6 of the Best Non-Fiction New Releases to Give You a Mid-Year Boost
Maybe you've powered through a pile of blockbuster novels over the past few weeks. Maybe you've been reading lots of literary fiction, or gripping crime thrillers. Or maybe you just need a a break from all those made up stories (as wonderful as they are).
Enter: non fiction. When you're feeling like you're in the middle of a reading slump, changing things up by reading a memoir, an essay collection, a biography or a book of criticism and commentary could be exactly what you need. It'll break up your reading and even give you a new perspective to consider. There's nothing better than an enthralling, all-encompassing non-fiction book to give you that mid-year boost.
Get your bookmarks prepped and primed and your index finger poised over the "check out now" button on your online bookseller of choice, because here are six of our favourite non-fiction releases right now.
Get ready to spit out your coffee and snort-laugh out loud: Samantha Irby's collection of essays really is that funny. As a writer, Irby has a knack for capturing the ridiculous in every situation, whether it's on a disastrous blind friend date or in the ritual of squeezing yourself into a tiny dress so that you can buy overpriced drinks at nightclubs while talking to people who aren't deserving of your love or time. Frank, friendly and self-assured, Irby's writing is full of relatable wisdom.
You know Pandora Sykes as the co-host of The High Low, the immensely popular podcast she fronts with her pal, Dolly Alderton. This, Sykes' first book, is a collection of essays on the question of modern life, in which she touches on the areas that seem to leave us all stumped: wellness, style, pop culture, anxiety, friendship and motherhood. It's an incredibly thoughtful book, one that weighs up each of its subjects with a considered and serious gaze. Sykes wants to have a conversation with you about this life that we're all living, and she wants to remind you that there's no one right way to do it. It's an important message, especially right now.
There have been scores of books written about romantic relationships, but what about friendship? Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, co-hosts of the worldwide phenomenon podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, have basically written the bible on the subject. This book is about their own decades-long friendship, which has weathered everything from interstate moves to starting a business together and terrifying illness. But it's also about the lessons the pair have learnt from that friendship that has kept them close, lessons that you can use in your own life, too. It's a gem of a book, one to give to any woman that you want to stay in your life forever.
This book, full name: Outraged: Why Everyone Is Shouting But No One Is Talking, turns a critical eye on the way we debate the big issues, and it could not come at a more crucial time. Author Ashley 'Dotty' Charles, who is also a radio presenter and DJ from the UK, weaves in her own experience of outrage, protest, debate and discussion with commentary on the way we experience these things today, refracted through the lens of social media and twisted out of shape by online trolls. It's a fascinating and crucial read.
If you've been missing travel during lockdown, might we suggest reading this beautiful book? The memoir of John Cook, one of the longest-serving lighthouse keepers in Australia, is an ode to the beautiful natural environment of Tasmania, and in particular the landscape of Maatsuyker and Bruny Islands, and the life of a lighthouse keeper there. It's also a story of isolation, perseverance, resilience and connection, which makes it even more of a relevant book for right now.
This isn't so much a collection of essays as a collection of thoughts – small and readable chapters on motherhood and everything that goes with it. Its author is Ashe Davenport, the parenting columnist for The Design Files. This book is funny and sad in equal measures. It's unflinching in the way it tackles parenting head on, but unflinching in the gentlest, most empathetic way possible, if you can believe it. It's like being taken by the strong, but firm hand of someone who's been there before. Even if you don't have children, this book offers up plenty of wisdom: about relationships, about identity and about family.