What I Read in 2017 | Autobiographies & Non Fiction

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What I Read in 2017, Don't Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Goodbye 2017, and hello 2018!

I’m not sure how I managed to do it, but I read 114 books in 2017.  My original target was 70 books (I think?) so to surpass that by 44 books is quite staggering. *pats self on back*

My original plan was to write a blog post about the books I read in 2017, but it was far too long for one blog post; it was almost a novel in length.   I thought it would be best to break it down by genre, so that I can actually talk about the books, rather than simply show you the covers.

Without further ado, for the first What I Read in 2017 series, let’s talk about the autobiographies and non-fiction books I read in 2017.

Autobiographies 1 - What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Stripped Bare by Marnie Simpson | Rating: 3* and Brand New Me by Charlotte Crosby | Rating: 3*

These two autobiographies won’t set the literary world alight, but they are ideal for fans of Geordie Shore, and for those who enjoy celebrity books  Out of the two, Charlotte’s second autobiography, Brand New Me, is the one I preferred, and I would applaud her for speaking openly about her ectopic pregnancy in her book.

My Beautiful Struggle by Jordan Bone | Rating: 4* and No Filter by Grace Victory | Rating: 3*

I no longer watch YouTube as much as I used to do, but when I saw these two YouTuber books reduced on the Kindle store I couldn’t resist.  As a teenager, Jordan Bone was involved in a horrific car crash that left her paralysed from the neck down.  My Beautiful Struggle is the story of how this event literally changed her life, and it is both inspirational and emotional.   No Filter by Grace Victory tells us of Grace’s life, together with her opinions and advice on certain topics such as diet culture and mental healthOn reflection, I would have enjoyed it more than I did had I been more familiar with her and her YouTube channel before reading. 

What I Read in 2017 - Don't Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison | Rating: 4*

Former Playboy bunny Holly Madison used to be Hugh Hefner’s number 1 girlfriend, and Down the Rabbit Hole lifts the lid on what life was like in the Playboy Mansion.   I enjoyed this book a LOT more than I thought I would, and I liked how the Alice in Wonderland references were relevant to what was happening in the chapter.  #itsthelittlethings

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt | Rating: 3* and Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay | Rating: 4*

I recently spoke about these two books in my first Library Love blog post, so I will quickly recap for you.  Scarlett Says is a quick read – an overview of what Scarlett thinks about certain topics, mixed with some of her favourite facts.   Humble Pie tells the story of Gordon’s childhood, rise to fame, and life in the public eye.  Humble Pie is ideal for fans, but I’d also recommend it for those who want to see a different side to the fiery chef.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank | Rating: 3*

I had read some of Anne Frank’s diary when I was at primary school, but I always felt guilty that I didn’t finish the entire book.  When I came across an ebook version of it on my local library app, I knew it was time to finally read it!   It is certainly a unique insight into what life was like during the war however, I actually thought it was quite boring and repetitive. #unpopularopinion


What I Read in 2017 - Don't Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson | Rating: 4*

Mind Your Head was the second book I read in 2017, and it is an advice book for teenagers about mental health.  Even though I am no longer a teenager, I enjoy reading these advice books, just in case there is something new to learn!  Mind Your Head was informative and easy to understand; its ideal for its intended audience.   I will be donating this to my local library / high school so that it finds its way to someone who really needs it.

Cheer Up, Love by Susan Calman | Rating: 4*

Cheer Up, Love was a book I picked up on a whim, despite not knowing who Susan Calman was.  It is an account of Susan’s battle with mental health over the years.  Even though mental health is a sensitive topic, Susan somehow finds a way to look on the funny side.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Rating: 3*

We Should All Be Feminists is a book that I kept seeing everywhere, and in March I finally parted with 99p to see what all the fuss was about.  It is a short book based on Chimamanda’s TEDx Talk of the same name, and it would make a great gift for a young person in your life.

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates | Rating: 5*

If you don’t know about the Everyday Sexism project, where have you been?  Created by Laura Bates in 2012, her mission was to document every instance of sexism she came across.   This book is a collection of the stories she has been told, together with what we can do to fight it.  I would recommend this to EVERYONE as its an essential, albeit depressing, read.

Non-Fiction 2- What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

How to be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan | Rating: 5* [review]

During 2017 I was an anxious mess, and I couldn’t have felt less of a grown up if I had tried.  Lucky for me, How To Be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan popped into my life, and I am grateful that it did.  I actually reviewed this at length on my other blog Famous in Japan, so please pop over and have a read.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Rating: 5*

Dear Ijeawele is a letter Chimamanda wrote in response to her friend when asked for advice on how she could raise her baby daughter as a feminist.   I am currently plotting how I can give a copy to everyone in my life.  I LOVED it.

Girl Up by Laura Bates | Rating: 4*

As Everyday Sexism was an instant favourite for me, I was curious as to whether I would also enjoy Laura Bates’ second non-fiction book, Girl Up.  Even though I am older than the intended target market, I enjoyed Laura’s no-nonsense advice and encouragement.  If you buy or borrow the ebook version, I would recommend reading it on an iPad so you can enjoy the colour illustrations; they are wasted on the Kindle’s black and white screen!

Non-Fiction 3 - What I Read in 2017 - Dont Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson | Rating: 3*

I am a fan of Juno Dawson’s YA novels, so when I heard about her non-fiction book The Gender Games, I couldn’t wait.  I was delighted to find a copy in my local library and began reading it as soon as I could.  As I have read a few feminist non-fiction books, it didn’t tell me anything new but perhaps those who are new to the fight may enjoy it more than I did.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay | Rating: 4*

Winner of 4 awards, including iBooks Book of the Year, This is Going to Hurt is comprised of the diaries Adam Kay wrote during his time as a junior doctor.  This book will make you thankful for our NHS and hopefully will motivate you to keep fighting for it.   Be warned, it is both hilarious and emotional, with a dash of bodily fluids.

Doing It! by Hannah Witton | Rating: 3*

Doing It! is a non-fiction book about sex from YouTuber Hannah Witton, who talks about sex and relationships on her channel.  Even though I enjoy Hannah’s videos, I felt that this book was aimed at teenagers, rather than adults similar in age to myself.   I am going to donate my copy to my local library / high school so it’s picked up by someone who will get more out of it.

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba | Rating: 3*

I picked up Little Black Book in the Christmas Kindle sale after I saw it recommended by the aforementioned Hannah Witton in a recent video. Little Black Book offers advice for women in creative industries, such as writers and artists.   As a 9-5 office worker, the advice wasn’t relevant to me, but I would recommend it for those who are in those industries, particularly those who are just starting out.

Stay tuned for the next instalments in the What I Read in 2017 series!

Daniella x

2nd January 2018
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  • Reply Shell Senseless

    So many great titles, quite a few of these are on my to read list, but I’ve added a few from this post too. I keep putting off Everyday Sexism as I feel like it’s going to be a bleak read… but an important one.

    2nd January 2018 at 5:47 pm
    • Reply Daniella

      It’s SO important – you genuinely need to read it! x

      11th March 2018 at 2:01 pm

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