Some treats for Non-Fiction November #NonFicNov

There seem to be a lot of reading challenges going on in November – it’s a busy month, but one I always enjoy taking part in is Nonfiction November.

This month-long dedication to nonfiction is hosted by Renee at What’s Non-Fiction? alongside Katie (Doing Dewey), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Leann (Shelf Aware), and Julie (JulzReads). The challenge has already kicked off over a week ago, and each week of November has a different theme. You can check out their blogs to see more details.

I did post along with the themes last year, but this year I’m just planning to read some of the non-fiction that has been languishing, unloved in the 746.

I’ve compiled a pile, but I’m being hopeful (delusional) that I’ll read the all and will probably only get round to reading a couple of these.


The Secret Knowledge by David Mamet

There is a very good reason why this book has been languishing in my TBR. I am a massive fan of Mamet, his plays and his writing, but I think this is the book that will make me realise that he is really a bit of an arse who has lost his way. We will see. Maybe he’ll surprise me. Or maybe I should just go re-read American Buffalo and remember the good times…

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn

I am a girl with a dark turn of mind and love all things cultish. I find it fascinating how mediocre men can style themselves as preachers and lead normally sensible people to do completely nonsensical things. Jeff Guinn, who has written about Bonnie & Clyde and Charles Manson, delves into the 1978 tragedy in Guyana, where more than 900 church members drank cyanide-laced drinks.

American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True

Bill Hicks was a really big deal for me back in the day, when Channel 4 used to broadcast his stand-up shows. He burned bright and short, and his comedy was so dark that it was at times more uncomfortable than humourous. To my mind, John Lahr has written the definitive piece on Bill Hicks – The Goat Boy Rises – but Cynthia True is a comedy critic who did her research, so this should be an interesting insight into one of the greatest comedians of all time.

Dino by Nick Tosches

I picked Dino off the shelves last week when I heard that Nick Tosches, legendary music writer, had died. Dean Martin is my favourite crooner – I love the sense he exuded of not really giving a shit – so coupled with Tosches notoriously distinctive style, this promises to be a wild ride of a biography.

Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchens

This book has been on my shelves for so long that I don’t remember buying it or why I bought it. It may have been because my Dad was a big fan of the British American author and critic whose forceful invectives on politics made him a key figure in British public. This memoir includes tales featuring Bill Clinton’s marijuana consumption, a visit to a brothel with Martin Amis and a threatened spanking from Margaret Thatcher! And those probably aren’t the juicy bits…

Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns

It’s about Tom Waits. I’m in.

Just Law by Helena Kennedy

Helena Kennedy is a bit of a rock-star in my opinion. I had the honour of meeting her last year after she gave a talk where she introduced herself as ‘the woman you hire if you’ve murdered your husband’. That remark plays down her numerous achievements in the legal world, and Just Law examines the record of modern governments with regard to fundamental democratic rights and a steady erosion of civil liberties, culminating today in extraordinary legislation that wholly undermines long-established freedoms.

Looking very pleased with myself, alongside the legend, Helena Kennedy

I have a couple of other non-fiction books on my iPad, including Fear of Fifty by Erica Jong and Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry, so I am definitely not going to run out of options.

Do any of these take your fancy? Is anyone else taking part?


Reading Challenge The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

28 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Ha! I had to laugh at your comments about David Mamet. His latest play, Bitter Wheat, ended up with a very mixed set of reviews indeed… The Barney Hoskyns, on the other hand, looks like a must. I’ll be very interested to see what you think.


  2. I’m glad you’re joining in and reading some more nonfiction this month! 🙂 like you I love all things cultish and I’ve read The Road to Jonestown – it was excellent but so disturbing! Still a really compelling story and very well done. I’m curious about Hitchens’ memoir as well. Looking forward to your thoughts on them!


  3. I recently read The Road to Jonestown and it was fascinating. I hope you enjoy (if that’s the right word!) this as much as I did. I’m going to add the Helena Kennedy book to my wish list, I read Eve Was Framed years ago and found it so interesting. I’m envious that you got to meet her. Happy reading! 🙂


  4. I’m participating and it’s been so interesting to see what other people have been reading and/or suggesting… Thanks for your list. You’ve got some intriguing titles in there.


  5. These all sound so interesting! I really must follow suit and make an effort to read the non fiction languishing in my TBR. It’s definitely not going to happen this month but I’m sure non fiction November will inspire me!


  6. You have a very enticing list of non-fiction options, Cathy! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the tomes you manage to tackle 🙂
    I don’t think I really have any time to participate this year, but I was thinking of giving the audiobook of “Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life” by Ruth Franklin another chance after forgetting all about it last year..


  7. I fancy the Helena Kennedy book. I had ambitions of becoming a lawyer a long time ago but one term as a law student was enough to tell me that I would hate it. I have retained my interest in justice though .


  8. I fancy the Helena Kennedy and I’m taking part, enjoying doing the prompts so far but won’t do them if I don’t fancy them. I’ve found some new blogs to follow, which is nice. Happy non-fic reading!


  9. Too many other things on so, although I’d thought of joining in, maybe I will next year! Many of these titles look worthy (if that doesn’t sound too derogatory, it’s not meant to be!) but perhaps the Helena Kennedy memoir would most appeal.


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