Here are my top 12 non-fiction reads of 2014, covering health, politics and feminism.
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
Strong stomachs are a prerequisite. This should be categorized as horror, but it’s surprisingly readable and accessible. Beware the rundown of most painful ways to die and an extremely detailed and emotionally-charged account of 9/11 and the systematic sorting of the bodies and the impact it had on those workers. High points include some of the more absurd, stupid and just plain weird ways to die. TV gets it wrong. Medical examiners never go out into the field, though they do investigate. Melinek talked to relatives, doctors, police – anyone she had to to determine manner and cause of death when it wasn’t obvious from the body. An autopsy can take as little as 45 minutes, but further investigation can take months before conclusions can be made. Recommended for Mary Roach fans.