Thursday, 29 November 2018

Nonfiction November | Wrap Up + Reviews


Here on Reading with Jade, the last four or so weeks have been dedicated to the bookish event that is Nonfiction November - this was my first year taking part, and I've had an amazing experience. I've loved taking part in the weekly post prompts and talking all things nonfiction with other readers, as well as reading (& discovering) some brilliant nonfiction titles. Today, to wrap up the month & this event, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the nonfiction titles I've read.

In total I read 7 nonfiction books, meaning I completed my personal challenge of reading more nonfiction than fiction in the month of November - I read 4 fiction books. Below I will be talking about all 7 books I read, however in order to keep this post from being extremely lengthy (taking this moment to forewarn, it probably will be a little lengthy) I've opted to not share the blurb of each individual book, only my thoughts - all book titles will be a Goodreads link though, so you can read more about them there.

I've always had an interest in the historic tragedy that was the sinking of the Titanic, however up until this point I had only watched documentaries on the event - never once having picked up a book on the subject. Although there are a fair few books published about the Titanic, I opted to pick up this recent release by Nicola Pierce. 

Inside you'll find comprehensive and in depth knowledge on a number of aspects surrounding the Titanic, and its sinking. The book is split into sections, with each one delving into a specific area - the building of the ship, the timeline of events, meeting the captain and so on.

Something I quite enjoyed in this book is the fact that when looking the people - crew & passengers - Nicola Pierce shares their backstory, not just a snippet pertaining to the ship. Those who were fortunate enough to have survived, the author has gone on to write about how they continued to live out their life. 

Multifaceted and brimming with information, this book would make a great place to start for those looking to learn more about the Titanic. 

Wow! What a brave, strong and courageous woman Tara Westover is. 

I feel like I have so many words and thoughts I want to share regarding Educated, but yet none of them will do this memoir justice, nor fully convey the connection and reading experience I had with this book. As a reader, Tara's story gave me hope. For that alone I am thankful to have read this book.

I'll start out by saying that I'm not entirely sure I am the intended audience of Hired... Being someone who grew up in a low income family, and has gone on to be a worker in low wage Britain. Currently, I am a stay at home mum, but when I do return to work it'll be in a job that is deemed low wage/low skill (I work in the retail industry, quite happily so actually). Also, within this book James Bloodworth spends part of his time working in a call centre in the South Wales Valleys - this is where we live, and this is a similar job to which my husband works. So going into this book - knowing that we live a life he was to experience - I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. 

My reading experience of Hired was an interesting one. There were some great insights in this book - I particularly enjoyed learning about the jobs, experiences, towns and their history that he visited - and I came away with a lot of thoughts also. One of many being the fact that I definitely think that there are classes within classes. I'm not one who thinks in social classes, at all, however with the author taking a look at the working class in this book, you kind of have to whilst reading. This book has provoked a lot of thought on social classes for me, especially regarding how even within the bracket of being working class (or any class for that matter), I believe there are levels of division also.

Going in unsure of what to expect, and what I'd personally garner from this book, I found Hired to be a compelling read, and one that really gets you thinking.

THE LITTLE GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES
After owls, butterflies are my favourite animal, and I loved discovering new to me species within this book.

Each of the butterflies included - 40 in total - has their own double page spread, with one page being a stunning illustration, and the other detailing information on that specific butterfly such as habitat, lifespan, wingspan and more.

A great little book for any butterfly lover.

AUTUMN: AN ANTHOLOGY FOR THE CHANGING SEASONS (EDITED) BY MELISSA HARRISON
This is the third book in this seasonal series I have read now, and as with the others, I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed and transported to the various parts of the UK through the evocative essays that are compiled and presented.

I have shared more about this series as a whole earlier on in Nonfiction November, which you can read about here.

THE 50 GREATEST WALKS OF THE WORLD BY BARRY STONE
I do like nature, the outdoors and a good walk, however I should maybe preface this review by saying I didn't pick up this book (or read other such types of books) as a research tool with the hopes of enjoying one of these many walks... Quite the opposite. I'm no long distance walker - honestly, my body probably wouldn't withstand that - but I do love reading and learning about walks, travels and adventures. I find all that the world encompasses to be an amazing thing, and so I love to read about it. That's why I read these types of books... To learn and to explore, through words.

In this book, I found Barry Stone's writing style to be perfect for the reasons why I picked up this book - it was informative and knowledgeable, whilst remaining engaging and personable.

Of course this book is Barry Stone's words and experiences, and with that in mind, it is worth mentioning that over 30 of the 50 walks featured are actually in the UK. Personally, I had anticipated a little more variety location wise, but obviously this book is the work of one individual and their experiences.

All in all, an enjoyable read - especially if you like to read nonfiction writing regarding travel/outdoors, and are looking to learn a little bit of history surrounding some of the most traversed places in the world.

LOVE FROM BOY: ROALD DAHL'S LETTERS TO HIS MOTHER BY DONALD STURROCK
As a reader of Roald Dahl's stories - for children and adults - I was keen to pick up this book as I thought it would give an insight into how Roald Dahl came to be Roald Dahl, master storyteller. I have previously read his own autobiographical titles (Boy & Going Solo), so I was already vaguely aware of his own personal story, however there is something different to be learnt when reading the letters to his mother from youth to far beyond that.

