Tag Archives: Non-fiction

Everything Is Fucked by Mark Manson

Overview
Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope | Mark Manson

Title: Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope
Author: Mark Manson
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology, Self help
Dates read: 19th September – 30th October 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: Yet, in a matter of a few months, this cantankerous, antisocial twenty-three-year-old had uncovered the mystery, had cracked the code.

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Synopsis

From the author of the international megabestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck comes a counterintuitive guide to the problems of hope.

We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best it’s ever been, yet somehow everything seems to be irreparably and horribly fucked. What’s going on? If anyone can put a name to our current malaise and help fix it, it’s Mark Manson. In Everything Is Fucked, Manson draws on mountains of psychological research, as well as on the timeless wisdom of philosophers from Plato to Tom Waits, to dissect religion, politics, money, entertainment, and the internet.

With his usual mix of erudition and humor, Manson challenges us to be more honest with ourselves, openly defying our definitions of faith, happiness, freedom – and even of hope itself. One of the great modern writers has produced another book that will set the agenda for years to come.

Thoughts

This wasn’t quite as good as The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. But it was still a fun read. And most definitely the kind of book that I would pick up again and reread. Manson makes some amazing points, and I think that the reason I liked The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck was because I really needed to read that book at that point in my life.

Everything Is Fucked serves as a great reminder of all of the pitfalls in our everyday lives. The pitfalls that we, ourselves have created in our never ending quest to make our lives better. I love that he points out this ridiculous paradox – that we have created a society in which we want to improve our lives. Yet, this very improvement is what is making us so damn depressed. It kind of reinforces some of the beliefs that I already held…

This isn’t necessarily a hopeful book. But it’s not pessimistic either. There is a strong sense of optimism in the words that highlight how important it is to construct our futures and think about our everyday decision making. It certainly helped me to take a step back and think about my own decision making and choices that I make. Mostly, what is actually contributing to my happiness and what is just… fluff.

Like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, this is a book that I think everyone should read at some point. It’s fun and enjoyable. Deep and meaningful. And filled with a lot of humour and random information to really help get Manson’s point across.

<- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a FuckThe Guide to Relationships ->

Image source: Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Overview
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a  Good Life by Mark Manson

Title: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Author: Mark Manson
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology, Self help
Dates read: 27th August – 16th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: MacMillan
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Because we’re brothers; we’re supposed to have a good relationship!

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Synopsis

EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN TOLD ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE OUR LIVES IS WRONG. NOW SUPERSTAR BLOGGER MARK MANSON TELLS US WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO GET IT RIGHT.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. Drawing on academic research and the life experience that comes from breaking the rules, Mark Manson is ready to explode that myth. The key to a good life, according to Manson, is the understanding that ‘sometimes life is messed up and we have to live with it’.

Manson says that instead of trying to turn lemons into lemonade, we should learn to stomach lemons betters, and stop distracting ourselves from life’s inevitable disappointments chasing money, success and possessions. It’s time to re-calibrate our values and what it means to be happy: there are only so many thing we can worry about, he says, so we need to figure out which ones really matter.

From the writer whose blog draws two million readers a month and filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humour, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a **** is a welcome antidote to the ‘let’s-all-feel-good’ mindset that has infected modern society.

Thoughts

Alright, I can see why this is such a big, top selling novel / self help book. It was spot on with most of what was said, and even though I’ve already (funnily enough) started down this road of giving limited “fucks”, I also had a lot more moments that I feel like I should integrate into my daily life. It was such a fun, great and somewhat easy read. Yet, it was also kind of poignant and true. Definitely a book that I would (and have) recommend to others.

Mot of the time when there’s a lot of swearing in a story, I’m a bit “eh” about it all. It doesn’t often add anything to the writing, but just feels a little… titillating. That wasn’t the case for this. Yes, it’s more swearing than any of the books I’ve read. But it helped to make each and every point. For the first time that I can remember in my reading, I actually enjoyed the swearing and found it completely helped along not only Manson’s point, but also had me laughing frequently.

