Our Favourite Non-Fiction Reads

Happy Thursday Savvy Readers! The chill is definitely in the air and shows no signs of stopping now. But fear not! The colder weather is the perfect reason to stay indoors with a book and explore some of the latest and greatest in non-fiction and I have the perfect list for you! Whether you’re a fan of non-fiction like me or you’re getting a head start on your holiday shopping, there’s a non-fiction title out there for everyone!

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The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power

Whether you consider yourself a political powerhouse or you prefer to watch from the sidelines, The Education of an Idealist is an intimate and galvanizing memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner, human rights advocate, and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power. A must-read for anyone struggling to navigate today’s politically charged society, in her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question “What can one person do?” and a call for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives. Tracing her journey from immigrant to war correspondent and eventually presidential Cabinet official under former-president Barrack Obama, The Education of an Idealist lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life and presents an unforgettable account of the power of idealism and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.

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Do the Work by Gary John Bishop

Based on the New York Times bestseller Unfu*k Yourself comes an all-new book of prompts, questions, and exercises, giving you the tools to intentionally commit to finally unfu*king your life. In Unfu*k Yourself, Gary John Bishop inspired people to put his words into action to transform their fu*king lives. Still, Bishop knows it’s hard to go from reading the book, feeling inspired, and then actually doing the necessary work. That’s where Do the Work comes in: it’s the kick in the ass you need to get moving and create the life you want. Filled with entirely new material, including personalized prompts and exercises with ample lined space to journal and process, Do the Work expands the lessons in Unfu*k Yourself, giving you the tools to intentionally commit to taking on your life.

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Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince. With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.” Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.

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Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey. The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.  A laugh-and-cry-out-loud memoir from the beloved start of Netflix’s Queer Eye, before he stole our hearts as a grooming and self-care expert, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so… over the top. From the choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he is Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridiculous, and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit. Over The Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen.

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The End is Always Near by Dan Carlin

From the creator of the wildly popular podcast Hardcore History, The End is Always Near looks at some of the apocalyptic moments from the past as a way to frame the challenges of the future. Combining Carlin’s trademark mix of storytelling, history and weirdness, in The End is Always Near, Dan Carlin looks at questions and historical events that force us to consider what sounds like fantasy; that we might suffer the same fate that all previous eras did. Will our world ever become a ruin for future archaeologists to dig up and explore? Inspired by his podcast, The End is Always Near challenges the way we look at the past and ourselves. In this absorbing compendium, Carlin embarks on a whole new set of stories and major cliffhangers that will keep readers enthralled, and makes the past immediately relevant to our very turbulent present.

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Inside Out by Demi Moore

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight—or the headlines. Even as Demi was becoming the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi battled addiction, body image issues, and childhood trauma that would follow her for years—all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception.  As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress—and, always, if she was simply good enough. As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life—laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open-heartedness.

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The Wake by Linden MacIntyre

On November 18, 1929, a tsunami struck Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula. Giant waves, up to three storeys high, hit the coast at a hundred kilometres per hour, flooding dozens of communities and washing entire houses out to sea. The most destructive earthquake-related event in Newfoundland’s history, the disaster killed twenty-eight people and left hundreds more homeless or destitute. It took days for the outside world to find out about the death and damage caused by the tsunami, which forever changed the lives of the inhabitants of the fishing outports along the Burin Peninsula. Written in MacIntyre’s trademark style, The Wake is an incredible true story of destruction and survival in Newfoundland recounting the effects of the tsunami that claimed the lives of twenty-eight people in 1929, and the hundreds if not thousands more in the decades to follow.

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My Life by Teemu Selanne

Teemu Selanne, nicknamed the Finnish Flash, exploded in his rookie season for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, scoring a record 76 goals, tying for the league lead, winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie and making the all-star team. Unquestionably hockey royalty, having won countless accolades during his storied career, this deep dive into the life of a unique superstar, top athlete and family man shows that such success and longevity have not come without their hurdles. How did a young man from Helsinki mature into a world-class player, one of the all-time best? What kind of personal obstacles did Selanne encounter, and how did he manage the immense pressure of representing his country and striving for his sport’s top prizes? Featuring never-before-told stories from Selanne’s NHL years with the Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche, as well as rare colour photos from his personal collection, this is an essential read for all hockey fans!

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The North-West Is Our Mother by Jean Teillet

There is a missing chapter in the narrative of Canada’s Indigenous peoples—the story of the Métis Nation. Their story begins in the last decade of the eighteenth century in the Canadian North-West. Within twenty years the Métis proclaimed themselves a nation and won their first battle. Within forty years they were famous throughout North America for their military skills and their buffalo hunts. The Métis Nation didn’t just drift slowly into the Canadian consciousness in the early 1800s; it burst onto the scene fully formed. The Métis were flamboyant, defiant, loud and definitely not noble savages. In 1870 and 1885, led by the iconic Louis Riel, they fought back when Canada took their lands. These acts of resistance became defining moments in Canadian history, with implications that reverberate to this day: Western alienation, Indigenous rights and the French/English divide. Written by the great-grandniece of Louis Riel, this popular and engaging history of “forgotten people” tells the story up to the present era of national reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

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Face It by Debbie Harry

Musician, actor, activist, and the iconic face of New York City cool, Debbie Harry is the frontwoman of Blondie, a band that forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time. In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals, Face It upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, Face It re-creates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City, where Blondie played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Aesthetically dazzling, and including never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It brings Debbie Harry’s world and artistic sensibilities to life.  Following her path from glorious commercial success to heroin addiction, the near-death of partner Chris Stein, a heart-wrenching bankruptcy, and Blondie’s breakup as a band to her multifaceted acting career in more than thirty films, a stunning solo career and the triumphant return of her band, and her tireless advocacy for the environment and LGBTQ rights, Face It is a cinematic story of a woman who made her own path, and set the standard for a generation of artists who followed in her footsteps.

Whether you’re a fan of non-fiction or just browsing for some great holiday gifts, tell me in the comments or tweet @SavvyReader which of these titles piques your interest!

As always, happy reading Savvy readers!
Marisol

Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @marisolfokes.

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