At the start of each year, I, like many other readers across the globe, like to set myself a list of reading goals for the year ahead. Alongside the annual Goodreads challenge that I’m sure every reader likes to partake in, I also try to set myself a few personal, more specific reading goals that I’d like to focus on. From reading more classics to limiting the amount of books I purchase, the goals vary widely from year to year, but there’s always one that is a permanent fixture on my reading goals list – read more nonfiction. Yet no matter how many times I promise myself I will read more, and finally give those long-negelcted tomes on my bookshelf a chance, I always fail to do so.
Of the 98 books that I have managed to read so far in 2017, only a mere 8 of them have been nonfiction, a number that I am somewhat ashamed of. Despite owning many nonfiction titles that I am extremely excited to read, I often neglect them in favour of fiction, novels that I somehow expect to be quicker and easier reads. I do not understand my reasoning behind this, as a number of the nonfiction titles I’ve read this year have been wonderful, and easily earn a place on my favourites list. In a (somewhat desperate) attempt to boost my nonfiction reading in the remainder of the year, I’ve decided to participate in the annual Nonfiction November, hosted by booktubers Gemma and Olive! While they have provided a number of prompts to get going, I’ve decided to take the pressure off a little and just select books from my shelf that I’m genuinely really excited to get to. So, after a somewhat long-winded introduction, on with the books that I very much hope to read throughout November!
This heart-warming and touching book recounts the true story that inspired the film Goodbye Christopher Robin, directed by Simon Curtis and starring Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald, and offers the reader a glimpse into the relationship between Milne and the real-life Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of the Hundred Acre Wood.
Along with his mother Daphne and his nanny Olive, Christopher Robin and his family were swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales brought hope and comfort to an England ravaged by the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?
As a great fan of all things A. A. Milne, I was so excited when I first saw the trailer for the new biopic of the same name that was released earlier this year. Sadly I didn’t manage a trip to the cinema before the showings were over, so as a consolation I treated myself to a copy of the book, with a promise that if I read it soon I could purchase a copy of the film on DVD. I do not know too much about the true story behind the creation of everyone’s favourite children’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh, so I’m sure that this will be a fascinating literary biography and add greater context to the world of Hundred Acre Wood.
Murder – a dark, shameful deed, the last resort of the desperate or a vile tool of the greedy. And a very strange, very British obsession. But where did this fixation develop? And what does it tell us about ourselves?
In A Very British Murder, Lucy Worsley explores this phenomenon in forensic detail, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nation-wide panic in the early nineteenth century, and the case of Frederick and Maria Manning, the suburban couple who were hanged after killing Maria’s lover and burying him under their kitchen floor. Our fascination with crimes like these became a form of national entertainment, inspiring novels and plays, puppet shows and paintings, poetry and true-crime journalism. At a point during the birth of modern Britain, murder entered our national psyche, and it’s been a part of us ever since.
This is an interesting one, as it’s actually a book that I’ve read in part before. While researching for my Masters dissertation on the Golden Age of crime fiction, I made countless notes on Worsley’s delve into the British murder phenomenon, as well as watching the accompanying BBC documentary series. I loved what I did read of the book, however taking notes and examining it in a more academic context did not provide the most enjoyable of reading experiences! With my dissertation now firmly behind me, I’d like to dedicate time to read this properly, cover to cover rather than dipping in making notes here and there, and as I am already a great fan of Lucy Worsley I feel certain that this will be one that I very much enjoy.
While the ‘war of chaos’ rages in the skies above London, an unending fight against violence, murder and the criminal underworld continues on the streets below.
One ordinary day, in an ordinary courtroom, forensic pathologist Dr Keith Simpson asks a keen young journalist to be his secretary. Although the ‘horrors of secretarial work’ don’t appeal to Molly Lefebure, she’s intrigued to find out exactly what goes on behind a mortuary door. Capable and curious, ‘Miss Molly’ quickly becomes indispensible to Dr Simpson as he meticulously pursues the truth. Accompanying him from sombre morgues to London’s most gruesome crime scenes, Molly observes and assists as he uncovers the dark secrets that all murder victims keep.
