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!!


Honourable Mentions

We Bought a Zoo – Benjamin Mee

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kahling

Top 5 – Favourite Books

The first top¬†5 of this blog couldn’t have been anything but my top¬†5 favourite books. The only problem was that this meant I actually had to decide on my top¬†5 favourite books and as every booklover knows, this is no easy task! Lucky for me, the first two were easy as ‘The Book Thief’ and the ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ are 100% my two favourite books (at the moment anyway!).¬†The next few weren’t so simple but finally¬†I got there, although the honourable mentions at the bottom show just how hard fought the competition was (and let’s be honest, on another day I might list a completely different set of books!).

  1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

As anyone who knows me (and by knows, I mean anyone who has¬†made the mistake of mentioning that they’re not sure what to read next anywhere near me) I love The Book Thief. It’s one of those amazing reads where you can split your life into a before and after of when you read it (if you’re looking for a film comparison think maybe¬†La La Land or Inside Out, you know the films¬†that change the way you see¬†world?). I briefly covered the plot of this novel in a previous post so here I will just say – in The Fault in Our Stars John Green writes:

‘Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.’

For me, The Book Thief is that book.

2. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Another one I have previously covered here but a list of my favourite books would be incomplete without it. John Green is one of my favourite authors as I just love the poetry of his writing style and The Fault in Our Stars is my favourite one of his novels. It has two wonderful main characters, is extremely emotional (for some reason I am drawn to books that make me cry!) and features beautiful lines like ‘my thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations’… to be honest I never stood a chance!

3. Shiver series – Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver, Linger, Forever)

A bit of a cheat here because this is a series and not one novel. In my defence if I had to pick just one it would be ‘Forever’ which is the third book in the series and that just isn’t helpful if someone wants a reading recommendation! This series is about humans and wolves and humans who turn into wolves and is, in my opinion, pretty great. It’s got two romantic relationships that I love (no spoilers!) and one of my favourite literary characters ever¬†plus a strong female to boot in Isabel. These books are also sentimental to me because they were the first books by Maggie Stiefvater I ever read and she has since become my favourite author (you know, the one where you have to get your hands on everything they have written and your insides go funny when you hear they have a new novel on the way) so they have that going for them too.

4. Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

I read a lot of Sarah Dessen books growing up. My older sister started first and of course, like every little sister, I wanted to be just like her, so followed suit. The sister connection is perhaps what makes this novel stick out in my mind. In Lock and Key, seventeen year old Ruby’s mum¬†does a runner so she goes to live with her sister Cora, who Ruby doesn’t trust because she feels like Cora abandoned her when they were younger. Family is all important in this novel whether for good or bad reasons, with the romantic storyline following Ruby and the cute boy next door Nate weaved in with these family ties. I think the importance of family and of doing your best to help the people you care about is what makes this the Sarah Dessen book I keep going back to over and over (and over) again!

5. Boys Don’t Cry – Malory Blackman

Boy’s Don’t Cry. Put briefly this is one of the most emotional and affective books I have ever read. For me, at least, it was literally unputdownable. I started it one night and finished it a few hours later and it is the only book I can remember crying reading from pretty much the first page to the last. It follows Dante, who is waiting for his A-level results, but suddenly finds himself in charge of who he is told is his baby daughter, Emma. To be honest I could gush about is book all day, so all I’ll say here is that it made my heart hurt in the best way possible.

Honourable Mentions

  • Legend – Marie Lu
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  • Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon