I have enjoyed so much great non fiction this year so I thought I would helpfully (I hope) link these in one post to celebrate the start of November – when we all make a special effort to read some non fiction – don’t we? Here is my 2020 non fiction reads and recommendations. Let me know if you have read any of these or plan to?
Probably one of the most important memoirs I have read. Chanel Miller recounts all about her rape by Brock Turner on the Stanford University campus, through the trial and judgement. Important in terms of consent, but also how society treats victims and perpetrators of rape. If you haven’t read this one please do. I even got my 16 year old son to read it and personally think it should be read in schools and colleges.
She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
An interesting and informative account of the Harvey Weinstein case, 2 brave female journalists over a number of years interviewed women and researched information building a comprehensive picture which finally served to build a case against the predatory producer. A shocking insight into gender inequality and the willingness to cover up despicable behaviour by powerful men.
The untold stories of the five women famed as victims of the notorious Jack the Ripper. This was an informative social commentary of living as a woman in the late 19th century. What was revealing about these women was how their lives have been shrunk and distorted by their death. The author challenges the belief that these women were prostitutes and highlights the lack of evidence to support this. What is clear however is the vulnerability of single women at this time and the impact of poverty on this. A very interesting read.
Six essays by Zadie Smith on the strangeness of 2020, touching on Covid 19 of course but also the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest. Some aspects of this resonating more with me than others, as will be the case for everyone I think but at less than 100 pages this was an interesting read that helped me to reflect on the year so far.
Lisa Taddeo spent 8 years alongside the women featuring in this book. Getting to know them intimately and hearing their stories. She concludes that she is confident this book, Three Women contains vital truths about women and desire. Three different women and three very different experiences exploring women and sexuality, love and desire. Very accessible reading – almost reads as fiction.
The Bystander Effect by Catherine A Sanderson
Psychologist Catherine A Sanderson explores why the majority are so willing to standby and witness bad behaviour or even a crime. This book was hopeful as it seems there is lots that can be done to support bystander intervention, some people just intervene – if you have read Know my Name by Chanel Miller you will recall the crucial intervention of the 2 Swedes! But most don’t, but we all can and it was reassuring to read that there are programs rolling our in organisations – the Police, education facilities and businesses to help people to challenge bad behaviour – because we all recognise bad behaviour, the problem is that we don’t always know what to do.
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
I discovered Nora Ephron this year and what a find. I Feel Bad About My Neck is a collection of sharp, witty and funny observations about issues that effect women, getting older, handbags and nostalgia about our unappreciated bodies of youth. A fantastic read, my only gripe was that it was too short!
Ted Bundy: The Only Living Witness by Stephen G Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth
Any fans of true crime out there? This book is a comprehensive account of America’s most prolific serial killer. The authors interviewed Bundy on a number of occasions and this offers remarkable insight into the killer’s mind – despite him maintaining his innocence throughout and consequently being guarded.
So that is it, have you a read any of these, or more importantly do you have any non fiction recommendations for me? Other non fiction I have enjoyed ( but not this year) listed below –
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
Dear Cancer, Love Victoria by Victoria Derbyshire
Anything by Jon Ronson or non fiction by Danny Wallace / Dave Gorman are also brilliant but interestingly never reviewed on my blog.