My (rather ambitious!) TBR for Non-Fiction November!


I’ve decided, at the last minute, to take part in #NonFictionNovember! I have a lot of non-fiction on my TBR so it seems like a good time to read more of it. I struggled to make an exact TBR as generally once I make a list of books to read my brain decides it wants to read anything but what’s on the list! This time I’ve picked a selection of books that I really like the sound of – I’ve deliberately picked more books than I’m able to read in a month in the hope that having more choice will keep me on track. I do have some fiction to read and review so I may not read exclusively non-fiction but I aim to mostly read it in November.

I’ve predominantly picked books that I owned before 2017 so that I can use these books towards my Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge as I haven’t managed to complete that as yet, hence why there aren’t any new books (other than review books) on this list. I’ve tried to make my list a mix of easier non-fiction to balance some of the more challenging books in the hope it keeps me on the non-fiction track for the most part!

#NonFictionNovember2017 was started by abookolive and Non Fic Books on YouTube.

Their prompts for this reading challenge are:





and you can interpret these prompts however you like.


Here’s my #NonFictionNovember TBR

Hystories by Elaine Showalter

This is one of my picks for the scholarship prompt. I first heard about Elaine Showalter when she was giving a talk at the university that I was about to start. I loved her talk and went on to read two of her books soon after. For some reason I never got around to reading this one so it seemed a good choice to aim for during this reading challenge.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

This is another book that could possibly fit into scholarship as Russian politics is something I feel I should learn more about and this book looks like it could be an accessible way to start. It’s also a book that’s been on my TBR for a while so it’s time I picked it up.

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

This is my pick for Love seeing as it has love in the title! I’ve had this on my TBR for a while too and it seemed a good pick for something to dip in and out of during this challenge to break up some of the heavier books on my TBR.

It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

This book doesn’t really fit any of the challenges but it’s a book I’ve own for a long time and really want to read. It’s a book about the author being diagnosed with MND and how he has come to terms with how that has changed his life. I didn’t read it for a while because there was a time when this felt like it might be too close to home but that time has passed now and I feel ready to read this.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

This book could fit into home as it’s a book about a couple making a new home for themselves in Denmark. I’ve wanted to read this for ages and so I’ve added it to this TBR for some light relief if I find myself needing it.

The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is my pick for substance as it’s a biography of cancer and looks at the way cells can go rogue within the human body. I’ve wanted to read this for so long but it’s a subject that I find really hard to read about. I’m using this challenge to push myself to read it at last because I feel sure it will be fascinating.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

This book is on my TBR simply because I really want to read it and I think it might have a different vibe to other books that I’ve picked and so might be good to change things up a bit.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

I’ve had the lovely hardback of this book on my TBR for about seven years now and I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet as it’s a book I really wanted. I also love the author’s writing so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to fit this book in this month.

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

This is a recent buy but I’m so looking forward to reading that I’ve added it. I may well end up not reading this as I want to focus on books from before this year but I’ve put this on the list in case I get stuck at any point and then I know I can pick this up. It’s the book that inspired Roger Waters to write Amused to Death and as I love that album I am very keen to read this book!

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This is another book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time and I don’t know why I haven’t done so as yet. I feel like this might be a one sitting read and so perfect for this reading challenge.

Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton

I do like memoirs and biographies so have added this one as it will break up the other books I have on my TBR. I’m a huge Freddie Mercury fan and can never resist books about him.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

I love Jon Ronson’s books and this one is on a subject that fascinates me so I’m keen to see how he approaches it.

Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright

This is an essay collection that I’ve been looking forward to and it seemed like a good idea to have another book that can be read on and off throughout the month.

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield

This is a memoir of Kate Mayfield and how it was to grow up living above a funeral parlour. It sounds like such an interesting read and when I flicked though it seems like a really accessible writing style so seems a good book to have on the list for a reading challenge.

Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon & May Phelan

This is a book of letters written between the two authors in the 1980s and it just sounds so wonderful and nostalgic. I can’t wait to read this one!

