Kindred and as well-researched as Larson's, Chernow's, and Kearns Goodwin's volumes. A creative powerhouse, brilliantly stitching science, healing, violence, and humanity together for a telling read. --RC
"This book is my panoramic assault on nihilism. I wrote it it in an effort to be helpful, but toward the end, I felt I was writing it to save my life...the largest gesture of hope I could muster."
In a world of mounting time pressure—one in which we dutifully recite "rest is productive" so that we don't feel guilty for taking a break—it's become clear that a paradigm reset is in order. Saving Time is an evisceration and a balm: a thorough, necessary breakdown of our current state of affairs, and a primer for how to begin thinking differently if we hope to save ourselves from the ticking capitalist clock. --Talia
A powerful book that celebrates our ancestral mothers and their unique contributions to humanity. Fascinating, fun and full of facts that will leave you amazed in a multitude of ways. --Maggie
Egan, a master storyteller, tells the wicked history of the Klan in the US; its political and economic ties, and how one of its biggest personalities was halted by a single woman. --Jamie F.
This Isn't Going to End Well is an intensely personal portrait of grief. Wallace reflects on his lifelong friendship with his late brother-in-law with intimate precision. His larger-than-life memories of William are interjected with the inevitability that things aren't going to end well. It is vulnerable and engrossing all in one. --Kat
An important reframe about weight & parenting. Virginia Sole-Smith starts with basics, undoing the popular narratives around fatness and clarifying where true harm arises: not from being fat, but from fatphobia, diet culture, and all that comes with chasing weight loss. A great starting point for parents, but also helpful for anyone in a body (that's you!) --Alex
As someone who also spends many of her days reckoning with loving the art and not the artist, Monsters gave me great perspective. Dederer proposes that the most effective way to approach the question of "what should we do with the art of monstrous men" isn't to ask what should WE do but rather what will I do. I spent a long time with this book because at times I was jumping for joy in agreement and at others I was in complete disagreement, but that is the brilliance of Dederer's approach. Criticism and opinion can and must coexist in a world of monsters. --Kat
There is an international sanitation crisis—ranging from ailing wastewater treatment to open-air sewage—with a differential impact that follows systems of disadvantage. Waste and the City is an essential book for anyone interested in infrastructure, urban development, and social inequality. --Jordan
Now, more than ever, it feels as if society is failing us. And those experiencing houselessness are disproportionately affected by these failures. We follow Dr. Jim O'Connell as he practices patient-first medicine, driving around town in his van, looking for rough sleepers to meet them where they're at. Adopting even the smallest amount of his empathy would make us better humans. Do yourself a favor and grab this book. --Jamie K.