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Book Kvetch’s Favorite Books of 2013

Posted by Rebecca G. Aguilar, M.Ed. on December 7, 2013

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Book Kvetch recaps 2013 with a short, but discerning list of favorite nonfiction published this year.

Recommends were a mix of nonfiction books in biography, science, history, memoir and social science. Categories included historical fiction and books for younger readers.

Favorite reads in 2013 covered such topics as native cultures of Mexico, Jesus of Nazareth, the night sky, sixteenth century England, Pluto, haute couture and Mary Shelley.

Prisoner 88 by Leah Pileggi (Charlesbridge Publishing). Genuine first person narrative about gutsy and resilient Jake and a reassuring message of hope set against the harsh reality of losing one’s freedom.

Whiskers, Tails & Wings by Judy Goldman and illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck (Charlesbridge Publishing). A first-rate resource on Mexico’s native peoples for ages 8-11 featuring the tales of a fearless cricket, a humble sea turtle, a clever opossum, a persistent flea and a round-bellied frog.

Zealot by Reza Aslan (Random House). An absorbing biography revealing a Jesus of Nazareth as “compelling, charismatic and praiseworthy as Jesus the Christ.”

The End of Night by Paul Bogard (Little, Brown and Company). An expert blend of science with travel memoir and advocacy journalism for the preservation of starry skies.

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer (Viking). A satisfying and relevant history of sixteenth century England.

Smile at Strangers by Susan Schorn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Sharp, honest and funny life meditations of a senpai black belt driven by real or imagined attackers in the dark.

One and Only by Lauren Sandler (Simon & Schuster). An illuminating case for the single-child family.

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong  (Simon & Schuster). A highly worthwhile read about The Mary Tyler Moore Show and how the trailblazing situation comedy raised the bar in television casting, writing and production.

Z by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin’s Press). A fictionalized account of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald beyond the speculation and scrutiny surrounding their relationship.

Pluto’s Secret by Margaret Weitekamp with David DeVorkin and illustrated by Diane Kidd (Abrams Books for Young Readers). A great addition to school library and science classroom collections about the reclassified icy dwarf world orbiting the Kuiper belt.

The Master of Us All by Mary Blume (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The intriguing story behind the fashion house of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his influence on modern haute couture.

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo (William Morrow). For riveting literary analysis of Frankenstein and the story of the influential figures in Mary Shelley’s life.

Category: Nonfiction, Favorite Books, 2013

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