If you’re looking for the 10 best books of the year, or the 100 most notable titles of 2015, or the five tomes that explain the Islamic State, or the three books that go inside the struggle for the soul of the Republican Party, please go away. There are plenty of terrific lists out there for you, lists of weighty works by big-name authors tackling consequential subjects.

This is not one of those lists. Too often, the books that earn the “best” or “notable” label can’t just be good or interesting, they must be terribly important. And importance isn’t the only reason we read. It’s probably not even the most important one. Of the roughly 100 nonfiction books I’ve read this year, these are the ones that — for reasons trivial, profound or purely personal — I suspect I’ll remember most:

The funniest book I read this year: “How to Catch a Russian Spy: The True Story of an American Civilian Turned Double Agent” (Scribner) by Naveed Jamali with Ellis Henican

A Cold War-style thriller, full of Russians, federal agents, code names and, in the lead, a New York techie who preps for his double-agent moments by practicing lines from “Goodfellas” and “Scarface.” Jamali makes his tough-guy dreams come true by outwitting a Borat-like Russian intelligence officer who recruits him to commit treason. The finale, like in every Bond film, goes down in a New Jersey Hooters. A hilarious book that is being made into a movie — a comedy, I hope — by Twentieth Century Fox. [Review of “How to Catch a Russian Spy"]

The whiniest book I read this year: “Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015” (Seven Stories Press) by Ralph Nader

Anyone who says letter-writing is a lost art has never been Ralph Nader’s pen pal. This book collects more than 100 missives the consumer advocate sent to Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, including letters complaining about the lack of response to his prior letters. Some are prescient (in March 2003, Nader eviscerated Bush’s case for war in Iraq), but most are rude or just bizarre. My favorite is the one Nader writes from the point of view of a captured E.coli bacteria, to highlight non-human terrorist threats. [The best letters from “Return to Sender"]

The creepiest book I read this year: “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear” (Public Affairs) by Margee Kerr

Kerr, a sociologist, offers a travelogue of fright, seeking out some of the scariest spots on Earth — the steepest roller coaster, abandoned prisons, Japan’s “Suicide Forest” — to test her guts and explore why, when so much of life freaks us out already, we still long to get scared. It’s hard to explain fear (you need to feel it), but Kerr’s stories are campfire-worthy. [Review of “Scream"]

The bitterest book I read this year: “The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush” (Broadside Books) by John H. Sununu

This is not a tell-all but a yell-all. Bush’s former chief of staff unloads on anyone, whether journalists or political rivals, who wronged him or the Bush White House. The two-plus decades that have passed since the events Sununu describes have done nothing to calm him down; the book could have been written the day Bush left office. [Review of “The Quiet Man"]

The most myth-busting book I read this year: “The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game” (Bloomsbury) by Mary Pilon

I played Monopoly obsessively as a kid and learned then how out-of-work salesman Charles Darrow supposedly invented the game during the Great Depression and grew fabulously wealthy. Wrong! Pilon describes how Monopoly’s true creator — unknown stenographer, poet and inventor Lizzie Magie — was robbed of her place in history. The tale is as infuriating as it is fascinating. [Review of “The Monopolists"]

The most guilt-inducing book I read this year: “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” (Penguin Press) by Sherry Turkle

Turkle outlines the costs to family, work and friendship of staring at our screens all day. “We face a flight from conversation that is also a flight from self-reflection, empathy, and mentorship,” she explains. Readers will find something to regret on nearly every page. [Review of “Reclaiming Conversation"]

The most helpful self-help book I read this year: “How to Be a Husband” (Blue Rider Press) by Tim Dowling

A memoir of surviving 23 years of marriage, full of scheduled sex, passive aggression and unwinnable fights. (If you’re cramming, just read Chapter 8, “The Forty Guiding Principles of Gross Marital Happiness.”) My favorite piece of advice from this manifesto for inadequate husbands: “Never underestimate the tremendous healing power of sitting down together from time to time to speak frankly and openly about the marital difficulties facing other couples you know.” [Review of “How to Be a Husband"]

