The difficulty with writing this post is that almost all the non-fiction books I read this year were excellent, but I suppose that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get a shout-out here as well.
So here are my favourite non-fiction books from this year. (Note that not all of these were published this year, that’s just when I read them.) (more…)
When history looks back on you, assuming you’re not a direct perpetrator of injustice, which statement will be made about your life?
“They stood up for what was right, even though it was unpopular.”
“They couldn’t really help it, they were just a product of their time.”
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.
I finally have my brain fully back! It’s been switching on and off over the past year based on the number and strength of pills I’ve been on at any given time. So more like a dimmer switch than a straight on/off affair. However, as of yesterday I am off aaaaallll the meds. Let’s see how this goes.
The most exciting thing about this, of course, is that I can read books again. And not just novels and things that require zero brain power, but real books. Big books. Thick philosophical books. (I know novels can be all those things too, but boy have I missed philosophy.)
Here’s what I read this week.
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’ll start this review with the most obvious point: this book is Not Small. Weighing in at 862 pages, it is hardly a little light reading. It is also quite difficult to read on the train, being huge and a hardback.
For such a big book spanning such wide subject matter, however, it is surprisingly readable. I got through it in a few days, because I devour books the way other people devour pizza (I also devour pizza), and I found the writing style to be just right: not too dense, but also not patronising the reader.
2016 was seriously the best year I’ve had for books in ages. Despite it not being a great year for, well, pretty much everything else globally.
But in times like these, you grab what happiness you can get, right? So here are my favourite non-fiction books of 2016.
This blog has become very bookish lately. Not that that’s a bad thing.
Last week, three novels and a book by Caitlin Moran, who never disappoints.
A couple of interesting thoughts about human spirituality and the beginnings of religion, from The Beginnings Of Religion by E.O. James.
A few years ago, I read The Logical Syntax of Language by Carnap, which was an interesting read. In it, he discusses the uses and applications of language in day to day life, and also the more far-reaching consequences of how we use language in society.
Here are three quotes I found particularly interesting.