This year my reading goal was 52 books, which I managed to smash by mid-November (Woo go me!). I absolutely love non-fiction books and I’ve got so many I could choose to write about for this year’s round-up. However I’ve picked my five favourites of this year.
The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope
I read this book earlier in the year as the basis for an essay on the lived experience of mental health. I read the book through once and then went over and over it analysing it for my essay, and I can honestly say I’ve never had to critically analyse a book that I’ve enjoyed this much.
The Time in Between is a memoir written by Nancy Tucker about the many years she spent dealing with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. The book is quite graphic at times but gives the best and most honest portrayal of eating disorders that I’ve ever read. I highly recommend reading it whether you’ve dealt with an eating disorder yourself or just want to learn more.
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward | Mark Lukach
I wrote a short review of this book here but I want to talk about how good it was all over again. Mark Lukach’s book is a memoir of his life spent dealing with and caring for his wife who has psychosis. For someone who works in mental health, this book was an incredible insight into how relatives feel when they bring a patient to the ward and what goes on in the first few days after discharge, where everything should be okay but it’s just not yet.
What I liked most about this book though, is that Mark’s love for Giulia radiates through every page.
Wishful Drinking | Carrie Fisher
I’ve long admired Carrie Fisher from afar, but I never actually knew much about her. I’d had Wishful Drinking on my bookshelf for ages but it wasn’t until I went to Geneva in May that I popped it in my hand luggage to read on the flight. I read this all in one sitting (it’s only a couple of hundred pages), but even if it had been longer I would have struggled to have put it down.
It’s funny and sad and honest and I loved every page of it. The memoir covers everything from Carrie’s childhood, through to becoming Princess Leia and later, her struggles with drugs and alcohol, alongside her diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
I really loved this book, and it’s just a huge shame that she’s no longer with us.
Popular | Mitch Prinstein
I love any books about social media but Mitch Prinstein’s Popular focuses on the topic of ‘likability’ online.
It takes the reader all the way from the basic concept of popularity all the way to questioning why is it that we’re all so bothered by how many likes our photos get on Instagram. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on how being popular in childhood translates to adulthood.
This is a great book for anyone who spends too much time on the internet contemplating their Twitter follower count!
They Can’t Kill Us All | Wesley Lowery
I picked up this book because I had very little insight into the Black Lives Matter movement. As interested as I was, I just hadn’t put any time into reading about it but then They Can’t Kill Us All caught my eye.
Wesley Lowery is a Washinton Post writer who traveled across the US to talk to activists and family members affected by police brutality. The book is full of history as much as it is a great resource for understanding current civil unrest.
It took me a while to get through this book because the content is so heavy at times but it was so worth it.
Teenage Suicide Notes | Terry Williams
I really enjoy reading ethnographic studies so when I saw Teenage Suicide Notes, I knew it would be right up my street.
The book presents 10 studies of suicidal teenagers through interviews, diary entries and suicide notes. It’s a really interesting look at the increasing suicide rate in the United States and I loved the way the stories were told from the people themselves, not from Terry trying to make sense of them.
It’s definitely not a book for everyone as the subject matter is heavy throughout and it’s really graphic in some parts but an excellent read for anyone looking for some really interesting research.