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Looking to find out something more about the world we live in, instead of gallivanting off into the realm of fiction? Have a look at our hand-picked non-fiction choices.
An eye-opening wander (and sometimes adrenaline ride) down memory lane for a life-long hillwalker and mountaineer. John D. Burns has spent forty years trekking and climbing mountains, he grew up in industrial Merseyside and escaped to the wilds as often as he could. He opens by admitting a mistake that could have cost lives, his raw honesty hits home, this isn’t a playground. In his early years he learns through near catastrophes and calamitous events that he needs proper equipment and to never take the outdoors for granted. He basically learns through his mistakes - TAKE NOTE! As the author grows more experienced he later becomes a part of the rescue team and starts to really become aware of the beauty around him. The majority of this memoir runs in a straight line through time, occasionally though it deviates, and sometimes stories just stop, to carry on at a later point. This memoir is more about the thrills and escapades, than the beauty of where he is and yet that joy is also there. I would recommend reading The Last Hillwalker followed by his fictional Sky Dance, as once you have finished both, you get more of measure of this man. A fascinating read.
Some people are born to be a certain thing. And I was a born fighter. At the age of eight, Michael Bisping began his training in martial arts. By the time he was 15, he was fighting in his first no holds barred competition. When he turned professional and joined the UFC he was sure about one thing: only a world championship title would do. A British underdog in the greatest fighting championship on earth, he spent the next decade winning some of the championship's most sensational contests to achieve his dream, becoming the first-ever British UFC world champion in 2016. From his boyhood years learning to fight in the gyms of Lancashire to his most shocking clashes in the cage, in Quitters Never Win Bisping tells the raw and unfiltered story behind his legendary career for the first time, including his greatest wins, his fiercest rivals and the harrowing injury that forced him into retirement. As audacious, entertaining and as candid as the man himself, it's a backstage pass to one of the world's most extreme sports and an unbridled account of what it really takes to become a champion, from sleeping in his own car to reaching the summit of the world's fastest-growing sport.
Brought to you by Penguin. 'Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.' In August 2018 a 15-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. This book brings you Greta in her own words. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.
Founded on fables, feminism and reconnecting with the land, this is a strident call for women to re-root themselves in nature in order to take flight in themselves. “The world which men have made isn’t working. Something needs to change. To change the world, we women need first to change ourselves and then we need to change the stories we tell about who we are.” This statement perhaps best encapsulates the core and purpose of this book: to expose how centuries of patriarchy and humanity’s disengagement from nature has been to the detriment of women, and to offer insights into how to change this status quo. Throughout, the author shares many personal experiences and her own “rewilding” process, with examples from other women too. Drawing on ancient mythology and ways of life, especially those of the Celtic tradition, she interweaves ancient wisdom – stories of The Selkie’s New Skin, Ceridwen and the Cauldron of Transformation, and The Lady of Llyn-y-Fan Fach, to name a few - with contemporary contexts to create a richly interesting perspective on other ways of living.
“What is important about money is that it is a key institution in human societies…Yet it is very hard to grasp, like a spectre it slips away, shrouded in mystery.” Drawing on the disciplines of sociology, anthropology and economics, and with a fresh feminist and green perspective on financial systems, this book de-shrouds money of its mystery. Beginning at the beginning, it reveals that contrary to commonly held views, money did not somehow naturally develop from bartering and exchanging goods or services. Rather it is a social and political construct, inextricably woven into the social and political systems in which it is used. The author explores the role rulers and elites play in the history of money, and debunks the notion that money is in short supply, explaining that there is, in fact, a magic money tree. More precisely, “There are (at least) two: banks and states”. She makes compelling arguments for “democratising money.” For example, “women’s unpaid domestic labour could be recognised; care provision could be seen as a major source of employment. Environmental strategies could be funded.” The author states in her introduction that, “Challenging myths about money at one level destroys its magic, but opens up its radical potential.” This astute, clear, timely book certainly will certainly open readers’ minds to radically different ways of thinking about and connecting with money.
