One of the tags that is currently doing the rounds on BookTube is ‘Non-Fiction November’ – a month long readathon encouraging us all to read more non-fiction than we normally would. Having watched a fair few of the videos I’ve been inspired with lots of great recommendations, including Sister Outsider and Walls Come Tumbling Down from Jean at Bookishthoughts, so I thought I’d pull together my own reading list for the month ahead.
NEW: Another day in the death of America – Gary Younge (Guardian Faber Publishing)
Realistically this book could have fit into any of the four categories, but as it only came out at the end of September I thought it was fitting to pop it under ‘new’. This is a timely – and from what I can tell – a much needed study of gun usage and accessibility in America. Younge picks a single day at random, Saturday 23rd November 2013, on which ten children and teenagers were killed by gunfire and tells their stories – one per chapter. This book offers an inside look at US society as well as a portrait of modern-day America – I genuinely think this will be one of my books of the year, but I’m trying not to hype it up too much!
IMPORTANT: Girl Up – Laura Bates (Simon & Schuster UK)
Laura Bates is the founder of the #EverydaySexism project, which has been one of the most influential feminism campaigns of recent times. In Girl Up Bates tackles feminism head-on; she dissects prejudice by delving into a number of topics including sex, relationships and false representation in the media. I’ve put this under the important category because as Bates so eloquently put it in a Guardian interview “all feminism means to me is that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their sex.” and until this happens, we should be taking notice.
CONTROVERSIAL: Marching Powder – Rusty Young (Pan)
This has been on my to-read list for longer than I care to divulge – countless friends have recommended this to me, particularly with the current popularity of the Netflix show Narcos. Marching Powder is the story of an English drug mule in Bolivia. When convicted and put into the San Pedro prison, McFadden starts running illegal tours – I’ve lumped this one into the controversial category as it is a murky window into South American drug culture, the violence between other inmates in the prison and McFadden’s struggle for survival.
FASCINATING: In Order to Live – Park Yeon‑mi (Fig Tree)
I’ve been almost morbidly fascinated by Kim Jong-un’s regime in North Korea for a few years now and whilst I’ve read countless articles about it, I’m still yet to read a full non-fiction account from an insider detailing what life is really like there. Yeon-mi writes about her escape from the dictatorship under which she lived, as well as the mental and physical journey she endured to become a human rights activist; this book is meant to be a real eye-opener to the struggles that many escapees face in their quest for freedom.