I’ve read this book at a really good point in my life. I’ve been letting go of all of my career goals (I realised that they weren’t quite what I wanted out of life) and started to redecide what I find important in life. And honestly, this novel let me know that what I’m doing and how I’m approaching my life now is actually okay. The stripping back of the bullshit is just what I needed to do, and this novel helped me to see how and understand the ways in which I can do this.

Most of the self help books I’ve read are honestly kind of wanky. There’s honestly no other word for it. But this one I actually found interesting and useful. It was full of great information. And just generally an all round enjoyable read. One that taught me a few things in the process of enjoying it.

<- The Nerd’s Guide to Being ConfidentEverything is Fucked ->

Image source: Goodreads

Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood by Jeffrey J. Arnett & Malcolm Hughes

Overview
Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood : Jeffery Arnett : 9781408253908

Title: Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural Approach
Author: Jeffrey J. Arnett & Malcolm Hughes
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology
Dates read: 12th June – 22nd August 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Pearson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: One interesting feature of puberty rites in traditional cultures is that eligibility for the rites is not typically based on age but on pubertal maturation.

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Synopsis

Focused on a global cultural perspective that incorporates research on adolescence through emerging adulthood & grounded in a global cultural perspective, this text includes a considerable amount of anthropology, sociology, & international research in addition to the compelling psychological research on adolescent development.

Thoughts

This textbook left my brain feeling happy, full and filled with wonderful knowledge. Which is exactly what I want at the end of reading a textbook. After all, I read these kinds of books to fill my brain with knowledge. So finding that I felt more knowledgeable and super happy at the end of this made me incredibly happy.

Although I read this as a part of an undergrad course, I did very much feel like this is the kind of thing that I want to do with my life. It is glorious and the aspect of psychology that I am really, truly passionate about – helping adolescents with their issues before they can carry too far into adulthood.

This also has a great layout and deals with cultural differences in a wonderful manner. Most of the time when I read textbooks, it’s a bit of a chore. But when I was reading this, it felt a lot more enjoyable. And helped me to fill my brain with a lot of wonderful information and knowledge.

<- More non-fictionMore psychology ->

Image source: BookDepository

Punishment & Sentencing by Melissa Bull

Overview
Punishment and Sentencing eBook

Title: Punishment & Sentencing: Risk, Rehabilitation and Restitution
Author: Melissa Bull
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology
Dates read: 12th June – 18th August 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: The Australian regimes, reflecting wariness about the effectiveness of community notification, involve non-public registers that have been developed from existing criminal conviction or other databases and that contain a range of information: offender name, residential address, employment address, car registration, fingerprints and nature of offence.

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Synopsis

Punishment and Sentencing uses a case study approach to bring to life our shifting attitudes to punishment, and its relationship to changing technologies and programs of control. The text identifies the key concepts of risk, rehabilitation and restitution to give readers an accessible framework for understanding the different approaches taken, in theory and in practice, to sentencing and punishment.

Thoughts

I actually really enjoyed the setup of this textbook. It was completely approachable. And, most importantly it showed how the theories and concepts discussed in the first part actually relate to our daily lives and made it a little more practical… something that I don’t often come across in the non-fiction texts I read for my university studies.

This text starts by outlining the sociological theories behind punishment and sentencing. And also providing a nice history of Australian criminology. Whilst there were aspects of this that I was familiar with, there were also lots of aspects which I was not so familiar with. It was a great foundation which then flowed onto the second part of the story.

This flow provided a great backdrop with which to understand some of the more contentious and difficult aspects of criminology and the case studies which highlight these issues. I really enjoyed how well written and informative this whole text was. I would definitely flick through this again.

<- More non-fictionMore psychology ->

Image source: Oxford University Press

Crime & Criminology by Rob White, Fiona Haines & Nicole L. Asquith

Overview
Crime & Criminology, 6th edition by Rob White | 9780190307301 ...

Title: Crime & Criminology
Author: Rob White, Fiona Haines & Nicole L. Asquith
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology, Science
Dates read: 24th March – 26th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 1996
5th sentence, 74th page: In particular, society itself could be studied as if were external to the observer.

