My favourite Non Fiction books of the year fall into one of these four categories. I often find that history & biography are hard to seperate as I read very little contemporary biography so the biographies I do read tend to be of historical figures. Letters & diaries are either from a historical period I'm interested in or written by an author whose work I enjoy.
Decca, the letters of Jessica Mitford, was one of the many books by the Mitford sisters I read this year. Jessica is the most likeable & sympathetic of the sisters to me & I loved reading her letters.
Nella Last's Peace & Nella Last in the 1950s.
A Lewes Diary by Mrs Henry Dudeney. A famous novelist in her day, Alice is now completely forgotten. Her diary was rescued from the archives of a local Archaeological Society. I was completely absorbed in her life & tortured marriage.
Eleanor, the Secret Queen, rescues her from that obscurity.
The Days of Duchess Anne by Rosalind K Marshall was a book I'd had on the tbr shelves for years. I loved reading about the household of the Duchess of Hamilton & life in Scotland in the late 17th century.
Effie : A Victorian Scandal by Merryn Williams is the story of a marriage that went spectacularly wrong.
Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey is the story of the Fitzwilliam family of Wentworth House & the coal mines that created their fortune. A wonderful example of social history taking in the Fitzwilliams & their workers.
Well, there's my list of best books of the year. I can't wait to read your comments & visit my favourite blogs & read about everyone else's favourites. Here's to another great year of reading in 2011.