Recent Reads: Fiction And Non-Fiction

I’m a woman who loves a non-fiction book and that’s pretty much all I have read for the past four years. However, I have recently changed my tune – I am now in a phase of loving novels. The way I see it, I am constantly flooding my mind with new information in the form of podcasts, articles and documentaries. Do I really need to do that in the form of books too? Doesn’t my brain deserve a rest and an opportunity to enjoy escaping to another world?

I am just about to finish my fifth fiction book in a row and I am thoroughly enjoying using reading as a way to switch off, rather than just another way to learn. If you are planning a holiday over the next few months it’s an ideal time to get I recommend you give a novel a go too, you never know – you might love it!


Why We Sleep

The book has hands down changed my life. It discusses the health implications of poor sleep and the health benefits of adequate sleep, backed by empirical evidence. As someone who took sleep for granted and popped it at the bottom of my priority list, I have quite literally had my eyes opened and mind blown. I have gone from sleeping 6-7 hours a night to a non-negotiable 7-8 hours or more. The difference in my energy is huge. I encourage every person who wants to live a long, happy and healthy life to read this book!

Homo Deus & 21 Lessons For The 21st Century

Sapiens, the first book by Yuval Harari was a game changer for me. I read it about 3 years ago and it completely opened my mind up to the impact of humanity on the planet. I honestly believe it was one of the catalysts which brought me around to living more consciously. Homos Deus & 21 Lessons For The 21st Century are his second and third books, which are both phenomenal. Admittedly, he goes off on some crazy tangents which can be hard to grasp, but the vast majority of the books are digestible, engaging and absolutely fascinating. Harari discusses everything from religion and ethics through to immigration and meditation; and challenges your perspectives on every page.

How To Give Up Plastic Turning The Tide On Plastic 

These two books are both of a similar ilk, educational but engaging reads about how to fight the marine plastic crisis we are in the midst of. They offer heart breaking facts about the current situation, practical tips on how to reduce plastic use as well as encouragement to speak out to others about these topics. I found these books to be different enough to justify reading them both. I particularly enjoyed the final few chapters in How To Give Up Plastic where McCallum discusses instigating wider change.

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs & Wear Cows

This book goes into the psychology behind why we make the choices we do surrounding animals and animal products. It explores concepts such as cognitive dissonance and uses science to explain why it is so difficult for people to change their behaviours when it comes to eating animals. Personally, I found this absolutely fascinating, helping me explain my own experience of struggling to turn vegetarian and vegan. It also helped me understand why it is hard for those around me to understand the lifestyle I lead. Both empowering and reassuring, it is great for veggies, vegans and meat eaters alike.

The Language of Kindness: A Nurses Story

A heart-wrenching emotional rollercoaster of a book. It follows the career journey of a London nurse, documenting the highs, lows and everything in between. You find yourself feeling attached to the characters along the way, shedding tears as their stories unfold. The moment I closed this book I felt a newfound appreciation for the nursing profession, and for my health. 


Probably one of my favourite books of 2019 so far. This memoir is told from the perspective of a young woman in a dysfunctional household. Her experiences are shocking, eye-opening and quite frankly frightening. As she grows up she pushes towards going into education, and realises that this comes with losses as well as gains. A truly inspiring and heart-wrenching story which will keep you hanging on every word until the very end. 


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

This was first fiction read in a long time and damn it was a good one. This book follows an interesting, challenging but also loveable character who struggles with social interaction. It gives you an insight into her mind and thought processes, bringing you into her journey. There are some seriously big twists and turns and I was so enthralled that I devoured this book in about three days! Highly recommend. 

Small Great Things

This fiction book is based around a nurse, a baby, a court trial and racial discrimination. I don’t want to give too much away but it is honest eye opening, heart breaking and truly gripping. As a white women aware of my privilege, I think it is supremely important for me to read it and I recommend you do too.


This gripping book explores issues surrounding feminism and politics through fiction. It follows a speech therapist who is pulled into a government project which aims to overpower women and minority populations. Again, I don’t want to give too much away but it sucks you in thick and fast and makes you think about real life situations the plot could reflect.

Promising Young Women

This book follows the main character, Jane, as she enters into an affair with a married man. Topics such as power control and office politics are explored as the story twists and turns in some seriously unexpected ways. I absolutely loved this book and as a Londoner, enjoyed the references to my home city.

Normal People

This novel follows two teens as they progress into young adulthood, exploring their relationship as friends as well as lovers. It touches on power shifts, intimacy and privilege and is a fascinating read, I demolished it in under 24 hours – which shows how good it really is! 

Want more book recommendations? Check out my resources page!

Zanna x