I had no problems finding five star non-fiction reads this year. And where I'd normally think that my favorites would all be true crime? Not so in 2012. I have only one true crime (or two if you count what those bastards did to Pat Tillman), and FIVE GRAPHIC NOVELS! An exciting development. Here is what rocked my world this year in the non-fiction department.
Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony - Jeff Ashton: Next to OJ, this was the trial of the century. So even though I was particularly invested because little Kaylee belonged to the city of Orlando, I think any reader who has a television would find this story spellbinding. It is well-written, forthright, and a shocking look at one of the most horrid miscarriages of justice I've ever seen.
Le Road Trip and When Wanderers Cease to Roam - Vivian Swift: I'm giving you a two-for-one here because they both need to be read. If you have never read a graphic novel, this would be the perfect place to start. Humorous, whimsical, thought-provoking and gentle. And something I'm definitely going to purchase to keep and read over and over again, whenever I need to stop and appreciate life.
The Photographer - Didier Lefevre and Emmanuel Guibert: The exact opposite of Vivian Swift's graphic novels, but equally as impactful, we take a journey with Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan through the eyes of a photo journalist. Using a combination of often shocking real photographs and illustrations, Lefevre gets us as close to life in this poor and war-torn country as most of us will ever get. His story was on my mind for weeks.
Where Men Win Glory - Jon Krakauer: I had to learn a little anger management while reading this tragic story of Pat Tillman, the NFL star who joined the Army after 9/11 to serve his country. Except that his country didn't serve him, and he ended up being killed by friendly fire. The government's manipulation and misdirection of all information about Pat's death, and 9/11 in general, sickened me. But the facts are thoroughly and convincingly laid out by Krakauer, and by the end I wanted to buy a hundred copies of this book and insist that everyone educate themselves and take heed. Not many books can get my blood boiling like this one did, so I felt it needed some recognition.
The Bucolic Plague - Josh Kilmer-Purcell: Take two gay city kids and plop them in the country to chase their dream (which unknowingly includes zombie flies, baby goats with intestinal distress, and a Martha Stewart reputation to live up to) and you have the most charming memoir ever. And since Josh personally invited me to visit them in Sharon Springs, mark my words, one day I'm going. And I'm picking you all up on the way.
Maus I and Maus II - Art Spiegelman: Another two-for-one, because they should really be read together at the same time. Spiegelman tells his father's story of the Holocaust, cleverly showing race and class stratification by making them different animals. The illustrations are arresting, and the story of the Holocaust AND life after cannot be any clearer. Or more intense. Definitely a must-read for anyone interested in WWII.
On Thursday, come back and spend a little time listening to me go ON AND ON about my favorite topic...audios.