From the To Be Read Pile: Non-fiction

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These days, the bulk of my reading choices can be filed under: Fiction, subcategory: Young Adult. My “to be read” shelf on Goodreads is expanding at a rate I can’t possibly keep up with, not to mention the backlog of physical books I have yet to read. Wonderful bloggers and reviewers keep me flush with recommendations. That said, I try to mix things up around here occasionally and vary my regularly scheduled reading.

So, here are a few of the non-fiction titles I’m looking forward to reading. (Eventually).

HTML and CSSHTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett - I’m new to blogging and it’s safe to say that my technical skills are.. well, rudimentary at best. This book has been recommended to me by people who know their stuff as a good starting point for getting my head around the fundamentals. Don’t expect to see me churning out sparkling new websites any time soon, but I’m hopeful that a reduction in the amount of frantic emails I sent to friends begging for help is imminent. At the moment I’m learning by trial and error (mostly errors) so I’m keen to get to a basic level of understanding and feel less like I’m stumbling around in the dark and scary world of code. I already own a copy, and at a glance the content is visually appealing and clearly set out. Fingers crossed!

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss - Based on my reckless abandon with comma splices alone, it’s pretty clear that I am no grammarian. I’m never quite sure when to use a semi colon, or whether or not I can end a sentence with a preposition. Despite this, I actually find the structure of language really interesting and think grammar humour is hilarious (see: Reasoning With Vampires). I’ve heard a lot about this book and have decided to commence my English refresher course here rather than jumping straight into Strunk & White, or relying on The Oatmeal to remind me when I’m confusing affect and effect.

She-Wolves: The Queens Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor - I’ve mentioned before that I’m a massive history geek so of course there’s always a historical title on my TBR. I recently watched two episodes of the BBC documentary based on this book (also presented by Castor) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The She-Wolves (Isabella of France was dubbed “the She-wolf of France” but the term is applied to all five Queens in Castor’s book) challenged the belief that only a man could hold power and rule. Medieval England has always been an area of particular interest to me, particularly the role of women in society, so I have high hopes for this book.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain - As an INFJ (I AM THE 1-3%!) from a family of introverts (well, five out of six anyway) it wasn’t until I moved out of home that I fully realised how much my introversion informed my decisions and relationships with others. I’ve had all kinds of misinterpretations and assumptions made about my personality, and I’ve worked in environments that openly prize and reward extroversion. The more I understand about myself, the more I appreciate my introversion, but it’s not always been easy to navigate my way through a loud society as a quiet person. I’ve seen mixed responses to this book online, but I’m eager to check it out for myself and see if any of it resonates.

Batavia by Peter FitzSimons - For many, European influence in Terra Australis Incognita (unknown southern land) brings to mind 1770, Captain Cook and the ensuing arrival of the First Fleet. Yet long before that time, Australian waters had been traversed by European mariners. Perhaps the most notorious event in this period of history is the shipwreck of the Batavia off the coast of Western Australia, and the subsequent mutiny and massacre described by FitzSimons as “a true Adults Only version of Lord of the Flies, meeting Nightmare on Elm Street”. (Interestingly, the Batavia is referenced in Kirsty Eagar’s young adult novel Saltwater Vampires, as well as that school classic Strange Objects by Gary Crew). Based on what I already know about the story of the Batavia, I hope I have the stomach for this book. I’m intrigued but a little apprehensive at the same time.

If you have other great non-fiction recs for me, drop me a comment and let me know!

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4 thoughts on “From the To Be Read Pile: Non-fiction

  1. I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and I’ve been chipping away at The Violinist’s Thumb for a few months now. I guess I gravitate toward the sciencey non-fiction books. I’ve been very interested in Quiet, though. Although I think it’s a massive misconception that all introverts are quiet. Introverts are just energized by solitude, while extroverts are energized by being around other people. It doesn’t mean we’re all quiet and shy!

    I’ve also heard great things about The Warmth of Other Suns and I’ve wanted to read that one for a while. I think Noelle is reading it atm; I can’t wait to see what she thinks of it.

    I always intend to read more nonfiction but I never seem to get around to it… :-\ Oh well! Hopefully you’ll be more successful than me. :)

    • Agreed! “Quiet” is a bit of a misnomer, I feel. However, I’m more comfortable with being called “quiet” than, say, “shy” or “cold” as I’ve been labelled before :) I think there’s also quite a wide spectrum amongst both introverts and extroverts – we don’t all fit into the same box!
      I’m trying to broaden my non-fic horizons a little. I tend to read a lot of history or biographies (particularly of dead monarchs for some reason), so I’m keen to push the boat out and try something new.

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