Today I wanted to write a post to wrap-up my Non-Fiction November as I had such a lovely reading month. I didn’t fully stick to my planned TBR but I managed to read a lot of non-fiction and I enjoyed everything I read. Some books I’ve already reviewed so will link back to those and the others I will briefly review in this post.
Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell
This book had been on my TBR for quite a while so I wanted to make sure I got to it in November and I’m really glad I did. My review is here.
Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook
I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it was published so I’m really glad I finally picked it up. I really enjoyed reading this and found it so interesting. I’m a huge Joy Division fan so already knew a lot about the band but I still learnt things in this book that I didn’t know before. Peter Hook is so open in this book and it was really interesting to see Ian Curtis through his bandmate’s eyes, it gave a different perspective. I already have Peter Hook’s second memoir so I’m looking forward to reading it soon.
Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times on Television by Louis Theroux
I love Louis Theroux’s documentaries on TV, I find his approach so different and engaging and he really brings so much out of his subjects. I was really keen to read this book so when I saw it on my library’s audio book app I immediately downloaded it. This book covers his life and how he got into TV. He takes you through his work and the different TV shows he’s made, along with his reflections as he looks back. There was quite a bit about Jimmy Savile, which I found really interesting. Louis narrates the audio book himself so I definitely recommend this format.
I Carried A Watermelon: Dirty Dancing and Me by Katy Brand
I only got this book after I’d made my TBR list for non-fiction November but I couldn’t resist reading it as soon as I got it. I loved this one and have reviewed it here.
The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness by Anne Boyer
This is another ARC that I wanted to make sure I got to in November. It was a tough read because of the subject matter but it’s very well-written and it made me think. My review is here.
My Autobiography by David Jason
I’m a real fan of David Jason, I’ve watched and loved so many series that he’s been in over the years (in particular Only Fools and Horses, and A Touch of Frost) so I was really keen to finally read his autobiography. This was such a fun read learning about his life and how he got into showbusiness. He has so many great stories from over the years – some hilarious and some very moving, and I very much enjoyed reading all of them. I recommend this book if you’re a fan, it’s such a good read.
The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes
I bought this book a few weeks ago and have been so keen to read it. I’m so glad I picked it up as it’s such a good read. I’ve reviewed it here.
Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones
I’m not a fan of Owen Jones at all so I’m not sure how I came to own a copy of this book but I’m really glad that I decided to take a chance on it as it was a really interesting look at the working class.
The Death of a President by William Manchester
I’ve wanted to read this book for ages so when I finally bought the audio book a few months ago I knew I had to put it on my TBR for nonfiction November. This book covers the brief period before JFK was assassinated and then the days afterwards. It’s a really comprehensive look at what happened and how people reacted to it. I already knew a lot of what was in this book but there were still things that I didn’t know. It’s a fascinating book and I recommend it.
James Baldwin and the 1980s by Joseph Vogel
This book has been on my TBR for a couple of years as I’ve felt intimidated by it. I’m so pleased that I finally read it though as it was so interesting and it’s sparked off my interest in some other books as I want to know more. My review is here.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I bought the audio book of this and I’m so glad I did as it was a joy to listen to. I really enjoyed learning more about Michelle Obama and the life she has lived. It was fascinating to read about how her life was before she met Obama, to hear how she grew up and what her family was like. I then loved hearing the story of how she and Obama met and discovering how she felt about him getting into politics, also how it was for her and their daughters once he became president. This is a really open and honest memoir and I loved it!
Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly by Jim DeRogatis
I spotted this book on my library’s audio book app and immediately downloaded it. I hadn’t heard of the book before but I was intrigued to read it and I’m glad I did. This is an incredible piece of writing that is very well researched and put together. The journalist has followed the stories around R. Kelly for many years and eventually decided to put a book together. He interviews so many people, including R. Kelly’s accusers and the result is a brilliant expose. This isn’t always an easy book to read because of the subject matter but if you’re at all interested in this case I recommend it.
