Books on my TBR: nonfiction

Hello, friends! Time to talk about some more books on my TBR! This is a series where I talk about a specific subset of books on my TBR. I’ve done a few posts of really long lists of books on my TBR, so for these posts I’m going to try to keep the list fairly small, provide the synopsis from Goodreads, and talk about where I found it and why I want to read it.

Today, I’m talking about nonfiction! I really enjoy listening to nonfiction, and have recently been more drawn to nonfiction just in general. So I thought today, we’d look at some of the nonfiction I want to read!

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. From there, it expands to encompass the big and broken world around him, in all its complexity and contradictions: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it, first loves and first loves lost, sexual exploration and intimacy, and the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.

I’ve heard a ton of good things about this book and Belcourt’s writing. I’m always trying to read more Indigenous authors, particularly ones that explore queerness and indigineity, so I’m really excited to read this. I have it on hold at the library, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandry 

As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying “battle royal” where black When a moment of quietly ignored bigotry prompted his three-year-old daughter to ask “what happened?” David Chariandy began wondering how to discuss with his children the politics of race. A decade later, in a newly heated era of both struggle and divisions, he writes a letter to his now thirteen-year-old daughter. David is the son of Black and South Asian migrants from Trinidad, and he draws upon his personal and ancestral past, including the legacies of slavery, indenture, and immigration, as well as the experiences of growing up a visible minority within the land of one’s birth. In sharing with his daughter his own story, he hopes to help cultivate within her a sense of identity and responsibility that balances the painful truths of the past and present with hopeful possibilities for the future.

I tend to love memoirs/nonfiction written in the form of letters to someone else, and this sounds like a great one. It explores racism in Canada, which is something Canada needs to address, and it sounds like a really great and much-needed perspective.

Last Call: a True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.

I’ve recently gotten more into reading about history, especially queer history. I also really like true crime, so this book seems like the perfect marriage of those two interests. My library has a copy of the ebook, and the wait is almost 100 days long, so it’s pretty popular atm.

Empire of Pain: the Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.

I read and loved Keefe’s debut, Say Nothing, so when I heard he was writing a new nonfiction, I knew I would read it. And this one sounds super interesting. I’ve wanted to read more about the Sacklers for a while now, so I’m so excited this book is coming out.

My Friend Anna: the True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams’s new friend Anna Delvey, a self-proclaimed German heiress, was worldly and ambitious. She was also generous. When Anna proposed an all-expenses-paid trip to Marrakech, Rachel jumped at the chance. But when Anna’s credit cards mysteriously stopped working, the dream vacation quickly took a dark turn. Anna asked Rachel to begin fronting costs—first for flights, then meals and shopping, and, finally, for their $7,500-per-night private villa. Before Rachel knew it, more than $62,000 had been charged to her credit cards. Anna swore she would reimburse Rachel the moment they returned to New York.

Back in Manhattan, the repayment never materialized, and a shocking pattern of deception emerged. Rachel learned that Anna had left a trail of deceit—and unpaid bills—wherever she’d been. Mortified, Rachel contacted the district attorney, and in a stunning turn of events, found herself helping to bring down one of the city’s most notorious con artists.

I’ve watched a few videos on Anna Delvey and this whole situation, and it sounds so interesting. I was super excited to learn that there’s a book from someone who knew Delvey personally, so I’m super excited to read this.

Resilience is Futile: the Life and Death of Julie Lalonde by Julie S. Lalonde

For over a decade Julie Lalonde kept a secret. As an award-winning advocate for women’s rights, she criss-crossed the country, denouncing violence against women and giving hundreds of media interviews along the way. Her work made national headlines for challenging universities and taking on Canada’s top military brass. But while appearing fearless on the surface, Julie met every interview and event with the same fear in her gut: was he here?

Fleeing intimate partner violence at age twenty, Julie was stalked by her ex-partner for over ten years, rarely mentioning it to friends, let alone addressing it publicly. The contrast between her public career as a brave champion for women with her own private life of violence and fear meant a shaky and exhausting balancing act.

Resilience Is Futile is a story of survival, courage, and ultimately, hope. But it is also a challenge to the ways we understand trauma and resilience. It is the story of one survivor who won’t give up and refuses to shut up.

R v Lalonde is a really important case in Canadian sexual assault and intimate partner violence law, and this is Lalonde’s memoir. She’s a really interesting woman, and this memoir sounds fascinating.

So there are some nonfiction books I want to read! Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations? What’s your favourite nonfiction? Let me know!

Also if you have any requests for things you’d like to see on my TBR, let me know!

Ally xx

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13 thoughts on “Books on my TBR: nonfiction

  1. I read I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You awhile back and I liked it! I recommend The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole for another excellent Canadian nonfiction book that discusses racism. My latest favourite nonfiction book is Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui. Happy reading ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard really good things about The Skin We’re In, and I saw Desmond Cole give a talk last year so I really want to read it! So glad to hear you enjoyed it as well!

      Why We Swim sounds so interesting! What did you think of it?

      Liked by 1 person

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