Top 5 – Non Fiction Books

For the majority of my life I have had a rocky relationship with non-fiction books and I blame this almost entirely on school! In school each year, we were given a list of different books we should try and read i.e. different genres .etc. and one of these was non-fiction. The only problem with this was that in school non-fiction meant either a three year old Guinness Book of World Records or some big square book about motorbikes that you never saw anywhere except the school library. Suffice to say, I¬†didn’t¬†read many non-fiction books in school!

Just under two years ago, though, my relationship with non-fiction books changed for the better. When I first went to University I fell into the biggest reading slump I have ever experienced in my life and, to my surprise, it was non-fiction that actually got me through!

Since then I have read and enjoyed lots of non-fiction books, so I thought I would share some of my favourites here.

  1. Doing It – Hannah Witton

Hannah Witton is a youtuber and blogger that¬†I love, and this year she published her book ‘Doing It – Let’s Talk About Sex’ which is (who would have guessed it) about sex and relationships. I really, really enjoyed this book, firstly because the writing style is exactly like Hannah’s videos so makes me smile and laugh out loud and feel empowered just like they do. More than that though, this book is hugely informative about a range of different and important¬†topics¬†for example¬†how to recognise an unhealthy relationship, some of which¬†¬†I had never even considered before! Additionally, there are lots of different guest contributors who talk about things they have personal experiences of. This book is therefore one that I can turn to both when I’m feeling a bit down and when I need some information or advice. What’s not to love?!

2. The World of Cycling According to G – Geraint Thomas (with Tom Fordyce)

My relationship with non-fiction books can probably be epitomised by my relationship with autobiographies, namely that I didn’t want to read them. In fact, I think the first autobiography I ever properly read was ‘Yes Please’ by Amy Poehler when I was 19. I’m not sure why I took against autobiographies so strongly, possibly because they symbolised the world of non-fiction that I was so¬†desperate to¬†escape. Anyway, I have now realised¬†the error of my ways and¬†love a good autobiography!

‘The World of Cycling according to G’¬†by the cyclist Geraint Thomas is probably my favourite autobiography so far. I should note, I’m not a cycling fanatic but I am a big fan of Geraint Thomas and I think that’s what made this book really enjoyable for me.

I do have other autobiographies on my TBR list though so hopefully I will get around to reading ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by Nelson Mandela, ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai and ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey sometime soon. I wonder if any of them can challenge Geraint Thomas for the top spot!

3. The Bookshop Book – Jen Campbell

This book is all about cool bookshops all around the world and for me is an absolute gem. Not only do I love reading about all of these amazing places but, growing up, I was never really interested in travelling because there was no where I really, really wanted to go. Following this read, though, I am eager to travel the world visiting all of the wonderful bookshops discussed in this book!

4. Pointless – Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman

For anyone who doesn’t know, Pointless isn’t actually a book, it is a TV quiz programme where contestants try and score as few points as possible by answering a question with the least obvious answer they can think of (I’m not selling it very well but trust me, it’s amazing!). I will confess I am a huge fan of Pointless and own the board game, the mini game and, most relevant here, all of the accompanying books written by the presenters. I massively enjoy all of the books; they are very funny as well as interesting and informative. If I had to choose just one I would probably go for ‘A Pointless History of the World’, because there is a lovely piece about Wales and the ending of the book is actually moving as well as funny as Osman states:

‘We only have one job tomorrow. To leave the world a slightly better place than we found it. Ring your mum, be kind to animals, be proud of yourself and be understanding of others. Everything else is pointless.’

5. The Bookshop That Floated Away – Sarah Henshaw

I won’t say much on this book as I discussed it in my May roundup only that it is another non-fiction book¬†about books that I hugely enjoyed. I think one of the main reasons this book sticks out for me is because it makes me feel like it’s ok not to have everything figured out yet! Also, thinking about this book always reminds me of sunny train journeys with my music plugged in, surrounded by blue sky and green fields, so for that reason I’m pretty sure it will always make me happy too!

So, there are my five favourite non-fiction books that I have read¬†so far. I’m going to be honest though: I think I have a lot of catching up to do!!