This vibrant visual voyage around the world shares the inspiring stories of visionaries who are transforming lives by building a sharing economy, from global milk-sharers, bike-sharers and food-sharers, to empowering football projects in Mumbai. Documenting the endeavours of 200 change-makers whose innovations are changing lives and communities around the world, this informative, photo-rich compendium is as rich in scope and ambition as the projects it covers. Before delving into individual case studies, the book explores the concept of the sharing economy, explaining how it emerged from the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 and the resulting “need to do more with less”. The Sharing Economy is the “system that makes the Sharing possible. It’s how we will change the world”, and that’s exactly what the individuals featured here are doing. The range of projects is staggering and demonstrates how great things can grow from small-scale personal passions, from the Village-Sharer in Mumbai whose social enterprise project improves livelihoods through community tourism, to the US Food Justice Campaigner, whose community farm is founded on the concepts of fairness, sharing and sustainability. The scope of this approach is nothing short of revolutionary, and portrayed with uplifting verve in this innovative collaboration between a global Sharing Economy expert and an award-winning photographer.
The moment I held Rock Pool for the first time, I sensed I was in for a real treat. The book (hardback) feels like an item of quality. It has a beautifully designed and illustrated front cover, a sturdy jacket, and is printed on very good quality paper. Credit must also go to Myfanwy Vernon-Hunt for the design, which is first class. The only remaining question, would the content match up? Rock Pool is a personal account of a life spent exploring our coastal rocks, our beaches, and the life therein. It’s not, as I first believed, a reference or identification book. To some extent, this relieved me as I am not – or I wasn’t – a beach or rock pool enthusiast. That said, I am a diver and I share the author’s love of nature, and of life at our coastal edge. There’s little I enjoy more than donning a wet suit and air tank to then spend an hour or so in shallow waters exploring the nooks and crannies of the rocks. So, did content match cover? Yes, very much. Heather Buttivant’s writing style is polished and engaging. With consummate ease, she leads you, her reader, into her world, shows it to you and helps you enjoy it and learn from it. Her infectious enthusiasm shines through every chapter, every page. Rock Pool is told, with considerable originality, through the medium of twenty-four creatures likely to be seen between the tides. It made me smile, many times. If I had one, very small, comment, it is that a few of the many colour photographs were not high definition. That said, this in no way detracted from my overall enjoyment of Rock Pool - and the illustrations are excellent! Heather Buttivant maintains a blog called Cornish Rock Pools. I’ve signed up to it, and I’ve every intention of attending one of her guided tours. If it’s as good as her book, it will also prove to be a great experience.
Why do some people get to achieve aspirations that were unattainable for their parents while others don’t seem to get the opportunities they deserve? That is the critical, far-reaching question at the heart of this energetic, enlightening book. Based on fascinating – and often heart-rending - case studies of UK citizens, it explores to what extent children are offered opportunities to attain widely-held aspirations (to have a job you love, your own home and a rewarding relationship/family), what barriers are in their way, and whether decision-makers are truly prepared to take measures to remove those barriers. Through personal experience and interviews with a diverse set of individuals, the author notes that most children from working class backgrounds have at best a couple of hours of career guidance. People stumble into jobs, or end up down career cul-de-sacs they should never have taken. The findings don’t make for happy reading overall. While a working class kid might break through one barrier and get to university on merit, on arrival “the cultural codes of the elite are opaque and baffling”, and it’s often the same experience for those who break into traditionally middle class professions. Indeed, the author discovers that today people from middle-income backgrounds are more likely to slide down the scale. So what’s the solution to this depressing state of affairs? The author notes several key factors that need to be addressed. For example, social desegregation in educational institutions: “schools should be required to ensure that their intake is at least approximately reflective of the population of the surrounding local authority.” Another key factor would be to take away “opportunity tolls” i.e. children not being able to attend certain schools because of uniform costs, or jobseekers being unable to afford to travel to interviews. This engaging book makes for sobering reading, but also offers hope through the author’s ideas for rebalancing society to benefit the many.
