Saturday 18 June 2016

5 Must-Read Non-Fiction Books

Non-fiction tends to get eclipsed - in book-blogging and in general - by the awesomeness that is fiction.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with fiction taking centre-stage, but that doesn't mean that we should leave non-fiction to languish by the wayside.

Non-fiction can be vitally important for a variety of reasons: not least that it tells us important things about life, the universe, and everything (42! - I'm such a nerd.)

So, my dearest nerdlets, I give you here a list of 5 non-fiction books which I consider to be 'must-reads.'

3 of these are memoirs/autobiographies - not of politicians or pop stars, but of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

These books are 'must-reads' because of what they are - because of what they represent, and the message that they send to the world.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Amazon: UK - US

This is no great work of literature - and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Anne Frank's diary was never really intended for publication, so it's not written to appeal to an audience, or really to tell any clear story.

The main strength and value of this book is that it is so ordinary - it's the diary of a life cut unfairly and unjustly short, true, but a life that belonged to a real, breathing, loving, wonderful girl. A girl who was so very human.

And because of this, it shows even more vividly the horrors of the holocaust - this was not just the fate of nameless, faceless, people, who were nothing to do with us. This was the fate of normal people; just like us.

This book is proof of the potential and beauty that hatred can steal from the world.

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Amazon: UK - US

I actually reviewed this quite a while back; it's an incredible, and very, very powerful book.

Solomon's dignity, humanity, and love, prove a definite contrast to the horrendous situation he finds himself in.

I think everyone should know his story, if only so that we understand the human cost of the shameful practice of slavery.

Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic

Amazon: UK - US

The last of the memoirs/autobiographies in this list, this is the honest, bitter, ugly, beautiful work of a Vietnam veteran - describing both his time in Vietnam, and the longer battle of rights, dignity, and recovery, back home in the US.

A fairly short book that makes hard reading in places, this is one that everyone needs to read - because Kovic was there; he saw it, he felt it, he went through it.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Amazon: UK - US

This is a book I wrote a mini-review for during Mental Health Awareness Week.

'Reasons To Stay Alive' is an important read because of what it stands for - a hand in the dark, a discussion about mental health, and an end to stigma.

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

Amazon: UK - US

This is a book I am determined to make EVERYONE read.

It's a real eye-opener in terms of the sexism and misogyny, as well as the violence towards women, that still exists, right now, in 2016.

As I said in my review, I don't necessarily agree with all of the opinions in this book, but it is one of the most worthwhile books you will ever read.

If it's not on your TBR list then put it on there - right now.

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  1. Diary of Anne Frank is such a classic, and be being a history nerd, it's a very educational and important book. I'll definitely add Everyday Sexism to my tbr now :)

    1. Yay! Constant book-related nagging works!!!!!! XD

  2. I need to read Laura Bates' book so badly! I'd add in the Bloggess' (aka Jenny Lawson) Furiously Happy. It's my favourite book about mental health, and I love it. I couldn't connect with Matt Haig's book which made me sad.
    But this is so true, non-fiction is important too and we should probably have some goals related to reading them every now and then!

    1. I found that the most important things about Matt Haig's book was its existence - the fact that someone has written so openly and honestly about mental health, both to help others and to spread understanding, makes it such an important symbol. But if you didn't connect with it, that's ok too!

      YES. READ EVERYDAY SEXISM. Seriously - it's such an eye-opener!

      'Furiously Happy' sounds interesting - I shall have to investimigate (yes, I know that's spelt wrong, this way is more fun ;P ) XD

  3. This is a fab list! I've read a few of these titles and, like you said, non-fiction can be an under-appreciated genre. I love reading autobiographical books - Patti Smith's works are amazing and so articulate. I agree with Everyday Sexism though, some of it I just didn't really feel was 'right' to me - but I totally agree with its premise and fight. Not heard of Matt Haig's book, so will have to check that out! Thanks!

    1. Not really anything to add to that! :) Thanks for the fab comment XD

  4. I don't actually read nonfiction often because it isn't usually able to hold my interest. But I was really chugged to know I had actually read the first two you recommended. I think everyone should read Anne Frank's Diary and 12 Years a Slave. There's a lot to learn from both of them there.

    1. Too true! I think everyone should read these (- hence the 'must-read' in the title) :)


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