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Honourable Mentions

We Bought a Zoo – Benjamin Mee

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kahling

Monthly Roundup – May 2017

May was a pretty busy month for me – I had coursework to hand it and I was back and forwards from University for exams which meant that most of my time was spent either on a train or holed up in my room revising. At the end of the month I also moved out of my current University accommodation which meant packing and transporting a whole load of things including some pretty heavy books!

With all of this going on I didn’t necessarily read less this month, I just read differently. Normally my monthly roundup consists of a few fiction books, some of which¬†I am studying at University and the occasional non-fiction. This month, though, I read three non-fiction books mainly, I think, because I find it much easier to read non-fiction while revising for exams (I’m not sure why, I would have thought I’d prefer fiction to get away from the real world of revising but obviously not!), and one YA fiction book.

The first book I read this month was ‘The Bookshop that Floated Away’ which is about the author, Sarah Henshaw, travelling around Britain on her bookshop barge. This book has been on my ‘to-read’ list for a while as I love books about books and in fact, this book was recommended in ‘The Bookshop Book’ by Jen Campbell (a great¬†book about different bookshops all around the world). I really enjoyed this read, mostly because I really like Sarah Heshaw’s narrative voice. I also massively admire Sarah’s determination and drive and since reading have been telling myself to ‘be more Sarah’, meaning if things don’t work to try harder and that just because¬†I don’t think I’m good at something doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. There is also a really interesting section of the book written from the boat’s perspective which is a cool change and has also given me my current favourite book quote ‘we¬†were made of sterner stuff than feather’ (p. 183).

The next book I read was ‘Almost Adulting’ by the YouTuber Arden Rose. I should point out now that I have never watched any of Arden’s videos and that might have been my first mistake. I was more drawn in by the title of the book than anything else because I often feel like someone struggling to fit into the world of adulthood. The book was more biographical than I expected but, again, this was probably more to do with me than the book. Ultimately, this wasn’t one of my favourite books this year but there were bits that made me laugh and I feel like everyone could find something they liked in there.

Next I went for ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ by Bill Bryson which my Dad gave me.¬†Here, Bill Bryson travels around Britain and gives his opinion on things he finds funny or strange or anything else between. I actually really enjoyed this book, it was the first Bill Bryson¬†book I have ever read so I enjoyed a new, unique and often funny narrative voice (although I didn’t agree with everything he said, but you never can!). It was also really nice reading this book, about travelling, on sunny train journeys with my headphones plugged in¬†because it was a real escape from the stress of exams.

The last book I read this month was after my exams had finished (yei!) and it was ‘The Names they Gave Us’ by Emery Lord. Earlier this year I read another book by Emery Lord ‘When we Collided’ which I didn’t enjoy so much, but I¬†really loved this one! It is about a Christian girl called Lucy who goes to work at a camp for troubled kids over the summer as a favour to her mum whose cancer has reappeared. Although I guessed quite a few of the twists before they happened (no spoilers!) this was still a really enjoyable¬†read. It had some good messages about accepting people and¬†was really interesting for me personally as I think it’s the first YA novel I have read that really explores faith so that was cool¬†too.

Onto my current read, then,¬†and I’m really excited because I have finally (finally) picked up The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak)¬†again. At the end of May I could feel myself sliding into a reading slump so I decided that it was finally time and I was not mistaken! I am currently¬†enjoying it just as much as the first time I read it. Interestingly, though,¬†I have realised that I’m reading it differently and I think this is really to do with studying English literature at University. I always loved the language of this novel but now, not only do I think¬†the¬†writing¬†is¬†beautiful, I know more why i.e. I know more¬†what Markus Zusak is doing. Amazingly this has made me appreciate the novel even more than I already did!

Top Pick:

I think for my top pick in May I have to go for ‘The Bookshop that Floated Away’ because it really made me laugh and, without getting too clich√©, I feel like it has actually changed the way I live a little bit (be more Sarah!).

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So, there we have it, onto June (half way through the year!), when I will hopefully finish The Book Thief and get a few more reads in, although I have no idea what yet!

P.S. I promise I will write a blog post sometime that doesn’t¬†include The Book Thief (but what can I say, it’s in the name of my blog!!).

P.P.S. Almost Adulting doesn’t appear in the feature¬†image because somewhere between my University accommodation and my family home I seem to have misplaced it!