The Year’s Most Popular Non-Fiction Titles


By Steve Read, Director, McPherson Public Library

Each year at this time I take a look back at the non-fiction titles which checked out the most during the preceding 12 months.  There’s always a surprise or two each year, so let’s count them down to number 1:

10)  Women Rowing North : Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as we Age, by Mary Bray Pipher.  The author discusses why, in spite of the many emotional, physical, and societal issues women encounter as they age, most older women are very happy.

9)  Homebody:  A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, by Joanna Gaines.  Using examples from her own home and others, Gaines presents ideas about how to create a home that reflects the stories and personalities of the people who live there.

8)  Cozy Minimalist Home:  More Style, Less Stuff, by Myquillyn Smith.  Cozy doesn’t have to mean cluttered and minimal doesn’t have to be cold, according to Smith, who will show you how to discover your own signature minimalist style.

7)   Antarctica’s Lost Aviator: The Epic Adventure to Explore the Last Frontier on Earth, by Jeff Maynard.  In 1935 amateur explorer Lincoln Ellsworth took off in a specially designed airplane with the goal of flying over the continent of Antarctica.  A few hours after takeoff, they lost radio contact with him.

6)  Almost Everything:  Notes on Hope, by Anne Lamott.  We live in times that are very frightening, but even when we are “doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over-caffeinated”  there are still reasons for hope and rejuvenation in our daily lives.

5)  Lake of the Ozarks: My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America, by William Geist.  This memoir by the CBS Sunday Morning correspondent chronicles his summers between high school and college, before he was sent to Vietnam.

4)  Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.  The subtitle of this book by the lifestyle guru and online personality — stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be – says it all.

3)  Heartland:  A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, by Sarah Smarsh.  The setting of this book – the Wichita area – generated a significant amount of interest among library patrons.

2)  Educated:  A Memoir, by Tara Westover.  The top book last year stays on the list but drops to second place.  Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Westover prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.”  But a Ph.D. from Cambridge was in her future.

1) Becoming, by Michelle Obama.  This memoir by the former First Lady was the runaway favorite for 2019.

Has this list only whet your appetite?  To view these titles and check their availability in the library or to place a hold on a title, visit our website at and click on the “Steve’s Hot Non-fiction of 2019” link in the Weekly Bookmark section.  I’ve even added several more titles you won’t want to miss!

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