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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
So that concludes my nonfiction reading within the month of November... I look forward to Nonfiction November next year already!


  1. Great overview of your non-fiction reading in November.
    I love the template you used for a monthly wrap-up.
    Educated is on the top of my TBR and I'm now interested in
    Hired and Titanic.

    1. Thank you. I wasn't too sure about Educated going into it, knowing their was so much hype surrounding the book, but it is all well deserved; such a powerful read. I hope you enjoy it, as and when you do pick it up.

  2. Educated was such a good read. I need to pick up Love From Boy, and you helped me find a Christmas gift for a friend with the butterfly book!

    1. YAY! I hope they love it - it's a great little coffee table book.

  3. wow, great month! THE 50 GREATEST WALKS OF THE WORLD sounds good, nature is my world

  4. Congrats on getting so much reading done! If I get a gift card for Christmas, I’m going to buy Educated. It sounds like a book I’d love.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  5. Glad you enjoyed NonFicNov. It's been one of my favorite events for a few years now. Hired sounds really good. I'm kind of interested in what the differences might be between working class UK and working class US. My joke is that I've never had a job that didn't involved taking out the garbage. ;)

    1. Haha - I like that!

      I can see why so many people love taking part in #NonFicNov - this was my first time, and definitely not my last! Thank you.

  6. Sounds like you had a bunch of great reads! I actually read less nonfiction than fiction in November -- I got on a YA fantasy kick and just went with it. It was still a great month though, thanks for participating!

    1. Go with the reading flow, I say!

      Thank you - I loved it. Thanks for co-hosting!

  7. What a great month! I want to pick up more nonfiction too because the ones I do read i tend to really enjoy, even though i gravitate to fiction more often. I love the idea of sticking to a theme/genre for a month but often get distracted by other things — I have my eye on a challenge for next year where you pick your own theme each month so can focus on whatever you most want to read more of — I’d definitely pick some nonfiction for that if I do it!

    1. That challenge definitely sounds interesting.

      I find reading challenges & events definitely push me to read more of something than I usually would - I've been trying to read more nonfiction this year as a whole, so I'm really happy with how that has panned out.

    2. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do that challenge — so hopefully I’ll get a long-overdue new post up on my blog soon!

    3. I look forward to reading all about your 2019 reading plans - crazy that we're at this point already though!

  8. I love all of your nature books on here! I am intrigued by the Harrison series, as well as the walk book! I will have to see if I can get them stateside! The Little Guide Book to Butterflies looks beautiful. I love owls too - then foxes. :)

    1. Ah, I hope you're able to. They make for cosy reading in the given season - I'm looking forward to starting the winter edition soon.

      I've rarely heard of foxes being a favourite animal; interesting!!

  9. Great job on Nonfiction November! I keep hearing good things about Educated so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed that one so much. I think I just saw it on the Goodreads winner's list today too.

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, I saw Educated on the Goodreads list also - rightly deserved in my opinion.


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