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Non-Fic Recs | From Someone Who Prefers Fictional Worlds

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Usually, when people stress the importance of reading, it inevitably comes back to how much you can learn from non-fiction. However, between you and me, I find it hard to stay engaged with non-fic reads. After being in the real world for a day, I want to escape to the fictional worries of Camp Half-Blood or try to solve a case with Hercule Poirot.

Over time, I have come across many non-fic titles that I enjoyed. I thought I would share some favourites if, like me, you also want to branch out and try different genres.

If you want to grab yourself a copy of any of these books, check out the button below:

Surrounded by Psychopaths: Or How To Stop Being Exploited by Others by Thomas Erikson

So, I know next to nothing about psychology. Or people...

I remember reading Erikson's first book, Surrounded by Idiots and found it incredibly insightful. This book was just completely fascinating! Once I finished it, I went downstairs to my flatmates and started ranting about how I'm low-key scared of leaving the house in case I encounter a full-blown psychopath. I would recommend reading Erikson's first book (Surrounded by Idiots) as he uses the same four colour system of behaviour classification.

I just found the whole topic of this book incredibly interesting and even though I have a bad attention span, I struggled to put this title down. These books are a must-read for all those interested in psychology, whether you regard yourself as an expert or a novice.

100 Nasty Women of History by Hannah Jewell

How many badasses of history do you know? Not sure? Don't worry, Hannah Jewell here has compiled a list of 100 different women throughout history who were regarded as "nasty" but in reality, simply didn't take any shit.

This book is compiled into the following sections

- Women who wrote dangerous things

- Women who fought against empires and racists

-Women with impressive kill counts

-Women who knew how to have a good time

-Women who punched Nazis (not just metaphorically!)

For me, one of the most interesting figures in this book was Njinga of Angola c.1583-1663. She successfully kept the independence of Ngongo and then the Matamba kingdoms against the Portuguese. There are many more legends in this book and is worth adding to your TBR.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

I loved this book from the first page when I saw that it was dedicated to the five victims: Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane.

Jack the Ripper is probably one of the most famous serial killers. However, what this important book focuses on is the victims - the lives of the women that were horrifically murdered. Rubenhold dismisses and debunks all of the false perceptions about these five women. This book is divided into five sections, each dedicated to one of the women and shares their upbringing, lives, ambitions and hopes. These women were so much more than victims - they were someone's daughter, sister and mother.

I thought Rubenhold did a brilliant job and I just found the book incredibly interesting. If you prefer history books when exploring non-fics, I would highly recommend this title.

Everybody Lies: What The Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

I remember reading this book at least a couple of years ago but I still look back at it as a remarkable read.

Did you know that by the end of an average working day, human beings searching the internet will result in eight trillions gigabytes of data?!

This book explores and illustrates what we can learn from humans from their internet searches. I don't know anything about tech, data or algorithms so I found this one to be an informative read and it wasn't remotely too technical - no complicated jargon.

By looking at big data, we can explore big topics such as economics, gender, race, sport and ethics.

Freakonomics: A Rouge Economists Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

I'm pretty sure that most people have heard of this one. When studying Politics as an undergrad, this was always a book that lecturers would urge us to read. Usually, when I heard anything with the word "economics" in it, I try to avoid it as much as possible.

However, this is a fascinating and engaging read that makes a subject like economics so interesting. I was worried that I would struggle with this book but I ended up enjoying it. This book explores a variety of questions such as:

- What do sumo wrestlers and school teachers have in common?

- Do parents matter?

- Why do drug dealers still live with their mums?

Freakonomics is renowned worldwide and (from someone who doesn't usually like economics etc), I thought it was a brilliant read.

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

- What if everyone only had one soulmate?

- How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and survive?

- If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you live?

I thought this was a really fun and quirky read. The included cartoons and infographics made the scientific answers along to understand. (I know nothing about physics - I was awful at it in school.)

Don't worry, this book isn't just hardcore physics. Everything is broken down and illustrated clearly. It was nice to branch out and try and out non-fiction that takes a fun approach to physics.

Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behaviour (or, How to Understand Those Who Cannot Be Understood) by Thomas Erikson

I think my favourite area of non-fiction is behavioural psychology. Here, Erikson outlines how four different behaviour types can define how we perceive others around us. It looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the different colour profiles.

Erikson has another book, Surrounded by Bosses, that I still need to read. I thought this book was simply fascinating. If you are intrigued by topics such as psychology, I would strongly recommend adding this book to your TBR.

The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest and Resistance by Rashid Khalidi

The acknowledgements of this book alone made me a bit emotional. I think I'm going to add more books on Palestine to my TBR as I found the topic incredibly interesting. I only knew the basics of the whole conflict so this book was a really valuable tool.

The author broke down the history into six distinct sections which made processing the material a lot easier. It's a great start if you want to learn more about the conflict. This book was both informative and heartbreaking. As a politics student, I don't read as much political non-fiction as I probably should. If you are unfamiliar with the situation in Palestine, I would strongly advise you to pick up this book.

There's no shame in not knowing all the facts - all that matters is that you are willing to learn!

This is by no means a completed list. These are just a few notable books that I would personally recommend as someone who usually prefers fiction.

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Happy Reading!

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