This lucid, rigorous, readable analysis of the employment experiences of 175 individuals who work in prestigious professions (such as TV, architecture and acting) reveals beyond doubt that Britain is far from a meritocracy. Rather, it still pays to be born privileged, and the working class still face multiple barriers that make it more difficult to get into such professions, and make it more difficult to get on if you’re in the minority who are appointed (the 16% pay gap revealed here is shocking and unacceptable). The research demonstrates that the reproduction of privilege remains a powerful factor: “about half the people in top jobs had parents who did similarly high-status work, while less than 20% come from working-class backgrounds”. One of theresounding themes emerging from the authors’ findings is the sense of entitlement felt by those born into privilege, and with that comes unflappable confidence and connections that see them progress much faster and further than their working class peers. The doors are already open. The Bank of Mum and Dad means they can take unpaid internships or, for example, live comfortably as an out-of-work-actor while their living expenses are covered. And then there are the introductions that lead to ways-in that are simply not accessible to the working class, and the unspoken codes about how to dress and how to speak that leave many working class employees out in the cold, still viewed as not one of “us”, not quite the part, unpolished, even. Many of the interviews make for deeply uncomfortable reading. Despite mentioning their paid-for flats, subsidised living expenses and vital introductions that lead to coveted jobs, the privileged interviewees don’t even see themselves as having any advantage. These are assumed to be the norm, which reveals the deep-rooted persistence of a class chasm in contemporary Britain, and an alarming ignorance that exacerbates divisions. With one exception, the interviewees believe their success is entirely down to merit, whereas in reality the old boys’ network is as strong as it ever was. With those in power still largely from privileged backgrounds, and the status quo very much not working, the authors’ ten suggestions for smashing this ceiling should be heeded by politicians and policy-makers, from publishing social mobility data, to banning unpaid, unadvertised internships that give the already privileged further advantage, while the less well-off don’t get a look in. Exposing the fallacy of meritocracy, this enlightening and powerfully engaging study should be essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of Britain in these turbulent times.
We appear to have more control over our lives than ever before. If we could get things right - the perfect job, relationship, family, body and mind - then we'd be happy. With enough economic growth and technological innovation, we could cure all societal ills. The Happiness Problem shows that this way of thinking is too simplistic and can even be harmful: no matter how much progress we make, we will still be vulnerable to disappointment, loss and suffering. The things we do to make us happy are merely the tip of the iceberg. Sam Wren-Lewis offers an alternative process that acknowledges insecurity and embraces uncertainty. Drawing on our psychological capacities for curiosity and compassion, he proposes that we can connect with, and gain a deeper understanding of, the personal and social challenges that define our time.
By turns gripping, meditative and elemental, and always inspirational, this treasure trove of prose, poetry and art lays bare a richness of relationships between female adventurers and the great outdoors. Shunning conventional, simplistic narratives about mankind conquering the highest this, or the deepest that, each adventurer-contributor shares their unique experiences with enlightening, engaging subtlety. In the wise words of one writer, “People go outdoors to push themselves past what they thought they could do…I go outdoors for the struggle, not to beat it.” This eloquent anthology contains over seventy pieces of writing and art, among them an enlightening piece about the motivations of an Antarctic researcher, an intimate account of a mountaineer’s connection with her father through cross-country skiing, and an exquisite evocation of the sensuous life-forces of a Dartmoor brook. It’s a delight to dip into, and the perfect gift for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers.
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier, read by Peter Noble. Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit and the return of the far right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now. In a passionate and polemical book, celebrated economist Paul Collier outlines brilliantly original and ethical ways of healing these rifts - economic, social and cultural - with the cool head of pragmatism, rather than the fervour of ideological revivalism. He reveals how he has personally lived across these three divides, moving from working-class Sheffield to hyper-competitive Oxford, and working between Britain and Africa, and acknowledges some of the failings of his profession. Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world's most distinguished social scientists, he shows us how to save capitalism from itself - and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century. 'In this bold work of intellectual trespass, Paul Collier, a distinguished economist, ventures onto the terrain of ethics to explain what's gone wrong with capitalism, and how to fix it. To heal the divide between metropolitan elites and the left-behind, he argues, we need to rediscover an ethic of belonging, patriotism, and reciprocity. Offering inventive solutions to our current impasse, Collier shows how economics at its best is inseparable from moral and political philosophy' Michael Sandel, author of What Money Can't Buy and Justice
From iconic favourites like the Grand Canyon to up-and-coming destinations like Tiblisi, this stunning photography collection willl inspire even the most intrepid traveller. Over 150 high-quality images bring the 100 places to life, spanning atmospheric hilltop pagodas, dramatic mountain scenery, and sparkling urban citiscapes. Lively descriptive text accompanies each entry, capturing the destination's spirit and exactly what makes it so special. Organized geographically by region, the book reaches every corner of the world, with each place carefully selected by Rough Guides' experienced team of authors and editors. Features of the Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places on Earth - Uncovers the top places to visit in 2020 - Stylish coffee-table book with more than 150 inspiring photographs - Employs Rough Guides' "tell it like it is" ethos - Organised geographically by region - Carefully curated by Rough Guides' team of expert authors and editors
Rough Guides' bestselling inspirational coffee-table book draws upon the insider knowledge of in-the-know writers to share the 1000 ultimate travel experiences across the globe. Make the Most of your Time on Earth is a handpicked curation of personal recommendations, from retracing Odysseus's footsteps on Mljet and hippo-spotting in the Bijagós Islands, to wild camping on the Arabian Peninsula and defying gravity at China's Hanging Temple. It might even be something as simple as walking among Hockney's landscapes on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, or eating among locals in the perfect setting: the definitive gelato in Rome or a mopane worm in Zimbabwe. Every one is special, and authentic, and - above all - inspiring. This fourth edition has been fully revised, with a brand-new design and a collection of high-quality colour photographs spanning beautiful national parks, captivating wildlife and dramatic landscapes. Entries are divided into regions, so you can dip in and out of the different parts of the world you're interested in, whether that's a remote island in the Philippines, a stunning Swedish archipelago or an off-the-beaten-track pocket of Saskatchewan. Lively and engaging text captures the essence of the experience, while essential "Need to Know" sections at the end of each chapter make it easy for you to plan your trip. Packed full of ideas and take-you-there photography, Make the Most of your Time on Earth is pure escapism for active travellers and armchair fantasists alike.
