I don’t read a huge amount of non-fiction, though looking at my book group’s choices for next year that may well change. I have chosen three excellent non-fiction books from those I read this year which I would like to recommend. And making them a separate category means I can have another Top Ten just with fiction and keep it down to the required number – well, maybe! So in no particular order, here are my top three non-fiction reads this year.
Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books by Daniel Gray is a must for any book lover and really was a delight to read. It consists of 50 short essays about the joys of reading including having a sneaky look at other people’s book shelves, trying to see what someone beside you on the bus is reading, finding a handwritten dedication in a second hand book and, a problem many book lovers have, hiding yet more book purchases from a partner! You can read my review here: Scribbles in the Margins.
The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities is for anyone who loves language. With a word a day for a whole year, you will discover unfamiliar or forgotten words and learn about their origin and meaning. Each day also has a bit of a story to go with the word and the book is a highly entertaining and informative read. My review is here: The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities.
My final choice is Stephen McGann’s excellent Flesh and Blood. This book is a brilliant blend of genealogy as the author traces his family back through the generations to rural Ireland in the 1850s and social history as he shows how the social conditions of each era contributed to the illness and maladies which affected them. He also adds a more personal reflection to each section. It’s a fascinating insight not just into the McGann family but also into how how social environment shaped our ancestors and therefore our own lives. I heard Stephen McGann talk about his book at the Edinburgh Book Festival and could not resist buying it as he was so passionate and interesting to listen to. You can read my review of the book here: Flesh and Blood
So there you have my top non-fiction recommendations for this year. Have you read any of them and what did you think of them? What are your non-fiction recommendations from this year’s reading?