Today I’m sharing my top non-fiction books that I read in 2017! I posted my fiction favourites yesterday, which you can read here, and because I have read quite a lot of non-fiction over the last year it seemed fitting that it got its own list!
So, in no particular order here are the non-fiction books that I loved in 2017:
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while and finally picked it up towards the end of last year. I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long because once I picked it up I was engrossed until I finished reading the entire book. It’s a scary and fascinating story of a rare illness and how it affected her.
The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson
This was my first ever Maggie Nelson book and it absolutely won’t be my last. Her writing is incredible and moving. This book is her exploration of her thoughts and feelings around the re-opening of the investigation into her aunt’s murder.
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
This book is described as being a biography of cancer and it’s fascinating! I put off reading it because I worried it would be very heavy but it actually wasn’t. I learnt things that I didn’t know and it was such a page turner of a book.
Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand with Decca Aitkenhead
This book has made my list because it was such an honest and open memoir about Rio’s grief over the loss of his wife. Later in the book he shares the things that really helped him through the darkest days and all the suggestions are excellent. I recommend this to anyone but particularly those who are grieving. You can read my full review here.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while and somehow never picked it up until 2017. I’m so glad that I finally got to it because I loved every second that I spent reading this book, it’s wonderful.
Good Night and Good Riddance by David Cavanagh
This is a book containing a wide selection of John Peel’s radio shows. There are descriptions of the shows, parts of transcripts and short lists of the bands and singers he had on his show. I adored this book, it reminded me all over again how many artists I discovered through listening to John Peel.
It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice
This is another book that I put off reading for a long time because it felt like it might be a bit too close to home for me. I’m so glad that I finally read it because it’s a really moving and honest account of living with MND. It actually felt quite life-affirming and it’s a book I highly recommend.
A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink
This is a brilliant book that really does what it says on the cover. I read this in one sitting when I bought it and have since dipped in and out of it, it is a comfort and a solace to have this book to go back to as needed.
Good as You by Paul Flynn
This is a non-fiction book that I bought and started reading immediately. I really enjoyed reading this, it’s a look over the last thirty years of homosexuality in Britain and it’s fascinating from beginning to end.
How to Survive a Plague by David France
This book took me a little while to read but it’s one that has really stayed with me. It’s a look at the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and is a really detailed account of how it was for people dying from AIDS alongside what was happening politically and medically. It’s a harrowing read but one that I highly recommend.
I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
My list of non-fiction is roughly in no particular order but I have to be honest and admit that this book is my top non-fiction book of the entire year. I’m a massive Maggie O’Farrell fan so to read this book and find out more about her life was brilliant. There were things in this book that sent shivers down my spine because similar things have happened to me, and it really made me think. This is a book that I want to re-read this year, and I fully intend to keep on shouting from the rooftops about how amazing this book is and how everyone should read it!
I really enjoyed the non-fiction that I read in 2017 and am already looking forward to discovering lots more non-fiction in 2018. Have you got a non-fiction favourite from last year? Or any books you can recommend me? Here’s to a great reading year in 2018!
17 thoughts on “My Top Non-Fiction Reads from 2017!”
I loved the abridged version of Maggie Farrelll’s memoir that was on Book of the Week, and must get hold of the real book this year!
It’s an incredible memoir, I highly recommend reading the unabridged version when you get a chance. It’s a book that I still keep thinking about and I already want to re-read it.
This is a terrific set of reads, Hayley. And I give you credit for really weaving in non-fiction into your reading this past year. I ought to read more of it, myself.
Thank you, Margot! I’ve made an effort the last couple of years to read more non-fiction and am really enjoying it. It’s nice to read a mix of things. I hope you get to read some more non-fiction this year.
I am intrigued about Cathy Rentzinbrink’s book. I enjoyed The Last Act Of Love.
It’s a really good book. It really is a manual for heartache and is a book you can refer back to when you need it.
I’d like to recommend a good non-fiction read, but sadly, I only have read fiction this last year. Congratulations on a storming 2017 reading year, Hayley!
Thank you 🙂 I hope you had a good reading year in 2017 too. And here’s to a fab book-filled 2018! 🙂
Yes – I did have a wonderful 2017 year, thank you Hayley – and like you, I’m hoping for an equally fabulous 2018:)
This is a good list! I remember seeing Brain on Fire and thinking I wanted to read it, but I had forgotten about it. Happy reading in 2018!
Thank you 🙂 Brain on Fire was a brilliant read, I definitely recommend it. Happy reading to you for 2018!
Patti Smith’s M Train is essential reading! 🙂
Thank you for recommending M Train – I’ve now bought a copy and will read it this year. 🙂
Great list! “Good as You” very nearly made it onto my top 10.
Thank you. I read Good as You in just a couple of sittings and loved it so it had to make my list. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.
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