Logical Family: A Memoir by Armistead Maupin
I bought this book on kindle when it was first published but I ended up listening to the audio book during the month. I adored it as it’s read by Armistead Maupin himself so it was a lovely experience to hear him tell his own story. This is such a fascinating memoir of a life well-lived. He talks of how he was inspired to create some of the characters in Tales of the City, he shares about his upbringing and all the loss he experienced during the AIDS crisis. There is humour and sadness, and it’s just a wonderful memoir.
How To Be Human: A Manual by Ruby Wax
This is another book that I wanted to make sure to get to in November and I found it a good read. My review is here.
The Heretics by Will Storr
I found this book on my library audio book service so downloaded it on a whim and I’m glad I did. This wasn’t as in depth on any of the subjects covered as I was expecting but it was still such an engaging book. I enjoyed it.
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
This book is such an incredible read and one I’m so pleased I read. I’m in awe of how much work and research must have gone into this book as the author put together a biography of each of these five women. It’s all about their lives, rather than about who killed them and it really made them real to me. I found this such a moving read and I felt so emotional about each of the women, I won’t ever forget them. This is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year and I’ll be recommending it to everyone.
Constellations by Sinead Gleason
I really enjoyed this essay collection and got a lot so much out of reading it. My review is here if you’d like to know more.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
I read Oranges are not the Only Fruit many years ago but despite buying this memoir when it was published I had never got to read it. I’m so glad I spotted it on my library’s audio book app as it meant I could listen to the author read it to me. This is such an interesting and moving book, one that really made me think as I was reading it. There is such honesty in the book and I’m so glad I finally read it.
Dopesick by Beth Macy
This is such an important book and one I’m so glad I read but it was a tough read. I’ve been interested in the rise of the opioid epidemic for a few years now but even so this book was still so eye-opening to me. Macy gives the stats and the politics but she also really focuses on the personal giving us the stories of people from all walks of life who have ended up addicted to opioids in one form or another. This book made me angry at how people are being failed by the system but it was also incredibly moving, I felt so emotional as I got to the end. This is not an easy read but it’s a book I highly recommend.
Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell
I’m a huge David Bowie fan so was very keen to read this book. It’s a really enjoyable book about the one hundred books that David Bowie considered the most influential. It’s a real mix of books and it’s fascinating to learn more about the ones I haven’t read yet (quite a few are now on my wish list now!). There is a list of all the books at the start so you get an overview of the titles. Then you get each title with a short essay about the book and what Bowie liked about it or what he took from it. At the end the author suggests a song or two that would work well with the book and I really liked that element. It made me take time to sit and think about the books and Bowie’s music and the influence that he took from what he was reading. Some of the links seems somewhat tenuous but others I knew of and it was interesting to get more understanding of them. I also have to mention how fab it was to see that the author thinks Tin Machine may get proper recognition one of these days – I’ve always thought they were under-rated and I love both of the Tin Machine albums. I definitely recommend this book to fans of David Bowie but I think readers in general who are looking to find some new books to read would also enjoy this.
9 thoughts on “Non-Fiction November Round-Up and Mini Book Reviews!”
I didn’t even realize Louis Theroux had a book! I’m only just discovering who he is from watching the Westboro Baptist documentaries but I really like him. Good to know that the book is a good one too!
I’ve had Jeanette Winterson’s memoir on my list forever too! I also read Oranges many years ago and I think a memoir from her must be really interesting.
Thanks so much for participating in Nonfiction November! You made such wonderful and thoughtful contributions, absolutely loved reading your posts and glad you had fun with the event 🙂
That *is* a lot of non-fiction – well done!
You’ve read such a lot of interesting non-fiction, Hayley! And such a mix, too: (auto)biography, ‘inside’ novels, and lots more. You’re reminding me that I really ought to read more non-fiction than I have lately…
What an interesting range of books! I’m reading Jeanette Winterson’s Christmas Days at the moment and enjoying it, so might try Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal too.
I put I Carried a Watermelon on my Christmas list after reading your review. 🙂
Wow you were able to read so many non fiction books during November!! xx
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What lovely reads and well done on getting so many read and reviewed or mini-reviewed. I have the Maupin on my wishlist and need to have it in my life soon (although we watched a couple of eps of the original Tales of the City series and really didn’t enjoy it – I think I’ll stick with the books!). Hope you have a good December of reading!
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