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Year 2004 Top Nonfiction Picks

Burned Alive by Souad: A memoir by a young Jordanian woman who was the victim of an "honor crime" describes how she was nearly killed by her own family, her struggle to survive critical burns after being set on fire, and her determination to build a new life for herself.

Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond: After confessing to being a lifelong chocoholic, the aptly named Almond traces the history and bittersweet business practices of the companies producing those addictive candy bars.

The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker edited by Robert Mankoff: Showcases the work of hundreds of artists who have contributed to the magazine throughout its 80-year history.

Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and C.I.A. Ground Soldier's 50-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies by Billy Waugh: A special forces and CIA legend chronicles his career from special operations in Vietnam, to tracking such terrorists as Usama Bin Laden, to his pivotal role in capturing Carlos the Jackal. The final chapters paint a portrait of Operation Enduring Freedom, where Waugh, at 72, ended his career after being one of the first of a select group of CIA operatives to enter Afghanistan after 9/11.

In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore: Challenges modern society's culture of speed and efficiency, identifying the benefits of a slower-paced lifestyle and its effect on dining habits, urban living, mental and physical health, and relationships.

Let Me Go by Helga Schneider: Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. This extraordinary memoir, praised across Europe, tells of a daughter's final encounter with her mother, who had left her family to become an SS guard at Auschwitz.

Loud and Clear by Anna Quindlen: A collection of columns on the impact of world events and society on everyday lives discusses important modern events in human terms, inviting readers to examine themselves and the outside world in order to enable social and personal change.

Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2003 by Hendrik Hertzberg: An analysis of American politics from Lyndon Johnson's administration to the present is arranged by such themes as campaigns, the media and wars, in a volume that illuminates particular events in modern history.