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Synopsis

Crime and Criminology provides a concise yet comprehensive introduction to the study of crime. This sixth edition explores the key theories that explain criminal behaviour in society, providing students with the opportunity to evaluate how criminologists employ these theories in analyses of criminological issues.

Written by an expert author team, this tewntieth anniversary edition has been thoroughly updated to inclued new examples and expand on new directions in crime and criminology.

The book includes learning features designed to engage students in criminology by demonstrating how criminological theory can be placed in both a historical and contemporary context, and how it both frames and draws from research. It provides learning pathways beyond specific theories, equipping students with the skills to understand their own theoretical perspectives, and the social context, history and concepts of each criminological theory.

Thoughts

This is one of those textbooks that you end up reading the whole thing throughout the entirety of a course. And I was honestly wondering whether or not to include it in my reviews and reading for the year. And then I realised that a) I did read it, so it should be included. And b) even if this isn’t a novel, it’s still a book that had authors put a lot of effort into it, and I should recognise that with a review.

This is a very easy and accessible textbook. It encompasses so many different psychological theories that help to explain crime. But it does so in a very open and accessible format. Particularly when considering how difficult I sometimes find wadding through theoretical information.

The division of each chapter was brilliantly done – it gave you a historical perspective that actually provided information and not a list of names. And it did so in a consistent manner throughout the text. There were also great contemporary examples and a number of case studies. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and couldn’t stop thinking about the many aspects of criminology that were bought to life.

<- More PsychologyMore Science ->

Image source: Booktopia

Human Development: A Cultural Approach by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

Overview
Human Development: A Cultural Approach, Australian and New Zealand ...

Title: Human Development: A Cultural Approach
Author: Jeffrey Jensen Arnett
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology
Dates read: 20th March – 26th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Pearson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: However, the knowledge obtained from genetic counselling enables people to make an informed decision.

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Synopsis

Help students understand how culture impacts development- and why it matters.

Thoughts

As far as textbooks go, I really, really enjoyed this one. It was easy to read, interesting and I ended up reading a lot of it for the pure enjoyment. Not sure how much I actually absorbed, but I definitely enjoyed the adventure.

I’m not sure if it was the bright outlay of this textbook, the interesting topic or just the style of writing. But this was one of those textbooks that was really accessible and it wasn’t filled with information that you had to read twice to get your head around.

Overall, this was an enjoyable and intriguing insight into developmental psychology. It was completely logical in its outlay – travelling from conception through to death. And filled with case studies, information and facts that I will probably look back on in the future.

<- More PsychologyMore Non-fiction ->

Image source: Pearson

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Overview
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold - Penguin Books Australia

Title: The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
Author: Hallie Rubenhold
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Feminism, History, Non-fiction, True crime
Dates read: 23rd April – 8th May 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Non-fictional text, Novel
Publisher: Black Swan
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: On 16 April she was dispatched like a human parcel to Renfrew Road Workhouse.

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Synopsis

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhamption, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed in ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become more famous than any of these women.

IN THIS DEVASTATING NARRATIVE OF FIVE LIVES, HISTORIAN HALLIE RUBENHOLD FINALLY GIVES THESE WOMEN BACK THEIR STORIES.

Thoughts

This is a seriously intense, wonderful, powerful, amazing book. Like. Wow. I’ve recently become a little intrigued by Jack the Ripper, but, as with many others, I hadn’t really given huge amounts of thought to the women that he actually killed. Which I now feel kind of ashamed of. Because Rubenhold reminds us that these five women were, you know, people too. And should be remembered as such. Not for the way the died. Not for the way the media portrayed them. But for individuals in and of themselves. Women who loved, lost and experienced life. Women with families, husbands, children…

I tend not to read crime books before bed. It leads to some seriously whacked out and trippy dreams. Starting this, I figured that it would be okay to read before bedtime. After all, it’s about the women, not the murders. For starters, the introduction talks about Jack the Ripper a little more than I had wanted. And the last point made is that he didn’t kill prostitutes, he killed women while they were asleep. By themselves. I was a woman. By myself. About to go to sleep. Not exactly conducive to a restful nights’ sleep that.

