12 Nonfiction Books on my Priority List to Read

12 books. 12 months. Now you see where this is heading and what my plan will be by next year. 🙂 I do not want to become too ambitious by next year but I really want to read more nonfiction books. This selection is a mixture of works by international and local authors. I just finished reading another Murakami’s nonfiction book, What I Talked About When I Talk About Running, and that book really made me want to explore more nonfiction books. One of my fears when I read nonfiction books (and also base on experience) is that it may become too overwhelming for me. But I realized that if I want to make my blog be more diverse as I want it to be, I should explore more nonfiction books which is a genre that I don’t read that much. I should stop being intimidated and give it a go.

Here are the nonfiction books that I really want to read. The synopsis for each book were all taken from Goodreads.

we-wish-to-inform1. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories by Philip Gourevitch
Published September 1st 1999 by Picador
In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler’s war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch’s haunting work is an anatomy of the killings in Rwanda, a vivid history of the genocide’s background, and an unforgettable account of what it means to survive in its aftermath.

JUST THE TITLE. JUST THE TITLE ITSELF. WHO WOULDN’T BE CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT THIS BOOK WILL ALL BE ABOUT BECAUSE OF ITS TITLE. JUST BY READING THE BOOK’S SYNOPSIS, I KNOW THIS WILL BE ON THOSE BOOKS THAT I WON’T FORGET IN A LONG WHILE.

rizal_without_the_overcoat2. Rizal Without the Overcoat Book by Ambeth Ocampo
Published 2003 by Anvil Publishing, Inc.
This book is a collection of essays from Ambeth R. Ocampo’s newspaper column “Looking Back” that began in the Philippine Daily Globe and later moved to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He presents a readable and painless introduction to Jose Rizal and offers fascinating insights, lively anecdotes, academic intrigue, and little-known facts about the hero as human. Investigating Rizal’s own writings – his diaries, letters, and other papers – Ocampo attempts to strip the countless myths and rumors that surround the national hero.

THIS BOOK GIVES LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES’ NATIONAL HERO, JOSE RIZAL. PHILIPPINE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 1425, KNOWN AS THE RIZAL LAW, MANDATES ALL EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES TO OFFER COURSES ABOUT JOSE RIZAL. I’M HOPING THAT THIS BOOK WILL GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT I NEVER LEARNED WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE.

road-unforeseen-by-meredith-tax-97819426581083. A Road Unforeseen by Meredith Tax
Published August 23rd 2016 by Bellevue Literary Press
In war-torn northern Syria, a democratic society—based on secularism, ethnic inclusiveness, and gender equality—has won significant victories against the Islamic State, or Daesh, with women on the front lines as fierce warriors and leaders.

A Road Unforeseen recounts the dramatic, underreported history of the Rojava Kurds, whose all-women militia was instrumental in the perilous mountaintop rescue of tens of thousands of civilians besieged in Iraq. Up to that point, the Islamic State had seemed invincible. Yet these women helped vanquish them, bringing the first half of the refugees to safety within twenty-four hours.

Who are the revolutionary women of Rojava and what lessons can we learn from their heroic story? How does their political philosophy differ from that of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Islamic State, and Turkey? And will the politics of the twenty-first century be shaped by the opposition between these political models?

WOMEN FIGHTING ISIS? NOW WHAT’S MORE B*D*SS THAN THAT? I HAVE READ OF ACCOUNTS OF WOMEN FIGHTING ISIS IN QUITE A FEW NEWS ARTICLES. THIS BOOK OFFERS A DEFINITIVE ACCOUNT OF A GROUP OF WOMEN FIGHTING THE TERRORIST GROUP. I REALLY WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM.

do-they4. Do They Hear You When You Cry by Fauziya Kassindja
Published January 12th 1999 by Delta
For Fauziya Kassindja, an idyllic childhood in Togo, West Africa, sheltered from the tribal practices of polygamy and genital mutilation, ended with her beloved father’s sudden death. Forced into an arranged marriage at age seventeen, Fauziya was told to prepare for kakia, the ritual also known as female genital mutilation. It is a ritual no woman can refuse. But Fauziya dared to try.