Award winning author Katherine Rundell is as passionate about reading children’s books as she is about writing them. In this brief but and perfectly structured handbook she encourages all readers to think about the particular qualities of children’s books and about the special experience of reading as a child – which she remembers clearly. Drawing on her deep knowledge of children’s stories and supporting her arguments with endorsing quotes from writers of all kinds she sets out her defence of the book’s title in brief sections. She is as much at home in the factual – ‘On how children’s fiction came to be’ and ‘On children’s fiction today’ as the more personal which reflect her own views including ‘On wild hunger and heroic optimism’ and ‘The galvanic kick of children’s books’.
Authoritative and inspirational, this new Rough Guide has been published in cooperation with the Liberation Route Europe Foundation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2019-2020. It’s a uniquely informative, engaging tool that will enable travellers to discover enlightening sights and experiences along the path of the Liberation Route. The Liberation Route is a remembrance trail that connects important milestones from modern European history, forming a link between the main regions impacted by the Liberation of Europe in 1944–1945, and managed by the Liberation Route Europe (LRE) Foundation. In the words of project founder Jurriaan de Mol, the LRE is committed to “remembrance and reflection”. Its multi-perspective approach encourages people to visit remembrance sites and experience history firsthand. Now, with the publication of Rough Guide to the Liberation Route Europe, touring this fascinating trail has never been easier or more rewarding. The book’s bringing together of history, biography and travel information will both inspire pre-trip planning and inform while on the road. Features include: Carefully considered routes to help travellers plan their trip. Detailed regional coverage of important Liberation sights in all nine countries – UK, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany. Evocative in-depth features, including inspirational biographies of war heroes. Suggestions for unique on-the-road experiences, from exploring D-Day beaches in a D-Day Jeep in Normandy, to witnessing Nijmegen’s daily Sunset March. About Founded in 1970, Apa Publications is the globally-renowned publisher of Rough Guides, Insight Guides and Berlitz travel books, maps, language-learning resources and apps, with over 900 publications. The wide range of innovative, high-quality travel and language products is designed to meet the needs of every kind of traveller, from first-time visitors to the round-the-world explorers. Synonymous with practical travel information, quality writing and a trustworthy “tell it like it is” ethos, ROUGH GUIDES has been inspiring independent-minded travellers for over 35 years. The Rough Guides list includes over 400 titles, from country guides, pocket guides and inspirational travel specials, to phrasebooks and eBooks.www.roughguides.com also offers a booking platform for tailor-made trips. Head here to discover more about the Liberation Route Europe.
From the Orwellian reach of an Amazon warehouse to the time trials of a council care worker and the grim reality behind the glossy Uber App, Hired is a clear-eyed analysis of a divided nation and a riveting dispatch from the very frontline of low-wage Britain. We all define ourselves by our profession. But what if our job was demeaning, poorly paid, and tedious? Cracking open Britain's divisions journalist James Bloodworth spends six months living and working across Britain, taking on the country's most gruelling jobs. He lives on the meagre proceeds and discovers the anxieties and hopes of those he encounters, including working-class British, young students striving to make ends meet, and Eastern European immigrants. From the Staffordshire Amazon warehouse to the taxi-cabs of Uber, Bloodworth narrates how traditional working-class communities have been decimated by the move to soulless service jobs with no security, advancement or satisfaction. This is a gripping examination of Brexit Britain, a divided nation which needs to understand the true reality of how other people live and work before it can heal.