With a sharp sense of humour and a rebellious spirit, Molly tells her own remarkable true story here with warmth and wit, painting a vivid portrait of wartime London.
I picked this up on a whim in a charity shop a couple of months ago, having previously never heard of it before. However on further inspection it sounds like something that I’d really enjoy – a historical biography with a hint of true crime and mystery, set in London during wartime. I mean, what’s not to love?! I’m going into this one fairly blind, however I think that can be a good thing sometimes, and apparently it has also been made into a TV series by the creators of Downton Abbey so I’ll definitely be looking into that if I enjoy the original source material.
For many of us, life can feel like it’s moving too fast with pressure bearing down on us from all sides – whether that’s from school or work, family or social media. As a result, we find ourselves frazzled, lost and – too often – feeling blue.
It’s a subject close to Fearne’s heart. Drawing on her own experiences and including expert advice, HAPPY offers practical ways of finding joy each and every day. Happiness isn’t a mountain to climb, it’s just one foot in front of the other on the path of life, and here you’ll find little steps that will help make the differences that count. With workbook elements to help you start and end the day well; get in touch with your creative side; and find peace through written exercises, simple practical ideas and visualisations, these are daily tricks and reminders to help you unlock that inner happiness.
I’m not typically one for picking up celebrity books, whether that be fiction or nonfiction, however this offering from Fearne Cotton was just too beautiful to resist. We could all do with a little extra happiness in our lives, and, given Fearne’s own personal struggles with depression, I think she’ll offer an interesting and unique take on things. I’ve also heard great things about this from Jenny and Alice at thebookcastclub podcast, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I think about it and I really trust their reviews. Fearne also has a companion book titled Calm coming out in December, so it’s great to know that if I enjoy her first book then there’s more on the way to look forward to!
Ice Cream for Breakfast: How Rediscovering You Inner Child Can Make You Calmer, Happier, and Solve Your Bullsh*t Adult Problems by Laura Jane Williams
Full of spirit and un-self-conscious enthusiasm, Ice Cream for Breakfast: Child-Like Solutions to Bullsh*t Adult Problems is the permission slip all too-grown-up-for-their-own-good-but-secretly-scared-of-adulting adults need to locate their inner-child nestled deep within, so that we might all relax enough to laugh harder, wonder more, and marvel at magic on the daily.
This is a book that I’ve seen all over the blog and YouTube world in the past few months, and I can completely understand why. Not only is the book beautifully designed with the catchiest sounding title, Laura Jane Williams seems like a completely wonderful human being and anything advice she has to offer I will gladly take in abundance! I’m lucky enough to have tickets to Laura’s writing workshop at Stylist Live next weekend, and while I am still yet to read her first book, Becoming, I would at least like to get around to this one before the event. Like Fearne’s book, there’s plenty of interactive elements and pages to write your own notes and reflections, so I think this will be a good one to sit with a cup of tea and spend a good few hours with one afternoon. If I can bring myself to write in it, that is!
Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge. You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.
Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.
The Danish art of hygge was everywhere last autumn/winter season, and I completely bought into the hype and treated myself to this little book… that I never read. I know the hygge trend has sort of had it’s day, but this still seems like a cute and cosy read that I can dip in and out of throughout the month. Packed full of recipes, beautiful photography and lifestyle tips for the colder months, it’s one that I’ll be keeping by my bedside and reading a few pages of here and there when I need a bit of cheering up!
There’s plenty more nonfiction titles on my shelves that I’m eager to get around to reading, in addition to a hefty number of audiobooks that have been accumulating on my Audible account, but I thought I’d be better off starting with a lower number that I can build on if I have the time. I think I’ve picked a good mix of lighter, lifestyle titles and more heavier historical works, but all of which sound wonderful and I’m looking forward to being able to dedicate the proper time and attention that they deserve, rather than simply sitting and collecting dust! Wish me luck…