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Non fiction ideas

(39 Posts)
hazelnutlatte Sun 09-Apr-17 10:22:46

After years of mainly reading crime novels I've read a few great non fiction books recently and would like some ideas of what to read next. Genre not important as long as it's a great read and will help me learn something new. I've just finished 'Do no harm' by Henry Marsh, which is about brain surgery and I couldn't put it down. Not a topic I would normally think to read about!
So please recommend me some unputdownable non fiction.

OP’s posts: |
fatowl Sun 09-Apr-17 12:14:43

I recently enjoyed "lion" by saroo brierley

About an Indian street boy who was adopted by an Australian couple tracing his birth family in India.

BestIsWest Sun 09-Apr-17 12:19:46

Fragile Loves by Stephen Westaby. Similar to the Henry Marsh but heart rather than brain surgery.

BestIsWest Sun 09-Apr-17 12:20:39

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

hazelnutlatte Sun 09-Apr-17 15:14:58

Thank you, the book about Henrietta Lacks sounds fascinating, would never have come across that if you hadn't suggested it.

OP’s posts: |
waycat Sun 09-Apr-17 17:10:08

I would highly recommend the two by Frank Gardner, Blood And Sand & Far Horizons.

He's the BBC Security correspondent who was near-fatally shot in Rhiyad in 2004, resulting in him being made a paraglegic and in a wheel chair.

Blood And Sand tells of his early life as a student, his love of travel, then his early working life as an investment banker before becoming a journalist. The book follows him through the various stages in his life and the places he travelled to for both work and pleasure, culminating in the shooting and his subsequent rehab.

Far Horizons is divided into 26 chapters, each one again about a place Gardner visited, spanning his student years and then how he was able to take up his love of travelling again even after his shooting, basically showing the world what you can accomplish when everything seems stacked against you.

Each book gives the reader a real insight into the far flung places of the world, and after reading them both I feel totally enriched and enlightened. Also, Gardner tells of his recovery and rehab in often very personal and intimate ways, and I truly felt privileged to have been allowed to share in these particular aspects of his life.

I realise I probably sound gushing and overly sentimental in what I've said but honestly these books are absolutely essential reading. You won't feel the same afterwards I can assure you.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sun 09-Apr-17 17:14:46

Into The Wild byJon Krakauer and Wild by Cheryl Strayed are both unputdownable.

Touching the Void is also a fascinating read.

I have recently got into modern war literature and a non-fiction book in that line recommended by my history teacher colleague is My War Gone By, I Miss It So by Antony Loyd about the Bosnia conflict. I have also just read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien which is a fictionalised account of his experience in the Vietnam War.

ElspethFlashman Sun 09-Apr-17 17:17:21

Into Thin Air by John Krakaur. I've spelt his surname wrong but you'll find it. Actually anything by him - he did a very interesting one about Mormons.

The Bounty by Caroline Alexander

By Permission of Heaven about the great fire of London (really interesting)

City of Laughter about scandalously satirical pamphlets in the time of the Prince Regent. Full of juiciness.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 09-Apr-17 17:19:24

Once In A House On Fire by Andrea Ashworth and All Of These People by Fergal Keane are nonfiction reads I've really enjoyed (despite my claims not to like nonfiction!)

ElspethFlashman Sun 09-Apr-17 17:20:17

The Emperor of Maladies which is "a biography of cancer" I.e. how it has been treated throughout history and how it was researched and how chemo etc was developed. Henrietta Lacks is a big part of it too.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 09-Apr-17 17:20:32

Oh, and Peter Frankopan's The Silk Road.

ElspethFlashman Sun 09-Apr-17 17:22:18

There's one called The Weaker Vessel which is about what it was like being a woman in 17th century England. Really enjoyed that one.

PossumInAPearTree Sun 09-Apr-17 17:26:19

Any of Joe Simpsons books are great. I actually preferred This Game of Ghosts to Into Thin Air.

A book called The Last Englishman about hiking the PCT is very good.

I hear that Chris Peckhams new book Fingers In The Sparklejar is very good but not read it myself yet.

PossumInAPearTree Sun 09-Apr-17 17:27:11

Sorry, meant I preferred This Game of Ghosts over Touching The Void.

Into thin air also a good read!

hazelnutlatte Sun 09-Apr-17 17:54:50

So many ideas thank you! Got quite a long Amazon wish list now.

OP’s posts: |
BestIsWest Sun 09-Apr-17 19:03:57

Oh yes, Into Thin Air is a cracker.

AuldHeathen Sun 09-Apr-17 21:05:29

If you liked Henry Marsh, you might like When Breath Becomes Air. By Paul Kalanathi.

I too liked Blood and Sand. I've reread it too!

I read a lot of history books. You'd need to say what era appeals before can recommend anything, OP. I see Philippe Sands's book East West Street is now in paperback. There's a thread on it where somebody chucked it in the bin! But for all that lots of people liked it. smile

Sadik Sun 09-Apr-17 21:16:49

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (sp?) is absolutely fantastic, I think if you liked Do No Harm you'd enjoy it.

AuldHeathen Mon 10-Apr-17 14:47:52

More ideas?

Books I am looking at in this room include a fair amount of nonfiction. Authors include Laurence Rees, Frederick Taylor, Edward Lucas, Bill Bryson, Luke Harding, Misha Glennie, Matt Ridley, Jared Diamond, David Kertzer. Not given titles as they have written several. A lot of 20th century history in there. Also some science for non-scientists. Other themes include blogs of various politicians and actors/performers. Sheila Hancock and Jo Brand being 2 of them.

Other themes - local history and how to trace family history.


Palegreenstars Mon 10-Apr-17 20:47:26

I'm half way through When Breath Becomes Air and it's amazing. Quite a lot of brain surgery too but mainly life and death and meaning.

Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford is fascinating Account of an Amazon adventure.

CluelessMama Mon 10-Apr-17 21:40:42

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and The Skeleton Cupboard by Tanya Byron are both really interesting reads

PutUpWithRain Tue 11-Apr-17 20:53:02

Two I've absolutely loved are Medieval Graffiti by Matt Champion and The Voices of Morebath by Eamon Duffy. History but from the perspective of ordinary people, rather than kings & queens. Both fascinating stories and gives a new perspective on how religion & churches were part of everyday life.

FairyPenguin Wed 12-Apr-17 12:37:22

Nothing to Envy - fascinating accounts of lives in North Korea. I read it following a recommendation on here. Couldn't put it down.

hazelnutlatte Thu 13-Apr-17 17:52:51

I've already read nothing to envy, agree it's a fantastic book. Science books for non scientists sounds like my kind of thing too so please let me know which authors you would recommend.

OP’s posts: |
gonegrey56 Sat 15-Apr-17 04:40:34

Another one recommending When Breath becomes Air, so beautifully written and what an insightful and extraordinary author.
I have also just read A Dangerous Innocence, the biography of the writer Elizabeth Jane Howard by Artemis Cooper. Could not put it down , fascinating account of her life , a woman trying to make sense of everything through her writing.

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