It’s always tough whittling down the best books of the year, even more so when the quality is as high as it was in 2017. It was a particularly great year for non-fiction, with everything from memoirs and essay collections to thought-provoking explorations of the human mind.
Here’s ten of the best non-fiction books from 2017 that you should read.
The River of Consciousness by Oliver SacksIt’s a privilege to read this fantastic book from the late and great Oliver Sacks. The River of Consciousness brilliantly showcases Sacks’ infectious curiosity about our world and the laws that govern it. (Picador)
The Angry Chef by Anthony WarnerSick of the whole gluten-free, detox fads? Well, then this book is perfect for you. It dismantles current food myths with the help of scientific research in this informative and witty expose which couldn’t be more timely in a time when ‘clean-eating’ has become a gold mine. (Oneworld Publications)
Reading with Patrick by Michelle KuoThis affecting memoir delicately depicts a teacher’s relationship with a troubled student. Not only is it a riveting account of racism, poverty and the enduring power of kindness but it also authentically shows how learning can literally change lives. (Macmillan)
Selfie by Will StorrA compelling exploration of our narcissistic, selfie obsessed generation. Storr takes us on a historical and cultural journey of how we arrived at this state of hyper individualism. (Picador)
The Secret Life by Andrew O’HaganA fascinating essay collection about the darker side of the internet featuring inside stories of outcasts like Julian Assange and the alleged inventor of Bitcoin. A work of great journalistic precision, this collection is a timely look at the boundary between the real and the invented. (Faber & Faber)
Before You Know It by John BarghAn immensely gripping and intelligent book about why we do what we do. Exhaustively researched, it incisively dissects the unconscious mechanisms in our brain which propel our behavior and define who we are. (William Heinemann)
The Runaway Species by Anthony Brandt & David EaglemanA remarkable look at the intersection between our brain and creativity. Dynamic and educational, this beautifully illustrated book looks at the factors that inform our creative thoughts and inventive behaviour. (Canongate Books)
This Is Going to Hurt by Adam KayA hilarious, moving and thought-provoking peek at life on the NHS frontline. Definitely one of the best books of the year. (Picador)
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-LodgeA bold and resoundingly timely commentary about structural racism in today’s Britain. (Bloomsbury Circus)
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-LesnevichA devastating memoir that weaves together the story of two appalling crimes with stunning skill. (Macmillan)