Top Ten Tuesday | Non-fiction I’d like to read in 2020


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is a freebie, so this week I’ve decided to focus on a genre I’ve neglected over the past couple of years: non-fiction!

When I’m in the mood for it, I absolutely love non-fiction, but for whatever reason I just haven’t been feeling it lately. It could be because I work in publishing and I happen to work for a publisher which specialises in non-fiction, so while fiction feels like an escape, non-fiction feels like work.

It does make me sad, though, because I know there are so many books I’m missing out on and there’s SO much unread non-fiction on my shelves. In fact I’m currently reading The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold and it’s phenomenal and well on its way to being my book of the year, so I need to reach for more non-fiction.

Below are ten fifteen of the books I’d really like to cross off my TBR in the new year – unless I can squeeze any of them in this month!


Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix: As 2019 has been the year I’ve officially started dipping my toe into the horror genre, this book about the history behind some of the horror trends in the 1970s and 1980s sounds really interesting!

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: The Untold Story of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte: I was obsessed with dinosaurs when I was a little girl – there was a huge dinosaur encyclopedia that I was always borrowing from the library – but I’ve never read any non-fiction about dinosaurs as an adult, which younger me would be appalled by. I’ve owned this one for a while, so it’s time I got to it!

How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Everyday Life by Ruth Goodman: My favourite period of history is the Tudor era, it’s a slight obsession, but I’ve watched far more Tudor documentaries than I’ve read Tudor books. This one was a gift from my friend Elena a couple of years ago and I still haven’t read it, but I really want to – especially as it’s one of the few Tudor books that doesn’t focus on the royals.

Sylvia, Queen Of The Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom by Philip Eade: This one doesn’t seem to have the best ratings on Goodreads, but it also hasn’t been read by that many people. I found a cheap copy secondhand, so I’m willing to give it a try! I learned about Sylvia Brett, the last Ranee of Sarawak, while working on a book that included her at work this year. Any woman described as a “female Iago” is a woman I want to learn more about.

The Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton: Another Tudor book! This one does what it says on the tin, and was a gift from my parents – I think the same year I received How to Be a Tudor. I’ve heard great things about Elizabeth Norton’s books and still haven’t read any, so hopefully I can cross this one off my TBR in 2020.


The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex, and Marriage in Reformation Languedoc by Suzannah Lipscomb: I love Suzannah Lipscomb’s documentaries, and this is her latest book which sheds light on the voices of ordinary women at the moral courts of 16th century France. Considering it can be difficult to find the voices of royal women during this century, never mind the commoners, this sounds amazing! It’s on my Christmas list, so with any luck my very lovely parents will pop it under the tree for me this year.

Queerbaiting and Fandom: Teasing Fans through Homoerotic Possibilities ed. by Joseph Brennan: I was recently sent an eARC of this book through NetGalley, so I’d like to get to it soon! I’m a little nervous about picking it up because I think it’s going to be more academic than I initially thought, but I’m hoping it’ll be a really interesting read.

The House of Islam: A Global History by Ed Husain: This is another book I received from NetGalley and still haven’t read, but I really want to! Islam is one of those subjects I really enjoy reading about – I find it fascinating – and with the amount of crap in the media about Islam, it’s something I want to educate myself about rather than letting tabloids make assumptions for me.

The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History by Nathalia Holt: I pre-ordered this book, which was released at the end of October, and hoped I might get to it in November, but November ended up being a heavy sci-fi month for me. I love reading about women in history and I love Disney, so a book about Disney’s early animators and the history of women in the company sounds like my perfect book!

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan: I’ve been getting more and more into the romance genre over the past year, and this book sounds like so much fun. The authors look at the genre and examine why it’s treated with derision, or treated as a ‘guilty pleasure’, when it’s the most read genre in the world. Is it because it’s typically written and read by women? Probably!


What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence ed. by Michele Filgate: I discovered this non-fiction release very recently and I’m so sad I hadn’t heard of it before because it sounds right up my street! I love novels about mothers and daughters and novels with mothers for protagonists, so an essay collection about various writers’ relationships with their mothers sounds so interesting to me.

Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy: I’ve owned a copy of this book on my kindle for years and still haven’t read it, but it’s still one I’m really interested in checking out.

Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore by Bettany Hughes: I’ve been interested in this book for the longest time – Bettany Hughes is an ancient historian who’s done documentaries on Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt that I’ve really enjoyed – and I recently discovered that my library has a copy of this one, so I’ve reserved it and hope to get it in the new year!

Tudor Roses: From Margaret Beaufort to Elizabeth I by Amy Licence: Yet more Tudor history, and this time a new group biography of the royal Tudor women which is being released in 2020.

Nazi Wives: The Women at the Top of Hitler’s Germany by James Wyllie: I work for the publisher which released this book last month, and while this book isn’t one I worked on personally it sounds fascinating. Is it dark and disturbing as all hell? Oh yes, but so little is known about the part women played in the rise and sustainment of the Nazi regime and, if we’re going to learn about women in history, we have to learn about the ones we’d rather forget, too.

What did you talk about this week?

34 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Non-fiction I’d like to read in 2020

  1. Lisa says:

    I feel like I should bookmark this list and come back to it when I need a non-fiction pick! I don’t read a lot of non-fiction in general, but these all sound so good. The only one here I’ve read is Paperbacks from Hell — so much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer says:

    I love Non-Fiction, but I do have to be in the right mood for it. I have several ones that were released this year that I need to get to early next year. Great post!

    My TTT

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dinipandareads says:

    This is a great list, Jess! Although I’ve enjoyed a lot of the NF that I’ve read over the last year, my NF count is still embarrassingly low but like you said, I also really need to be in the mood for it. It’s always tricky with NF coz my attention span is so short and I get so easily bored and distracted so they have to be really well-paced and interesting. All of these sound/look really good so guess I’m adding a few more books to my TBR now 😂

    My TTT post

    Liked by 1 person

  4. geekyzoogirl says:

    Ooh I love a good non-fiction read. I’ve got The House of Islam thanks to NetGalley too, but I haven’t started it yet either. I’m sure I’ll really enjoy it when I do, so I should bump it up higher on the list for 2020.

    Who didn’t love dinosaurs as a kid? You should definitely rectify the lack of dinosaur books in adult-you’s life ASAP (although I think the only dinosaur books I’ve read are fiction so I don’t think that counts!). I’d like to read The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs too, but I don’t own a copy yet. I’m thinking I might treat myself to a copy when it comes out in paperback, but I’m also trying to make a dent in my TBR before I buy more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rhosymedre (@Rhosymedre) says:

    I have the teen-girls counterpart to Paperbacks from Hell (Paperback Crush) checked out of the library right now, but I paged through this one at the store last week, and for someone who likes or is interested in vintage horror, it looks fantastic. Such a fun layout / art design.

    Also, yesss, do your past self proud with the dino book. I feel like we’ve made pretty significant advances in our dinosaur knowledge in recent years; it is probably a fairly different body of knowledge you have to look forward to.

    I did Book Twins this week.

    Liked by 1 person

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