A lot of my book recommendation posts focus around a theme, because I find that people (myself included) aren’t just looking for any book but one in a certain genre or on a certain theme. Today’s recommendations are fairly broad but also focused: my top 5 non-fiction books! Although I’m open to most any genre, a lot of readers like to focus on non-fiction, and there are some truly gifted writers who aren’t working in fiction. History, humour, biography, there’s a good range in topics and styles for anyone to enjoy!
Dr. Johnson’s London, Liza Picard
If you are brand new to the blog, I’m an historian who studied early Irish history but also loves English history of every period. It’s fascinating when you think about just how much England and London itself changed throughout history, and what it would have looked like to the average Londoner. Liza Picard has a series of four books that examine all aspects of life in London, in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries (usually at a point that corresponds with a major event or person). Dr. Johnson’s London shows us the city in the mid-eighteenth century at the time of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary. She covers an incredible breadth of topic and amount of detail without bogging you down. It’s well worth a read for anyone interested in London or the early modern period!
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Irin Carmen
I came across this book right after Donald Trump was elected, and was seeing several different things discussed on television that I did not understand in the least. Being Canadian, I have no real exposure to the structure and functioning of the US government (least of all, the judicial branch). Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a name that gets brought up and celebrated frequently, and I wanted to learn a little about this women who has made strides for women everywhere. Notorious RBG is a short but entertaining read about one of the most accomplished women of the twentieth and twenty-first century, who accomplished more in the first decade of her career than the rest of us will in our entire lives. The author also touches on RBG’s impact on social media in the last few years and shows exactly why she is still relevant now. It’s the perfect choice for anyone who wants to know more about Ruth or the US judicial system!
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, Jen Campbell
This is a particularly true book for me, because I worked in a bookstore for three years- there is no end to the list of weird and bizarre questions that customers will ask you and statements they will make. No, I probably don’t know the “blue book that had a pair of best friends that you read as a child in the 1970s” with no other information, and no, I don’t care if you want to read 50 Shades of Grey. People either run from shop assistants in bookstores, spill their lives, or ask us very odd questions- anyone who has worked in any sort of retail store can relate to this and will probably have quite a good laugh reading this! I also read it in the airport waiting for a trans-Atlantic flight and I’ve got to say it’s a great distraction for a long and tiring day that may potentially be very stressful. This is perfect for anyone who shakes their head at people or have worked in retail (so most everyone)!
Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari
Modern Romance is certainly not what I expected from Aziz Ansari’s first book- I expected the standard comedy memoir that would be entertaining and popular but skims the surface so we continue to love whomever it is. However, that’s not we got. This is a sociological examination of modern dating practices around the world and how that shapes our relationships. Written with a sociologist, this is a thoughtful and thorough look at online dating and everything that comes with the integration of social media into romance, and it makes you stop and think exactly what role it is playing for you. I particularly enjoyed his look at dating in different countries and cultures, as I have little exposure outside of Canada and Ireland! Smarter and snappier than you first imagine, this book is for anyone interested in the meeting of humanity and technology, and how it affects romance!
Ahhhhh, Lucy Worsley. If you take a bit of a wander through my blog, you will see my love for Lucy far and wide. A historian who works for the Historic Royal Palaces and not in academics, she has my dream job and I only wish that I could write books that are punchy enough for non-academics to enjoy and in-depth enough for academics to appreciate. Courtiers is certainly my favourite of all Lucy’s works- she walks through life in the Georgian court at Kensington Palace, and everything that that entailed. If you’ve been to Kensington Palace, you will recognise the people from the King’s Staircase that are explored and discussed. They aren’t politicians and royals who have their own biographies but rather are the servants, guests, and courtiers that really made up the life of the court, and are as fascinating as the royals themselves. This is the perfect book for anyone interested in personal and royal history, and even the history of court life in general!
If you have any non-fiction recommendations to share, please share in the comments!!