The 7 Nonfiction Books that Influenced Me Most in 2016


This year, I set myself the goal of reading at least one nonfiction book a month, in an effort to read more nonfiction. While there are still quite a few nonfiction books on my TBR that I didn’t get around to, I think I was very successful. Reading more nonfiction this year had a huge impact on me, and I will be continuing for the foreseeable future. Since the year is almost up, I wanted to share the nonfiction books that influenced me most. These are not necessarily favorites – though I did enjoy every single one of them – but the books that changed the way I see the world. I am so glad to have read these books, and highly recommend all of them.

  1. A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. It is a fantastic overview of the history of immigration in the US, but what I liked best was how it looked at the political issues that immigration presents in a country that no longer has the wide open frontiers it once did. It was definitely thought-provoking, and probably as relevant now (if not more so) than it was when JFK first wrote it.
  2. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. I went into this book expecting a interesting, feminist story. What I was not expecting was how much this book made me think about politics and society in a different way. I’ll admit, this book definitely changed my perspective on some things, and I think it made me a better person. I am so thankful to have read this at the beginning of the year, because I feel like I was able to look at the insane politics that came with 2016 from a more open-minded and educated place.
  3. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I firmly believe that everyone should read this book. More than anything, it made me more aware of the anti-feminism in my every day life, and I feel like a whole new person. I think about things differently, and I like it. This book made me stronger, and it’s one I will be revisiting again and again. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. (It’s one of the books I’m giving away this month to celebrate my two-year blogiversary and my love of diverse books. Check out my Twitter – @biblioadvntrs – to enter!)
  4. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. I really enjoyed this book, and I love how it made me more conscious of my identity as a woman, and what that means in relation to the rest of the world. It made me feel confident and comfortable, and helped me look at the things that tend to detract from my self-confidence with more of a sense of humor.
  5. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This book is only about half nonfiction, but I thought I’d include it anyway. This book taught me a lot, both about writing and about life. It made me want to take more risks, and spend more time doing what I love, instead of worrying about being good enough.
  6. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I went into this book expecting to be entertained, but I got so much more! This book was so much about being yourself, doing what you’re passionate about, and not let being a woman in a man’s world scare you. I love Felicia Day, and this was a fantastic read that made me love her even more.
  7. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul KalanithiThis book was just overall wonderful. I learned a lot, I cried a lot, and I laughed a lot. Like Keegan’s book, this one made me realize how much time I was wasting doing things I didn’t want to be doing. When Breath Becomes Air lives on my favorite shelf now, and I think it’s one of those books everyone should read. (It’s also part of my giveaway, so check that out if you’re interested.)

Have you read any nonfiction this year? Are there any books that left a huge impact on you? And are there any you think I should really read?

13 thoughts on “The 7 Nonfiction Books that Influenced Me Most in 2016

  1. These books sound amazing, I have been wanting to read more about Gloria Steinem, I don’t know much about her, but I know she has been a really important figure for women. I’m really glad to hear you liked that book it’s been on my TBR since it came out. I think I may just have to add some more of these to my list I love memoirs and other non-fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do want to read more of her books, but haven’t had the chance yet. I actually read this one for Emma Watson’s feminist book club (I think it was the very first pick). All the books on this list are great! I also recommend Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I Can if you want a fun memoir to read (and like Gilmore Girls). I read it this month and loved it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have heard some mixed reviews on it, but I love Gilmore Girls like everyone else I think. If you like memoirs I would recommend Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, I found it so interesting. Not really a feminist type book, but interesting and I found well written.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you love GG, you’ll like Graham’s book. There were definitely parts I didn’t love, but, overall, it was funny and well written. And thanks for the recommendation! I happened to read a lot of feminist books this year, but I like pretty much anything, and that definitely sounds interesting! I just added it to my TBR 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey. It’s about the stories behind the ghost stories in America. Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich. The writer is the grandson of the foremost lobotomist in America. He traces the history of the operation through his grandfather’s most famous patient. The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History by Thomas Harding. It gave me tremendous insight into what that time was like for very normal people. And it has a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, those sound great! I just added them to my TBR. I’m especially interested in Ghostland, because I always love the stories behind haunted places. I’ve been to a few myself, but have never seen any ghosts. Sigh…


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