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed by Meghan Daum

This is a book that I bought ages ago now and really wanted to read but then the time never felt right. I’m really interested to read about women who’ve chosen not to have children though so a collection of essays seems like a good book to add to this challenge.

A Pound of Paper by John Baxter

This book has been on my TBR since before I had a Goodreads account (more than nine years). I’m mortified because it’s a book about a book addict and I feel sure I will love it. What’s more is that it’s in a lovely hardback edition and when I picked it off my shelf to make this TBR I just wanted to curl up with it right away. Therefore this book also fits the challenge of home for me because books are home to me.

Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said

This has also been on my TBR for a long time (more than ten years!). In fairness I have read some of it for my degree but I never sat down and read the whole book. I’ve kept it all this time so there must be something in me that still wants to read it so I’m including it in this TBR. I will just say that my edition has small text and my eyes aren’t great at the moment so this book may not get read this month but I’m including it on the list to keep it fresh in my mind so that it doesn’t languish on my TBR for another ten years!


I also have some Non-Fiction ARCs to read so I’ve included them in my reading plans too

Riot Days by  Maria Alyokhina

This is a book about the Russian band Pussy Riot and how they were imprisoned. It sounds like such a fascinating read and I’m keen to get to it soon. If I don’t manage to read it during this reading challenge, I will aim to have it read and reviewed before the end of this year.

The Day that went Missing by Richard Beard

This is a memoir of how the author looked back at what happened on the day his brother drowned and the aftermath. It sounds like a really moving book but it’s one I want to read soon.

Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

Trayvon Martin was shot dead whilst innocently walking home minding his own business; he was seventeen years old – it was such a shocking story on the news when it happened. This book is his story as told by his mum. I’m sure this will be a heartbreaking read but it’s important that books like this are read and spoken about.

The Book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

This is Miranda Doyle’s memoir told through lies – this was all I needed to know about this book before I requested it on NetGalley! I’m so keen to read this book and hope to get to it this month.

Gone by Min Kym


Of Women: In the 21s Century by Shami Chakarabati

I just got and ARC of this book this week so I’m adding it to this list of books that I may get to this month. It does sound like it could be a very prescient book given what is happening at the moment with the #metoo so I’d like to read this soon if I can.

Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

I was unexpectedly sent a copy of this book for review a little while ago and it sounded interesting so I added it to my TBR. The subject matter sounds tough as it’s about the author’s husband’s suicide but it’s so important to be more aware of mental health so I want to read this one soon.

Currently reading

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

I’ve been reading this book for the past few weeks but I had a spell where I just wanted to read fiction so it got put to one side. I picked it up again this week though and am back to being engrossed in it.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain by David Cavanagh

This is a book that I’m dipping in and out of and it’s just wonderful. I highly recommend this if you love music and John Peel.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

This is an audiobook that I spotted when I was looking for non-fiction in my Audible cloud. I’d forgotten that I had this on my TBR but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to listen to it asap. I started listening to it today and am really enjoying it.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

I can’t remember buying this book but it’s been on my TBR for ages. I started reading it last night and I think it could be a really interesting read.



Are you joining in with #NonfictionNovember2017? If you are I’d love to know what you plan on reading for this challenge.

23 thoughts on “My (rather ambitious!) TBR for Non-Fiction November!

    • Thank you 🙂 It’s probably way too many books for me to read in a month but I thought I might stick to the list if I added some extra ones on there… otherwise I’m hopeless at sticking to a TBR. I can’t wait to read The Lonely City, it sounds brilliant.

  1. I’ve read A Pound of Paper and I’ve also got The Year of Living Danishly on my TBR – it’s a little way down it (see yesterday’s State of the TBR post), after some quite big ones, but I might pick it up for some light relief between the big ones. I’m not actively joining in with the Non Fiction November thing as it will be one too many bits of admin, but I love seeing people read more non-fic (I know you read it anyway, like me, but so many don’t).

  2. You really do have some fascinating books on that list, Hayley! I think it’s great that you’re including both fiction and non-fiction in your reading. It stretches you to read both, I think. I’ll look forward to your reviews.

