Following on from Tuesday’s post about new release fiction, today I’m looking back at my favourite new non-fiction of the year, and this is a list that skews somewhat towards the memoir I’m afraid. But hey, there have been some really good ones this year, so sorry not sorry. Oh, and after all the success of my fiction picks matching up with the Goodreads picks, today we’re back to normal…
Stories I Might Regret Telling You by Martha Wainwright
This comes in the brutally honest confessional memoir category – as I said in my BotW review, possibly the most unflinching one I’ve read since Viv Albertine‘s. Martha Wainwright carries the personal revelations you’re used to in her music (Bloody Motherf*cking Asshole for example) into her look at her life so far. I saw her live in London this summer and she read a few excerpts from the book as well as singing songs from through her career and it was great. Anyway, if you haven’t listened to any of her music, but are interested in what it’s like to be an artist/creative type in a whole family of artists, this will still work for you.
A Pocketful of Happiness by Richard E Grant
This is another very raw book- Richard E Grant’s memoir about the loss of his wife and their life together. I read it on holiday and the showbizzy stories helped break up the sad bits and added up to something quite special. He’s very clearly still not over it, and maybe should have waited a little longer to write it, but his love for his wife and their wonderful marriage shines through it all. I hope writing it has helped him – and also that the reaction from readers helps too. You can see more about it in my BotW review.
Mean Baby by Selma Blair
Selma Blair’s memoir is another person looking back at their life fairly unflinchingly, perhaps unexpectedly if you only know about her from her movies. This is another book that featured in my Actor Memoirs post, and was nominated for Best Memoir or Autobiography in the Goodreads Choice awards – but lost out to Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died (which is also on my list). One of the fascinating things about this book is that despite some terrible behaviour at various times, Selma is clearly the sort of person that people want to be friends with because she’s managed to keep so many people in her life despite of the self destructive behaviour and alcoholism.
Get Rich or Lie Trying by Symeon Brown*
Finally something that’s not a memoir- right! Anyway this looks at the influencer economy and social media and provided me with plenty of food for thought. It was a BotW back in March and a lot of it has stuck with me. As I said in that review, I’ve got a long standing fascination with books and podcasts about scams, and this sort of fits into that in a weird way – it’s not one big con like Bad Blood or Bad Bets but it’ll give you a sense of all the sort of scams that the internet has opened up.
And an honourable mentions should go to Harvey Fierstein’s memoir I Was Better Last Night about his amazing life in showbizness. I told you it was a memoir heavy list!