Tag Archives: Non-fiction

Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Expecting Better, Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What  You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster | 9781409177920 | Booktopia

Title: Expecting Better
Author: Emily Oster
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Medical, Non-fiction, Pregnancy
Dates read: 17th August – 25th September 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text, Novel
Publisher: Orion Spring
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: In one study the miscarriage rate was 4.4 percent for women under 20, 6.7 percent for women 20 to 35 and almost 19 percent for women over 35.


Award-winning economist Emily Oster debunks myths about pregnancy to empower women while they’re expecting.

When Oster was expecting her first child, she felt powerless to make the right decisions for her pregnancy, so she drew on her own experience and went in search of the real facts – by using an economist’s tool.

In Expecting Better she overturns standard recommendations for:

  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • sush
  • bed rest
  • miscarriage
  • induction

She also puts into context the blanket guidelines for antenatal testing, weight gain, risks of pregnancy over the age of thirty-five, and nausea, among others.


This was an incredibly unique take and spin on the whole pregnancy thing. Most of the time it out and out disagreed with what we see as the conventional wisdom. And, whilst I may not agree with everything in this, I was most definitely intrigued with the ideas and discussions set forth.

Although I didn’t necessarily agree with everything in this book, I did love how the evidence was presented. That, and the fact that as Oster pointed out, everyone has different cost / benefit analyses and so should be equally educated. It also made me feel better about the little bit of caffeine I consume every week in my one or two coffees… that alone made me incredibly happy.

I also loved that throughout this Oster used numbers to weigh up the evidence. I may not be great at doing statistical analysis, but I am good at understanding it and using this to weigh up my decision making. In fact, there’s been a few more controversial topics / decisions in my pregnancy which have used pretty much the same system.

All in all, I found this to be a very, very worthwhile buy. As I said, there were some things I just didn’t agree with, but as Oster points out, she looked at the numbers and made her decision. I (or her friends) look at them and make another choice. It certainly made me feel a lot more settled and comfortable in my pregnancy decision making.

<- More pregnancy booksMore medical books ->

Image source: Booktopia

Pack of Thieves? 52 Port Arthur Lives by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood

Pack of thieves? : 52 Port Arthur lives

Title: Pack of Thieves? 52 Port Arthur Lives
Author: Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Australian history, Crime, Non-fiction
Dates read: 15th – 30th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Port Arthur Historic Sites
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: On the same day he was punished with a beating of one hundred strokes for breaking gaol while awaiting trial – he had been recaptured by the guard at Eaglehawk Neck.


George Arthur, Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1824-36 is credited with constructing an intricate system of convict management. The idea behind Arthur’s grand plan was that convicts would sink or rise through the tiers of his multi-layered system according to their conduct. Thus, the intention was that the wicked would be punished for their sins and the good rewarded for unerring servile toil. In 1830 Arthur ordered the construction of a new penal station on the Tasman Peninsula named Port Arthur in his honour. This was to be the foundation stone of Arthur’s scheme for regulating the lives of his colonial charges – a place to which prisoners incurred the wrath of the convict administration could be sent as a lesson to all.

Arthur likened his convict system to a prison without walls. This was because the lives of ordinary prisoners were regulated by paper work rather than guard towers and iron bars. Every detail that could be gleaned about a convict was entered into a set of enormous registers which ere used to separate those considered worthy of indulgence from those whose conduct was thorught to merit further punishment. At times Arthur appeared to sit astride his system like a colonial puppet master pronouncing judgement on his charges.

This book charts the lives of 52 prisoners who served time at Port Arthur in the 1830’s. It looks at the impact of transportation upon their lives and charts the ways in which they negotiated a passage through Arthur’s labyrinthine penal colony.


After visiting Port Arthur, this was a fun and easy read. It was also seriously fascinating. If you read it in parts. I mean, most of the stories were someone stole something, they got sent to Port Arthur. And repeat. But then some of the daring just had me smiling… you can’t predict human nature after all.

