Past blogs have been visiting the New York Times Sunday Book Review best books fiction books of 2014. Now let’s visit the editors’ selections for the best non-fiction.
Anyone who has taken care of a parent, older friend or relative will identify with Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? New Yorker magazine cartoonist Roz Chast, known for her urban characters who quake while they deal with life’s ups and downs, has created a graphic non-fiction work about caring for her parents. Illustrations and captions are the heart of this memoir. Having lived in their cluttered apartment for more than 50 years, mother and father can no longer care for themselves. Then, aided by their daughter, they must make the journey from home to assisted living facilities to convalescent care to death. Readers won’t know whether to laugh, cry or cringe at the daily minutia that the author/artist and her parents celebrate and endure. Somebody observed that old age is not for sissies; neither is caregiving. This is absolutely the best book on aging and family.
One of our most admired American presidents is Jimmy Carter, whose good works in his retirement serve as an example to all. During his time in office President Carter’s greatest achievement may be the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David is a historical look at the backgrounds, motivations, conversations and negotiations between these 3 leaders. Author Lawrence Wright is another New Yorker writer and he deftly captures the behind-the-scenes events of the meeting and President Carter’s laser focus on getting the treaty done.