Armchair BEA – Day 4: Non-Fiction

Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA is for those people who cannot visit Book Expo America but still want to join in the fun. This week, May 28th to June 2nd, there are celebrations for those who stay at home rather than make it to New York. Look out for a new post every day from me!

This fourth day of Armchair BEA is about Non-Fiction. Do you read non-fiction?

It seems men often prefer non-fiction while women read fiction. Of course, that is a generalisation, and I (a woman) do read some non-fiction. But it’s limited. When it comes to non-fiction, I still prefer a good story, for instance, a historical non-fiction book in which the life of an remarkable person is told. Or a memoir about something a person went through that makes an interesting story. And I love stories about food production and healthy eating, too.

So here are some recommendations:

Historical non-fiction

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley. My review.

In the 1760s, a young French peasant woman sails around the world dressed as a man. Jeanne Baret travels as the assistant of the botanist Philibert Commerson, with whom she has had a relationship that started when they worked together in France.

This is a non-fiction account of life and customs in 18th Century France followed by a reconstruction by the author of Baret’s time aboard the ship and the stop-offs at foreign countries (South America, South Sea, etc.) to look for new plants.

Don't Sing at the Table by Adriana Trigiani

Don’t Sing at the Table by Adriana Trigiani. My review.

Adriana Trigiani describes the lives of her two grandmothers. Both of Italian descent, one was a second-generation immigrant, while the other grandmother came to the US after she married.

The book relates about the women’s working life, courtship and marriage (both have partners who die young), about travelling, children and religion.


Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson. My review.

This is about woman getting older. Tracey Jackson is a comedy writer who explain in a very personal and funny way, how “her” 50 is not that of her grandmother’s but why 50 isn’t the new 30 either.  If you’re prepared for it, and willing to work on it, getting older doesn’t have to be all that bad. The book is written in a fun way, it gives you the very personal experience (including trial and error) of Tracey Jackson herself.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. My review.

This is about a Syrian-American, Zeitoun, who stayed behind after the hurricane Katrina to help those who needed it, but a week later he disappeared.

Food Matters

In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. My review.

In this book, Michael Pollan, a journalist concerned with food issues, tries to convince the reader to eat real food, not too much, and especially plants. He suggests that we should all only eat what our grandmother recognizes as food, refuse any products that contain more than five ingredients (because they will be highly processed) or have ingredients listed that we don’t know what they are (difficult words).  He gives some further suggestions on what and how to eat.

The Taste of Tomorrow by Josh Schonwald

 The Taste of Tomorrow by Josh Schonwald. My review.

This is a book about what will be on the shelves at the supermarket, in around 20 years’ time. It’s an exploration of what food scientists and food producers are working on so that we can enjoy a nice plate of food in 2035.

Have you read any of these books?

Do you read non-fiction?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

14 Responses to Armchair BEA – Day 4: Non-Fiction

  1. Laurie C says:

    I haven’t read any of the ones on your list, but have considered a couple of them. I’ve read some nonfiction lately, including Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which was excellent, and a few memoirs, which I enjoyed. On audio, I listened to a collection of essays by Lisa Scottoline (in her early 50s, I think) and her adult daughter about mothers and daughters and life in general, and enjoyed it. It was a collection of previously printed newspaper/magazine columns and humorous.

  2. heather says:

    I’ve enjoyed all of Michael Pollan’s books. I just read Cooked last week.

  3. Oh, I love Zeitoun so much. It’s such a gorgeous book that proves how wonderful this genre can be. I had never heard of The Taste of Tomorrow, but it’s definitely going on my TBR list, it sounds super interesting!

  4. Trish says:

    I used to read a lot more non-fiction than I do today. I found a three year old post last night that mentioned I read 25% NF in a year! I’m listening to Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma right now and find it so fascinating. And frightening. I can’t wait to read more of his others.

  5. Charlie says:

    Jeanne Baret was so good, the information, the introduction to her. I like the sound of the Pollan. A blogger (Kelly, I think) was discussing his work the other day, I wasn’t aware he was food-focused so much, though. It sounds a good book.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I love nonfiction 🙂 You’ve listed a bunch that I haven’t read! I can hear my tbr pile weeping, lol

  7. Caribousmom says:

    Great post! Lots of new to me books on your list. I have a book by Adriana Trigiani that I really should read one of these days!

  8. Pingback: Armchair BEA: A True Tale of Non-Fiction | Books in the Burbs

  9. Kristin T. says:

    I love Adriana Trigiani’s fiction books, so I should really pick up the one you mention. I definitely need to read more non-fiction – one or two a year doesn’t really cut it and those tend to be of the memoir variety.

    My Non-Fiction Post

  10. melissa says:

    In Defense of Food was a book I was curious about, but haven’t read. The Discovery of Jeanne Baret is new to me, and I am intrigued!

  11. Not huge non-fiction reader. I read less than 10 titles a year of non-fiction. Loved Adrianna’s book.

  12. Dana says:

    I love non-fiction. It’s such a great way to learn new things. Lots of titles on your list that I’ve never read though!

  13. DoingDewey says:

    I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but I’m excited too! I loved Pollan’s Botany of Desire, so In Defense of Food is definitely going on my TBR list 🙂

  14. I’m with you Judith… I prefer something that has a storyline I can invest in. Travel memoirs are my favourite. I really enjoyed The Discovery of Jeanne Baret too (my review. Another great example is Little Princes by Conor Grennan.

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