In recent years, in addition to my writing (3 novels to date) I have read a lot of fiction. But of late I have been indulging in some non-fiction reading for a change. After all variety is the spice of life, or so they say. The following 5 works of non-fiction intrigued me due to their subject matter, and they did not disappoint. Perhaps one or two might interest you too. Click on the links to read my reviews.
Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones (2015)
Narrated by a skilled storyteller, Dreamland is a meticulously researched, multi-faceted work about addiction, entrepreneurship and the perils posed by unrestrained corporate greed.
My Review: This award winning account of America’s opiate epidemic asserts that its origins are two-fold — the pharmaceutical industry and Mexican importation. In 1996 Purdue Pharma introduced its new opiate-containing, prescription pain-reliever, OxyContin…(more)
King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild (1998)
King Leopold’s Ghost is a compelling and disturbing tale of corruption, greed and the injustices of colonialism, the echoes of which continue to resonate in the DR Congo to this day.
My Review: The Belgian King, Leopold II, had grown envious of his European neighbours’ portfolio of colonies, and longed for a colony that he could call his own. After much deliberation Leopold set his heart on a vast tract of land in central Africa. British explorer Henry Morton Stanley was…(more)
Stalin’s Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess by Andrew Lownie (2015)
Through fastidious research and extensive interviewing historian Lownie has created a compelling and revisionist account of the life of surely the most charismatic member of the ‘Cambridge Five’.
My Review: This biography of the notorious spy Guy Burgess recounts his life from birth through to premature death in Moscow, aged fifty-two in 1963. After spending his formative years at the naval college Dartmouth and Eton, Burgess attended Trinity College, Cambridge…(more)
The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese (2016)
The Voyeur’s Motel is comprised of the confessions of Gerald Foos, a former Colorado motel owner and voyeur. It is a curious and compelling work, boasting a perceptive protagonist and an effective journalistic approach.
My Review: Foos’s lifelong obsession began in childhood, spying on his aunt through the window of her bedroom. It was his purchase in the 1960s of the Manor Park Motel in Aurora, Colorado that provided Foos with the perfect opportunity to indulge in his passion. Having constructed a viewing area…(more)
Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick (2009)
Providing fascinating insights into North Korea, Nothing To Envy is an engrossing text that effortlessly captures the lives of its interviewed North Korean defector subjects. It is the best work of non fiction I have ever read.
My Review: Published in 2009, Nothing To Envy is a novelisation of interviews with various North Korean defectors, hailing from Chongjin, a bleak, northern industrial city, far from the country’s Potemkin village capital, Pyongyang. There is particular emphasis on the famine…(more)
If you haven’t done so already you might be interested in signing up to my newsletter. To do so click here.