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The 19 Best Nonfiction Books Of 2014

These are the essay collections, memoirs, and nonfiction reads that we absolutely loved in 2014. *Ranked in no particular order*

1. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Not That Kind of Girl is a hilarious, honest, and bold collection of essays from one of today's most talked-about cultural figures. Lena Dunham's perspectives on life and her personal experiences are engaging and revealing, relatable and refreshing.

Learn more here.

Follow Lena Dunham on Twitter.

Bonus: Read Lena Dunhams’s BuzzFeed Ideas essay, “Why I Chose To Speak Out,” as well as her conversation with our own Ashley C. Ford.

2. Deep Down Dark by Héctor Tobar

The utterly compelling and suspenseful story of 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days, Héctor Tobar's Deep Down Dark places emphasis on the personal stories of each of the miners, showing us their lives before and after the emotional event. The book is an extraordinary and humane account that will keep you turning pages late into the night.

Learn more here.

Follow Héctor Tobar on Twitter.

3. The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally

The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally (who is a contributing editor at BuzzFeed News) is a fascinating and wide-ranging investigation of our obsession with ancestry and genetics — how we glean information about our pasts and futures, and the ways (both negative and positive) we have used this knowledge.

Learn more here.

Follow Christine Kenneally on Twitter.

4. Demon Camp by Jennifer Percy

Journalist Jennifer Percy's Demon Camp is the harrowing story of Caleb, an Iraq War vet who suffers from PTSD and seeks relief in a Christian group that claims to be able to exorcise demons from veterans. As Percy follows Caleb for three years, she herself becomes part of the narrative in this unpredictable and gripping story.

Learn more here.

Follow Jennifer Percy on Twitter.

5. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

In a stunning collection of essays, Leslie Jamison scrutinizes pain — both how we feel it ourselves and how we perceive and understand it in others. As befits its subject, The Empathy Exams is both intellectually thrilling and compassionate.

Learn more here.

Follow Leslie Jamison on Twitter.

Bonus: Read the BuzzFeed Books interview with Leslie Jamison here.

6. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

In Bad Feminist, the must-read essay collection that took the country by storm this year, Roxane Gay examines pop culture and feminism in her inimitably fierce, witty, and fearless voice.

Learn more here.

Follow Roxane Gay on Twitter.

Bonus: Read Roxane Gay's introduction to Bad Feminist on BuzzFeed Books. You can find more of Gay's writing for BuzzFeed here.

7. Epilogue by Will Boast

After the loss of his mother, his only brother, and his father by age 24, Will Boast grapples with grief, loneliness, and the discovery of family secrets that will force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew. Epilogue is a devastating memoir that will take you to the depths of one man's heartbreak while still allowing for the possibility of hope and healing.

Learn more here.

Follow Will Boast on Twitter.

8. The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg

Jenny Nordberg's The Underground Girls of Kabul is a fascinating and illuminating look at the lives of Afghan girls and women, through the lens of the bacha posh — girls who, for various reasons, are temporarily raised by their families as boys.

Learn more here.

Follow Jenny Nordberg on Twitter.

9. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

In this thought-provoking book about modern medicine in regards to the terminally ill and aging, Atul Gawande explores how we often sacrifice quality of life for the prospect of longer life.

Lean more here.

Follow Atul Gawande on Twitter.

10. Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney

BuzzFeed staff writer Katie Heaney's memoir about her romantic life up until now is incredibly funny, relatable to anyone who has ever liked-liked someone, and full of hard truths about dating and romance.

Learn more here.

Follow Katie Heaney on Twitter.

Bonus: Read an excerpt From Katie Heaney's Never Have I Ever, "How To Make Friends In Middle School."

11. Fire Shut Up In My Bones

This poetic and powerful memoir from New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow takes us through his life, from an impoverished childhood in Louisiana to a fraternity house to adulthood, as he learns what it is to become a man and comes to terms with the abuse he suffered as a child.

Learn more here.

Follow Charles M. Blow on Twitter.

12. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Only 22 years old at the time of her tragic death, Marina Keegan was already a remarkably talented writer. The Opposite of Loneliness, her collected essays and fiction (sue me, I'm putting it on this list anyways), is insightful, self-aware, and full of all the hope and promise of youth. It will make you wish — for many reasons — that you could read more.

Learn more here.

Bonus: Read our own Alanna Okun's essay about reading The Opposite of Loneliness, "Reading And Mourning A Friend."

13. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Starting with an account of the mother (or should that be the father?) of all mansplaining incidents, Rebecca Solnit eloquently describes the misogyny, discrimination, and violence women face from men in today's world. Men Explain Things to Me is required reading for everyone who wants to understand the ways in which patriarchal thinking hurts women.

Learn more here.

14. Scandals of Classic Hollywood by Anne Helen Petersen

A features writer for BuzzFeed News, Anne Helen Petersen brings an academic acuity and a gossip-loving rush to these stories of classic Hollywood stars and their scandal-filled lives. Chock-full of glamour, cinema history, and politics, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is both educational and delicious.

Learn more here.

Follow Anne Helen Petersen on Twitter.

Bonus: Read Anne Helen Petersen's essay "The Forgotten Story Of Classic Hollywood’s First Asian-American Star." You can find more of Petersen's writing for BuzzFeed here.

15. The True American by Anand Giridharadas

In this riveting story of revenge and redemption, a Muslim Bangladeshi immigrant is shot and nearly killed by a man seeking revenge for 9/11. Through the lives of these two men and those affected by them, Anand Giridharadas gives us a complex and moving glimpse into the American dream.

Learn more here.

Follow Anand Giridharadas on Twitter.

16. Man Alive by Thomas Page McBee

In Man Alive, Thomas Page McBee asks himself what it means to be a man and examines his relationship to two important men in his life — his abusive father and a mugger — as he transitions from female to male. McBee's beautifully written story is engrossing and brave, and rings with triumph.

Learn more here.

Follow Thomas Page McBee on Twitter.

17. X vs. Y by Eve and Leonora Epstein

In this bright, entertaining, and sharply observant book, two sisters — 14 years apart — write across a generational divide, discussing what generations X and Y share and how they differ. Eve Epstein and BuzzFeed editor Leonora Epstein's X vs. Y: A Culture War, a Love Story is the perfect book for anyone who wants to understand generations X and Y, or is seeking a hit of pop culture nostalgia.

Learn more here.

Follow Eve Epstein on Twitter.

Follow Leonora Epstein on Twitter.

Bonus: Read an excerpt from Eve and Leonora Epstein's X vs. Y, "Why Your First Concert Is The Greatest Moment Of Your Adolescence." You can find more of Leonora Epstein's writing for BuzzFeed here.

18. On Immunity by Eula Biss

National Book Critics Circle Award winner Eula Biss's On Immunity is a brilliant and elegantly analytical examination of the anti-vaccination movement, disease in the modern world, fear, and parenthood.

Learn more here.

19. Deep by James Nestor

Deep is James Nestor's mind-blowing journey into the world of freediving, and what this sport — and the ocean itself — can teach us about who we are, where we came from, and the limits of human endurance.

Learn more here.

Follow James Nestor on Twitter.

Bonus: Read James Nestor's BuzzFeed Books essay "This Is What Happens To Your Heart When You Dive Into The Sea."