All in all, this was an interesting journey into the world of Australian history. But, like most Australian history, it was a bit white-washed and turned softer. I remember visiting Port Arthur fifteen years ago, and the stories that you were told were a lot more honest and gritty. Not like the ones that are told now…

<- More non-fictionMore Australian history ->

Image source: Abebooks

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

What to Expect When You're Expecting :HarperCollins Australia

Title: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Author: Heidi Murkoff
Rating Out of 5: 1 (Couldn’t get past the first page)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Pregnancy
Dates read: 26th July – 21st August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 1969
5th sentence, 74th page: This therapy uses physical manipulation of the spine and other joints to enable nerve impulses to move freely through an aligned body, encouraging the body’s natural ability to heal.


Expect the best! A brand-new fifth edition – filled with the most up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information on all things pregnancy. Realistic, supportive, easy to access, and overflowing with practical tips covering everything you’ll need – and want – to know about life’s most amazing journey, from preconception planning to birth, to those first few miraculous weeks with your new baby. It’s all here: the lowdown on lifestyle trends and life in the workplace; the latest in prenatal testing and alternative therapies; the best in birthing options.


I know that this is one of those recommended books for when you’re expecting. And I did read some not positive reviews before buying it. Turns out that I probably should have listened and not bothered.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but i honestly just didn’t find it informative or useful. I’ve got some other pregnancy books on my shelves that I’m finding far more informative. But, I suppose, each to their own.

<- More Non-fictionMore pregnancy ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine

The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine | 9781416524724 |  Booktopia

Title: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy: Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You
Author: Vicki Iovine
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Non-fiction, Pregnancy
Dates read: 17th June – 3rd July 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pocket Books
Year: 1995
5th sentence, 74th page: Second, save the home births, midwives, and underwater deliveries for second, third, and fourth babies.



Your Girlfriends, of course – at least, the ones who’ve been through the exhilaration and exhaustion, the agony and ecstasy of pregnancy. Four-time delivery room veteran Vicki Iovine, “the Carrie Bradshaw of pregnancy” (Wall Street Journal), talks to you the way only a best friend can – in the book that will go the whole nine months for every mother-to-be. Now, in this newly revised and updated edition, get the lowdown on all those little things that are too strange or embarrassing to ask, practical tips, and hilarious takes on everything pregnant.

What Really Happens to Your Body – from morning sickness and gas to eating everything in sight – and what it’s like to go from being a babe to having one.

The Many Moods of Pregnancy – why you’re so irritable / distracted / tired / light-headed (or at least more than usual).

Plus, the latest scoop on…

Staying Stylish – You may be pregnant, but you can still be the fashionista you’ve always been (or at least you don’t have to look like a walking beach ball) – wearing the hippest designers and proudly showing off your bump.

Pregnancy Is Down to a Science – from in vitro fertilization to a scheduled C-section, the latest technology provides so many options, alternatives, and tests, it can all be downright confusing.

… and much more! For a reassuring voice or just a few good belly laughs, turn to this straight-talking guide on what to really expect when you’re expecting.


So obviously I read this because I’m pregnant and, me being me, I need to know everything I possibly can about what what expect. But, I also didn’t want to read something that was preachy. This book was the perfect fit. It was funny and light in places, serious in others. And, it highlights the fact that we all experience pregnancy differently, there is no right or wrong way and it’s about getting through it sane!!

Unlike some of my other books, this isn’t split into the different times in pregnancy (week, trimester, etc). Instead, it’s split by topics. I particularly liked the section on exercise since I’ve been feeling guilty for not exercising as much as I used to. Iovine helped me to feel so much less guilty about it all.

I love that whilst you get Iovine’s own experiences. You also got those of her friends. She CONSTANTLY points out that everyone has a different experience. I think its something seriously important, and she also points out that you get to be a little selfish and insane at times…

All in all, I loved this book. And will probably refer to it multiple times throughout my pregnancy. It’s that comfort of having a friend say nope, you’re not nuts… but at any time of day or night whenever you need it… and it would be inappropriate to ACTUALLY call your girlfriends.

<- More PregnancyMore Non-fiction ->

Image source: Booktopia

The Mammoth Book of Chess by Graham Burgess

The Mammoth Book of Chess by Graham Burgess - Books - Hachette Australia

Title: The Mammoth Book of Chess
Author: Graham Burgess
Series: Mammoth Books
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction
Dates read: 23rd March – 11th May 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: He found an impressive solution.


