I debated this title, because in all honesty, the three non-fiction books I’ve loved this year also happen to be the only books I’ve read so far this year.
I feel like some people might gasp in horror at this admission (I saw you all completing your 52 books of 2018 at the end of December so I know I’m just a touch behind) but there it is; I’ve loved each one so this post is still entirely true.[Please note that all book links in this post are affiliate links.]
Just Eat It by Laura Thomas PHD
I’ve quoted Thomas a fair few times on this blog before and referenced her book in this post, so if you’re a regular reader you won’t be a stranger to her work! Her debut book is straight-talking, packed with science as well as anecdotes from her work as a nutritionist and is an all-round anti-diet tome of goodness.
The focus is on intuitive eating and finding a lifestyle that frees us from dieting mindset, and doubles up as a workbook with direct questions and exercises to complete if you so wish.
Intuitive eating was already something I very much believed in so she was definitely preaching to the choir with me, but I wanted to have a reference book with factual ammunition for all the diet culture crap that exists around us, and the book has been totally invaluable for that.
After reading once through, I’ll definitely be holding onto it for the times when I get sucked back into a dieting mindset, and want to remind myself of some scientific truth.
I feel like I could cite a quote from every page it’s that full of wisdom, but here’s just one:
“For the most part, we only see one body type represented in the media: thin. Whereas out in the wild there’s a huge range of sizes. But because we are exposed to and have internalised thinness as the standard, we are always comparing ourselves against it, creating a disconnect between society’s demands on women, and normative female bodies.”
Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker
Beautifully designed with gorgeous photography throughout, Hashtag Authentic appears to be a coffee table-type book but I found it to have just as much substance as style.
If you haven’t already heard of her, Tasker is a hugely successful Instagram entrepreneur who built her business on the back of success with the platform.
Through her own self-confessed nerdiness about social media, she has become an expert on the topic and in this book, draws on her experience to provide advice and guidance to finding an online voice and turning an Instagram account into a fulfilling creative outlet.
Following her account, @meandorla, and listening to Tasker on her own podcast as well as on various others, I’ve long admired her down-to-earth and chatty style. She comes across as someone with no airs and graces, and manages to give advice in a very non-prescriptive way. This came through in the book too and I found it a really inspiring read, despite being someone that posts illustrations on Instagram rather than photography (there is a whole section on this topic where Tasker’s passion for this subject really comes across).
“Train your mind and your eyes to look for the precious in your everyday life. What do you want to remember, twenty years from now? What would go into a time capsule of your daily life, today? And then, reach for your camera, or your smartphone, or whatever’s around. The plan is not to be perfect. It’s not to keep every photo forever. Instead, it’s an experiment – in gratitude, in noticing, in being present.”
Natives by Akala
“Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire” is the tagline on this book and I’m not sure where to even start because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in years.
Part autobiography, part political history, Natives sees Akala explore racism past and present in the UK, through the lens of his own experiences growing up as a black man in 1980s London.
I loved how shortly after the start of the book, he stops to address some of the usual arguments used to silence conversations about race such as “stop playing the race card”, “you just hate Britain, you are anti-British” and “you are trying to blame me for what my ancestors did”, expertly dismantling each one in turn.
He goes on to examine race and class in terms of Britain’s colonial history, our educational system, the police, the media and our modern day politics, commenting on the rise of capitalism towards the end.
The book is both gripping and educational, and I would recommend it to anyone.
“No one explained that our grandparents were not immigrants, that they were literally British citizens – many of them Second World War veterans – with British passports to match, moving from one of Britain’s outposts to the metropole.”
“To be black, poor and politicised in Britain is to see the ugliest side of the police and indeed of Britain itself; it is to see behind the curtain and not be fooled by the circus, and to feel crazy because so many others cannot see what is clear to you.”
So there you have it, three non-fiction books I’ve read and loved this year. I’m now onto number four – Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race – and it’s brilliant so far; I also have Gina Martin’s Be The Change in my sights and Uniquely Human by Barry Prizant. I’m not sure what it is about non-fiction but the bug has definitely got me! What’s on your reading list? I’d love to know.