5 Books I Missed Reading in 2011

Kim Ukura

Staff Writer

Kim Ukura is a book lover, recovering journalist, library advocate, cat mom, and lover of a good gin cocktail. In addition to co-hosting Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, For Real, and co-editing Book Riot’s nonfiction newsletter, True Story, Kim spends her days working in communications at a county library system in the Twin Cities area. Kim has a BA in English and journalism from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not getting to bed before 10 p.m., Kim loves to read nonfiction, do needlework projects, drink tea, and watch the Great British Baking Show. Instagram: @kimthedork Twitter: @kimthedork

One of the things that is most depressing about reading all of the best lists at the end of the year (besides seeing many of the same books over and over again) is the humbling realization that there are so many books I missed.

There are the books that made it on to a Post-It note so I’d remember to get them at the library that then got thrown away. There are the books that made it onto a Goodreads list that I promptly forgot to check when I went to a bookstore. There are books that actually made it to my house from the library but got returned unread. So. Many. Books.

And now there’s another list of books to write out and forget about: 5 Nonfiction Books I Missed Reading in 2011 And Hope to Read in 2012…

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I love Tina Fey. One of the highlights of a favorite read from the yearBig Girls Don’t Cry — was getting reminded about Fey’s role during the 2008 presidential election (don’t cha know). I think I missed reading Bossypants because I decided I wanted to experience this memoir in audio book format, but since I don’t listen to audio books often, it never made it into my rotation.

Radioactive by Lauren Redniss

Radioactive is a beautifully illustrated look at the life, work and love of Marie and Pierre Curie. Lauren Redniss uses a technique called “cyanotype” to create the images (and glow-in-the-dark ink on the cover!). As much as I want to read this one, I just haven’t seen in it stores when I’ve been shopping and my library doesn’t have a copy to reserve. It’s top of my list for 2012.

The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone

I used to be a regular listener to On the Media, the weekly podcast Brooke Gladstone co-hosts on NPR that looks into current trends and concerns in the world of journalism. The Influencing Machine is a graphic nonfiction book all about the media that just looks so smart and funny that I can’t wait until I can get a copy in my greedy little hands (paperback out May 2012!).


Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku

I first got excited about Physics of the Future when I was working at a trade magazine for design engineers. To inject some excitement about writing about the product development process for new light bulbs (yes, I wrote that story), I tried to find books that I could tie into the job to write about. Michio Kaku’s book about how science could change the world in the next 100 years seemed perfect, but it, alas, came into my house and was returned to the library without being read.

Supergods by Grant Morrison

Supergods is a book about the history of superheroes, the way that the stories of comic books reflect both our history and what we hope our future could be. While it’s easy to dismiss superhero comics as the fodder of little kids, I really want to read Morrison’s take on what superheroes mean for the rest of us, but haven’t stumbled upon a copy to buy yet.

Are there any books you’re disappointed you missed reading this year?


Kim Ukura is a community newspaper editor and blogs about nonfiction and literary fiction at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Follow her on Twitter: @kimthedork