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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Top 15 Favourite Non-Fiction Books

Here is a list of my top 15 favourite non-fiction books. Also see favourite fiction books: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/06/top-15-favourite-books.html

The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins. Brilliant, informative and filled with humour. When I read this aged 16 it cemented my stance from agnosticism to atheism. I think everyone 'uncertain' about their stance on theism/atheism should read this book. It is very well written and very funny and not a terribly difficult read. Some of the sciency-specific stuff confused me because I'm not a scientist, but generally his arguments are well placed and back up by facts.
How to be a woman – Caitlin Moran. Again, very funny and a quick read; I first read it in three days and have read it a few times since. It's a delight; I love her writing style and her use of personal anecdotes. I identified as a feminist when I first read it at seventeen and now no longer do, but I still enjoy it and agree with some of her points. She takes a very liberal and open-minded approach to feminism as opposed to a 'misandric' or 'radical' approach to it, which makes it easier to identify with her.

Why men love bitches – Sherry Argov. I read this at seventeen; don't know how I'd feel about it now but I think the overall message of the book is standing up for yourself, holding your own, and not feeling like you need someone else's approval. If you engage in co-dependent behaviour or feel you're a 'doormat' or a 'people pleaser' when it comes to dealing with men or people in general, this is a good book to read. It's very humorous again, and shouldn't be taken at face value but seen more in its wider context about standing up for yourself.

On Writing – Stephen King. It's beautiful, the master of writing is having a chat with you about his life and writing tips. See my post reviewing some King books including this one: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/09/reviewing-stephen-king.html

Sapiens: A brief history of humankind – Yuvah Noah Harris. THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING. I can't recommend it enough. EVERYONE should read it. If you have any kind of interest in Biology, History, Anthropology, Sociology, any 'Ologies', then you will enjoy this. It's not a terribly 'hard' read, and takes the reader through all sections of humanity. It starts with our hunter-gatherer days, or 'The Cognitive Revolution', and then goes into our domestication of animals and plants and living in huts 'The Agricultural Revolution', and then moving into 'The Industrial Revolution', and finally 'The Scientific Revolution.' It's one of the best books I've ever read (sadly I haven't finished it, a terrible habit of mine - jumping from one book to the next) and really clarifies human history, the good and the bad.

Free Will – Sam Harris. Funnily enough, this book actually refutes free will and compatibility, and provides philosophical, sociological and neuroscientific arguments for determinism. It's a slim little book and explains the illusion of free will by drawing on case studies and scientific evidence. See also: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/02/free-will-vs-determinism.html

The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Alex Haley. This is an incredible book to read for anyone who wants to understand what lead Malcolm X to become one of the most prolific civil rights leaders. It's told in his words, ghost-written by the man who wrote ROOTS. It's thoroughly enjoyable and at times upsetting and tragic. See also: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/10/malcolm-x-vs-martin-luther-king.html

Miles: The Autobiography. This is the book every musician should read. The language is riled with expletives and is darkly comical. It's excellent and informative. Miles Davis discusses all of the musicians he's worked with in the industry, including Santana and Prince, and the racial tensions he faced. He was born into a middle class family in East St. Louis, and briefly attended Julliard but dropped out because of the 'Eurocentric' musical approach. Miles comes across as not a particularly nice person, but very hard-working and talented, albeit arrogant. He was a genius who revolutionized music and Jazz, and any musician or even non-musicians who are curious would find this enjoyable. I read it aged 12.

Stop thinking start living – Richard Carlson. My mum got this for me when I was sixteen to try and 'cheer me up' out of my early onset of depression. It's a great read with wonderful messages. The main theme is what we think, we become. You can't 'think' your way out of a depressive state, but focusing on the present and being in your healthy psychological functioning as opposed to focusing on 'low and negative' thoughts will change how you perceive yourself and the world around you. It's a lovely read and I would recommend it to anyone.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – Richard Carlson. Again, Carlson's lovely words and guide to spiritual and psychological wellness make for a great message - let the little things go! Definitely something I need to keep working on!

The Female Eunuch – Germaine Greer. As feminist literature goes, this is a very informative and well-written book. Naturally I don't agree with all she says, and when I read this I identified as a feminist so may view some things differently now. But I like the different elements of womanhood that Greer took and stripped back; Body, Soul, Work; and she clearly did her best to empower women and look at things women were 'trapped' by, like being consumed by the world of cosmetics and 'needing to look better.' 

Philosophy: the basics – Nigel Warburton. This is a great introduction to Philosophy, and covers Ethics, Politics, Animals, Theology, Metaphysics - basics for anyone going on to study Philosophy or who just want a basic understanding of what Philosophy actually is. It's simple and not 'heavy' or very long, and is enjoyable to read.

A survival guide for life – Bear Grylls. Like Carlson, Bear's book is filled with excellent tips on how to be fulfilled and successful in your life. It's all about going to the basics, like following the things you love, focusing on family and friends and loved ones, not letting the little things get you down, never giving up, needing to fail several times before success...all that jazz. Real confidence boost. 

Stupid white men – Michael Moore. This book is HILARIOUS. It's one of the funniest books I've read and whilst some of the stuff he says is a bit questionable, it's a great political satire and calls to question a lot of stuff around the time Bush was 'elected.' Kill Whitey is my personal favourite chapter.

And there you have it! Let me know if you have read any of these books or what non-fictional novels you enjoy. Be sure to check out some of my other posts embedded within this one. Cheers!

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