Alas, 2014 has passed and we ring in 2015 full of hopes, dreams, and the never-ending list of resolutions. No matter if most of your resolutions have carried on from the year before (no one’s judging), they still count. One of mine, as it is every year, is to read more. Reading more can mean anything from articles to journals, and the more obvious choice, books. With season’s greetings and the bells are jingling, we welcome the New Year with a peculiar introduction to non-fiction. While it might not be my first choice when it comes to books, I don’t know about you, but I like to be transported to a whole different universe when I read. Having said that, non-fiction can be just as outlandish. Shall we begin?
Starting us off would be none other than a personal favorite of mine, and sort of “Geek-bible” to us Whovians. An epistolary of sorts, maybe not really, but sort of, Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale delves deep into the interpersonal relationship Russell T. Davies (Head Writer and Executive Producer) has with the writing of Doctor Who and all the spin-offs that came about. Scripts, ideas, developments all unravel in this tell-all collection of emails exchanged between Russell and journalist/YouTuber Benjamin Cook. Witty, hilarious, and gripping; Russell takes us on a journey into the life of a BBC hit TV series writer in its fourth season (Russell’s final season). Doubtful at times, Russell questions everything he writes, while Benjamin deciphers his musings and helps him take the leap into creating what went from cult classic to “geek-necessity” in what seems to be overnight.
For my second pick, I choose Dr. Gonzo. Not the Muppet (that would’ve been awesome, though), but the fantastic journalist with eccentric tendencies, Hunter S. Thompson, the father of Gonzo journalism. This particular style of journalism is done with no direct claim to objectivity, so you can never really tell how accurate most of it is, as it’s being told as a story through the writer’s very own eyes. But The Gonzo Papers Anthology is a huge book full of HST’s writings and musings told in the rawest form of decadence, depravity, and most of all, hilarity. If you’ve seen Johnny Depp’s rendition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, then you know exactly who HST is and what makes him incredibly appealing. His honesty and knack for “telling it as it is” has gained him a huge following and an equal amount of hatred. His examination and dissection of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s tell of the politics, people, and the values held at the time. It’s a heavy read, so I’d suggest taking it slow and possibly taking a break between each encounter.
This next one is an easier read, especially that you can read it alongside anything! The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches is an anthology of all the greatest speeches ever orated. From ancient times and prophecies to Mandela, everything in there is inspiring in and of its own accord. Brian MacArthur compiled every speech of significance throughout history and has brought us this masterpiece. Be warned, it’s difficult to put down, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself muttering “just one more speech” through the night, and suddenly you’re running late for work. Each speech is preceded by a short description that will draw you in, and you’ll find yourself entranced by the power and gumption each word carries. Sit back on a cold winter’s night with a nice warm cuppa’ while wrapped in a blanket and splendor of this enlightening read.
Bonus read: While this might be walking the line between fiction and non-fiction, this book is inspired by a true story. Starting as a twitter rant shared directly onto his blog, Charlie McDowell decided to break out of the 140-character limit and “storyfy” the snippets of conversation overheard through the vents. Dear Girls Above Me is a cleverly written retelling of said tweets in the form of a novel of sorts. Introducing us to the makings of the Hollywood royal that is himself, he takes us on a journey of how he learned to become a better man through the amusing ramblings of his upstairs neighbors without them knowing anything about it.
May this year be filled with all things literary and great. Have a wonderful 2015 and stay tuned for next month’s bookworms Ready. Aim. Fire!