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The 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2019 (So Far)

In the tumultuous year that is 2019, we’re still looking to nonfiction to comprehend the world around us. Our picks for the best nonfiction books of the year (so far) tackle everything from living with schizophrenia to the history of high heels, exploring diverse topics with intelligence and honesty. These are by no means the only incredible books of 2019, but the 1o ranked titles below are our favorites.

10. The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia by Marin Sardy

Marin Sardy’s memoir-in-essays tells the twin narratives of both her mother’s and brother’s struggles with schizophrenia. The differing ways in which their stories play out offers a glimpse at what seem to be two worlds; while her mother is undiagnosed and remains independent, her brother was diagnosed, received treatment and died by suicide. Sardy offers no easy answers to the complex questions of mental health, the ways the system fails those who struggle with it and the myriad impacts it can have on the families trying to do their best for their loved ones. By dwelling in the gray areas, Sardy instead crafts something moving, painful and touching out of the chaos. —Bridey Heing. Read More.
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9. What Do We Need Men For? by E. Jean Carroll

E. Jean Carroll, of the long-running Elle advice column, sets off on a Didion-esque quest to answer the titular question, crossing through towns named for women along the way. Interspersed with vignettes of her remarkable life and the collected demonology of “The Most Hideous Men of My Life List,” What Do We Need Men For? is more than rape in a Bergdorf’s dressing room. It’s a big idea with a big question to ask, and America’s foremost advice columnist succeeds in providing a compelling answer. —B. David Zarley. Read More.
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8. Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

Dani Shapiro thought she knew who her father was, until she did an at-home DNA test at the age of 54. She learned that she was not her father’s biological daughter, a fact that threw a wrench not just in her familial sense of identity, but in her religious sense of self as well. The discovery set off an investigation into Shapiro’s family, her parents’ efforts to conceive and a shady fertility doctor. Written with compassion, this is a memoir that uses a new technology and the potential it has to rewrite our life stories to consider age old questions of who we are and what family means. —Bridey Heing. Read More.
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7. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden

T Kira Madden’s debut memoir is viscerally honest, exploring her coming-of-age experience as a queer, biracial teen. Offering snapshots of formative years marked by privilege and neglect, Madden’s captivating voice reveals a girl desperate to belong. What makes this book a must-read is not its luminous prose (which is stunning) or its twists (which you’ll remember months later); it’s the fact that you’ll believe she’s weaving a story personally for you by the end. Madden has already proven herself as an essayist, and Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls confirms she’s just as skilled a memoirist. —Frannie Jackson. Read More.
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