Wisdom of Lists: Best Nonfiction 2016

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James Wallace Harris

Staff Writer

James Wallace Harris is a retired computer guy. Jim dreamed of writing science fiction in his social security years, but discovered he loved writing essays more. Life is short and novels are long. He’s written over a thousand essays for his blog Auxiliary Memory. Jim wrote about science fiction for SF Signal before it folded, and now for Worlds Without End. BookRiot gives him the opportunity to write about all the other kinds of books he loves. Finally, he has all the time in the world to read and write, but he never forgets poor Henry Bemis. (Who also found time enough at last, until an evil Twilight Zone fate took it all away.) Twitter: @JimHarris28

I love when the “Best Books of the Year” lists come out. I’ve discovered I get maximum reading satisfaction when I read books that were on the most lists. I collected 34 lists this year and tabulated the crossover. I know this is going with the common denominator, but it’s also the wisdom of crowds. By using a diversity of sources I get a selection of books that cover a variety of topics. A method that gets me to read outside my reading ruts.

During the year I play a game where I try to discover these books on my own before I create the list. This year I had already read four, listening to a fifth, and bought four others.