Here then is my Top Ten for the year in no particular order...
The Second Amendment by Michael Waldman
A fascinating exploration of the most controversial and dangerous amendment in the constitution, proving a clear-eyed view of the original intent behind it and how it has come to mean what it does today. My review is here.
When the NSA leaks became the story of 2013, the person most people focused on was Edward Snowden. Glenn Greenwald, one of two journalists who broke the story, here explains how the leaks came about, as well as showing exactly how important they were. Superbly written and chilling in its implications.
Heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time, Life, Animated is the tale of a family who use the magic of animation to communicate with their autistic son. Anyone who reads this blog knows that my family and I have a disabled son, so this one hit particularly hard. Suskind does a fantastic job of exploring what this means and manages to tell the story with a keen eye and a huge heart.
If you think the 2008 financial meltdown was the most terrifying thing to happen on Wall Street, read Flash Boys. Incisive, told with the pace of a thriller novel, Flash Boys is a great exploration of the next step in the financial world.
Delancey is the name of a restaurant that Molly Wizenberg and her husband opened together. In the book that bears its name, Wizenberg tells how what started out as another of her husband's crackpot ideas turned into part-dream, part-nightmare. I dare anyone to read this and not want to go out that night and eat a pizza!
If, like me, you think you know about Iran from the news media, read this book. Showing that this is a country just as complex and contradictory as any other, City of Lies delves into a side of Tehran few people know but that more people should. Written with an unflinching eye, but also with warmth for a country that most of us do not understand.
A compelling look at a shadow warrior who spent just as many years getting close to his enemies in order to better understand them, Kai Bird's biography of Robert Ames shows a man who was able to bridge the gap between East and West, whose presence might have helped the rift between Western and Arab countries.
One of the most original non-fiction works I have read in a long time due to its use of second-person, Sous Chef is as fast paced and stressful as the greatest thriller, taking you into the life of a sous chef on the front lines.
A touching look at a seminal movie, As You Wish traces the making of The Princess Bride from casting through to release and beyond to the film's second life on VHS and cult following. Elwes is a fine narrator, self deprecating and unflinching, helped along by regular additions from other members of the cast and crew.
Football through the eyes of a man who calls it Soccer, Eight World Cups is the exploration of the FIFA World Cups from 1982 to 2010. Dealing as much with the way each country was affected by hosting the "greatest game" as with the action on the pitch itself, Eight World Cups is made memorable thanks to the small personal touches Vecsey adds along the way.