The book is split up into chapters via the period of time in Roald Dahl's life, spanning from 1925 when Dahl was send off to boarding school, right up until 1965 when he was settled with a family of his own. I like how each chapter is a chapter in Dahl's life also, with Sturrock prefacing each one with a gist of what Dahl's life looked like then.

I think it is so wonderful and touching that his mother kept these letters this entire time, through war and all, and I think it shows a snippet of Roald Dahl's life beyond story teller also - Roald Dahl led a fascinating and varied life. Having now read this, I would be keen to pick up the biography of Roald Dahl written by the same author.
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So that concludes my nonfiction reading within the month of November... I look forward to Nonfiction November next year already!
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Nonfiction November | Nonfiction Wishlist


Throughout the month of November I'm taking part in the bookish event of Nonfiction November - a month dedicated to, and encouraging the reading of, nonfiction titles.

There are a number of content creators who host events surrounding this initiative to promote nonfiction in the month of November, and I'm combining (& taking part in) two. One of which is hosted on YouTube by booktuber abookolive - I have compiled my TBR using her challenges. Secondly, I'm taking part in an event hosted here in the book blogging community by five wonderful bloggers - Katie at Doing DeweyRennie at What's Nonfiction?Julie at JulzReadsKim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves. Each week I'll be sharing a new post that relates to the topic of nonfiction books, with post prompts being provided by those five bloggers I've mentioned above.

PROMPT
New to my TBR hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey

After what has been an amazing month of reading nonfiction & connecting with other readers of nonfiction, November is now drawing to a close... And I have a list as long as my arm (& then some!) of new to me nonfiction titles I'm keen to check out. 

Today I'm sharing with you 10 books I have discovered this month through #NonficNov, that I hope to get to sooner rather than later. Initially I tried to keep track of who the titles came from, but as the list grew that got harder to keep track of. So, if you've mentioned any of the titles below this month - thank you!! 

Listed in no particular order, and all titles will take you to Goodreads


Quite an eclectic mix of titles - eclectic is a great description for my reading as a whole though, both fiction & nonfiction! I think it'll be interesting to see if I've gotten to any of these titles by time Nonfiction November rolls around next. 
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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Nonfiction November | Nonfiction That Reads Like Fiction


Throughout the month of November I'm taking part in the bookish event of Nonfiction November - a month dedicated to, and encouraging the reading of, nonfiction titles.

There are a number of content creators who host events surrounding this initiative to promote nonfiction in the month of November, and I'm combining (& taking part in) two. One of which is hosted on YouTube by booktuber abookolive - I have compiled my TBR using her challenges. Secondly, I'm taking part in an event hosted here in the book blogging community by five wonderful bloggers - Katie at Doing DeweyRennie at What's Nonfiction?Julie at JulzReadsKim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves. Each week I'll be sharing a new post that relates to the topic of nonfiction books, with post prompts being provided by the five bloggers I've mentioned above.

PROMPT
Reads Like Fiction hosted by Rennie at What's Nonfiction?

When I initially saw the prompt for this week, I started to think about nonfiction titles I'd read that were memoirs and such, perhaps life tales that you could only quite believe (or even want to believe) were works of fiction... I'm sure we've all read one such book. However, in the end I settled on sharing a collection of four books that are presented as a series with each one taking a look at one of the four seasons experienced. More specifically, they take a look at the self titled season, with essays written by various people sharing their own personal experiences of said season. The books highlight nature writing, and take a look at the many ways in which a given season presents itself in the United Kingdom.

Of course nature is a very real thing - the world we live in, the seasons we experience; it is all real. The reason I'm sharing this Wildlife Trust seasonal series as nonfiction that reads as fiction is the fact that when living day to day life, many of us plough on through a day without looking at the small details and truly immersing ourselves in the beauty of our world - with all that goes on around the world on a daily basis, is it easily done, to focus on the negatives and not seeing the beauty. But that's what this series has done for me, it has taken me outside the world I live in - being from the UK, even specific places I've been and visited - and seen it from a different view point. A perspective where there is still magic, and beauty and good in the world, if only we hone our senses a little bit more. 

Personally, I read fiction to step outside my own world confines; to travel, explore, and experience in ways I don't in my own everyday life. This seasonal series (worth noting I have yet to read the Winter anthology) has taken me away and allowed me to do that... But it has also put into perspective that this is also my world, my seasons, my great outdoors.

I hope I've articulated well why I recommend this nonfiction as reading like fiction, but also would recommend this series as a whole to anyone who enjoys nature writing, and more specifically nature & wildlife in the UK. The book encompasses many nooks and crannies across the country, featuring some truly magnificent writing on the changing of seasons.

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Nonfiction November | Bookish Nonfiction Recommendations


Throughout the month of November I'm taking part in the bookish event of Nonfiction November - a month dedicated to, and encouraging the reading of, nonfiction titles.