Normally I like to pick up biographies because they’re not only informative, but they’re also incredibly easy to put down. That’s not the case with this novel. The first few chapters didn’t quite hook me, and I was completely able to put down the book whenever I needed to be productive. However, once I passed that point… I just couldn’t stop thinking about these five women. I couldn’t stop wondering about their lives, their loved ones. What they thought and experienced in their mysterious last moments… I just couldn’t stop thinking about it all!!! Which I think was the whole point of it… but still, not exactly my normal response for a biography…

I am still in awe of what I’ve read. I actually finished this book twenty-four hours before sitting down to write this review. And it took me so long to do so simply because there is an intense feeling that you get once you turn that final page. This intense feeling of not only wonder and amazement at what you just read, but also, for me at least, a sense of guilt. I’m fascinated by murders, but I have rarely seriously considered the Ripper women as individuals and women. Which is something I will endeavour to do more so of in the future. When I started this book, I couldn’t even remember the names of The Five. But now, I don’t think I’ll ever forget them…

<- The Covent Garden LadiesHarris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Wilding by Isabella Tree

Overview
Wilding by Isabella Tree

Title: Wilding
Author: Isabella Tree
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Biology, Conservation, Nature, Non-fiction
Dates read: 9th – 26th April 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Well on the way to recovery in Europe, they have already been spotteed in the Oostvaardersplassen and are likely soon to be bredding in the reserve.

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Synopsis

Forced to accept that intensive farming of the heavy clay soils of their farm at Knepp in West Sussex was driving it close to bankruptcy, in 2000 Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell tok a spectacular leap of faith and handed their 3,500 acres back to nature. With minimal human intervention, and with herds of free-roaming animals stimulating new habitats, their land is now heaving with life. Rare species such as turtle oves, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies are now breeding at Knepp and biodiversity has rocketed.

The Knepp project has become a leading light for conservation in the UK, demonstrating how letting nature take the driving seat can restore both the land and its wildlife in a dramatically short space of time, reversing the cataclysmic declines that have affected most species elsewhere in Britain over the past five decades. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of Britain’s rural ecology, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Thoughts

I bought this book in a sale because it looked mildly interesting, and I do love anything that discusses issues with the natural environment. What I got was an experience that I NEVER expected. One that just completely blew me away and swept me off my feet. Plus, I was reading it at a time that I was beginning the process of removing myself from the rigours of academia and ecology… something which is mentioned frequently in this book. It helped to seriously crystallise some of my thoughts.

This is a very interesting and somewhat inspiring book. As someone who wants to buy land and then “rewild” it, there were a number of practicalities which were presented in this novel. Yet, it was more than that – the terminology of rewilding, the different projects around the world and the many different issues that were faced were seriously delved into. Yet, instead of being dry, as many writers like this can be, Tree is able to recount her adventures and experiences in an engaging and intriguing manner. One that makes it seriously difficult to put this book down.

One of the biggest boundaries that constantly appeared throughout this novel was that of coming up against bureaucracy. Fighting constantly against a bureaucracy that tends to need specific details for any kind of funding. Which, in and of itself then limits the outcome of the project – by placing restrictions on what we are aiming for, what we are aiming for becomes restricted. It’s a definite issue and fallacy within the conservation community that I tend to find frustrating, and it was interesting to read about it from the other point of view.

This is an amazing book for anybody who is interested in conservation to read. It is engaging, intriguing and incredibly insightful. The amount of information that Tree manages to impart is seriously impressive – especially since she does it in such a approachable and enlightening way.

<- Chesapeake RequiemBorn Free ->

Image source: Goodreads

Invincible Microbe by Jim Murphy & Alison Blank

Overview
Image result for book cover invincible microbe

Title: Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
Author: Jim Murphy & Alison Blank
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Medical, Non-fiction
Dates read: 14th – 17th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: There was absolutely no scientific basis for this assertion.

