Day 5 – A favourite non-fiction book

Chinese Whispers…..

Every now and then I become obsessed with a particular country or culture and devour as many books about that place as I can. Some years ago it was China (I still love reading books set there) and in 2004 I was even lucky enough to go there on holiday which was amazing.

I have chosen Wild Swans by Jung Chang as my favourite non-fiction book. This is the most incredible story I have ever read : it starts in 1909 and follows 3 generations of women in the same family, starting with Chang’s grandmother who was concubine to a warlord, then her mother who was a fervent party member and then on to herself and her own time during the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China. If this had been a work of fiction I would have rolled my eyes on so many occasions about Chang’s over-active imagination, but you know what they say about fact being stranger than fiction – that is certainly true here; you seriously couldn’t make this stuff up. This book is shocking, astonishing, brutal, beautiful, gripping and moving and I urge you to read it.

  What non-fiction books do you recommend?


10 thoughts on “Day 5 – A favourite non-fiction book

  1. Oh Yes! This is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read too. One of my other favourites is Andre Previn’s autobiography ‘No minor chords’ which is the light and frothy adventures of a young musical genius in Hollywood – full of wonderful anecdotes.


  2. I adored this book, and it’s definitely one of my favourites too! I do have a bit of an obession with things Chinese and Japanese, especially books set in those countries or wrote by Chinese and Japanese authors..if you liked this, you may like Mao’s Great Famine 🙂


  3. This was indeed a great book. So many things happened to Jung Chang and her family. It was a very sad book but also very beautiful.

    I think The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls is one of the best non-fiction I’ve read. Although I also very much enjoyed one or two of the travel books by Redmond O’Hanlon, which read like a thriller at some places.


  4. I haven’t read Wild Swans, but have noticed that it is very popular in my library system. Two non-fiction books that I’ve read recently and that have been excellent are Columbine by Dave Cullen – an account of the Colorado school shootings in 1999 – and Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.


  5. I haven’t heard of that one. My favourite is The Glass Castle and the one that touched me and assisted personally this year was My Stroke of Insight.


  6. I have just ordered this one from the library!! Some ones to definitly read are – Left to Tell by Immaculee Ibigiza, an amazing story of survival through the Rwandan Genocide, and Stolen Innocence by Elisa Wall – A Memoir of Elisas life as a Child Bride in the FLDS cult. Those two are my must reads but some other great ones are Escape by Carolyn Jessop, A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard and of course the Glass Castle.


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