I’m not a massive reader of non-fiction books, part of what I like about reading is the escapism and the venturing into worlds that are not my own. I don’t have the same kind of response to non-fiction and find I can’t always lose myself in those books quite as easily, however, I do have some favourites and this is a perfect time to share them for May’s Book Matters – Non-Fiction Recommendations.
I briefly mentioned this first book in my post One Book is Not Enough but Wild Swans by Jung Chang absolutely deserves another mention. Whether you are well versed on Chinese culture or if this would be your first book on the subject I highly recommend this book. It is well written, engaging, interesting and at times brutal and harrowing. Reading that book when I was 16 truly opened my eyes though and gave me a way to look at the world that wasn’t forged only from my own experiences. I have been recommending this book to people for 18 years now and I don’t think I will ever stop. If that isn’t a testament to how good it is then I don’t know what is.
Stephen King is a writer that I find fascinating, not least of all because he never fails to divide opinions. Whether you are a fan of his fiction or not though his memoir On Writing is a fascinating insight into how one author approaches his craft. If you are a Stephen King fan and you haven’t read this yet then you are definitely missing out on what could be some tales on how some of your favourite Stephen King books came to be in existence.
I was all set to do a presentation at Eroticon 2020, for various reasons this did not happen, had it gone ahead though those listening would have heard me champion Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you are a creative person of any kind I truly believe you need to read this book right away. It is the pep talk we never knew we needed, especially if we have days where the creative well is dry and we have doubts that we are a creative being at all.
If you enjoy running then I’d recommend this book regardless of whether or not you’ve read any books by Murakami. If you hate running but love Murakami I’d still recommend this book. If you are a fan of both running and Murakami then you are in for a real treat. In What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami we get insights into the world of yet another writer that I find absolutely fascinating. Tales of how and why he started running, mixed with insights into his writing life as well.
I read this next book after I watched the Theory of Everything. If you haven’t seen the movie it is a biographical movie detailing the early life of Stephen Hawking and his romance with his wife Jane. It is adapted from the book Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking. The work Stephen Hawking did goes way over my head, I’m bright but I’m not Stephen Hawking level of bright. However I will confess I loved The Theory of Everything, I think it’s a wonderful movie for many reasons, partly because Eddie Redmayne is a beautiful human being and I absolutely knew I had to read the book as his, now ex, wife wrote it. The book is wildly different from the film, but it is a fascinating book and one I would absolutely revisit.
If you don’t know a lot about North Korea yet perhaps feel compelled to discover more then The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan would perhaps be an interesting read for you. Yet again this is a book about a culture so wildly separated from our own that I don’t think many people could even begin to imagine what their life would have been like had they been born in a country like that. This was not an easy read, but like Wild Swans I feel like it was a book that gave me a healthier outlook on the wider world and to me that is an important part of life.
I will be sharing some more thoughts on a sexy non-fiction book very soon, but it will be getting its own feature post so keep your eyes peeled for that next week,