Welcome to Non-fiction November! Is it a real thing? I have no idea but I like to think it is. For 99% of the year I’m the worst at reading non-fiction books. I read mostly as an escape from daily life. Reading is how I like to destress and some non-fiction can easily feel like I’m back in school.
But I’m trying to do a better job of getting out of my comfort zone and trying to incorporate more non-fiction into my yearly reading. If you’re like me and trying to read more non-fiction, check out my favorite non-fiction reads below!
Be sure to check out my recommendation list from 2020 HERE as well for more options!
Memoir’s my least favorite type of non-fiction. They’re tricky because on one hand, I really enjoy hearing about people’s lives, but on the other hand they can sometimes come off as preachy. I never want to discount a person’s own personal experiences but translating those stories in an easy to digest way for readers is so important. I also hardly ever review memoirs, as they’re completely subjective however, these are ones I have enjoyed recently.
Between Two Kingdoms – Brilliantly writen story of Suleika Jaouad’s battle with Leukemia. It was wonderfully written and filled with so much hope. It has some sad parts but it was just a pleasure to read her story.
Somebody’s Daughter – A fabulous story about how complex families can be. There is so much packed into these pages, I can’t recommend it enough.
The Ugly Cry– It’s a raw depiction of Henderson’s childhood and it’s both funny and heartbreaking.
Here for It– Hilarious essays by Thomas. I will say some of them were better than others, but that’s what you get with a collection.
The Last Black Uniron – Tiffany Haddish is hilarious to me and her book had me in stitches. I listened to this on audio, and since she reads it herself, it really added to the experience. While she does employs humor in the story, she’s completely up front with how she grew up and how it shaped her into who she is today. She’s painfully honest and I have so much respect for how hard she’s worked to get where she is.
Notes on a Silencing – This is a hard one to read but so relevant in today’s world. While we follow Crawford’s story coming to terms with her sexual abuse it’s a great story on why and how campuses across the US have covered up and ignored sexual misconduct. I was able to speak with Lacy last year about her experience and writing the story, and her passion to protecting future generations of students is inspiring.
The Sound of Gravel – What happens when you grow up in a cult? Ruth Wariner answers those questions as she documents her childhood. This was such an interesting story and I highly recommend it.
True Crime is an addiction for me. Many of these I’ve listen to on audio while on longer runs, which is so dumb because half of them are about women being abducted. I will say that these have been some of the most interesting and informative True Crime stories I’ve read recently.
The Pale-Faced Lie– Other than celebrating non-fiction, November is also Native American Heritage Month, so this one falls perfectly into the mix. . Following David Crow’s childhood, as he learns of his father’s criminal past.
Killers of the Flower Moon- Another perfect read to get to in December, discussing the murders of the Osage Tribe. It was one of the first cases the FBI was involved in, and is currently being produced into a movie starring, Brendan Fraser and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Say Nothing– I’ll be honest and say I binged watched Derry Girl and then went on a deep dive into Northern Ireland’s history. This book popped up on my radar and while it’s main story is about the murder of Jean McConville, it also discusses The Troubles and the I.R.A.
The 57 Bus– This is perfect for teenage readers. It follows the setting on fire of a transgender teen in California. While it’s a True Crime story, it also dives into the juvenile prison system. Very well written and informative.
The Babysitter – Loved this memoir that read more like fiction than non-fiction.
Don’t Call it a Cult– the story of NXIVM’s rise to power and how smart women were utlimately blackmailed and basically enslaved. It’s shocking.
Last Call– I will say this one is a bit dense. It took me a while to read it though it’s only 300 pages. It’s filled with tons of facts and really dives into the way LGBTQ were treated in the early 90’s, even in more liberal areas such as NYC.
The last four are fairly well known and are classics or are going to be classics. Highly recommend watching the HBO series after reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark as well.
Outside of True Crime and Memoirs, these are my favorite 3 non-fiction reads, I’ve sat down with lately.
Hidden Valley Road– Diving deep into mental health and understanding Schizophrenia. It is so interesting, and Kolker does a great job of diving into the history of mental illness treatment and into the families lives.
The Radium Girls– The true story of women exposed to radium in factories across the US and how they fought for worker’s rights even as the radium was slowly killing them all. Extremely well written. I can’t recommend this one enough.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone– Technically this is a memoir, but it’s also a look at mental health. I really felt that Gottlieb was speaking directly to me, but also found listening to a Therapists journey of therapy fantasticating.
On My Shelf
I have a couple of Non-fiction books planned for my own reading this month. Realistically, most of my non-fiction reading lately is a bit more ‘learning to be a parent’ rather than page turning. I will be reading Mindhunter with my Wine & Crime bookclub, which you can join HERE if interested.
I’m also trying to dive into both Cultish and I Miss You When I Blink. Both have been on my TBR and I’m hoping this is the month I tackle them.
Three other Non-Fictions on my TBR are The Choice, The Comfort Book, and Crying In H Mart. All three of these have great reviews and while I don’t think I’ll get to them in November, they’re high on my priority reading list.
What other non-fiction books are on your TBR? Any favorites that you’d like to share?
I hope you found something you’re truly excited to read. Please feel free to comment below or DMing me over on Instagram @speakingof_books, to share with me your favorite non-fiction books!