Following on from yesterday’s best fiction post, here are the best non-fiction books I read this year. (Note that not all of these were published this year, that’s just when I read them.)
The following are abridged reviews; where there’s a longer version on the blog, I’ve linked to it.
At the moment I’m writing a novel. The protagonist is a teenage boy. His name is Anthony and he’s dealing with a lot of things in his life, one of which is the underlying current of societal expectations of masculinity. This isn’t exactly a huge theme in the book, but I think it’s probably an important part of any boy’s upbringing, so I want to get it right. I decided therefore to read some things about what it’s like to grow up male.
I am not, and nor have I ever been, male. However I have always empathised with expectations of masculinity. I’ve been the breadwinner in every household I’ve lived in since a young age, and I’ve been surrounded by people and situations that made showing any kind of emotion discouraged. Growing up, I felt pressured to swallow whatever I might have been feeling and essentially ‘man up and get on with it.’ Despite not knowing what it’s like to be a boy, therefore, I have perhaps an above-average level of empathy for the challenges brought on by society’s expectations of masculinity.
Enter Webb’s autobiography.
I knew there would eventually be a post in which this gif would be sadly relevant.
This intriguing book was sent to me by a friend, who thought (correctly) that I’d enjoy it.
My friend caveated the recommendation with the view that the book should have been called ‘MY truth’ rather than ‘THE truth’, and I’d agree with that. But it was interesting all the same.
Below is a round-up of some of the interesting academic research that’s been happening in various fields recently.