Here's a little more detail on the two nonfiction books I mentioned in my latest Making Me Happy post.
13. Rita book #3
Much better than #2. I don't hope or expect it to be among the finalists, since the writing quality didn't wow me and some of the characters and situations were on the cliched side, but it was a tightly plotted, well-paced, and enjoyable read.
14. Over Here by Edward Humes
A highly readable account of the G.I. Bill and its lasting impact on American society told through extended anecdotes of veterans' lives and accomplishments used to illustrate the larger principles and trends. The several decades between WWII and my being alive and aware enough to pay attention to world and national events are something of a gap in my historical knowledge--I think in part because my teachers and parents didn't think of them as history that needed to be taught any more than I do the 80's and the 90's. This book helped fill that gap, showing how we went from the struggles of the Great Depression to the prosperity and burgeoning middle class of the 50's and 60's...and how we began to lose that starting in the 70's as income inequality ticked up when we began to pull back from public investment in our future like that of the G.I. Bill.
Good book. Strongly recommended.
15. Promise Land by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro
A hybrid between a memoir (the author is the daughter of a self-help author) and critical analysis of self-help culture, but heavier on the memoir elements. As someone who's managed to, um, help herself through carefully selected self-help books, but who rolls her eyes forever at the likes of The Secret or The Rules, I found this an enjoyable and often laugh-out-loud funny read.