There are a number of content creators who hosts events surrounding this initiative to promote nonfiction books in the month of November, and I'm combining (& taking part in) two. One of which is hosted on YouTube by booktuber abookolive - I have compiled my TBR using her challenges. Secondly, I'm taking part in an event hosted here in the book blogging community by five wonderful bloggers - Katie at Doing DeweyRennie at What's Nonfiction?Julie at JulzReadsKim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves. Each week I will be sharing a new post that relates to the topic of nonfiction books, with post prompts being provided by those five bloggers mentioned above.

PROMPT
Be the Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert hosted by Julie at JulzReads

As some who has only really gotten into reading nonfiction in the last few years, I'm by no means an expert on any one specific area, however today I did want to talk about something I read fairly often, and the genre/type of books that helped me find my footing within the nonfiction realms - books about books.

I have three titles I want to share with you today.

Every bookshop has a story.

We're talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses and in old run-down railway stations.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book explores the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at more than three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents. (Sadly, we've yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

This book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.
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The Bookshop, Wigtown, is Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It's a booklover's paradise, a Georgian townhouse full of twisting corridors and roaring fires, set in a beautiful town by the edge of the sea. A rummage on its crooked shelves can produce anything from a sixteenth-century leather-bound Bible to a first edition Agatha Christie. 

But behind the scenes of this slice of literary heaven, things are very different. Meet Shaun Bythell, owner of The Bookshop, bibliophile and misanthrope extraordinaire. Seen through his honest and wryly hilarious diaries, we get a very different view of bookselling: one beset with malfunctioning heating, eccentric customers, bad-mannered, bin-foraging employees and a perennially empty till. 

As Shaun takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the charms and horrors of small town life, we gain an inside look at the trials, tribulations and joys of life in the book trade.
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Britain by the Book is a fascinating literary travelogue around writers' unusual haunts and the surprising places that inspired some of our favourite fictional locations. We'll learn why Thomas Hardy was buried twice, how a librarian in Manchester invented the thesaurus as a means of coping with depression, and why Agatha Christie was investigated by MI5 during the Second World War. The map of Britain that emerges is one dotted with intriguing literary stories and bookish curiosities.
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All three of these books take a different look at the world of books - with The Bookshop Book being a staple for any bookworm who finds joy and comfort in wandering a bookshop, The Diary of a Bookseller being a witty read whilst also taking a look at book buying and selling, and lastly with Britain by the Book exploring Britain and sharing small literary snippets that you perhaps otherwise wouldn't know. 

I highly recommend all of these titles for those of you who, like me, enjoy books about books... However, if you were to read just the one from this list, then The Bookshop Book is one of the nonfiction titles I recommend the most. 
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Monday, 5 November 2018

Nonfiction November | Pairing Nonfiction & Fiction Titles


Throughout the month of November I'm taking part in the bookish event of Nonfiction November - a month dedicated to, and encouraging the reading of, nonfiction titles.

There are a number of content creators who hosts events surrounding this initiative to promote nonfiction in the month of November, and I'm combining (& taking part in) two. One of which is hosted on YouTube by booktuber abookolive - I have compiled my TBR using her challenges. Secondly, I'm taking part in an event hosted here in the book blogging community by five wonderful bloggers - Katie at Doing DeweyRennie at What's Nonfiction?Julie at JulzReadsKim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves. Each week I will be sharing a new post that relates to the topic of nonfiction books, with post prompts being provided by those five bloggers I've mentioned above.

PROMPT
Nonfiction/Fiction Book Pairings hosted by Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves

Of all the post prompts included, this is the one I've been feeling iffy about... Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely looking forward to reading all the posts from others taking part, as I love when people pair books up, however I felt a bit stumped myself. After much thinking, I've come up with a (rather loose) pairing!

At the very end of last year I read the fictional beauty that is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. There are many elements that make up The Snow Child - its historical setting, magical realism, a focus on the connections & relationships we form - with one of the things I recall quite enjoying within this book being more simple - the day to day life of main characters Jack & Mabel. The couple uproot themselves to an isolated home and farmland in Alaska; I found following their everyday routines and seeing how they passed each day in such a remote place to be fascinating and even comforting to read in a way.

With this I'm choosing to pair a nonfiction title that I read a good few years ago now - Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. As I mentioned in my opening, I'm pairing these two titles very loosely as they do differ slightly (in the fact that Jack & Mabel aren't exactly what you'd call artists or creatives), however both books take a look at the way in which people move through their day, and in turn, how that impacts on all that they do.

Inside Daily Rituals you'll find just that - the daily routines and rituals of some of the most renowned creatives, achievers, and great thinkers... Some of my favourites are those of writers: Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Charles Dickens, Stephen King and more. If you're someone who is keen on routine, interested in how others thrive in a day, or are curious as to how some of the most notable artists, writers, philosophers (and more) used their time efficiently and effectively, then this is the book for you.

The Snow Child is one of my all time favourite books, and Daily Rituals is one of those nonfiction books I've found myself pick up a number of times since initially reading it - even if just reading a passage about a specific person here and there. Although a loose pairing, both of these books are ones I'd highly recommend.
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