A Month of Reading Non-Fiction

Jan 28, 2019

The last couple of weeks, I haven’t been reading a lot of fiction. At the end of December I found myself wandering the aisles of the non-fiction section of the library and took out a bunch of non-fiction books on a whim. I find it hard to write non-fiction book “reviews” that aren’t longer than a paragraph. Initially I just decided I wouldn’t review them. But I still feel like I should have something to show for it. So, here are my mini-reviews.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

I laughed to myself when I saw this book on the shelf. It was a parody of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. It used a similar book cover design, similar font, and a similar structure. While reading it, I was amused throughout. Knight used “fuck” so many times it started to not look like a real word.

Knight suggests taking an initial inventory of all the things you give a fuck about, not unlike Marie Kondo’s method of laying out all your possessions in one place so you can get a big picture of what you posess. I don’t know how helpful this was as I have a lot of things I give a fuck about.

While the sentiment is good, I still think I have a long way towards not giving a fuck about a lot of things.

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K Le Guin

This book is simple a collection of essays or blog posts that Ursula has written. I am a huge Ursula fan but when I read her non-fiction, I am admittedly not as moved as when I read her fiction. I do think Ursula is very intelligent and that she has interesting opinions. I just don’t find them any more or less impactful than something insightful that a friend would say.I think it’s a pretty interesting epiphany to have about one of my favourite authors.

Conversations on Writing by Ursula K Le Guin with David Naimon

This book is a transcript of a series of interviews with Ursula. She does have some good musings about writing. One thing she mentions is the rhythm of words and how modern day writing seems very clunky. I have to agree. It’s one thing I wish I could do with my own writing. To my delight, Ursula points out Virginia Woolf as someone who has full mastery of rhythm. She managed to pin the very reason why I love Woolf. Her words don’t deserve just to be read but also to be read out loud.

What I’ve also learned is that there are a lot of politics in the science fiction realm. Ursula withdrew her membership from one of the many science fiction communities after they removed Stanislaw Lem’s membership on the grounds that he lived in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, criticized American science fiction, and therefore was a “communist rat” (Ursula’s words, not mine). It’s wild to think on that now.

Conversations Worth Having by Jackie Stavros

This one was an interesting read. It definitely focused more on conversations in the workplace. It’s definition of productive conversations are ones that are appreciative, positive, and generative. Stavros calls it, “Appreciative Inquiry.” Very insightful but in the workplace, I think my environment is already following that kind of model.


I’m itching for some good fiction novel after a month of reading straight non-fiction. I think I’ll try to find some prose to read. Maybe try out a new author for once.