    • Thank you. I do try to read non-fiction throughout the year but it’s nice to just focus on it alone for a whole month. I read a lot for escapism these days but it’s always good to pick up something different and to broaden my horizons a little. 🙂

  3. Great list, and an ambitious project! Enjoy! I like the look and sound of A Pound of Paper and Small Acts of Disappearance. Good luck, and have a great journey through these books.

  4. I’m doing a different Non Fiction November, which sounds less stressful as it’s more about sharing what you’ve already read and maybe reading a book or two. I am terrible at making TBR lists and sticking to them.

    I liked The Year of Living Danishly even if I didn’t really like the woman, if that makes sense!

    • I really like that idea – I might share some of the good non-fiction that I’ve read over the years while it’s non-fiction November.

      I never manage to stick to TBR lists either. I love making the list but once it’s done I just end up wanting to read other things. I’m hoping that by making a longer list this time that I can pick and choose from that it might help.

      I know what you mean about Year of Living Danishly – I’ve heard others also say they liked the book but not the woman. I’m hoping to read it over the weekend so I’m intrigued to see how I find it (and her).

    • Thank you. I don’t think I’ll manage to read all of them but I hope that by having a longer list to choose from that it’ll keep me focused. I’ve got some lighter non-fiction on my list so I’m feeling okay about not reading any fiction so far. I may squeeze one or two novels in as the month goes on though.

  5. Oh my word – that’s certainly ambitious, but if anyone can pull it off, it will be you, Hayley! I love the look of the Jenni Murry book and A Pound of Paper. Have a fabulous reading month.

  6. Aiming to make serious inroads into this list:
    Gavin Maxwell: A Life Douglas Botting
    Islamophobia and Racism in America Erik Love
    The Girl Who Climbed Everest: Lessons learned facing up to the world’s toughest mountains Bonita Norris
    Long Road From Jarrow: A Journey Through Britain Then And Now Stuart Maconie
    Airborne William F. Buckley Jr.
    Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People Julia Boyd
    The Dun Cow Rib: A Very Natural Childhood John Lister-Kaye
    The Man Who Climbs Trees James Aldred
    The Earth Gazers Christopher Potter
    Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe’s Invisible Pathways Nick Hunt
    The Last of the Light: About Twilight Peter Davidson
    A Wood of One’s Own Ruth Pavey
    Hampshire Through Writers Eyes Alistair Langlands
    Windblown: The Great Storm: Landscape, Legacy and Loss Tamsin Treverton Jones
    The Hidden Ways: Scotland’s Forgotten Roads Alistair Moffat
    Joan: The remarkable Life of Joan Leigh Fermor Simon Fenwick
    Puzzle Ninja: Pit Your Wits Against The Japanese Puzzle Masters Alex Bellos
    Islander: A Journey Around Our Archipelago Patrick Barkham
    The Mysterium: Unexplained And Extraordinary Stories For A Post-Nessie Generation David Bramwell, Jo Keeling
    Question Time: A Journey Round Britains Quizes Mark Mason
    Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery Caren Cooper
    A New Map of Wonders Caspar Henderson
    In Search of Ancient North Africa: A History in Six Lives Barnaby Rogerson
    Cræft: How Traditional Crafts Are about More than Just Making Alex Langlands
    Eastern Horizons: Hitchhiking The Silk Road Levison Wood
    Icebreaker Horatio Clare
    The Cryptic Pub Quiz Book Frank Paul
    The Written World: How Literature Shaped History Martin Puchner
    The Lost Words Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris
    Oak and Ash and Thorn: The Ancient Woodlands and New Forests of Britain Peter Fiennes

  7. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (5 Nov) | RatherTooFondofBooks

  8. Some fantastic books here and some I really want to read like The Year Of Living Danishly and The Emperor Of All Maladies! Great selection plus some that I’ve never heard of and am now intrigued by! 😁

    • Thank you 🙂 I’ve now read The Emperor of all Maladies and it was brilliant, I highly recommend it. I’m reading The Year of Living Danishly now and really enjoying it. I hope you enjoy them both when you get to read them. 🙂

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