Friday, 2 January 2015

non-fiction reads

Because real life is fun too (just kidding. But these books are all enjoyable.)
I'll Have What She's Having by Rebecca Harrington was in equal parts funny and informative. Did you know Karl Lagerfeld has eight Diet Cokes a day? etc. It took me about two hours to read and those two hours were enjoyable. It probably won't change your life but it probably will make you laugh. OK??
On a completely different note is The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Ron Hall and Nicholas Tomalin. This was so strange and sad and interesting. It is about a man who took part in a round the world boat race which was, as the title suggests, unsuccessful. Don't worry about it being too boring and about sailing because it mostly isn't. It's mostly about the human condition under extreme pressure and the capabilities of the mind and things like that. It has really good quotes from Crowhurst's writings during his voyage and it so spooky and dark and just generally fascinating. 
The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm was also really great. It is very clever because it's not just a piece of writing about Sylvia Plath, but it's a piece of writing about how pieces of writing about Sylvia Plath make a person into a character, and that sort of thing. 
Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt is a really super in-depth look at the case of the West Memphis Three. I bought this after I had exhausted every documentary about them to be found on the internet, and sometimes I get really obsessed with things like this (also, I cannot be the only one who thinks young Damien is somewhat of a fox?). It was very well done and readable and I enjoyed my experience of reading it.
Nobody approved of my reading Stiff by Mary Roach, but they were all wrong. There is nothing wrong with reading a book about human cadavers over the festive period. If that is something you're interested in, this book is a very good choice. Even though it seems a bit morbid, I think ignoring the fact of death is stupid. There is a good part of the book commenting that at birth and death we are reminded of the biological-ness of life and we spend the whole bit in between trying to remove ourselves from the biological-ness (she phrases it a bit better than that). I think trying to ignore the fact we are all going to rot and decay is irresponsible and unhelpful, so read this instead.

Happy New Reading Year! xx


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