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Synopsis

A killer as old as the human race has been humankind’s constant, lethal companion. This killer was nameless and faceless for thousands of years, mysteriously striking in endless waves and claiming millions upon millions of lives. Then the disease was given a name – tuberculosis, or TB – and when the microscopic TB germ was finally identified, scientists hoped to conquer it. yet, in spite of medical advances and the discovery of several promising “cures”, this invincible microbe continues to change and flourish among us today.

Thoughts

I read this at the beginning of the insanity attached to COVID-19 in Australia. When toilet paper was being hoarded and people were just generally going nuts. And it kind of felt like a really good time to read about a microbe based disease. Alright, there are a lot of differences between TB and Corona, but there were also SO many similarities!

I do have a background in biology (although I focus on environmental biology), so my basic understanding of diseases such as TB and others is fairly sound. Yet, even if I didn’t have this background, I would find this book incredibly informative. Murphy and Blank are able to inform the reader about the journey of TB without getting too scientific. A great read for those who want to find out more but don’t have the science background.

The history of a prominent disease is always going to be kind of fascinating. Not just because it’s the history of an important aspect of science (discovering that microbes can in fact cause death), but also because it provides an insight into the people and cultures of the time. From the beginning of Sanitoriums and the isolation of patients to the understanding of contagions… the discovery of TB and the race to find a cure were a fascinating story.

To end out this book, the status of TB today is talked about. And, more importantly, it’s potential to mutate into an untreatable version. Something which is always a risk when dealing with a disease that can mutate. It serves as both a message of hope for the treatment in the future, and a pretty dire warning as to what could be just around the corner. A little scary, but definitely something worth thinking about. Especially in the global climate today.

 <- More medical reviewsMore non-fiction reviews ->

Image source: Amazon

A Field Guide to Insects of Australia by Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey

Overview
Image result for book cover a field guide to insects of australia

Title: A Field Guide to Insects in Australia: Third Edition
Author: Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Insects, Non-fiction, Science
Dates read: 2nd November – 28th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: New Holland Publishers
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Nymph of the snake mantis, Kongobatha diamentata, Mantidae (15 mm long)

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Synopsis

Whether you’re an amateur insect enthusiast, a student or an entomologist, this completely revised new edition of A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will help you to identify insects from all the major groups.

With more photographs, species and up-to-date information, A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will enable you to differentiate between a dragonfly and a damselfly or a cricket and a grasshopper. You’ll find cockroaches, termites, praying mantis, beetles, cicadas, moths, butterflies, ants and bees. More than 300 colour photographs show the insects in their natural habitat, while many line drawings clearly illustrate subtle differences where identification is tricky.

Thoughts

I bought this book in my Undergrad, hoping that it would help me identify some of the bugs in my backyard down to species level. Back then I didn’t know how insanely difficult that was. But now? As an adult? I realise that this book isn’t quite for that. It can help you identify insects down to their orders. Beautifully so. I didn’t feel like I was reading a textbook while reading this. I actually found it incredibly fun and intriguing.

The images in this book are a great way to crystallise all of the information which was being provided to you throughout. As each order and suborder was provided, a number of gorgeous pictures were placed next to them. Many of which I either recognised, or vaguely recognised from similar species. I thought the pictures were completely beautiful. Although I am a total bug geek. So that might have something to do with my happy feelings about the pretty pictures.

Alongside the information about each order and suborder, this book provides information about where you are most likely to find each group. These extra pieces of information are so helpful with identifying a specimen down to order. And I’ll probably be using the Hymenoptera section heavily when it comes to identifying my specimens collected for my PhD.

Although my favourite part about this book was the breakdown of each order, I also loved that the start of this book talked about trapping, catching and preservation. I remember the vast majority of this from my Undergrad days, but it was nice to have a refresher. Again, accompanied by pictures to help you view what was being discussed.

 <- More insect reviewsMore non-fiction reviews ->

Image source: Goodreads