This is her story–told in her own words–of fleeing Africa just hours before the ritual kakia was to take place, of seeking asylum in America only to be locked up in U.S. prisons, and of meeting Layli Miller Bashir, a law student who became Fauziya’s friend and advocate during her horrifying sixteen months behind bars. Layli enlisted help from Karen Musalo, an expert in refugee law and acting director of the American University International Human Rights Clinic. In addition to devoting her own considerable efforts to the case, Musalo assembled a team to fight with her on Fauziya’s behalf. Ultimately, in a landmark decision in immigration history, Fauziya Kassindja was granted asylum on June 13, 1996. Do They Hear You When You Cry is her unforgettable chronicle of triumph.

I HAVE HEARD SOME ACCOUNTS OF FEMALE GENITALIA MUTILATION STILL BEING PERFORMED IN SOME COUNTRIES AND WOMEN TRYING TO GO AGAINST IT. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CURIOUS ABOUT THAT PRACTICE AND THIS BOOK OFFERS AN ACCOUNT OF A GIRL WHO LEFT HER COUNTRY BECAUSE OF IT AND HER STRUGGLES AFTER. THIS BOOK WILL DEFINITELY TAKE ME ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER RIDE. BUT I’M IN FOR IT.

malala5. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (Author), Christina Lamb (Contributor)
Published October 8th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

THIS BOOK IS ACTUALLY ON MY LIST OF BOOKS TO READ THIS 2016. BUT SADLY, I WAS NOT ABLE TO GET TO IT. MALALA YOUSAFZAI IS THE YOUNGEST RECIPIENT OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE IN LITERATURE AND BY READING THIS BOOK BUT EVEN BEFORE SHE WON THE AWARD, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A SUPPORTER OF HER AND WHAT SHE’S FIGHTING FOR. BY READING THIS, I’M HOPING I WILL GET TO KNOW HER MORE AND KNOW WHAT RUNS INSIDE HER MIND.

janet-mock-book-cover-16. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Published February 4th 2014 by Atria Books
In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.

A MEMOIR OF A TRANS WOMAN. I’VE SEEN THIS BOOK BEING HAULED IN THE BOOKTUBE QUITE A FEW TIMES AND SINCE THEN I’VE ALWAYS BEEN ON THE LOOKOUT FOR IT. THIS BOOK EVEN MORE PIQUED MY INTEREST WHEN I READ NAZAHET’S REVIEW ON HIS BLOG. LIKE HIM, I ALSO WANT TO “to learn (more) about trans issues, experiences, and narratives.”

breath7. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Published January 19th 2016 by Random House
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

I ACTUALLY STARTED READING THIS A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO BUT I DID STOP. NOT BECAUSE IT’S NOT GOOD BUT BECAUSE I WAS ONLY A COUPLE OF PAGES IN, I ALREADY SENSED THAT THIS WILL BE AN OVERLY EMOTIONAL BOOK FOR ME TO HANDLE THAT TIME.

camp-148. Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden
Published March 29th 2012 by Viking
A New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.

North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.

In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin’s life unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden’s harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.

NORTH KOREA IS A COUNTRY THAT FASCINATES ME. I’VE ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW THE STRUGGLES OF PEOPLE LIVING UNDER THE COUNTRY’S DICTATORSHIP. WHEN I WAS LOOKING FOR A BOOK THAT WILL HELP ME FEED THAT HUNGER, THIS BOOK IS ALWAYS ON TOP OF THE EVERY LIST THAT I SAW.

emperor9. The Emperor Of All Maladies: A Biography Of Cancer By Siddhartha Mukherjee
Published November 16th 2010 by Scribner
The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.”

The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

A BOOK ABOUT CANCER. A BOOK ABOUT HUMANITY. A PULITZER PRIZE AWARD-WINNING BOOK. SIGN ME UP TO READ THAT.

quiet10. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Published January 24th 2012 by Crown Publishing Group/Random House, Inc.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a “pretend extrovert.”

