Twenty-sixteen started off with a bang: no less than five top-ten contenders appeared in January, and four of them survived to make the list. (Data and Goliath was edged out by a similar book.). These appear in the order of my reading them.
1. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had it Coming, Mike Brown (Science)
That book would have made this list just for the title, but here astronomer Mike Brown -- the man whose discovers of Kuiper Belt objects put Pluto into a new perspective, demoting it from the planetary society -- not only delivers a personal history of the discoveries, but demonstrates how the science is done.
2. Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City, Robin Nagle
Journalist follows and interviews sanitation workers in New York City, throwing light onto the constant work required to keep the Big Apple from drowning in an ocean of Starbucks cups and hamburger wrappers -- or from being completely paralyzed by snow in the winter!
3. Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It, Marc Goodman
What a book this was: pick your terror: data collection, credit card breaches, compromised items on home networks turning against their owners, war...it was an all-round eye-opener.
4. Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism, Bill Kauffman (Politics)
Here Bill Kauffman remembers the good old days, when opposing war and meddling abroad was the default American attitude.
5. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein (Science Fiction)
The American revolution in space, but an even more ambitious one!
6. All Other Nights, Dara Horn (Historical Fiction)
Civil War historical fiction + mystery + unrequited devotion + Jewish communities of the South.
7. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh (English Literature)
A sentimental novel about the passing of Old England before the Great War, and of a love higher than romance.
8. Sphere, Michael Crichton (Science Fiction)
Sci-fi meets horror in the depths of the ocean, where no light reaches and where sits a mystery: a ship from the far future, evidently built by humans.
9. All the Shah's Men, Stephen Kinzer (History/Geopolitics)
The history of night in 1956, when the United States began its first steps into becoming a noxious imperial power in the middle east. It has yet to escape the Chinese finger trap of middle-east intervention, as one bit of manipulation leads to unforeseen consequences that are manipulated away to create unforeseen consequences that have to be manipulated away but create unforseen...*sigh*
10. The Porch and the Cross, Kevin Vost
Very accessible introduction to the Stoics, with generous quoting from not only the big two, but Seneca and Musonius Rufus as well.