A guide to the main opening gambits in chess along with hundreds of test positions for players at various levels. It includes: sections on online chess, computers and openings; courses in tactics and attacking strategy; analysis of some of the greatest games ever played; and, information and advice on club, national, and international tournaments.


I bought this book because I was working with a gentleman who was trying to shove chess knowledge into my brain. I figured that I needed all of the help that I could get. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t actually think reading this book helped me like I had hoped…

Having said that, this was still interesting. And, honestly, if I read this and actually practiced, I’d probably be able to turn myself into some semblance of a good chess player. I haven’t, so I’m not. But it’s nice to know that I now have a text sitting there that could work out well for me.

As far as the Mammoth Books go, this is by far the most dense and intellectually difficult for me. Honestly, it’s probably the most dense and intellectually challenging for me in general. This is just not how my brain thinks, so I didn’t work with it quite as well as I do with other texts.

All in all, this was an intriguing book. One that most definitely fascinated me and intrigued me. And on that I’ll probably flick through again and again over the years out of my own fascination and need to be better at something that I’m just not quite good at…

<- The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and LegendsThe Mammoth Book of Classic Chillers ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

The Celtic Tarot by Julian De Burgh

The Celtic Tarot: Instruction Book: De Burgh, Julian, Guinan, Mart:  Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: The Celtic Tarot
Author: Julian De Burgh
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: CelticNon-fiction
Dates read: 17th February – 11th May 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2000
5th sentence, 74th page: Positive interaction between these two people secures a solid foundation for the future.


What culture is more steeped in mystery, magic, passion and war, or can more vividly inspire us to use and understand the Tarot, than that of Ireland? There is probably no other culture in the world which stimulates as much interest as that of the Celtic people. By using tales from Celtic mythology we can gain greater depth and insight from Tarot readings, for by interpreting these stories into concrete terms our unconscious minds allow them to become powerful tools for profound inner change and growth.

The Celtic Tarot pack contains everything you need to become an accomplished Tarot reader. Use the cards with sensitivity, follow the instructions and interpretations in the accompanying book with care, and the wisdom of the Tarot can be yours.


This was informative. I loved the layout and structure of this manual.

There really isn’t much to say about this kind of thing, other than it was well laid out and informative. What I liked most about this though is that no matter when I want to go back to it, it will be incredibly easy to find the exact location of the information that I want.

All in all, an intriguing read. One that I will most definitely have to repeat.

<- More CelticMore non-fiction ->

Image source: Amazon

Gray’s Anatomy by Henry Gray

Barnes and Noble | Grays Anatomy | Henry Gray P.R.S — Heebie Jeebies

Title: Gray’s Anatomy
Author: Henry Gray
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Classics, MedicalNon-fiction
Dates read: 18th February – 11th May 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Leatherbound
Year: 1858
5th sentence, 74th page: When a small quantity can be collected, it is found to resemble lymph, and like tha tfluid coagulates sponatneously; but when secreted in large quanities, as in dropsy, it is a more watery fluid, but still contains a considerable amount of proteid which is coagulated on boiling.


No longer need you search through second-hand bookstores for a scarce, used copy of this grandfather of all anatomy books. It is here in this unabridged facsimile of the 1901 edition — with a full 1,257 pages and 827 illustrations!


I started reading this because I wanted to understand a bit more about human anatomy for my Jiu Jitsu. I mean, how else can you figure out how best to bend people and make them tap if you don’t know how bodies work? It didn’t necessarily quite work that way. But it was still a supremely interesting read.

The language in this is hard going. Which is kind of expected, because it is a textbook. And it is most definitely of the sort that I will have to read again and again to even get a drop of the knowledge in this textbook. But, it’s also presented in a way that is actually quite accessible.

Human anatomy has always perplexed and confused me (for whatever reason, animal anatomy makes sense to me when human doesn’t, go figure). So I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of the writing in this went completely over my head. But, I still enjoyed it.

This is an awesome, beautiful book to have on my shelves. The fact that it is the Barnes and Noble Leatherbound edition just makes it all that much prettier and fun. Definitely a book I will flick through again and again.

<- The Complete Sherlock HolmesFairytales from Around the World ->

Image source: Heebie Jeebies

Everything Is Fucked by Mark Manson

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


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.


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

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!

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide



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.


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

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


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.


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