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

I CONSIDER MYSELF AS AN INTROVERT. THIS BOOK OFFERS AN ANALYSIS BACKED WITH STATISTICS AND EXPLANATIONS ABOUT INTROVERSION. THIS WILL BE AN INTRIGUING READ FOR ME.

wild11. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Published January 20th 1997 by Anchor
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

THIS BOOK IS ALMOST ALL OF THE TOP BOOK RECOMMENDATION LIST AND MY COPY OF THIS BOOK HAS BEEN SITTING ON MY SHELF SINCE LAST YEAR SO I CONSIDER IT A SHAME FOR ME NOT STILL BEING ABLE TO READ IT. NEXT YEAR WILL DEFINITELY BE THE YEAR.

trip12. Trip to Quiapo by Ricky Lee
Published March 2010 by Anvil Publishing, Inc.
Sa trip to Quiapo ay ibinabahagi ni Ricky lahat ng kanyang natutunan sa loob ng maraming taong pagsusulat ng script sa pelikula sa TV, pagtuturo ng scriptwriting sa UP at Ateneo, at pagku-conduct ng libreng scriptwriting workshops mula pa noong 1982. Karamihan sa mga kilalang pangalan ngayon sa pelikula at sa TV ay nagsimula sa kanyang mga workshop.

Step-by-step na ipinakikita sa librong ito ang pagsulat ng script, pormula man o alternatibo, mula concept hanggang final draft. Naririto rin ang iba’t ibang payo at insight ng mahigit 60 scriptwriter, director at producer na ininterbyu para sa librong ito. Gayundin ang mga cartoon, komiks at illustration na ginawa nina Jess Abrera, Romy Buen, Beth Chionglo, Vincent Kua Jr., Topel Lee Roxlee, Nonoy Marcelo at Ely Buendia ng Eraserheads.

Meron ding excerpts mula sa 18 product scripts, writing excercises, biography ng anim na screenplays, guide para sa evaluation ng scripts, anecdotes, tips sa pagsusulat at mahigit sandaang movie stills.

RICKY LEE IS CONSIDERED AS ONE OF THE BEST SCRIPTWRITERS IN THE PHILIPPINES. THIS BOOK IS BASICALLY A SCRIPWRITING MANUAL. I AM READING THIS BECAUSE AS PER WHAT I’VE HEARD SO FAR FROM THE PEOPLE WHO READ IT, IT’S MORE THAN THAT. I REMEMBER READING BOB ONG’S LUMAYO KA NGA SA KIN, AND THAT BOOK REALLY GAVE ME A LOT OF INSIGHTS ABOUT THE REALITIES OF THE PHILIPPINE MOVIE INDUSTRY AND SINCE THEN I TOLD MYSELF, WHENEVER I HAVE THE CHANCE I WILL READ MORE ABOUT THAT TOPIC AND THIS BOOK PRESENTED ITSELF.

What books from my list have you read and enjoyed? Any other nonfiction books that you can recommend to me? Let me know your thoughts. 🙂

——–

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19 thoughts on “12 Nonfiction Books on my Priority List to Read

  1. Awesome list!! I also need to start reading more non fiction, I keep hesitating because I think they’ll be boring even though I know that isn’t true. I really enjoyed Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – both wonderful reads in different ways.

    I nominated you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh god there are so many on here that I want too! I’ve read half of escape from camp 14 but couldn’t finish it because it broke my heart! Prepare yourself for some serious emotions with that one. I expect We Wish To Inform You will be the same. Sigh. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Avada. 🙂 Into the Wild is probably the book in this list that I am most shameful about that I haven’t read yet considering how popular and how well-talked about it is in the bookish community. Next year is the year. 🙂

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    1. Thank you Lottie. 🙂 There are indeed a lot of other great nonfiction books out there. If I will be lucky enough to finish this before the year ends next year, I might come up with a second list. 🙂 Any books that you can recommend? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Quiet is the book that I am most curious about in this lot. Some of the reviews though that I’ve read about the book comments about it being an overwhelming read. But regardless, I’m curious. 🙂

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  3. I love this list and I haven’t heard of a lot of these. I’m definitely adding A Road Unforeseen to my TBR. It’s definitely something I’m interested in. I’m also actually currently reading two nonfiction rn! I’m loving Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson which is about the American criminal justice system and it’s already made me tear up which has never happened to me in a nonfiction book. I’m also reading a popular one called Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

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  4. Oh I’ve read I am Malala, When Breathe Becomes Air (this two are very inspiring indeed!) While, I’ve already started Quiet last year and I haven’t finished it… It is not that I didn’t like it, but life happened. That book is really good also!

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