The best Donald Trump book I read this year: “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” (St. Martin’s Press) by Michael D’Antonio

Even though I read eight books by Donald Trump this year, the best perspective I got on the Donald was in D’Antonio’s new biography. This is Trump as an enduring portrait of American excess — partying in Manhattan in the 1970s, getting rich in the 1980s, watching his marriages crumble in the 1990s and reinventing himself as a reality-TV star in the 2000s. “Donald Trump may blow his horn a little louder than other Americans,” D’Antonio writes, “but he is playing the right tune.” [Review of “Never Enough"]

The biggest tear-jerker I read this year: “Every Day I Fight” (Blue Rider Press) by Stuart Scott with Larry Platt

This memoir by the ESPN broadcaster is an emotional read, focusing on Scott’s career, his illness — he died of appendiceal cancer just weeks before the book was published — and his relationship with his two young daughters. It’s like Scott on television: over the top yet irresistibly sincere. “I’d talk smack to cancer like Ali talked to his opponents,” he writes, recapping his workouts. “A third set of push-ups? Take that, cancer.” Scott was as cool as the other side of the pillow. [Review of “Every Day I Fight"]

The stuntiest memoir I read this year: “The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion at Any Cost” (Sarah Crichton/Farrar Straus Giroux) by Robin Rinaldi

Regular memoirs are passe; you need a stunt to stand out. Rinaldi’s story of taking a year-long break from her marriage to sleep with strangers certainly qualifies. Despite all the sex scenes, this empowerment narrative is more depressing than arousing. (Spoiler: When she and her husband try to get back together, things get complicated.) Runner up: Jonathan Gottschall’s “The Professor in the Cage,” about a college English instructor who, of course, takes up mixed martial arts. [Review of “The Wild Oats Project"]

The most “instant classic” book I read this year: “The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics” (Simon & Schuster) by Barton Swaim

Think “Veep” meets “All the King’s Men.” As a speechwriter for then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (of Appalachian Trail fame), Swaim learns to write poorly to placate his boss, cope with scandal and keep himself from vomiting out of pure nerves on the way to work each day. Covering how the governor talks to the public and to his staff, this slim book reveals so much about political communication. [Review of “The Speechwriter"]

The most painful book I read this year: “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War” (Viking) by Susan Southard

Reminiscent of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” Southard’s book traces the lives of five survivors of the second atomic bomb attack. From the aftermath of the explosion into the decades of physical and psychological agony that followed, Southard shows what it’s like to wage nuclear war every day of your life. This one stays with you. [Review of “Nagasaki"]

The most depressingly timely book on terrorism I read this year: “Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy” (Basic Books) by Micah Zenko

I started reading this book before November’s Paris attacks; I finished it after. A look inside the specialized groups that imagine worst-case scenarios and probe vulnerabilities for militaries, intelligence agencies and businesses, the book made me more pessimistic that we can stop terrorism, but more hopeful about our efforts to learn from each attack. [Review of “Red Team"]

The most “I wish I could be friends with this author” book I read this year: “Ordinary Light: A Memoir” (Knopf) by Tracy K. Smith

A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Smith beautifully renders her struggles with faith, family and belonging in this memoir. I felt kinship not just because we are the same age and grew up in the same area, but because Smith writes about the personal in ways that feel universal, and she captures childhood with an astonishing mix of immediacy and perspective. “Did I ever wonder who my mother used to be,” she asks, “before she belonged to me?” [Review of “Ordinary Light"]

The best book by Ta-Nehisi Coates that I read this year: “The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir” (Spiegel & Grau)

For all the accolades bestowed on Coates’s “Between the World and Me,” including the National Book Award and a MacArthur “genius” grant for the author, I was more impressed with the book Coates wrote when no one was watching: his 2009 memoir, “The Beautiful Struggle,” a bracing and intimate book that I read just before picking up Coates’s latest. A reminder that the most memorable books of the year don’t have to be this year’s books.

Read more from Book Party, including: