Tag Archives: non-fiction

Top 10 Tuesday: Non-Fiction

Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

I realised a bit late that ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish is back today, but it’s a freebie week so easy enough to join in with

As it’s a freebie week I’ve decided to do Top 10 Non-fiction books. I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately so I’ve got plenty to choose from.

As always, in no particular order

The Etymologicon- Mark Forsyth

I mention Forsyth’s interesting and entertaining books about language frequently (and they have even featured on two previous Top 10 Tuesday posts). The Etymologicon is my favourite, but The Horologicon, and The Elements of Eloquence are also fantastic

Yes Means Yes- Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

A series of essays about women’s sexuality, rape and feminism. Very thought provoking and because the essayists have different views it’s interesting to see how different people view feminism. I haven’t fully reviewed this one yet but I have written a series of posts about various essays. Not one for the faint hearted, but I think it’s an important book

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

Part autobiography, part feminist anthem. Caitlin Moran’s first book is one I recommend frequently, and one which left me wishing I could be her friend. A more accessible form of feminism than the more serious feminist tomes. I genuinely think this should be read by every teenage girl (I also think this of Animal, but I didn’t like that as much)

Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

An interesting personal look at neurosurgery and the NHS by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. I found this to be a real page turner (or maybe button presser as I read it on kindle), and easy to understand as someone who knows relatively little about neurology (maybe a little more than others from my psychology degree). I even managed to read it when in hospital for surgery.

The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo

This is a book that I think is really important, but it isn’t the easiest read- emotionally or in terms of readability. It’s Zimbardo’s own account of his famous prison experiment on authority. An experiment which had to be cancelled because it was going too far

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree- Nick Hornby

When I read Nick Hornby’s book about books I added so many books to my wishlist. It is a collection of his columns from The Believer, and is featured on The Rory List.

Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure- Dave Gorman

Dave Gorman’s second book is a part travel part comedy book. His journey starts with one googlewhack; a phrase which elicits only one response when searched on google. He contacts the owner of the site and visits them to ask them to find another googlewhack who he also visits and so on. It’s mainly funny but also interesting to see which websites he sees and where he goes.

How to be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

In ‘How to Be a Heroine’ Ellis revisits books which have shaped her. Will she still have to same opinions or will something have changed? A perfect blend of bookishness and feminism.

 Living Dolls- Natasha Walter

Living Dolls is the book which introduced me to feminist non-fiction. It looks at how society is creating a new type of sexism which teaches girls that they have to be ‘girly’ and boys that they have to be ‘tough’.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson talks about her life and depression with humour and honesty. A fun read with more meaning than it may originally seem.

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Review of the Year 2014- Non-Fiction

I’ve done better really with non-fiction this year than with fiction. I’ve read 9 non-fiction books and 2 of those have been five star books. I really loved them both, so it’s tough choosing a favourite.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

The memoir of Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) who is a pretty well known blogger and generally crazy person



How to be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Is a about all the literary heroines Ellis has ever had. It’s part literary musings, part memoir, part feminist writing.



And the winner is…

Samantha Ellis’ How to be a Heroine

Whilst I found ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ too hilarious to safely read in public I feel that How to be a Heroine offers me more long term. I love how it made me want to read certain books, I loved it’s feminist element, and I love Ellis’ way of writing. If it wasn’t for the fact that I only read it a couple of weeks before the end of 2014 I think it could have become my most recommended book of the year.


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Review of the Year 2013- Non-Fiction

I’ve only read 4 non-fiction books this year. I thought I would list them all, although the best of these is clear for me.

The End of Your Life Book Club- Will Schwalbe is about a mother who is critically ill, and her son who connect through books as she reaches the end of her life.



The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth. Is about writing and speaking style and how to make what you say beautiful.



Friends like These- Danny Wallace. Is about Danny finding all of his childhood friends.



1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks off. Another book by the QI team, full of interesting facts.

And the winner is…

The Elements of Eloquence

I love Mark Forsyth’s stuff. Always interesting, but told in an easy to read tone and with a lot of humour. I’m pretty sure reading this during NaNoWriMo helped my writing too.


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Review of the Year 2012- Best Non-Fiction

As only one non-fiction scored 5/5 this year I’m going to list all that scored 4/5 or above. Of course the one which scored 5/5 is the winner!

How To Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

Is a collection of the thoughts of Caitlin Moran on being and experiences of being a woman.

Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World- Dave Gorman

Is a book where Dave Gorman travels around the country playing different games with different people, some familiar, and some less well known.

Sick- Jen Smith

Is a story of drugs and domestic violence.


The Fry Chronicles- Stephen Fry

Is the second of Stephen Fry’s autobiographies and chronicles his rise to fame.

And the winner is…

How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

I loved this book. Caitlin is funny and easy going. I really just wanted to be her friend whilst reading How to be a Woman. It’s advertised as a feminist book, I wouldn’t say it was a major point to the book however, although it did have some feminist areas.


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Review of the Year 2011- Non-Fiction

Seeing as I only read 4 non-fiction books in 2011 it seems a bit silly to choose a favourite and least favourite, even if they do exist. Two of them really deserve a re-mention though so I shall list all my non-fiction (as before) and then highlight the two which I want to highlight.

That Day in September- Artie Van Why

Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism- Natasha Walter

The Hare With the Amber Eyes- Edmund de Waal

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius- Dave Eggers

The two I wanted to mention again are Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism and That Day In September (click for Amazon links)

That Day in September is a 9/11 survivor’s story. It beautifully written an incredibly moving. Certainly worth a read.

Living Dolls I think is a must read for women. IT makes you see things in a different perspective and certainly brought out a bit more feminism in me.

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