Stocking The Non Fiction Shelves

One of the delights of Non Fiction November is the chance it brings to discover new authors and books. Reading other bloggers posts during this month always brings a host of temptations to buy. This year is no exception.

I did add a few titles to my wishlist though haven’t yet bought any since I’m still hoping to get my list of ‘owned but unread’ books down to the level they were at end of 2018.

Here’s what I’ve added:

Memorable Memoirs

My request in Week 3 for your recommendations of stellar memoirs, resulted in several suggestions which look promising. The are two I am definitely adding to my list .

The first is In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park . OrangUtanLibrarian who recommended it commented that it was “One of the best books I’ve read this year. It was so informative and moving!”

I’m looking forward to learning from this book how far we can trust the snippets of info we get in the west about life in North Korea. It sounds awful and such a contrast to life in the South.

The other recommendation that resonated with me was from CurlyGeek from TheBookStop who proposed Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas, It documents the experience of the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist as an undocumented immigrant in the USA. I hadn’t heard of Vargas but his story does sound engrossing.

A Dose of Medicine

I’ve become all too familiar with hospitals and doctors in the last few years. That may lie behind a recent interest in books written by medical practitioners. Thanks to Non Fiction November I’m going to end up with quite a collection of these books.

One book now on my radar is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi., as recommended by Frank Parker. Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who, on the point of becoming head of his department was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. This book is his account of how he confronted his own mortality after years of helping others cope with theirs. Frank;’s review is here

Kate at BooksAreMyFavourite persuaded me to add Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig has also gone onto my wishlist. It’s another book about a health crisis but in this case it was mental rather than physical. Matt uses his own experience to look at the bleakness of depression and the means of dealing with it, an inch at a time, and to feel alive again.

And finally in this category we have the cleverly titled All That Remains: A Life in Death, by Sue Black as recommended by this week’s host What’s Nonfiction?

Courage In War And Conflict

My interest was captured by a several books mentioned by bloggers that relate to different theatres of political conflict and war during the twentieth century. I’ve limited myself to just two books however.

From neverenoughnovels I heard of Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynn Olson which relates the story of a 31-year-old French woman born to a life of privilege, who became the became the leader of a vast intelligence organization during World War 2. .Her network was the longest lasting and considered the most effective across France.

Coming more up to date from Sarah’sBookshelves I added Forty Autumns by Nina Willner. Willner was the first female US Army intelligence officer to lead sensitive operations in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall came down members of her family who had lived in Communist East Germany. were re-united with those who lived on the Western side. This sounds like an extraordinary story of courage and resilience.

I think I was exceptionally reserved by adding just seven books. I could easily have doubled that number. What would your recommendations be in these categories – any books you consider very special that you think I shouldn’t miss? Do leave me a comment with your suggestions.

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