Now the holiday season is well and truly over – even if you are lucky enough to celebrate Christmas and the Lunar New Year – it’s time to pack up the beach reads and dive into something a little meatier.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but lately I have found myself foregoing my usual fictional escapism to get into some excellent non-fiction. So I bring to you, straight from my bedside table, three top recommendations to add a little depth to your 2019 reading pile.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start Up by John Carreyrou
Theranos was a health technology start up with a product that claimed it could do blood tests with just a tiny amount of blood. It promised the world but delivered a dud. Silicone Valley is often portrayed as a fabled land where brilliant people have brilliant ideas that turn them into overnight millionaires. Bad Blood gives an inside look into a founder’s delusions, the way start ups explode into being “unicorns” and also how ephemeral it all is. It’s a book written by a WSJ journalist but it reads like a thriller. I could not put it down.
Educated by Tara Westover
Educated is memoir written by a Mormon girl brought up by survivalist parents. She doesn’t start a formal education in a school until she is 17. This book is an eye-opener about how education is quite simply the only tool that can help a person to be anything better than what they are born into. It also made me think about how children can be in “thrall” to their parents. This is a book that is as much an ode to education as it is a note of caution to remember how immensely we affect our children.
Insomniac City by Bill Hayes
A book about love and loss but most of all, New York. I was initially wary about yet another book that was paean to New York. And yes, it can be trite and “too nice” in places, but it does give an insight into the calmer side of a nocturnal New York (the author is a a photographer and an insomniac who walks around the city at night). But at its heart, this is a book about the unconditional and comfortable love two men have for each other. Hayes was in a relationship with British neurologist and author Oliver Saks, and he wrote this book after Saks died of cancer. It’s about finding love late in life, space in togetherness, nurturing a beloved through a terminal illness and being the person who is left behind to remember and recount a great love. It is a brief but beautiful memoir of a (relatively) short but complete relationship.
What have you been reading? Do you gravitate to fiction or non-fiction – tell us in the comments section below!