Fiction has always been my forte. I like being pulled out of the world and into another, but the truth is non-ficion can do that too. There are hundreds of topics on which I know nothing about, countries I’ve never visited, experiences I’ve never had, and all those discoveries can be found in non-fiction too. I recently read Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy and Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and they pulled me across the Atlantic, I was tucked up under the blankets with Lawson, joining in her racoon rodeo and on the set of SNL with Poehler. Non-fiction can tell you a story, and tell you more about yourself. So, inspired by reading these two fantastic books I’ve picked out 10 more non-fiction books that I would like to read.
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
I’ve wanted to read How To Be a Woman for ages. I’m not really sure why I still haven’t. But I love me a witty, observant lady so maybe I’ll get round to it someday soon.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
I’m in love with the title of this memoir. It is perfect, and consicely summarises Winterson’s turbulent relationship with her mother, a relationship that is echoed in her novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I read an extract from Why Be Happy a while ago and was hypnotised by the portraits she paints of her mother.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
I confess that watching the film Capote with Philip Seymour Hoffman made me want to read this book. In Cold Blood has been heralded as the first true crime book and Capote’s commitment to the project fascinates me.
Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
I’ve said before that I am a fan of Mara Wilson on Twitter. I need more pithy, insightful tweets on my Newsfeed. I was three when the film Matilda came out but it was one of the iconic movies of my childhood. Being a child star is a unique and potentially alienating experience, but I’m interested to see life from Wilson’s perspective after childhood fame.
The Establishment: and How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones
We just had a General Election, so this feels like an appropriate addition to the list. The Establishment is an examination of the British political system. I’ve seen Owen Jones speak on a number of news-related shows and have always admired his passion and eloquence, so I’m interested to read his book. There’s also a bowler hat on the front cover.
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
I don’t know why I haven’t read this book. It sounds beautiful, poignant and all other things in between.
Don’t be a Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage
Again, this book has a killer title. When you have siblings, you have a wealth of anecdotes at your disposal. I’m the youngest in my family, so I haven’t had the experience of being the oldest sibling. But I imagine there will be one or two things in this book that will ring true for me as well.
The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell
I’m so glad Penguin published this book. It would be a tragedy if they hadn’t. It’s the true story of Tom Michell’s frienship with Juan Salvador, the penguin. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
How to Survive a Plague by David France
This is a real-life story that shows the power of people who are fighting for justice and their lives when others have failed them. How to Survive a Plague documents the fight of a small group to gain access to the research and drugs they needed to make AIDS a disease they could manage.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
I don’t know much about Patti Smith, but I went to a Letters Live event at the Hay Festival, and one of the letters was Smith’s last letter to her friend Robert Mapplethorpe. He passed away before he read it. In that letter there was so much love, and emotion. I wanted to read more about their friendship.