Quarantine Book-et List
When I was younger, whenever I heard the word ‘non-fiction’ my brain would immediately equate it to ‘boring’. However, younger-me was uninformed and completely wrong, so ignore her. This short list of brilliant non-fiction books spans all genres from anthropology, to art and true crime.
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
Upon hearing about the brutal quadruple-murder of the Clutter family, Truman Capote, accompanied by his best friend Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird), travelled down to Kansas to cover the case. Dark, tragic and enthralling, this true crime fiction will have you hooked from the start, even if you know how it ends. Possibly the first ‘nonfiction novel’ and taking over 6 years to complete, In Cold Blood is arguably Capote’s masterpiece.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari
From the man that brought us Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011), Yuval Noah Harari focuses on our present, on the challenges facing our societies right now. Harari’s illuminating work sheds light on what it means to live in a world where technology, religion and nationalism seem to be dividing us further than ever before, but is this wholly accurate? Seeing as we’re already in the midst of one global challenge (understatement), Harari may be able to give us some guidance on where we could be headed.
The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson
Psychologist Jon Ronson’s ground-breaking work suggests that psychopaths are, worryingly, probably all around us. Going into the most powerful organisations in the world, Ronson meets those who he feels fit his criteria to a T. This one is recommended by my friend, Charlotte, who describes it as ‘interesting, provocative’ and deliciously ‘dark’.
The Clydach Murders – John Morris
Although the Clydach Murders themselves happened over twenty years ago, John Morris’ exposé of a ‘miscarriage of justice’ by the South Wales Police has gripped readers ever since its publication in 2017. The perplexing story of Dai Morris’ alleged crimes are sure to infuriate and enthral, this really is Making A Murderer meets the Swansea Valley.
Diary of A Young Girl – Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s remarkable diary details her life in hiding from the Nazis, aged 13 to 15. Although thoughtful and heart-breaking, Anne’s diary is much like any other teenage girl; she has dreams of becoming a famous author; she has her first crush; she wants to travel. Anne’s diary is a testimony of spirit. Her story, and what came after, serve as a powerful and essential reminder of one of the darkest times in our history.
Playing to the Gallery – Grayson Perry
Could Grayson Perry get any more likeable? Yes, if you haven’t read Playing to the Gallery, that is. Perry sets out to dispel the idea that the art world is too boujee and intimidating for just anyone to be a part of, citing that after all, ‘even I, an Essex transvestite potter, have been let in by the art world mafia’. Full of jokes and thoughtful meditations on contemporary art, this is a really fun read that doesn’t take itself seriously. If you like this, Perry is currently doing a televised art class on Channel 4. What a big legend he is.
Use lockdown to expand your mind through these non-fiction reads!