A gob-smacking, truly challenging yet inspirational read awaits. I saw the synopsis for this autobiography and just knew I had to read it. Dr Amanda Brown tells of her experience after leaving a quiet GP’s practice to become a prison doctor. She has worked in a young offenders institution, notorious male prison Wormwood Scrubs, and Europe’s largest woman prison Bronzefield. Dr Amanda Brown is still working at 65, to her this job matters, it really, really matters. The author doesn’t judge, in fact she says of her job that she isn’t there to judge but to care. Having said that, she still has a job to do, rules to be kept, for both safety and security. I read this in one sitting, once I started, I couldn’t stop, and my admiration for this woman is sky high. I feel we as a society should read this book, should try to understand, should allow compassion and empathy entry to our thoughts. Fascinating and heartbreaking in equal measures, for me The Prison Doctor is a must-read and I’ve chosen it as one of my picks of the month.
“I was born black, working class and northern in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain”, so begins the author’s personal prologue to a book that provides a vital, alternate lens through which to view Europe. Growing up as such, Pitts felt “I was being forced to react against one culture or overidentify with the other”. A visit to the Calais Jungle in 2016 resulted in him being stopped, searched and ID’d before being allowed in, albeit still under suspicion. A bleak reminder that when non-whites have the right documents, “I wasn’t all the way in”. What follows is a document of Pitts’s encounters and meetings with dozens of Afropeans; black citizens of Europe juggling identities and loyalties – a self-described ‘black French militant’ on the outskirts of Paris; a Belgian-Congolese artist in Brussels; a Sudanese-German chef in Berlin; a fascinating interview with Caryl Philipps, the acclaimed Kittian-British writer. A remarkable feat of research and understanding, this seminal book is reportage at its finest, enhanced by the author’s striking photography.
The highly anticipated first book by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder! Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the podcasting world. In Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being 'nice' or 'helpful.' They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness. My Favorite Murder started as a way for Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark to work through their fears. Now it's a worldwide community.... Even its darkest moments are lightened by Karen and Georgia's effortlessly funny banter and genuine empathy. - RollingStone.com Praise for My Favorite Murder: Wildly popular.... In many ways, the subversive charm of [My Favorite Murder] is today's answer to riot grrrl, the D.I.Y. feminist punk movement of the 1990s. -The New York Times [My Favorite Murder] empowers listeners by offering practical advice for survival and self-care and by using comedy to deflate the scariness of these topics. -TheAtlantic.com Morbid [and] mirthful. -Entertainment Weekly Truly next-level.... hilarious, brutally honest, and totally addicting. -Nylon.com Wildly entertaining. -Refinery29 One of the most successful podcasts in history. -TheWashingtonPost.com Known for her biting wit and musical prowess, Karen Kilgariff has been a staple in the comedy world for decades. As a performer, she has appeared on Mr. Show, The Book Group and Conan. She was the head writer for the first five years of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, then transitioned to scripted, writing for shows like Other Space, Portlandia, and Baskets. Her musical comedy album Live At The Bootleg was included in Vulture's Top 9 of 2014 and in Stitcher's Top 11 of 2014. Georgia Hardstark has enjoyed a successful career as a food writer and Cooking Channel on-camera personality, including co-hosting a travel/adventure/party show called Tripping Out, and a regular gig on Cooking Channel's #1 show, Unique Sweets. She caps that off as a frequent guest narrator on Comedy Central's hit show Drunk History.
Cartoonist, Robert Crumb said; “When I come up against the Real World, I just vacillate”. Well, he can happily vacillate here for a while. This section features a whole host of books covering subjects as diverse as Mankind’s place in the Universe (Human Universe by Brian Cox), the history of the human journey to work (Rush Hour by Iain Gateley) and the real business of reading books (Bookworms, Dogears and Squashy Big Armchairs by Heather Reyes). This is the ‘Human’ section in our book lovers’ journey.
If you love reading, then you’ll find something here to fascinate you. There are new and interest-piquing passages here from science, philosophy, politics, history, religion, and all of the things that occupy the lives of humans. And we mean ALL of them. The fight against Cancer, the fight for freedom, feminism, fatality, frailty and fame. It’s too big to list. Have a browse through the titles by using our monthly recommendations past and present. We guarantee you’ll be hooked in minutes!